OPINION

Draft funding bill welcome - MVC

Organisation says a concern is the bill does not regulate funding at local govt level

MVC STATEMENT ON THE DRAFT BILL ON POLITICAL PARTY FUNDING

 19 September 2017

My Vote Counts (MVC) welcomes the publishing of a draft Bill to regulate political party funding. The Bill follows from a previous call for comment on a ‘model’ for public and private political party funding by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding of Political Parties two months ago (see here - PDF).

Civil society organisations have advocated for the National Assembly to pass legislation that regulates the private funding of political parties for over 15 years. This process is incredibly important to strengthen our political system by increasing transparency in the identity of the benefactors of political parties, and improving trust and accountability in our politics. The Bill, once passed, will also ensure that political parties are not corrupted or unduly influenced in their policy positions or regarding the political decisions they make.

The Bill addresses the regulation of private and public funding; establishes a ‘Multi-Party Democracy Fund’ (MPDF) to accept private donations, which will be separate to the ‘Represented Political Party Fund’ (RPPF) through which public funds are distributed; prohibits direct donations to political parties from some sources (including organs of state, foreign governments and persons, SOE’s and the National Lotteries Commission); regulates political party disclosures pertaining to their donations; prescribes what the funding from the MPDF and the RPPF may be used for; expands on the powers and duties of the IEC; and allows for sanctions if there is a contravention of the ‘Act’.

Despite these positive steps towards the regulation of party funding, My Vote Counts is extremely concerned that the Bill does not address the funding of political parties and independent candidates at the local government level. This means that political parties represented at the local government level and independent candidates do not have to disclose where they receive their private funds from.

The deadline for comments to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding of Political Parties on the draft Bill is 16 October 2017. The draft Bill and the Memorandum of the objects of the Bill can be found here: http://www.myvotecounts.org.za/what-we-do/

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

Statement issued by Janine Ogle, Coordinator: My Vote Counts, 19 September 2017