Voters have right to know who funds political parties, ConCourt rules

Lobby group My Vote Counts argued that for citizens to make an informed vote, there is a reasonable requirement for information concerning political parties' private funding to be disclosed.

FILE: The Constitutional Court. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court has ruled that voters have the right to know who is funding political parties.

Lobby group My Vote Counts argued that for citizens to make an informed vote, there is a reasonable requirement for information concerning political parties' private funding to be disclosed.

The highest court in land found that this information must be reasonably accessible to the public and free flowing.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said: “The order of constitutional invalidity made by the Western Cape division of the High Court Cape Town is confirmed in these terms: 1.1, it is declared that information on the private funding of political parties and independent candidates its essential for the effective exercise of the right to make political choices and to participate in the elections.”

Janine Ogle from My Vote Counts says this is a significant ruling.

“For the first time, the South African public will know where political parties get their private funds from, which is part of the information that they should have at hand. It’s also important to maintain trust in our political system, people don’t know where political parties get their funding from, they don’t know who's influencing political parties.”