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Civil society groups wants political party funding bill to be be made law soon

Lobby group My Vote Counts says all funding to political parties, including to their investment arms, should be declared.

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 – Civil society groups say they want a new bill aimed at regulating the funding of political parties to become law as soon as possible, especially in the wake of next year’s elections.

But some have expressed reservations about regulations governing the disclosure of donations.

Lobby group My Vote Counts says all funding to political parties, including to their investment arms, should be declared.

It also wants the threshold for the disclosure of donations to be lowered.

My Vote Counts, which won a legal challenge to force political parties to disclose their funding sources, has told an ad hoc committee of the National Council of Provinces that it wants to see stricter regulations around the disclosure of donations.

The organisation says donations from companies that do business with the state should not be allowed.

Both My Vote Counts and Corruption Watch have also raised concerns about donations from foreign sources for the purpose of policy development.

Corruption Watch’s Leanne Govindsamy says: “This is really to prevent what the OECD guidelines says is policy capture where you have foreign entities or governments trying to capture the policy of another nation.”

Corruption Watch says ideally, a monetary value should also be placed on donations in kind.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)