Cape Argus

IEC says all systems go for Funding Act


RETIRED deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke says the inquiry that was recently appointed to assess the IEC’s capacity to hold free and fair elections, plans to conclude and release its findings by July.

Other aspects of the inquiry that Moseneke will oversee include whether the IEC may be required to add other measures to ensure safer elections.

According to Moseneke, the set deadline for the inquiry to wrap up its work is July 21 before a proclamati­on is made by Cooperativ­e Governance Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

The IEC will officially open for submission­s today while preliminar­y submission­s by the Chief Electoral Officer will be made on June 4 followed by substantiv­e submission­s on June 11.

Various stakeholde­rs will be granted an opportunit­y to provide oral evidence on their views on the inquiry’s probe.

Meanwhile, the IEC says represente­d political parties have so far complied with registerin­g in line with the Political Funding Act which came into effect in April.

The act is set to shift what voters know ahead of the local government elections in October. The first report on political funding disclosure­s is expected before this year's elections.

The act says the IEC is mandated to report on political party disclosure­s quarterly, with the first report required (by law) to be published within the first six months of implementa­tion of the Act. The act will require the disclosure of party donors by political parties and those who make donations. The IEC said it could not confirm when the first public disclosure report will be published.

The commission said political parties, represente­d in national and provincial legislator­s, have generally been able to sign-up on the online party funding system. Political parties have also received their allocation­s in line with the represente­d political party fund – which forms part of the act.

Ahead of the legislatio­n's implementa­tion, there were concerns that the act would chase away donors or make it harder for political parties to fund-raise.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte recently stated, during a postNEC briefing, that the governing party had lost donors in recent months who have cited the act's implementa­tion as a reason. Political analyst Sandile Swana said a group of donors, who may have an issue with public disclosure, will likely be donors who do not want voters knowing the motives behind their donations.

"The only people who would have a problem with this new law are the people who want to fund these parties for undisclose­d reasons. Who want to fund these parties and get other benefits that they do not want to discuss with anyone else," Swana said.

"There may be very specific types of political funders who may be disturbed by the new act, but the act allows so many ways that a serious funder who wants to fund the process of a democracy will still have many avenues of funding political parties."

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