Cash-strapped ANC proposes amendments to Political Party Funding Act

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The ANC wants changes to political party funding.
The ANC wants changes to political party funding.
Tebogo Letsie, City Press
  • The ANC has detailed plans to allow businesses and entities to donate more money to political parties.
  • It has been proposed that the amount an individual or entity can donate to a political party be increased from R15 million annually to between R50 million and R100 million.
  • The ANC also wants the disclosure threshold of R100 000 to be increased to R250 000 or R500 000 per annum.

A cash-strapped ANC wants to scrap several provisions of the Political Party Funding Act - chief among them the requirement that a single person can only donate R15 million to a political party.

While reiterating its principled support for Political Party Funding Act, the ANC national working committee (NWC) wants to increase the amount a single individual or entity can donate to a political party from R15 million annually to between R50 million and R100 million.

Alternatively, this limit should be completely scrapped, the party argues.

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The NWC also recommended that the threshold for disclosures of donations, currently at R100 000, should be increased to R250 000 or R500 000 per annum.

NWC members warned that the party needed to proceed with caution as NGOs were opposed to any threshold.

It said:

R100 000 was compromise. Too high a threshold might provoke litigation. Officials were of the view that a R250 000 threshold would suffice.

This was contained in the NWC's report made to the party's national executive committee (NEC) ahead of its meeting over the weekend.

"We can also consider proposing an amendment to the act to provide for higher threshold [or] limits in the year preceding an election. Definition of donations, to explicitly exclude dividends and or investments of and on behalf of a political party," the document says.

The act came into effect on 1 April last year after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed it into law in January 2019 and promulgated it in February 2021.

Political parties are supposed to disclose to the IEC - on a quarterly basis - funds of more than R100 000 that they receive.

Parties can receive R15 million from an individual or entity in a single year.

For the ANC, the act has caused a reduction in the capacity of political parties to mobilise resources for their activities and for election campaigns.

"Although no information is available about private donations to parties prior to the act becoming operational, it is illuminating that the total donations recorded to political parties, for 2021 quarter one were just R30 million and for quarter two, an elections period, six parties recorded just under R57 million received in private donations.

"No foreign donations were declared during [the first quarter of 2021], and during [the second quarter of 2021] just R 467 007 of foreign donations were declared for stated purpose in the Act (policy and training) by the DA and Action SA," the document says.

READ | Party funding: EFF one of 502 parties who failed to declare funding sources to IEC

The ANC is also unhappy that, in the 2021/2022 budget, funding for political parties will increase by 1.8% between 2021 and 2024.

"The act also prohibits funding of political parties through provincial legislatures, thus further reducing public funding of political parties and in effect, the system of multiparty democracy. Since the PPFA came into effect, only a single donation of R2 000 (two thousand rand) was made into the multi-party democracy fund. The regulations provide for the IEC to distribute monies from the fund to political parties only once donations to the fund have reached R1 million. To date, no monies have been distributed from this fund," it said.

In November 2021, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) revealed that the ANC had received a R15 million donation from the party's investment arm Chancellor House Holdings.

Should the ANC be successful in its proposed amendments, the amounts would not have to be declared.

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