Talks on fund­ing for po­lit­i­cal par­ties start

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

PAR­LIA­MENT has asked the Trea­sury to be in­volved in dis­cus­sions on the pro­posal to fund par­ties through the pub­lic purse.

Talks will cen­tre on how much should be given to par­ties from the fis­cus and get­ting par­ties to dis­close their pri­vate fun­ders.

Par­ties re­ceive R150 mil­lion in pub­lic fund­ing from the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of South Africa (IEC). The money is al­lo­cated on a pro­por­tional ba­sis with the ANC, as the ma­jor­ity party in Par­lia­ment, tak­ing the lion’s share.

At the start of dis­cus­sions yes­ter­day, the ad hoc com­mit­tee, chaired by Vin­cent Smith, agreed that it would al­low 17 or­gan­i­sa­tions to make oral sub­mis­sions in the next two weeks.

Cosatu, civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions and re­search groups have made writ­ten sub­mis­sions. Smith said they would be in­vited to make oral sub­mis­sions, as would the IEC, the Trea­sury and Home Af­fairs.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa wanted to know whether the leg­is­la­tion would be im­ple­mented be­fore 2019 or dur­ing the next elec­tions. Smith said he didn’t know how soon it would come into ef­fect once Par­lia­ment had passed it.

There has been a push over the past 20 years for par­ties to dis­close their pri­vate fun­ders.

Ear­lier this year, the ANC said it wanted party fund­ing to be reg­u­lated, while op­po­si­tion par­ties said the ANC must come clean about who its fi­nan­cial back­ers were.

Speaker Baleka Mbete has said she wanted to see leg­is­la­tion come into ef­fect be­fore the next polls in 2019.

The ad hoc com­mit­tee has un­til the end of Novem­ber to sub­mit its re­port to Par­lia­ment.

Smith told par­ties he would not com­pro­mise on the dead­line.

Re­searchers from Par­lia­ment told the com­mit­tee that the 17 or­gan­i­sa­tions which had made sub­mis­sions wanted par­ties to dis­close their fun­ders and the money that par­ties re­ceived from the IEC to be dis­trib­uted on a 50-50 ba­sis, strictly mon­i­tored by Par­lia­ment.

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