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Party funding ruling won’t affect work done by committee

Last month, the court ruled that in order for the electorate to make informed voting choices it needed to know who provides financial backing to political parties.

FILE: Picture: EWN.

PARLIAMENT - Parliament’s ad hoc committee on political party funding says that a court ruling ordering the National Assembly to make provision for parties to publicly disclose their private donors does not affect the work it’s been doing in recent months.

Parliamentary lawyers advised the committee on Tuesday, while the work to date had been complimentary, the national legislature will still have to amend the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to give effect to September’s ruling by the Western Cape High Court.

Last month, the court found in favour of lobby group My Vote Counts, that in order for the electorate to make informed voting choices it needed to know who provides financial backing to political parties.

The committee has received 21 submissions to its draft Political Party Funding Bill gazetted in September.

But there are calls for the committee to also publish the amendments to existing regulations that will, among other caps and limits, also determine the threshold for declaring private funding.

Committee chairperson Vincent Smith says these still need to be debated.

“What is the lower limit? What are the upper limits? And what is the percentage? 90:10? Not only them (the public), but all of us are interested in the 90:10.”

Smith says those who made submissions to the proposed bill will be given another opportunity to make oral representations to the committee in November before it compiles its final report for submission to the National Assembly by 30 November.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)