DA scrambles after being outed for not disclosing election funding

2015-10-30 12:36
Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Nasief Manie/Foto24

Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Nasief Manie/Foto24

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The DA has described the failure of its leader, Mmusi Maimane, and other MPs to declare all their donations and sponsorships, as “an oversight”.

The DA was reacting to the ANC’s “concerns” raised yesterday that Maimane and a few other DA MPs hadn’t declared all their financial interests.

The DA initially rejected the allegations and later in a statement admitted it was an oversight.

The allegations brought the issue of who funded Maimane’s electoral campaign back into the spotlight.

John Steenhuisen, DA chief whip, said: “According to our party rules, all candidates in internal DA election campaigns must declare their donations to the chairperson of the federal council. Every DA MP who ran for a position at the federal congress complied with this request.

“We acknowledge that these declarations should have also been included on the parliamentary register of members’ interests, and we regret this oversight. I have personally seen to it that every MP in question has now submitted their full declaration of interests, in accordance with the code of ethical conduct and disclosure of members’ interests.”

This could not be immediately confirmed with Fazela Mahomed, registrar of members’ interests.

MPs must annually declare their interests, which include all benefits, money earned for extra work, directorships, shares and donations.

This is largely to determine conflicting interests that may influence them in exercising their duties.

The register of members’ interests was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.

Wilmot James, who lost the leadership race to Maimane, was also among the DA MPs who were named by the ANC. He told City Press he had funded his campaign himself, and thus had nothing to declare.

“I did it in the interest of transparency, which is important in internal election campaign funding. For me it was a matter of principle.”

During the electoral campaign for the party’s leadership, James had reportedly challenged Maimane to reveal his sponsors.

The DA’s Federal executive committee earlier this year decided that no party funds will be contributed to candidates vying for top leadership positions. They had to raise their own funds.

The ANC said in a statement yesterday: “It is with grave concern to note that several MPs in the Democratic Alliance may have failed to sufficiently disclose their interests to the public as demanded by the code.

“It is matter of public knowledge that several DA MPs who contested various leadership positions relating to the party’s electoral conference earlier this year personally received financial sponsorships to aid their respective campaigns.

We are mindful of the fact that currently there is no legislation directly regulating disclosure of private funding of political parties. However, these DA MPs cannot use this fact as a scapegoat as the benefits they may have received around their own campaigns were handed to them personally [and not the political party], a matter that is regulated under the code.”

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane

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