Picture: Kevin Sutherland/EPA
The call for political parties to disclose their funders intensified this week with civil society ratcheting up the pressure on all donors to reveal the amounts they give parties.

Parliament has called for submissions on the Promotion of Access to Information Act, which will force parties to make public the funds they receive.

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) conducted public hearings in Cape Town where all parties said they backed the Political Party Funding Act.

The act was passed by Parliament late last year and President Cyril Ramaphosa signed it into law in January.

But the IEC has admitted that it would not be possible to implement the law until the next local government elections in 2021.

The justice committee said amendments were needed in PAIA legislation that would enable parties to make public the records of their donations on a quarterly basis.

“The purpose of the Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Bill is to provide for the recordal, preservation and facilitation of access to information on the private funding of political parties and independent candidates,” states the bill.

“This came about as a result of the Constitutional Court decision in My Vote Counts NPC v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services. In that case the Constitutional Court declared the Promotion of Access to information Act, 2000, invalid to the extent of its inconsistency with the constitution by failing to provide for the recordal, preservation and reasonable disclosure of information on the private funding of political parties and independent candidates,” it adds.

Parliament will have to conclude the process of amending the bill in the next few months in compliance with the Constitutional Court judgment.

During the 2016 local government elections a senior ANC figure said in Cape Town that the party had spent over R1billion in that campaign. But this was later denied by the ANC.

The DA was said to have spent more than R200million in that campaign, but the official opposition also denied this.

The EFF said it had spent less then R20m.

Civil society warned at the IEC public hearings there was a lot of corruption involved during the campaign period and funding of parties and the legislation was needed to regulate this.

Political Bureau