The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says political parties that violate certain sections of the newly promulgated Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) face hefty fines for committing crimes.
IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said crimes may arise as a result of violating the Act. He said an individual or individuals involved, upon conviction by a court of law, could be fined or sentenced for a period not exceeding five years or both.
“The commission can issue a directive to correct the misdemeanour but if the party continues with the misdemeanour the commission can approach the Electoral Court to impose an administrative fine,” Mamabolo said.
He disclosed that fines ranged from R40,000 to R1 million. However, the commission could not in itself imposed a fine as that was the competency of a court of law.
“We cannot be a player and a referee. We leave this to the court,” Mamabolo said.
On Wednesday, the IEC held a webinar in which it briefed journalists about the provisions of the PPFA, which would come into effect on 1 April. The Act regulates the funding or donations to political parties and provides for a party to disclose private donations of between R100,000 and R50 million from a single source.
The legislation also established the Multi-Party Democracy Fund to which donations must be made. The new fund, to be administered by the IEC, replaced the existing Represented Political Parties Fund, which would cease to exist when the new act come into effect.
Explaining the donation set -up in a separate interview, Mamabolo said donations below R100,000 needed not be disclosed but should a number of donations reach a total of R100,000 within a financial year, the party was bound to disclose it.
This meant that no donor could just issue smaller amounts and hope to avoid disclosure if the total came up to R100,000 or more.
IEC commissioner Mosotho Moepya said the commission was ready to implement the new legislation. Moepya assured the public that had the capacity to meet its legislative obligations regarding the administration of the new Act and the elections in general.