SA political parties asked to disclose their money sources
Activists have written to 13 political parties represented in the National Assembly asking them to disclose the source of their funding over the past five years.
Janine Ogle from My Vote Counts and Mluleki Marongo from Right2Know wrote letters asking the parties to disclose their income from all donations from the amount of R10,000 for each financial year from March 2014 until May 2018 via trusts‚ individuals and corporate entities at national‚ provincial and regional level.
They also requested the disclosure of the identities of all donors who provided income above R10,000 to each political party.
They said they wrote the letter as part of a commitment to promoting transparency in the country’s political system.
Ogle and Marongo invoked section 32(1)(b) of the Constitution‚ which provides that everyone has a right of access to any information that is held by another person which is required for the exercise and protection of any rights.
Ogle and Marongo said the request was based on a recent Constitutional Court judgment‚ which declared that the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) did not allow for access to information on the private funding of political parties.
The court said that information on the private funding of political parties and independent candidates was essential for the effective exercise of the right to make political choices and to participate in elections.
Ogle and Marongo said the judgment said it was open to anyone seeking access to information on private funding to do so in terms of section 32(1)(b) of the Constitution.
“All they would have to do is state that they require information for the exercise or protection of the right to vote‚” the judgment said.
“For the correct position is indeed that those who require information for the exercise or protection of the right to vote‚ reasonable access would no doubt have to be facilitated by this judgement."
Ogle and Marongo said that in the interest of transparency‚ accountability and upholding our democracy‚ they believed this information should be disclosed before the next general elections.
They have given the political parties until September 10 to disclose the requested information.