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Party funding in the spotlight

Calls were made last year for political parties to reveal the identities of their donors.

The audience during Talk Radio 702/567 Cape Talk's election debate at Johannesburg City Hall on 9 April. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Party funding once again came into the spotlight on Wednesday with opposing parties debating whether it should be made public or kept private.

Calls were made last year for parties to reveal the identities of their donors after the ANC threatened to end its relationship with FNB when the bank aired an advert criticising the ruling party.

Around 21 political parties took part in a political debate ahead of the 7 May polls.

The debate, hosted by Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk on Wednesday, took place at the Johannesburg City Hall.

Each party made a case for why the electorate should vote for them before taking questions from the audience.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane says donors can't be exposed because of the threat of losing business.

"What is vital here is that if you put party political funding on the spectrum, the ANC takes away business from those party funders."

The Freedom Front Plus's Corné Mulder says the DA's intention has never been to make its funding transparent.

"It isn't correct for the DA to say that they are in favour of making their funds transparent. We have been fighting this battle from an opposition point of view for years and tried to put legislation on the table, but it was opposed by the DA and ANC."

Patriotic Alliance President Gayton McKenzie said neither the ANC nor the DA will reveal their donors.

Uganda's anti-gay legislation was also tackled during the debate.

President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday announced that South Africa respected Uganda's position on the matter.

When asked about the president's response, the ANC's Thoko Didiza said the concerns must be raised through the correct platforms.

"Uganda as a country has gone through its legislative framework and came up with the legislation they have."

ZUMA ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Zuma has been on the campaign trail in Hammarsdale in Kwazulu-Natal on Wednesday.

The president toured through several rural areas in the province.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza says the president was warmly welcomed.

"In some areas, people were so elated that one old man said 'now I can die because I have seen my president and touched his hand'."