AmaBhungane: Draft bill on political party funding still has loopholes

Amabhungane’s Karabo Rajuili says that more robust rules of disclosure are required and more frequent reporting by the Independent Electoral Commission.

FILE: Leaders of various opposition parties hold a briefing outside Parliament on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, which Baleka Mbete has decided will be held by secret ballot. Picture: Moeketsi Moticoe/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A draft law aimed at regulating political party funding still contains loopholes that could be used to exert undue influence, Parliament has been told.

The ad hoc committee crafting the new legislation continues with public hearings on the political party funding bill on Wednesday.

The non-profit organisation amaBhungane, which does investigative journalism in the public interest, was among those who made submissions on Tuesday.

Amabhungane’s Karabo Rajuili said there was concern that the proposed multi-party democracy fund could be used to launder improper donations for example by companies wanting tenders in exchange for their contribution.

“There is still, in our assessment, the risk of undue influence still present in that arrangement.”

Rajuili says more robust rules of disclosure are required and more frequent reporting by the Independent Electoral Commission, which will administer the multi-party democracy fund.

“Our contention is that the annual disclosure which the current draft bill has in place is simply not adequate and this should be changed to quarterly disclosure.”

The hearings continue on Wednesday.