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National Assembly approves political party funding bill

The amendment follows court action pursued by lobby group My Vote Counts that ended with the Constitutional Court finding the act didn't cover the disclosure of private political funding.

Political parties at the IEC code of conduct ceremony in Midrand. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly has unanimously approved the Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Bill (PAIA), which will compel political parties and independent candidates to make information available about donations of more than R100,000.

The amendment follows court action pursued by lobby group My Vote Counts that ended with the Constitutional Court finding the act didn't cover the disclosure of private political funding.

The court gave Parliament until December to fix it.

The bill must now go to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence before it can be signed into law by the president.

Once law, the PAIA Amendment Bill will require political parties and independent candidates to keep a record of private donations over R100,000 and to make this information publicly available.

The ACDP’s Steve Swart commended lobby group My Vote Counts for taking its fight for transparency in political funding all the way to the Constitutional Court.

“It is crucial to know who funds political parties, and what influence they bring to bear on such parties, particularly those in government where lucrative state contracts are at stake.”

Democratic Alliance MP Glynnis Breytenbach pointed out that the Information Regulator, tasked with enforcing PAIA, was still a “paper tiger” five years after its creation.

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told the House his party would be the first to disclose who their private funders are.

The bill complements the Political Party Funding Act signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this year.

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