Political party funding remains secret… for now

2015-02-10 16:21
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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Bloemfontein - The Constitutional Court has reserved judgment in the battle to have political party funding revealed to the public.

According to City Press non-profit making organisation, My Vote Counts, approached the court seeking an order compelling Parliament to enact a law compelling all political parties to reveal their sources of funding.

My Vote Counts argues that parliamentarians failed to enact a law to provide voters with access to information about political party funding.

Advocate David Unterhaulter SC, who represents My Vote Counts, argued that “there are limitations in what the Promotion of Access to Information Act [Paia] can be used for”.

Unterhaulter said, for instance, there was no obligation to keep records of a conduct in the act.

Unterhaulter further argued that Parliament failed in its constitutional obligation by not coming up with the lacking legislation.

“This is apparent from Parliament’s own evidence before this court. The speaker acknowledges that the lacking legislation has been discussed in parliament since 1997 and quotes the following report of the Portfolio Committee on Constitutional Affairs considering the promotion of multi-party democracy bill.” he said.

However, Parliament – represented by Advocate Wim Trengove – argued that Paia was adequate to address the issues of access to information and, therefore, there was no need to create another legislation.

“Paia has been enacted to give effect to section 32(2) of the constitution. It purports to do so. If the applicant contends that it does not do so, then the remedy is you challenge the constitutional validity of Paia by the conventional route via the high court,” he said.

Trengove argued that Unterhaulter mischaracterised Parliament’s defence when he argued that there were discussions about the promotion of multi-party democracy bill.

At the core of the battle, My Vote Counts, seeks to have a law that could benefit members of the public in accessing information about where their party of interest may be getting its financial support from.

Although political parties differ on various policy positions, the issue of revealing their political funding has been a unifying factor.

Parties do not want to reveal where they get their financial support, and both the ANC and DA have made their positions public.

Read more on:    paia  |  bloemfontein  |  politics

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