IEC seeks ex­tra R45m to im­ple­ment bill

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

THE In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) says it will need R45 mil­lion to im­ple­ment the draft Pub­lic Fund­ing of Rep­re­sented Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties Amend­ment Bill once it is en­acted.

The elec­toral body also warned that it would not ac­cept the new man­date if it re­ceived no ad­di­tional fund­ing.

This emerged when the IEC yes­ter­day ap­peared be­fore Par­lia­ment’s ad hoc com­mit­tee on party fund­ing.

The draft bill pro­vides for reg­u­la­tion of pub­lic fund­ing for par­ties rep­re­sented in leg­is­la­tures and do­na­tions from pri­vate donors.

It pro­vides for par­ties to dis­close their source of fund­ing to the IEC and sub­mit au­dited state­ments on spec­i­fied in­ter­vals.

The bill also pro­vides for ban­ning of for­eign fund­ing but it al­lows fund­ing for skills and de­vel­op­ment train­ing.

Brief­ing the ad hoc com­mit­tee, IEC chair­man Glen Mashinini said they had made an ed­u­cated guess on the cost im­pli­ca­tion of the new leg­is­la­tion.

“We can­not as the com­mis­sion take on any new ad­di­tional man­date with­out the com­men­su­rate fund­ing,” Mashinini said

Chief elec­toral of­fi­cer Si­mon Mam­abolo told of plans to es­tab­lish a busi­ness unit that would be as­signed its own ac­count­ing of­fi­cer to fo­cus on party fund­ing mat­ters.

This was to en­sure the new man­date did not im­pact on their ca­pac­ity in elec­toral op­er­a­tions.

Mam­abolo also said they did not know the ex­tent of the work in the first year when the leg­is­la­tion was im­ple­mented.

How­ever, he put the es­ti­mated over­all cost for the first year at R45m with R11m to be spent on em­ploy­ees costs and a fur­ther R33m on op­er­a­tional costs.

Mam­abolo said their re­sources were al­ready over­stretched.

“The com­mis­sion will be un­able to ac­cept ad­di­tional man­dates if not ac­com­pa­nied by nec­es­sary funds,” he said.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans asked ques­tions about the re­quired amount, which equals a quar­ter of the pub­lic fund­ing for par­ties.

Mashinini said their pre­sen­ta­tion was to pro­vide their con­sid­ered view, but they would abide by what the law­mak­ers de­ter­mined.

“What we bring to your at­ten­tion is we need to en­vis­age pos­si­ble loop­holes that may de­feat the end we wish to achieve,” he said.

The IFP’s Narend Singh said there was a need for ad­di­tional fund­ing to en­able the IEC to per­form its func­tions. “We don’t want to give un­nec­es­sary bur­den with­out fund­ing,” Singh said.

The EFF’s Leigh-Ann Mathys said the bud­get should cover the statu­tory obli­ga­tions based on the dis­clo­sures. “We want you to be prop­erly ca­pac­i­tated,” she said.

Mashini said the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans were free to ask an in­de­pen­dent body to con­duct an as­sess­ment on the cost im­pli­ca­tions. “We don’t want to take a man­date and along the way be sad­dled with an un­in­tended sit­u­a­tion.”

Mam­abolo also told the com­mit­tee that the draft bill made dis­clo­sures for party fund­ing ap­pli­ca­ble only to po­lit­i­cal par­ties and no re­quire­ment pro­vided for those making do­na­tions.

The bill lacked crim­i­nal sanc­tions for trans­gres­sors. “A reg­u­la­tory frame­work bear­ing no crim­i­nal sanc­tions is weak and peo­ple will wil­fully trans­gress it,” he said.

There should be “dual dis­clo­sure” where both donors and par­ties should be obliged to make dis­clo­sures.

The DA’s James Selfe said the “dual dis­clo­sure” could be a bur­den in ad­min­is­tra­tive work on or­di­nary donors while the ANC’s Don­ald Gumede said it should be for agreed thresh­olds.

Com­mit­tee chair­man Vin­cent Smith said: “The dual dis­clo­sures is a prin­ci­ple we must em­brace.”

The com­mit­tee meets next week to fine tune the draft bill be­fore making pre­sen­ta­tion to Par­lia­ment..

IEC chief Glen Mashinini

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