Secret Funding For Political Parties Under Spotlight

JANUARY 14, 2015

The issue of secret funding for political parties is set to come before the Constitutional Court next month – almost ten years after political parties said they would address the matter.

A Cape Town-based lobby group, My Vote Counts, wants the Constitutional Court to declare that Parliament has failed to fulfil its obligation to adopt legislation forcing parties to reveal their private donors.

Tuesday was the deadline for parties to submit their written arguments.

Ten years in the making

Ten years ago, the Cape High Court dismissed the initial case around private political party funding. However, political parties acknowledged that clearer legislation on funding was necessary.

Judith February, who worked for the now-defunct Institute for Democracy in South Africa, which took the case to court in 2003, says the matter has come full circle.

February, now with the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC), says neither Parliament nor the major political parties have moved to resolve the question of transparency.

Secret funders must be known

With the 2016 local government elections on the horizon, February says it is important for voters to know who bankrolls their parties of choice.

Political funding came under the spotlight, following reports a secret donor was between the failed merger between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Agang South Africa in 2014.

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