While the new Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) came into effect on 1 April, non-profit company My Vote Counts have called for the threshold for political party funding to be reduced.
President Cyril Ramaphosa in January 2021 announced his decision to implement the Act, which regulates the public and private funding of political parties, after the National Assembly adopted the bill.
The Act establishes the mechanism on funds to be provided to political parties represented in Parliament and provincial legislatures to undertake their work.
It requires that donations should be disclosed by parties and donors from R100,000 and upwards to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
It also seeks to ensure that all represented political parties receive sufficient funds for their work through the establishment of the Represented Political Party Fund, which provides public funding to parties, and the Multi-Party Democracy Fund, which funds parties from private sources.
Speaking to Power987 on Wednesday, My Vote Counts communications manager, Sheilan Clarke said that the funding threshold should decrease to R10,000 instead.
Clarke argued that the current threshold gave the local government – including municipalities and local ward councillors – some room to engage in corrupt activities.
“For My Vote Counts’ argument specifically is that [the threshold] should be brought down to R10,000 because if you think about local government the corruption there is rife.
“There they play will with like your R10,000 and R50,000 that’s why we believe that the threshold should be brought down to R10,000 to disclose because it will be very easy to bribe a councillor [or] ward councillor for a small amount of money. So that’s one loophole we will have to amend in the future,” she said.
The Act has been debated for quite some time especially after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign reportedly received billions of rands from the private sector.
Political parties that violate certain sections of the Act could receive hefty fines ranging from R40,000 to R1 million for committing crimes.
A coalition of civil society organisations – including My Vote Counts, the Right 2 Know Campaign, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Corruption Watch, and Open Secrets – launched a watchdog to monitor the compliance and implementation of the Act.
The coalition’s purpose is to demand accountability and take steps to ensure it according to Corruption Watch.
This comes as financial disclosures from political parties are expected to be carried out a month from now.