Funding of political parties: Pressure from FF Plus helps to promote transparency

FF Plus

Funding of political parties: Pressure from FF Plus helps to promote transparency
Funding of political parties: Pressure from FF Plus helps to promote transparency

The FF Plus welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the amended Political Party Funding Act will come into effect on 1 April 2021. The FF Plus played a leading role in bringing this about.

The amendments were necessary to promote transparency with regard to the funding of political parties; particularly because donations from unknown sources offered a breeding ground for corruption.

Even before the ANC initiated the process to amend the Act, the FF Plus expressed that it was willing to approach the Constitutional Court if the necessary changes were not made.

Organisations, like My Vote Counts, joined hands with the FF Plus by supporting the initiative.

Voters have the right to know who gives how much money to the ruling party as bribes to obtain government tenders can be disguised as innocent donations.

In addition, the allocation of funds in legislatures (both national and provincial) was unfair and not in accordance with Section 236 of the Constitution.

This Section stipulates that funds must be allocated to political parties on an equal and proportional basis. The ANC, however, drafted the Act in such a way that 10% of the funds were divided equally while 90% were allocated proportionally.

It meant that the ANC received more than 80% of the funds, which was an unfair advantage. Thus, taxpayers in effect paid to finance the election campaign of a corrupt government and to keep it in power.

The President boasts that the new legislation will ensure transparency, but it begs the question of why he dragged his feet and took more than a year to sign it. The FF Plus had put pressure on the President since the end of 2018 by, among other things, parliamentary questions about why he has not yet signed the new legislation.

His responses were vague and often came down to the fact that the regulations for the amended Act were not yet in place.

In terms of the new distribution model, one third of the funds are now divided equally and the rest proportionally. An equal division (50/50) would be ideal, but greater fairness has now been established and the most important thing is that the new process promotes transparency.

Donors may still donate money to political parties, but any amounts above R100 000 must be declared and donations from foreign institutions and governments are no longer permissible.

For the first time, there is now also a central fund into which companies can deposit money and those funds will be allocated on the same basis as the new distribution model.

The FF Plus is satisfied that the leading role it played in this matter and the pressure it put on the government over a long period of time finally paid off as the Act has now been amended and will benefit all voters in South Africa.

The party will monitor the situation to ensure that the amended provisions of the Act are implemented accordingly.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr Pieter Groenewald on FF Plus

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