Electoral Affairs Amendment Bill just ‘attempt to grab money’

Henry

The DA and ActionSA rejected the approval of the amendment bill on Electoral Affairs, saying among other things that it was nothing less than an attempt by the ANC to “grab money”.

This amendment law, which was only tabled in December, was approved by 240 votes to 90 in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Opposition parties say that this amendment law will change the so-called financing formula according to which public political funding is distributed.

The ANC proposes with the amendment law that the funding formula changes from 66% proportional and 33% fair to 90% – 10%.

According to the DA, this will leave too much room for corruption and theft by corrupt politicians.

Adriaan Roos, the DA’s spokesperson on internal affairs, says section 236 of the Constitution states that national legislation must provide for the “funding of political parties that participate in national and provincial legislatures on a fair and proportional basis”, specifically to multiparty -promote democracy.

“Clause 29 of the bill does exactly the opposite. This increases the proportionality of the party funding allocation from 66.6% to 90% and lowers the fair allocation from 33.3% to 10%,” said Roos.

“The proportional portion is divided between represented parties according to their share of seats in the relevant legislature while the equitable allocation is divided equally between all represented parties. This will mean that an additional R50 million will go to the ANC alone in the next year, while smaller parties’ income will be drastically reduced. Since independent representatives are limited to one seat, their allocation will be more than halved.”

Roos further referred to an ANC submission in 2017 on the Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) which states that “funds must be distributed proportionally between parties”, largely in line with current practice.

“However, additional resources should be allocated to the smallest parties to support political diversity and avoid favoring the system.

“An impact assessment of the PPFA should be undertaken to advise on any significant changes, including funding allocations, in a future Electoral Amendment Bill.”

Roos says the parliamentary legal service previously warned the portfolio committee on internal affairs that should the formula change, it could unfairly disadvantage independent representatives or lead to discrimination against smaller parties.

There must therefore be a rational, legitimate governmental purpose behind any amendments.

“The Minister of Internal Affairs, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, could not explain the legitimate government purpose.”

ActionSA says MPs’ bickering over how much of the R1.5 billion public funds each should get is an insult to South Africans who are suffering right across the country.

The party says these MPs are completely out of touch with reality.

“The reality is that those parties in the National Assembly either failed in government or failed in opposition. This is precisely why established parties have either stagnated or declined in the last few elections – because South Africans have grown tired of their failures,” said Alan Beasley, ActionSA’s spokesperson on finances.

“South Africans have endured great challenges while budgets for policing, education and healthcare are cut every year. This while these very MPs voted to receive R1.5 billion in taxpayer funding.

“The only solution for South Africans is to vote differently in this election.”

The ANC welcomed the approval of the amendment act.