WATCH | Malema: Govt must increase funding for political parties - but not now

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  • EFF leader Julius Malema has weighed in on the political party funding debate.
  • Malema says he agrees with the ANC's Paul Mashatile that the state should increase party funding.
  • He, however, adds this can only be done when the economy has recovered.

EFF leader Julius Malema has agreed with ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile that political party funding should be increased.

Malema said this during a media briefing after the party held its central command team meeting. He, however, added the timing was wrong. 

Earlier this month, Mashatile told the Sunday Times funds the government allocated to political parties could increase from R164 million to more than R500 million per year.

In the report, he said it was improper for political parties to be funded by donors from other parts of the world, adding the state should fund political parties in defence of democracy and the political party system within fiscal constraints.

"The timing is wrong, people are hungry, people are looking for basic things. Any money that we can find, let us go and reinvest it in the pockets of poor people. If money is found and it can increase R350 [Covid-19 grant] let's go and increase R350 instead of giving political parties. 

"We agree that when the money is there, when the economy is flowing and employment is fine and we are reducing poverty, indeed let us scrap completely private funding, in that way we will not have capture in advance of political parties," Malema said. 

READ | Mavuso Msimang | Party funding act: The ANC must remain on board

The regulations that govern this section requires a political party to give the details of every donor, his/her ID number, contact details, amount and date of donation and requires that this be accompanied by bank statements showing the deposit of these donations on a threshold of R100 000 per year.

Malema disagrees with the act.

He said until the country could recover from the economic downturn, political parties should demand that disclosure amounts be increased.

"Paul is raising genuine points. The timing may not be correct. Any increase to political parties now may cause a serious crisis in our community. If there is anything that must be increased, it is budget for food parcels or any form of relief," Malema added. 

ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang also weighed in on the subject a few weeks ago. He said while there was nothing wrong with the proposal, political parties must motivate. 

Msimang added this was a regressive about-turn from the ANC and its national executive committee, and a repudiation of the role the ANC played in securing the enactment of the legislation barely two years after.

Elections must be postponed until 2024

The two parties have also agreed that the country's elections should be consolidated, with national, provincial and local government elections all held in the same year. 

Malema said the EFF had already written to the governing party proposing that the two collectively work on a joint approach. "We proposed that next year's elections must be postponed and all of the elections must be held in 2024 so that we allow the IEC [the Electoral Commission of South Africa] to synchronise the elections." 

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule earlier this year said the national working committee of the ANC was exploring a constituency based representation to introduce elements of constituency based representation in national and provincial spheres, consistent with the constitutional requirement for an electoral system that results, in general, in proportional representation.

The ANC also proposed alternative voting methods for conducting elections, including the use of electronic voting.

The IEC has postponed next year's local government election until the tail end of the year amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Two weeks ago, the Sunday Times reported the Zondo commission on state capture had issued subpoenas to major banks to provide all Malema's financial records, his wife, Mantoa, and his late grandmother, Sarah.

Bank statements not exciting

Malema said he was ready to testify at the commission, denying he had anything to hide.

He added nothing had changed in his bank records since his Sars case with only the exception of his parliamentary salary. 

"There is nothing exciting coming from my statements. My grandmothers, my wife, my son. Anyone you want the statement of, I can line them up. I have nothing to hide," Malema said, adding this was just a ploy to create doubt and provoke him against attending the commission. 

He said he had contacted the commission's acting secretary requesting that it clarify the reasons for the subpoena. 

Malema said:

I don't need a lawyer. If you want to ask me about anything, I've answered everything, not only to the media but to the authorities… I will go on my own, Zondo can ask me anything.

Following the EFF protest in Senekel against the vandalising of state resources after the murder of Brendin Horner, Malema said the party would embark on a concerted programme to defend the rights of farm workers, the most exploited section of society.

"The EFF branches will visit and engage with farm workers with the purpose of finding lasting solutions to their suffering and problems.

"We know that farm workers continue to be mistreated and abused by their employers, and we call for an end to the abuse and mistreatment of farm workers. As part of this programme, we will table a draft resolution in Parliament to propose the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the conditions and remuneration of farm workers," he added.

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