Elections 2024: Lack of funding thwarts any possibility of success for smaller parties

Hand on a ballot box

A man drops his provincial vote in a ballot box. Picture: Henk Kruger/Independent Media

Published Mar 16, 2024


Cape Town - New and smaller parties registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), are being hamstrung by the lack of funding to fight a viable election campaign to challenge the bigger parties.

Azanian People's Organisation (Azapo) is one of many political parties feeling financial pressure as it prepares for the upcoming general elections, saying that due to limited financial resources, it won't be contesting elections in the Western Cape.

Azapo has a rich political background in the Western Cape. A prominent member was the late Peter Jones, who together with Steve Biko, led the Black People's Convention and was the last black man to see Biko alive. They were arrested together.

However, due to funding constraints, Azapo's prospects in the 2024 elections hang in the balance. The party said it would depend on donations from poor black communities.

“We couldn't raise the required amount of money to contest the provincial elections. But we will be participating in the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly,” said Thole Somdaka, Azapo's provincial spokesperson.

Rise Mzansi, according to the IEC's Third Quarter Disclosure Report for the 2023–24 financial year, received R16,744,186 in donations. ActionSA got R13,912,4500 and Build One South Africa got R8,500,000.

All of these political parties have recently been formed, and some are contesting elections for the first time.

According to the IEC, Rise Mzansi, which is unrepresented and one of the new political parties, having only registered with the Electoral Commission on September 7, 2023, declared the highest value of donations received during the third quarter.

“Of the total declared amount, R15,000,000 was a monetary donation received from Rebecca Oppenheimer, who has in the past made similar large donations to parties such as the DA and ActionSA.”

Nelvin Qekema, Azapo president, denounced political organisations that received funding from the likes of Oppenheimer, saying they were “blood donations”.

Cape Independence Party (CIP) leader, Jack Miller said it had been a difficult task to raise the required funding to contest either the Western Cape or the National Election ballots this year.

“The CIP relies on monthly donations from our supporters, who donate amounts like R50 or R100 per month. When the IEC says you must pay them R200 000 and R50 000, (or else) you cannot contest the national or provincial elections, then it makes it very difficult for parties who are not yet represented in the provincial and national governments,” said Miller.

The Alliance of Citizens for Change (ACC) said the party was funded by its president, Masizole Mnqasela, and its members.

“There are obviously challenges, as should be expected, when building anything that is worthwhile. The ACC said they have not approached nor been approached by any business people, and even so, it continues to grow due to the vision and commitment for a better South Africa.

“Enormous growth, progress, and achievements made by the ACC in the last few months, including qualifying to contest the upcoming elections, are testimony that our vision is alive and is being well received by citizens.”

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