Illustration By Dumisani Dube

Only few comments received over political party funding

The National Council of Provinces  has so far received a mere 11 written comments from the public and organisations on the political party funding Bill.

Only eight of the written comments indicated interests in making oral submissions.

 Right2Know organisation earlier made a submission to the NCOP calling on Parliament’s Political Party Funding Bill for more to be done to ensure full transparency in the funding and finances of South Africa’s political parties.

 The Bill which was  approved by the National Assembly on March 27 2018, seeks to regulate and making transparent private donations to political parties represented both in parliament and the provincial legislatures.

 The Bill was approved following extensive public consultation, involving written submissions and public hearings. The Economic Freedom Fighters is the only party that is opposing section 10 of the Bill.

 The party claimed it was the first political party which openly campaigned that a law must be passed forcing political parties to reveal who their founders are. However, it was against Section 10 which reads: “No person or entity may deliver a donation to a member of a politics party other than for party political purposes”.

 It claimed the provision will lead to a limitation and possible violation of the constitutional rights to freedom of association. And in essence it would create a situation where no one would join a political party as they would forfeit a right to receive a donation unless it is used for political party purposes.

 The red berets threatened to take the matter to the Constitutional Court should the NCOP pass the clause unaltered.The contravention of the Bill will result in financial punitive measures implemented against the offenders.

 Yesterday, the ad hoc committee on funding of political parties was briefed by parliament constitutional and legal services office on the Bill. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and national treasury also provided their responses to the Bill.

 The Bill was transferred to the NCOP for concurrence. It repeals the current Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act 103 of 1997, which was enacted in line with section 236 of the Constitution.

 Michael Prince from Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Services Office (CLSO) said the Bill retains the existing Represented Political Party Fund, which is funded from public money, and also seeks to establish a second one, namely the Multi-Party Democracy Fund, which is to be funded from private sources.

Both funds will be administered by the IEC.

IEC chairperson, Glen Mashinini, said the commission will require additional financial resources to establish a separate unit to perform its functions under the Bill.

Mashinini said the commission will bring the Bill into effect in a phased approach.

The committee is expected to hold public hearings on June 20 2018.

In June 2017, the National Assembly resolved to establish a multi-party ad hoc committee to inquire into and make recommendations, by November 30 2017, on the funding of political parties represented in parliament and the provincial legislatures.

On November 28 2017, the committee tabled the political party funding Bill in the Assembly and recommended that parliament pass the Bill which lapsed at the end of 2017.

In February, the Bill was revived and the committee re-established with a mandate to consider and report in more detail on the financial implications of the proposed Bill. It tabled a report on these on March 20 2018 and the Assembly considered and approved the report which also proposed no amendments to the Bill tabled on November 28 2017.

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