Sunday , June 13 2021

Party funding: Only one political party reveals donations and others do not want to become public

President of the UDF Bantu Holomisha

Leader of UDM Bantu Holomisha. (Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Although political parties preach transparency, most parties are still unwilling to voluntarily declare their donors to voters.

This means that voters will have to rely on manifests, records and feelings as they go to polling stations.

Initially, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) hoped that the Law on Funding Political Parties, which President Kiril Ramaphos signed in January, will be carried out in a shuffled process from April 1.

However, this had to be delayed after IEC received more than 5,000 public comments.

News24 sent several political parties questions about party funding and asked if they were willing to disclose their funding organizations.

Some would only reveal the information if others did. Others said they would not do that right now, and several chose to wait until the law specified it was necessary.

Of the seven countries to which News24 is running, only one is ready to reveal at least one donation.

African National Congress (ANC)

ANC said it believes in transparency and disclosure of political funding.

"The bill, signed by the president of the state, is a position of the ANC," Legoete said.

However, Legoit added that ANC can not be expected to "unwittingly report the media before relying on membership through the processes used by the organization to do so."

READ: The new act on financing political parties is unlikely to be implemented before the 2019 elections.

With regard to the ANC Constitution, the audited financial statements of the party are presented at election conferences so they are reported, he said.

They must then go through the ANC's internal structures before they are publicly disclosed, he added.

He also suggested that companies registered with JSE be asked in the same way because they will "help a lot."

Democratic Union (YES)

Instead of responding individually to News24's questions, the party issued a statement addressing some of the issues raised.

James Selfe of the Prosecutor's Office said the party's attitude to political funding was consistent.

"We have given our donors the confidence that their donations will remain confidential if they wish. This is because many donors believe, rightly or wrongly, that they will be disadvantaged or intimidated if the fact that they donate to an opposition party are happening, "said Selfe.

READ MORE: answered 6 questions about the new Party Funding Act

He added that their fundraisers are ethically committed: they can not promise preferences or contracts.

"Every collector of funds in the executive office must be accompanied by another member of the party to ensure that no unethical duties are made."

But like ANC, YES also did not want to reveal the financiers.

Rather, Selfe said he would wait for the promulgation of the act and comply with its provisions.

The act, added Selfe, is not a solution to eradicate corruption.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP)

ACDP believes that political parties have to reveal their funding organizations without any law that forces them to do so. However, he thinks it would be unfair if some countries have gone along this path, while others do not.

"The problem is, if some do, and the others do not, the few sponsors we have will be subjected to such a great deal of light that it would be very unfair." The financiers should know that from a given date their donations will be public, said ACDP spokesman Kenio Petersen.

However, Peterson revealed that most of their financiers were individuals, not companies, and most of the donations were less than 5,000 R.

"Financing firms are the ones that fund all parties proportionally, there are one or two who work for other parties or government and they donate in a personal capacity, they deserve protection or lose business to ACDP."

National Liberal Party (NFP)

The CCP believes that political parties must be accountable and transparent without a law that forces them to do so.

NFP spokeswoman Simo Mkhwanazi said the party is ready to disclose its funding organizations but apparently has no one to fund the organization privately.

Freedom Plus Front (FF Plus)

In short, FF Plus is ready to show the voters who fund its operations. The only downside was that the party is ready to do so if other countries did the same.

"If you are the only party to reveal your funds, this will be a disadvantage for the party when it comes to donations." The legislation that guarantees that all parties will do so makes the levels of gaming levels, "said FF Plus Pieter Grevenwald.

Congress of the People (COPE)

Coop took the same position as FF Plus.

"Political parties must immediately provide public funding, and they must not wait for legislation, which discourages corruption and government capture," said Kopp Dennis Bloom.

Also read: Funding from political parties – 10 important citations from the Chief Judge Mogeng's decision

"Yes [to disclosing Cope’s funding], provided all political parties do the same. It has to be equal. "

Bloom added that Coop supports the adoption of the bill and has publicly called on Ramaphos to accept it.

"Without transparency regarding party funding, how can we say that all parties are challenging elections on equal terms and / or that the elections will be free and fair?"

United Democratic Movement (UDM)

UDM is the only country willing to disclose any funding received.

In a brief exchange of WhatsApp with UDM leader Bantu Holomis, he revealed that MTN has donated R250,000 to the party.

News24 did not verify this donation and was not provided with supporting documentation.

He added that they also organize loans with service providers, likely to organize campaigns for the upcoming elections.

Holomis said UDM has been calling for political funding since 1999.

He said political parties have a choice when it comes to uncovering sources of funding without being forced by law.

– That's their choice. I just announced my.

The EFF did not respond to several requests for answers to the questions.

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