Talks on funding for political parties start
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.