File photo: Jackson Mthembu. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu
Cape Town - The NGO that has taken the government and various parties to court to get them to disclose their funders has praised the ANC for its decision to regulate party funding.

My Vote Counts said on Friday ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu’s announcement backing legislation to force parties to disclose their funders was a step in the right direction.

My Vote Counts took the government and various parties to court last year over this matter, which will be heard in the Western Cape High Court in August.

Mthembu said they wanted an ad hoc committee to be established to look at the funding model of parties represented in Parliament. Currently, the Independent Electoral Commission gives the 13 parties in Parliament R150million a year, with the ANC getting the biggest allocation because of its huge majority.

Mthembu said they wanted parties to disclose who funded them.

Janine Ogle of My Vote Counts said the NGO had been trying for years to get Parliament to force parties to disclose their funders.

She said My Vote Counts supported the ANC decision in Parliament, and believed it augured well for democracy.

Ogle said Parliament had committed to address the issue of party funding since 1997 but nothing has happened in the last 20 years. She said the issue of the regulation of private party funding would have to be resolved.

They also welcomed Mthembu’s decision to set up an ad hoc committee to address the party funding issue.

Ogle said this would promote transparency. She said the proposal would curb money politics in the country’s body politic.

She said My Vote Counts hoped these reforms would come into effect before the 2019 national elections.

She said they were encouraged by the fact Mthembu wanted the ad hoc committee to complete its work by December. This would speed up the process for the regulation of party funding before the 2019 polls. She said the new process would shed light on the private donors of parties in Parliament.

“Currently, all major political parties refuse to disclose who funds them My Vote Counts has been forced to go to court to challenge the Promotion of Access to Information Act for failing to provide access to information on the funding of the political parties.”

Political Bureau