The South African Party Funding Act 6 of 2018, which aims to provide and regulate the public and private funding of political parties, is now in effect.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa the Fund Act applies to all registered political parties whether represented in the national and provincial legislatures or not.
Parties will have to disclose any source of funding on a quarterly basis.
With the upcoming South African Local Government Elections, expected between August and November 2021, the commencement of the Act will see disclosures of funding – private and public- being made available to the public ahead of the elections.
This means voters will have access to the information before they can head to the polls in order to make informed decisions. It also means greater transparency and the integrity of the elections.
The Act states that “any person or organisation making a donation to a political party which individually or cumulatively exceeds R100 000 per year must report that donation to the Electoral Commission within 30 days of making the donation or within 30 days of when the cumulative donations exceeded R100 000. “
Political parties cannot receive donations from foreign governments or agencies, foreign persons or entities, any organ of state as well as state owned enterprises.
The Political Party Funding Bill was approved by the National Assembly in March 2018 and approved without amendment by the National Council of Provinces in July 2018.
The Act was assented to by the President on 22 January 2019 and promulgated in February 2021 to come into effect on 1 April 2021.
The Party Funding Act intends:
- to provide for, and regulate, the public and private funding of political parties, in particular;
- the establishment and management of Funds to fund represented political parties sufficiently;
- to prohibit certain donations made directly to political parties;
- to regulate disclosure of donations accepted;
- to determine the duties of political parties in respect of funding;
- to provide for powers and duties of the Commission;
- to provide for administrative fines;
- to create offences and penalties;
- to repeal the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act, 1997, and provide for transitional matters; and
- to provide for related matters.