ANC wants more money from the public purse to fund political party activities

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Cyril Ramaphosa closes the ANC's conference on Tuesday.
Cyril Ramaphosa closes the ANC's conference on Tuesday.
Yeshiel Panchia/News24
  • The ANC has finally concluded its national conference in a marathon session after the party failed to conclude proceedings in December. 
  • It agreed to various policy proposals as part of its conference resolutions. 
  • Some of the key policy resolutions include amending the Political Funding Act to help increase funds allocated to political parties. 

The ANC believes reviewing the Political Party Funding Act and increasing state funding of political parties may be the answer to its financial problems. 

The party's national conference, which wrapped up on Friday morning, resolved that the Act, which came into law in 2021, should be reviewed. 

The Act stipulates that political parties must disclose to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) - every quarter - funds of more than R100 000 that they receive. Parties can receive R15 million from an individual or entity in a year. 

The ANC believes that the Act has unintended consequences, with some of its donors backing off because of the public disclosure requirement. 

The party has struggled to pay its staff salaries and comfortably fund its political activities in recent times.  

Presenting the resolutions on the finances and sustainability of the party, ANC national executive committee member Joe Maswanganyi said the ANC wanted the Act reviewed, but added that it was not against transparency. 

READ | Cash-strapped ANC proposes amendments to Political Party Funding Act

He said the Act should be reviewed and changed so that donors who feared public disclosure could return.

Maswanganyi said: 

We cannot shut down the transparency, but it cannot remain in a manner that is repulsive to other people who we require money from.

"Conference has resolved that the state should be able to fund the activities of political parties fully. We have an act of Parliament on political funding. We are looking at reviewing the legislation because, at some stage, although it provides openness, it has unintended consequences.

"Donors do not want to fund the party because of the Act. The state should increase its allocations to political parties. Parliament itself should be able to fund political parties," Maswanyanyi said.

Political parties currently receive funding from the IEC.  

Another measure under consideration was possibly increasing the membership fee, which is currently R20. The party was also mulling over whether to sell some of its properties to gain revenue, Maswanganyi said. 

Coalitions and racist incidents 

Other resolutions taken by conference delegates include the ANC developing a clear strategy to deal with coalitions, as the party prepares for a tough general election in 2024. 

NEC member David Makhura, while reporting back on the party's strategy and tactics resolutions, said the ANC would not simply go into coalitions "for the sack of remaining in power".

He assessed some of the local government coalition negotiations as areas of "mistake". 

The party needed an overall strategy to deal with coalitions because it had been locked out of dozens of municipalities it previously governed following the 2021 municipal elections. 

Makhura also touched on the recent racist incidents gripping the country. The latest one took place in the Free State in December when a group of white men attacked black children at a swimming facility.

READ | Third man charged in alleged racist pool attack out on R20 000 bail

The former Gauteng premier said the ANC did not specifically discuss the type of legislation it would introduce to clamp down on racism. However, he said the party was clear that it had to act decisively on "right-wing" extremist groupings and incidents.

Makhura said:  

We are heading to a dangerous place which is unacceptable. We must sharpen our response as long as the ANC is in charge.

"We cannot tolerate racism. We did not discuss specific instruments, like what legislation will be used. We said, at the state level, we need to sharpen our instruments. The South African government needs to be following through on our Constitution. I know that in dealing with racism, there may be specific proposals from other commissions on what needs to be done."

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa closed the conference, which began on Thursday in Bloemfontein, at 2:00 on Friday morning. 

ALSO READ | 'We must dissociate from those that are corrupt': ANC conference resolves to keep step-aside rule

He said the conference had reaffirmed the ANC's commitment to renewal. 

"This conference will be recalled as the moment when we stood as one and turned our backs on destructive processes that had eroded our movement. A moment where we all agreed that the renewal of the ANC is a key pillar of strengthening our organisation. We all acknowledged our shortcomings. 

"We agreed on measures to accelerate land reform and have had discussions on safety and security. We have outlined steps to strengthen the borders further and policing in this country," Ramaphosa said. 

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