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Party funding: Parliament to hear from South Africans

Soon political parties will have to open their books to the public and disclose just who is giving them money.

South African Parliament. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament will next week hear from the public on how much private donor funding political parties should disclose.

An ad hoc committee has been debating the amounts it thinks are reasonable and will not cause an unnecessary administrative burden.

The committee chairperson believes it’s necessary to set limits to minimise undue influence on political parties from external sources.

Soon political parties will have to open their books to the public and disclose just who is giving them money.

The Democratic Alliance’s James Selfe says it’s unhealthy for political parties to depend solely on the state for funding.

But those donors also have their rights to privacy.

He’s provisionally proposed an R100,000 lower limit and an R1 million threshold for disclosure.

The Economic Freedom Fighters is suggesting these be set at R100,000 and R5 million.

The African National Congress’ Vincent Smith chairs the committee: “There is definitely a need for an upper limit so that we get away from influencing political party decisions because I have money versus those who don’t have money.”

The committee is also contemplating how often the disclosures should be made in a calendar year.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)