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Parliament passes historic Political Party Funding Bill

27 March 2018

As a political movement which believes in accountability, transparency and in the sovereignty of our democracy, the African National Congress in Parliament is elated about the adoption of the Political Party Funding Bill by the National Assembly today.

The Bill was born out of the resolution of the 52nd National Conference of the ANC which states that; "the ANC should champion the introduction of a comprehensive system of public funding of representative political parties in the different spheres of government and civil society organisations, as part of strengthening the tenets of our new democracy. This should include putting in place an effective regulatory architecture for private funding of political parties and civil society groups to enhance accountability and transparency to the citizenry."

This resolution was reaffirmed by the 53rd National Conference of the ANC which stated that; "public funding should be expanded in order to promote and support democracy. Such funding will be accompanied by full financial accountability and transparency by political parties, including regulation of private financing of political parties. Foreign funding should be permitted but must be regulated to avoid abuse and manipulation by external forces in the political affairs of our country."

It is against this background that the ANC introduced a motion in the National Assembly for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee in terms of NA Rule 253 (1)(a) in June 2017 to inquire into and make recommendations on the funding of political parties represented in national and provincial legislatures with a view to introducing, if necessary, amending legislation.

The adoption of this Bill by the National Assembly means that for the first time in twenty-four years, political parties will be obliged to be transparent about their sources of funding. The Bill also limits the amount individuals or entities can donate to any one political party to R15 million in a calendar year.

In safeguarding our hard fought sovereignty, this Bill outlaws all donations from foreign governments and their agencies. Furthermore, political parties are explicitly prohibited from accepting donations from any Organ of State; from State-Owned Entities; from Government Departments or from the proceeds of crime in order to prevent corruption and state capture.

An important aspect of the Bill is that the Independent Electoral Commission be the institution that manages political party funding received from the National Revenue Fund as well as funds donated by the private sector into a Multi-Party Democracy Fund. This provision will ensure that political parties are funded adequately and in a transparent manner.

Through this historic piece of legislation, the ANC has ensured that we strengthen democracy, build transparency and accountability and ensure that all political parties achieve financial sustainability in a manner that is transparent, ethical, lawful and predictable.

Issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, Hon. Jackson Mthembu.

Nonceba Mhlauli

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