Parliamentary political parties to share R325m this year

Political parties represented in Parliament and provincial legislatures will share nearly R325 million in the next 12 months, according to the Electoral Commission of SA. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Newspapers

Political parties represented in Parliament and provincial legislatures will share nearly R325 million in the next 12 months, according to the Electoral Commission of SA. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 21, 2024


POLITICAL parties represented in Parliament and provincial legislatures are set to share almost R325 million in the year between this month and March 2025.

”… A total amount available for allocation for the period of April 1, 2024 until March 31, 2025, to the represented political parties, from the Represented Political Party Fund established in terms of the Political Party Funding Act No 6 of 2018 is R324 583 603,” the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) announced in a notice earlier this month.

Between April 2023 and the end of last month, represented political parties shared R351m, which was an increase from just over R165.4m in 2021/22.

An additional R300m was made available by the IEC in May last year for the represented political parties to prepare for next month’s national and provincial elections.

In 2021/22, the ANC received the lion’s share of the allocation, with R70.7m, while the DA received R29.8m and the EFF R19.5m. The FF Plus was allocated R9.3m and the IFP got about R7m.

The 2024/25 allocation comes as several opposition parties in Parliament and non-profit organisation My Vote Counts are threatening legal action over the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill, which was sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent last month.

In terms of the bill, allocated money, which is distributed quarterly, from the fund to represented political parties or independent representatives will be calculated by allocating 90% of the total amount of funding proportionally and the remaining 10% will be allocated equitably.

This is a departure from the current legislation, through which two thirds (66.6%) is allocated proportionally according to seats held by a political party in the National Assembly or provincial legislatures while one third (33.3%) is allocated equitably.

Opposition parties have complained that the proposed changes will benefit the ANC and would increase the governing party’s funding from the public purse by 25% in terms of its current representation.

The 10 parties – DA, IFP, FF Plus, NFP, ACDP, GOOD, ATM, COPE UDM and the PAC – asked Ramaphosa to refer the contentious provisions of the bill back to Parliament to be constituted after the May 29 polls for proper and constitutionally compliant consideration.

According to the parties, the DA would also receive an increase of about 10% but has decided to join the challenge to its constitutionality.

My Vote Counts, through its lawyers Webber Wentzel, warned Ramaphosa that should he assent to and implement the bill the organisation will have no choice but to launch an application to challenge its constitutional validity and to obtain interdictory relief to prevent its implementation and that it may do so on an urgent basis.

The bill, according to My Vote Counts, gives Ramaphosa the sole discretion to determine the upper limit of private donations and the minimum amount required for political parties to disclose donations received from privately.

”Entrusting the president with the discretion to establish the upper limit and the disclosure threshold places a substantial amount of political influence within the grasp of one individual, who is a political actor and would typically be the head of a political party who would be disadvantaged or benefited by the changes,” the organisation explained.

My Vote Counts insisted that this is unconstitutional because the president, as the leader of a political party, inherently possesses a vested interest in the outcomes of such decisions.

”The ability to influence the financial dynamics of political competition, including the flow of private donations, can significantly impact the political landscape to favour the president's party.

This arrangement essentially allows the president to set rules that could disproportionately benefit their political interests, creating an unequal playing field for other political entities,” the organisation added.

My Vote Counts said the apprehension of personal and institutional bias is palpable and plainly gives rise to a subversion of the rule of law and that it is also irrational to vest these powers in the president.

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