Calls renewed for party funding transparency as ActionSA questions EFF’s non-disclosure
The Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) requires parties to disclose all donations above R100,000.
South Africans cast their votes at the Philip Nel fire station voting station in Pretoria on 1 November 2021. Picture: Jacques Nelles
Questions around transparency on party funding declarations have resurfaced after only six political parties disclosed the donations they received in recent months.
On Thursday, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) released its second quarter disclosure report covering the period from 1 of July to 30 September this year.
The report revealed that only Action SA, the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and Freedom Front Plus (FF+) made donation declarations to the IEC.
The Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) requires parties to disclose all donations above R100,000 and also limits the amount a party can receive from a single donor to R15 million.
‘Party Funding Act a joke’
In a tweet, ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont questioned why the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) did not declare despite throwing extravagant 10th birthday celebrations at the end of July.
“Not one single donation disclosed by the EFF in the quarter before or after this event which is believed to have costed over R70 million. The Party Funding Act has become a joke,” Beaumont said before calling out civil society organisation, My Vote Counts for remaining mum on the matter.
“Your silence on this as the real frontier of the fight for transparency is telling. For those willing to loot banks, ignoring the party funding act is the legal equivalent of jaywalking,” the ActionSA leader continued.
In reply to Beaumont’s tweet, My Vote Counts cited its litigation against Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the IEC, where the organisation is seeking to have the PPFA declared unconstitutional.
“This is why our court case speaks to transparency and disclosure of every single Rand. This way, we have complete transparency. We can draw attention to issues of non-compliance but we are not the investigating body on this. This is something that the IEC does.
“The Act also doesn’t cover fundraising dinners and such, which is something the EFF has done. Parties have no disclosure obligation for monies raised in this manner, or [if] monies donated are under R100K.”
More than 90 000 people attended the EFF rally at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
The party also held a glamorous gala dinner at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, where EFF leader Julius Malema’s table cost R1.2 million while others cost R250 000 to R750 000.
According to Malema, his table sold three times more than expected.
‘No one expected that money’
On 2 August, Malema questioned why opposition parties were calling out for the EFF to be investigated for the celebrations and gala dinner.
“I said to the funders of the EFF ‘don’t donate R100 000, donate R95 000 [because] that we don’t have time to be entertain these things of Oppenheimers wanting us to fill up forms’,” he told reporters during a media briefing.
“We have not done anything wrong, we have not done anything illegally. We complied with the law,” the EFF leader continued.
While the EFF wants the donation limit increased from R5 million to R10 million, Malema said the IEC had helped to finance the party’s celebrations.
“In the previous term, the IEC gave us money according to the allocation they give to us quarterly…. and boom, they give us our usual allocation and added an unexpected R35 million. And I said, treasurer-general, what is this? No, don’t touch it. It’s a trap.
“Then we went back to the IEC and asked them what’s the story, and they said it was a preparation for the elections. No one expected that money. They were giving the ANC money [because] they did not have money.
“ANC people went to do their thing to unlock that money, but because they were giving the ANC money, they had to give R35 million [and] it came very handy, man. So FNB was funded by the ANC through the IEC. They are looking for the wrong things. We were given, on top of the other allocations, an extra R35 million unexpectedly,” he explained.
Watch the briefing below:
Malema indicated that the EFF’s anniversary coincided with the IEC allocation.
“Then another allocation came just before the rally. We were sorted. You ask where we got the money from and there, I have answered.”
He added that the EFF receives funding allocations from the IEC, the provincial legislatures and Parliament.
“We can’t tell you how much,” Malema said.
The National Treasury allocates money, and the IEC makes the necessary calculations, according to political parties’ representation in Parliament, before it distributes the money.