Releasing its first quarterly report on political party donations, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced that a total of nearly R31 million has been declared.
Addressing the media on Thursday, IEC deputy chairperson Janet Love said only three political parties disclosed donations over R100,000 as required by the Political Party Funding Act.
“The parties which made the declarations of direct donations, constitute two political parties that are represented, and one unrepresented political party which are the African National Congress [ANC], the Democratic Alliance [DA], and ActionSA.”
Love said the parties had declared of qualifying donations from donors amounting to the total value of R30,008,841.74.
The deputy chairperson said the ANC had declared R10,720,000.00 (R10.7 million), while the DA and ActionSA declared R15,983,751.48 (R15.9 million) and R3,305,090.26 (R3.3 million) respectively.
The ANC and the DA declared individual donations and ActionSA declared total direct donations.
Love said the DA and ActionSA also declared donations in kind amounting to R855,685.41 (R499,595.15 for DA and R356,090.26 for ActionSA).
She also revealed two ANC donors failed to comply with the dual disclosure requirement in the Act and had not complied with the requirement to separately declare the donations made.
However, the ANC had made the declaration and therefore complied from its end.
Meanwhile, two foreign entities, Love said, made direct donations to the DA. The donations were made for skills development.
What is the Political Party Funding Act?
The Political Party Funding Act came into effect on 1 April.
The Act, which regulates the public and private funding of political parties, was signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa in January 2021 after the National Assembly adopted the bill.
The Act establishes the mechanism on funds to be provided to political parties represented in Parliament and provincial legislatures to undertake their work.
It requires that donations of R100,000 and upwards be disclosed by parties and donors to the IEC.
It further seeks to ensure that all represented political parties receive sufficient funds for their work through the establishment of the Represented Political Party Fund, which provides public funding to parties, and the Multi-Party Democracy Fund, which funds parties from private sources.
The Act has been debated for quite some time, especially after Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign reportedly received billions of rands from the private sector.
Political parties that violate certain sections of the Act could receive hefty fines, ranging from R40,000 to R1 million.
The IEC, however, cannot impose a fine as that is the competency of a court of law.
Cash flow problems
The ANC has been experiencing cash flow problems for some time, with staff members complaining for months that they have not been receiving salaries on time.
The ruling party hasn’t been able to pay its staff since July 2021.
It has been scrambling to find money and it resorted to crowdfunding, increasing membership fees and levies, and agreeing with provincial structures “to take over the salary bill”.
The party has repeatedly blamed the new Political Party Funding Act for its financial struggles.