• My Vote Counts said the ANC’s amendment of the Political Party Funding Act “defied” resolutions made at the party’s national conference.
  • The organisation said this went against transparency and threatened the independence of parties.
  • The ANC wants the R15 million cap from individual donors removed.

My Vote Counts (MVC) has blasted the ANC’s “attempt to evade transparency in party funding disclosures” after the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) published a report on political funding from October to December.

In a statement released on Wednesday, MVC said the ANC defied its “mandate on funding and sustainability” that the party had agreed on at its national conference.

The governing party wants the minimum donation that must be declared increased from R100 000 to R500 000 and wants an increase on the R15 million cap on donations.

MVC said that this would mean the public would not see 50% of donations to political parties.

“They are also considering scrapping the annual cap a party can receive from a single donor, which is currently capped at R15 million. In this period, the ANC disclosed R15 million each from Shell-linked Batho Batho Trust and Russian-linked United Manganese of Kalahari.

“Both donors would have obvious interests in influencing the party’s and government’s decisions. Expanding the annual cap would allow donors like them to wield absurd amounts of influence over decisions that affect all of us,” MVC said.

The organisation said this process would serve the interests of donors who would expect to receive benefits through corrupt behaviour.

They said:

Expanding the thresholds will take us back to secrecy in our politics and will see the grip that private capital has on our politics strengthened and expanded.

This report was released after the ANC instructed its members of Parliament to resume the campaign to amend the Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) to expand financial limitations.

The party blamed the act for its money woes, saying businesses were deterred from donating to the party because of disclosures.

“The party’s financial woes already emerged in 2014 when it was unable to pay its staff salaries for a few months and planned on laying off almost half its staff.

“The party then recognised that its finances were in a dire state at its 2017 conference when the treasurer-general reported that they faced a tax bill of R80 million. Four years later, the ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa, put the PPFA into operation,” the MVC said.

The organisation said the party’s attempts at blaming the act for its financial crisis, which predates it, were unjustified and contradicted its national conference “mandate on funding and sustainability”.

The ANC national conference is the highest decision-making body, and for the party to defy these resolutions undermined the party’s integrity, said MVC.

“The party’s leadership has no choice but to realise its commitments towards transparency and public accountability in relation to party finances. It must work towards a public funding model that recognises political parties as public entities and promotes their sustainability,” it said.

At the conference, the party also resolved that the state should fund parties to ensure accountability and transparency were practised.

The act was implemented to prevent corruption by limiting funds allowed to each party to determine the influence of private entities and maintain the party’s independence.

“We call on all political parties to put the interests of the people before the interests of wealthy elites and reject these attempts,” the MVC said.