DA rejects attempted ANC heist from Multi-party democracy fund

Issued by Adrian Roos MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
12 Mar 2024 in News

The Democratic Alliance has rejected the attempted money grab by the ANC as the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill (the Bill) was passed in the National Assembly today.

The Electoral Matters Amendment Bill is supposed to contain consequential amendments arising from the Electoral Amendment Act 1 of 2023 that makes provision for independent candidates to participate in National and Provincial Elections. However, the bill passed today is a crude attempt at directing more public and donor funds in to the coffers of the ANC to help them try and cling on to power.

This is being done by changing how party funding is allocated to suit themselves and by possibly removing limits for maximum donations and reporting thresholds for a while to create an opportunity to stuff their couches. These amendments have nothing to do with the inclusion of independent candidates.

Section 236 of the Constitution provides that: “National legislation must provide for the funding of political parties participating in national and provincial legislatures on an equitable and proportional basis.” Section 236 is clear that this must be done to enhance multi-party democracy.

Clause 29 of the Bill does exactly the opposite. It increases the proportionality of the party funding allocation from 66.6% to 90% and decreases the equitable allocation from 33.3% to 10%.

The proportional portion is split amongst represented parties according to their share of seats in the relevant legislature while the equitable allocation is shared equally between all represented parties.

This has the effect of an extra R50m going to the ANC in the next year alone while smaller parties income is drastically reduced. As independent representatives are limited to one seat their allocation would be more than halved.

A 2017 ANC submission on the Political Party Funding Act (the PPFA) states that “Funds should be divided between parties proportionally, largely in line with current practice. However, additional resources should be allocated to the smallest parties in order to support political diversity and prevent the system favouring incumbents.“

An impact assessment of the PPFA must be undertaken to advise any substantive changes, including funding allocations, in a future Electoral Amendment Bill.

Parliamentary Legal Service has previously cautioned the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs that should the formula change it could be found to unfairly discriminate against independent representatives or smaller parties this must bear a rational connection to a legitimate government purpose. The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has been unable to explain the legitimate government purpose.

As the bill is now referred to the National Council the DA will continue to challenge this allocation and press for limits for maximum donations and reporting thresholds to be retained in the interests of fairness to enhance multi-party democracy.