Court ruling on political party funding ‘no bar to drafting disclosure law’

Public hearings on the Draft Political Party Funding Bill would be held on November 7 and 8, when 21 organisations and individuals would make oral presentations, Smith said. The draft bill could force political parties and independent candidates to disclose their donors.

But it remains to be seen whether Parliament will have to amend the act as an ad-hoc committee is already formulating guidelines on the disclosure of private donors and the funding of political organisations.

The Draft Political Party Funding Bill includes a ban on donations from foreign sources and a requirement for parties to disclose all donations above a threshold yet to be set.

The bill also provides for the establishment of two funds, to be run by the Electoral Commission of SA, for political parties.

A represented political parties’ fund will cater for political parties represented in Parliament and provincial legislatures with money appropriated by Parliament. A multiparty democracy fund will accept funds from private sources for political parties that are represented in Parliament and provincial legislatures.

Civil society organisations have long called for Parliament to enact legislation regulating party funding, in line with AU, UN and other anticorruption codes signed by the country.

The organisations have said lack of regulation gives unethical and dishonest donors the chance to peddle influence in policy-formulation and to meddle in politics.

In September, My Vote Counts co-ordinator Janine Ogle said that it was up to Parliament to decide whether the act needed to be amended.

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