Trans­parency urged in fund­ing of po­lit­i­cal par­ties

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAY­I­BONGWE MAQHINA

THERE seems to be agree­ment that there should be greater trans­parency and reg­u­la­tion of the fund­ing of po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the coun­try.

This emerged from some of the sub­mis­sions made to the newly-formed par­lia­men­tary ad hoc com­mit­tee on fund­ing of po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

Some of the sub­mis­sions in­clude ban­ning for­eign fund­ing and a push for reg­u­lar dis­clo­sure of fi­nances.

The com­mit­tee, led by ANC MP Vin­cent Smith, is tasked with look­ing into the fund­ing of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and mak­ing rec­om­men­da­tions, which in­clude laws and meth­ods of pub­lic fund­ing in leg­is­la­tures.

The com­mit­tee had given the pub­lic un­til last Mon­day to make writ­ten sub­mis­sions.

Smith said yes­ter­day he was im­pressed by the num­ber and strength of sub­mis­sions.

He said 17 sub­mis­sions were re­ceived from a cross-sec­tion of South Africans that ranged from par­ties to in­di­vid­u­als, aca­demics and civil so­ci­ety.

Smith said the com­mit­tee would meet on Au­gust 3 to look at all the sub­mis­sions, and then in­vite peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions to make oral pre­sen­ta­tions be­tween Au­gust 15 and 17.

“Af­ter tak­ing oral pre­sen­ta­tions, we will start draft­ing leg­is­la­tion. Once we are done, we will take it back to the pub­lic for com­ment to be in­cor­po­rated into the draft,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Smith, there was much in­ter­est in the com­mit­tee’s work, judg­ing by the sub­mis­sions.

“There is an agree­ment that trans­parency is re­quired. In prin­ci­ple, there must be dis­clo­sure, and for­eign fund­ing should be looked at again,” Smith said.

In its sub­mis­sions to the com­mit­tee, R2K said there was no le­gal re­quire­ments for par­ties to dis­close where they get money.

“This le­gal spot means that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween money and pol­i­tics is shrouded in se­crecy. In that se­cret space, deals have been struck, poli­cies have been in­flu­enced and ten­ders have been sold.

“The will of or­di­nary South Africans has been out­bid by cap­i­tal,” it said.

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