ANC on party funding: 'We are destroying one another through influence of money'

2019-08-02 15:58
(Thulani Mbele, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

(Thulani Mbele, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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The ANC has told the public hearings into the Political Party Funding Act that money, patronage and political funding was "destroying" aspects of their party and the nation.

In a frank appraisal on Friday, the ruling party’s delegation leader, Dakota Legoete, said: "Today we [the ANC] are destroying one another, destroying our movement and destroying the nation through the influence of money and patronage."

The ANC was making submissions to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) at the second day of public hearings into the draft regulations for the Political Party Funding Act (Act 6 of 2018) (PPFA).

The IEC has been tasked with finalising legislation that will regulate how parties are funded, and its transparency.

Legoete was joined by ANC MP Vincent Smith, chairperson of Parliament's Ad-Hoc Committee on Political Party Funding, former deputy minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Andries Nel, chief whip Pemmy Majodina, and ANC general manager Febe Potgieter-Gqubule.

At the outset, Legoete expressed the ANC's support for the Act, and said it would support its successful implementation.

"This law is a practical expression of the ANC's commitment to constitutional values of fairness, equity, accountability and transparency.

"It will deepen democracy, protect our sovereignty and usher in a new culture of transparent funding for political parties," he said.

Legoete submitted that "the integrity of who we are as a party in government will attract elements who seek to manipulate, influence and remove the will of the majority away from the ANC".

Small donations

“[In] our last national executive committee, as the ANC, we took a decision after realising that even though we have a heritage that our forebears through their blood and sweat had fought for, today we are destroying one another, destroying our movement and destroying the nation through the influence of money and patronage. And we have to do something related to this."

They had also agreed to discuss and amend "Through the Eye of the Needle" – the ANC’s internal policy in terms of lobbying – to regulate individual campaigns and how to fund them.

"Through the Eye of a Needle" is an ANC policy document that sets out the kind of qualities branch members should look out for and consider when nominating members for leadership positions.

Legoete’s comments come on the back of widespread controversy surrounding Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane’s report into a campaign donation made to ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa by under-fire company Bosasa.

Potgieter-Gqubule, meanwhile, submitted practical considerations.

"Parties at one with the movement's character, like the ANC, rely overwhelmingly on volunteers who embark on activities to raise funds at every level.

"Much of the funding is small donations made by members or supporters or in-kind. There are literally hundreds of thousands of in-kind and nominal cash donations.

'Avoid an overly complex system'

"It was not the intention of parties in Parliament that these kinds of donations should be regulated," she said, echoing DA sentiments in their submissions.

Nel also contributed. He said regulations must give effect to the PPFA, not go beyond it, he said.

"The regulations must realise the different realities under which political parties operate and the practical challenges they face," he said.

Nel said the IEC should "avoid un-implementable regulations that attempt to cater for every eventuality and scenario [because] this will discredit and undermine the core objectives of the PPFA".

"Avoid an overly complex system that discourages donations and drains public resources into compliance," Nel said.

Sharing a similar position to the DA's submission on Thursday, Nel said "parties should disclose all donations above R100 000, but should not be expected to report and nationally aggregate small donations in cash or in-kind from a branch level".

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