OPINION

Court rules parties must declare any funding – MVC

Organisation welcomes ruling, says they have always argued that PAIA does not allow for access to information about political party funding

MVC court case application for political party funding transparency granted

27 September 2017

This morning we received the judgement pertaining to My Vote Counts (MVC) application challenging the constitutionality of PAIA in the Cape Town High Court that was heard in August.

MVC argued that access to information about a party’s private sources of funding is required for the effective exercise of the right to vote and that disclosure provides the electorate with information on where political campaign money comes from and how it is spent in order to aid voters in evaluating political parties. We argued further that the right of access to information and the right to vote are undeniably and inextricably interconnected and that the right to vote is the right to cast an informed vote, and the right to make political choices is the right to make informed political choices.

MVC asked the court to declare that PAIA is inconsistent with the Constitution because it does not allow for the disclosure of private political party funding information, that the Court pronounces on the proper interpretation of constitutional rights and compels Parliament to take steps to provide for access to information on the private funding of political parties within 18 months.

MVC welcomes the judgement as a confirmation that the right to vote is the right to make an informed vote and that political party funding information is required to maintain the value of the right to vote.

We have always argued that PAIA does not allow for access to information about political party funding, this judgement proves this. We welcome the Court’s pronouncement that political party funding information is required in order to make an informed political choice, this means that there must be a legislative mechanism that allows access to this information.

The current process in Parliament to repeal and replace the Represented Political Parties Act may produce that legislation and therefore we are following that process closely. We will now continue to monitor the Parliamentary process so that the legislation enacted on this issue, enables an open and transparent political party funding system.

MVC is a civil society organisation aimed at improving the accountability, transparency and inclusiveness of elections and politics in South Africa.

Issued by Janine Ogle, Coordinator, My Vote Counts, 27 September 2017