Disclose private funding sources, My Vote Count urges political parties

05 April 2019 - 07:16 By Ernest Mabuza
My Vote Counts has urged political parties to reveal their funding sources before the election on May 8.
My Vote Counts has urged political parties to reveal their funding sources before the election on May 8.
Image: Gallo Images / Dino Lloyd

The My Vote Counts (MVC) campaign has urged political parties to open their books and publicly disclose records of their private funding sources for the upcoming elections next month.

“Doing so will build public trust in our political system and be reflective of the political will to uphold transparency and accountability,” said the non-profit company, founded to improve transparency and inclusiveness of elections in SA, in a statement.

My Vote Counts was reacting to an announcement by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) this week that it will postpone the implementation of the Political Party Funding Act, which was signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in January this year.

The IEC had earlier indicated it would implement the Act incrementally over the next few years, beginning from April this year.

However, the IEC said it received thousands of letters from the public on the regulations and said it needed more time to engage with the public.

“The strong public interest in the regulations and the IEC’s decision to effectively engage the public is welcomed and we are aware that in order to effectively engage the public, the implementation of the Act will be delayed,” My Vote Counts said.

MVC also acknowledged that the implementation of a new piece of legislation must be done effectively.

It said the delay of the Act’s implementation sustained the current status quo of a lack of transparency of the sources and amounts of donations made to parties.

“In the lead-up to the elections, political parties would surely receive a significant spike in the amount of private donations in order to fund their election campaigns and if the Act was implemented, the electorate could have been informed of which private entities have shown interest in financially supporting political parties during this period.”

The MVC said in the absence of legislation, political parties remained obligated to publicly disclose this information in order to allow voters to make an informed vote.