Riyaz Patel

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services today adopted the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) Amendment Bill which provides for the recording of funding of political parties.

The Bill obliges the head of a political party (including independent candidates) to keep records of any donation exceeding the prescribed threshold that has been made to that political party; the identity of the persons or entities who made such donations; make the records available on a quarterly basis as prescribed; and store the records for a period of at least five years.

Chairperson, Bulelani Magwanishe, said the Committee ensured in the Bill that it provides for any registered political party as defined in the Electoral Act, irrespective of whether it has representation in the national, provincial or local government, to keep records and provide such records.

“All submissions, irrespective of oral or written, were taken into account. The Bill will likely be debated by the National Assembly on Tuesday,” Mr Magwanishe said.

In January, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the Political Party Funding Bill, but it did not not affect the 2019 elections.

Political Party Funding law seeks to provide guidelines and new regulations on the funding of political parties. It also includes, among other measures, a ban on donations from foreign sources and a requirement for parties to disclose all donations above a certain threshold.

Private funding of political parties catapulted into the spotlight, especially after disclosures at the state capture inquiry about how companies such as Bosasa bribed politically connected individuals within the governing party.

Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi told the state capture inquiry about how the company paid millions of rand in bribes every month to politically connected individuals to secure tenders at state institutions and made considerable donations to the ANC and some of its leaders.

The DA’s donors includes Nathan Kirsch, the SA-born billionaire who lives in the UK.

My Vote Counts (MVC), a nonprofit organisation, has released a report compiling information on private funding of political parties through donations and other financial transfers.

The report outlines that SA’s political parties have been receiving donations in the form of money, goods and services for years from the likes of banks, corporations, individuals, foreign entities, governments and political parties, and state-owned enterprises.

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