President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law the Political Funding Bill which promotes the transparency of funding of political parties, the Presidency said on Tuesday.
The Act, among other things, regulates public and private funding of political parties and provides for the enhancement of multi-party democracy.
The legislation repeals the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act of 1997 and provides for a number of matters in relation to political parties’ funding, including the regulation of public and private funding of political parties and the establishment and management of a Multi-Party Democracy Fund to fund represented political parties sufficiently.
The Presidency said this will also include the prohibition of certain donations made directly to political parties; the regulation of disclosure of donations accepted; the determination of the duties of political parties in respect to their funding as well as the determination of the powers of the Electoral Commission in relation to political parties’ funding.
The Multi-Party Democracy Fund is intended to enhance multi-party democracy - whereby the Independent Electoral Commission is required to open an account for the fund with a registered bank which will be administered by a Chief Executive Officer, appointed in terms of the Electoral Act.
In relation to the prohibition of donations, the new law stipulates that political parties may not accept donations from organs of state or state-owned entities, foreign persons including entities from foreign governments and or their agencies - other than for the purposes of training or skills development of a member of a political party or for policy development by a political party.
The Presidency explained that the new law also states that political parties may not accept donations in excess of a prescribed amount within a financial year and that they may not accept donations that are known or suspected to originate from proceeds of crime.
“Accordingly, the law calls on political parties to, through a juristic person or entity, disclose to the electoral commission all donations received that are above the prescribed threshold.
“The law mandates the commission to publish donations disclosed on a quarterly basis.”
Political parties are mandated by the law to deposit all donations received, such as membership fees and levies imposed on its representatives, into an account with a registered bank.
The new Act will help the electoral commission to monitor compliance and may request any person to disclose any relevant information or produce, in whatever form, any relevant books, records, reports and any other document it may deem necessary, the Presidency added.