New Political Party Funding Bill not fair to donors, says ANC’s Duarte

The bill limits the amount that can be donated to political parties and prohibits donations from foreign governments, agencies, persons and entities.

FILE: ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte addresses the community of Katlehong during an ANC campaign. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress (ANC)’s Jessie Duarte on Friday said some of the limitations presented in the new Political Party Funding Bill were not fair to donors.

The bill, which was signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, comes into effect on 1 April.

It limits the amount that can be donated to political parties and prohibits donations from foreign governments, agencies, persons and entities.

Duarte also said the ANC had not taken a position on whether the upcoming municipal polls should be postponed.

She added that the governing party has been testing systems and preparing members to carry out day-to-day activities via digital platforms.

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The Economic Freedom Fighters and the Inkatha Freedom Party have been clear that the presence of COVID-19 does not allow for South Africans to go to the local polls this year.

A position the Democratic Alliance’s Siviwe Gwarube said they disagreed with: “While the country finds itself in the midst of the global pandemic, it’s now incumbent on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to design a strategy that will keep people safe while ensuring that we proceed with a free and fair election.”

But Duarte said while some had expressed a similar view in the party, it had not been dealt with formally as yet.

Duarte said the ANC was putting in the work to bring its members to the digital age, in spite of challenges presented by constituencies that sometimes lacked the necessary resources.

She’s also told Eyewitness News there were some concerns presented by the new Political Party Funding Act, emphasising the potential impact it will have on donors.

“Limitations on fundraising is not fair and I think it does present a problem to funders.”

The EFF has approached the IEC requesting a discussion on the possible postponement of the elections.

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Meanwhile, the IEC said it was ready and able to implement new political party funding legislation from 1 April.

Funders will not only be able to donate to political parties directly, but they can also make contributions to the Multi-Party Democracy Fund, which will distribute to all parties equitably.

IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said all parties must disclose sources and amounts of private funding and these would be made public periodically and reported to Parliament by the IEC.

“Secondly, it says annual limits for the amount of funding provided to a party by institutions can prohibit the funding of political parties by organs of state or state-owned entities.”

Deputy chairperson Janet Love said the IEC was more than ready to implement the new act.

“The commission has been working behind the scenes for the past couple of years for the anticipation of the implementation of this act.”

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