Party fund­ing dis­clo­sure moves a step fur­ther

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAKINANA andisiwe.makinana@city­press.co.za

The ANC’s call for in­creased fi­nan­cial sup­port for po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Par­lia­ment has re­ceived sup­port from a wide range of or­gan­i­sa­tions that em­pha­sised strict reg­u­la­tion to pro­mote transparency and ac­count­abil­ity.

The ma­jor­ity of the 17 sub­mis­sions re­ceived by Par­lia­ment’s ad hoc com­mit­tee on po­lit­i­cal party fund­ing have called for a ban on for­eign fund­ing. While they sup­port the con­tin­u­a­tion of pri­vate fund­ing, they pro­pose transparency from both po­lit­i­cal par­ties and donors.

In a push for more money from the pub­lic purse, the ANC an­nounced in May that it would sup­port dis­clo­sure on pri­vate po­lit­i­cal party fund­ing.

The move came 12 years af­ter the party, through its then sec­re­tary-gen­eral Kgalema Mot­lanthe, ar­gued that the mat­ter of dis­clo­sure of pri­vate do­na­tions to po­lit­i­cal par­ties was not for the courts to re­solve, but that the ANC ac­cepted the need for reg­u­la­tion and transparency and would bring pro­pos­als to Par­lia­ment.

The In­sti­tute for Democ­racy in SA had taken the ANC and other po­lit­i­cal par­ties rep­re­sented in Par­lia­ment to the Cape Town High Court, re­quest­ing that the court com­pel them to dis­close de­tails of pri­vate do­na­tions made to the par­ties. The court dis­missed the case.

The ANC also pro­posed that a new reg­u­la­tory model for party fund­ing be es­tab­lished and founded on the prin­ci­ples of full fi­nan­cial transparency of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and the ef­fec­tive reg­u­la­tion of pri­vate fi­nanc­ing. Smaller par­ties had pre­vi­ously com­plained about the fund­ing model, or at least its ap­pli­ca­tion, say­ing it mainly ben­e­fited the ANC. They want a 50-50 al­lo­ca­tion of both pro­por­tion­al­ity and eq­uity.

The oral sub­mis­sions in Par­lia­ment from August 15 to 18 will be a test of how far the ANC will go in terms of its pro­posed transparency. The party is one of the 17 or­gan­i­sa­tions that will make an oral sub­mis­sion to the ad hoc com­mit­tee and face prob­ing ques­tions about the ANC’s in­vest­ment arm, Chan­cel­lor House.

While a wide range of sub­mis­sions are in line with the ANC’s writ­ten pro­pos­als, they go fur­ther and call for a ban of for­eign do­na­tions or, at the very least, a cap on for­eign fund­ing.

Cor­rup­tion Watch also pro­posed a ban on do­na­tions from com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with the state. These would in­clude en­ter­prises that are fully or par­tially owned by the state and fund­ing from in­vestors and other cor­po­rate ve­hi­cles owned by po­lit­i­cal par­ties, as well as fund­ing from trade unions and other pri­vate en­ti­ties, it said in its pro­posal.

Cosatu called for the cur­rent fund­ing model to be re­tained with an additional mea­sure to en­sure par­ties ac­count for pub­lic funds re­ceived in line with the Pub­lic Fi­nance Man­age­ment Act.

Par­ties that do not ac­count fully for monies re­ceived should not be al­lowed to re­ceive fur­ther funds un­til the ex­ist­ing funds have been ac­counted for in full.

It ad­vo­cated full dis­clo­sure to Par­lia­ment, pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tures and the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of SA and for “pri­vate com­pa­nies to be re­quired by the act to dis­close do­na­tions in their an­nual re­ports”.

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