Civil society launches watchdog body to monitor p …


The Law on the Financing of Political Parties prohibits donations to parties from foreign governments or agencies, foreign persons or entities, state bodies or public enterprises. (Photo: Adobestock)

On Tuesday, a coalition of civil society organizations launched a watchdog body to monitor compliance and implementation of the Political Party Funding Law.

There is a long “deep-rooted” political culture of giving money in exchange for tenders, which is important for us to control, said Neeshan Balton, executive director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, at the launch.

The law, entered into force on April 1, 2021, “ushered in a new era in our democracy. The law creates an essential transparency framework that aims to ensure that political parties disclose information about who funds them, ”the coalition’s statement read.

the act prohibits donations to parties by foreign governments or agencies, foreign persons or entities, state bodies or public enterprises. It provides for the regulation, on the disclosure, of accepted donations and assigns powers and duties to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to administer and manage the funds.

With the accounts of how companies like Bosasa and families like the Guptas have used their money to influence what goes on in government revealed to the Zondo Commission, this act demonstrates why it is important for donors to party are common knowledge, said Robyn Pasensie of My Vote Count.

It is especially crucial to monitor the implementation of this law, as voters have a right to know where parties get their money from, said Busi Mtabane of the Right2Know campaign. It is not fair that voters should vote while being kept in the dark about party donors, she said.

The coalition, which also includes Corruption Watch and Open Secrets, is committed to:

  • Monitor and assess compliance with the funding disclosure process;
  • Make information about people who fund and influence political parties more accessible to the public;
  • Provide voters with information to help them make informed voting decisions;
  • Advocate around the limits of what already exists Law on the financing of political parties that hamper its ability to ensure that political parties are transparent and accountable; and
  • Work to change our political space so that it is not influenced by money and narrow interests, but belongs to everyone.

Before the first round of party funding disclosures by political parties under the law, the coalition’s first task is to focus its campaign on ensuring that the law is implemented effectively, does what it is. supposed to do and supports the IEC in its mandate to administer the act, ensuring that it is sufficiently qualified, according to its statement.

In terms of law, the IEC must report annually on private political donations. This report, accompanied by the opinion of the Auditor General, must be transmitted to the National Assembly when its annual report is submitted by the CEI.

The law was passed by Parliament in 2018 and assented to by the President on January 23, 2019, but Cyril Ramaphosa was mom when it came into effect.

Four months before the law was published, Corruption Watch wrote to the presidency, urging a start date for the political party funding law to be set before April 1, 2021. Failure to do so would have seen the president dragged past the presidential elections. courts by Corruption Watch to compel the commencement.

On the act being published, Marianne Merten wrote:

“If President Cyril Ramaphosa publishes the law on the financing of political parties to enter into force on April 1, 2021, the CEI has until September 30, 2022 to table the first report on the financing of private political parties in Parliament. ”

Former Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke recently released a report after holding a request whether the October municipal elections will be free and fair during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Moseneke advised that the elections be postponed until February 2022 at the latest.

Balton said the coalition had a “huge job” to ensure compliance with this legislation. “As the first round of reports is released, we need to rate the best party report, highlight it and say why it should be followed. “

What this coalition wants to see is a democracy that works in the interest of the people and the work it does will be instrumental in achieving that, Pasensie said. DM

Organizations and individuals can join the coalition through this connect.


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