Written by Busi Mtabane (Right To Know) on behalf of the Coalition on Party Funding.
Today we are commemorating the International Right to Know Day, also known as the Universal Access to Information Day. The day aims to increase public awareness about people’s right to access government information while promoting freedom of information as essential to both democracy and good governance.
To mark this important day, the Coalition on Party Funding will host a Twitter Space discussion on party funding from 4 PM today. This timely discussion occurs just a few weeks after the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) released the 2021/22 first quarter Party Funding Disclosures Report. What was deeply disappointing about the report, was it revealed that of 504 political parties that are registered with the IEC only three parties disclosed their financial backers.
As civil society, we were ecstatic when the Political Party Funding Act was implemented earlier this year as we thought it would be good for our democracy that political parties will have to declare their sources of funding before the local government elections scheduled for November this year. This was a chance for every political party to take the people of South Africa into their confidence by disclosing their finances. But the blatant disregard for the law shows how bad our politicians are when it comes to transparency and that they are not interested in strengthening a more transparent and accountable democracy.
The lack of transparency and regulation on private donations to political parties created a climate of secrecy and political inequality, which has allowed corruption to thrive, eroded public faith in the electoral system, and undermined the values of the Constitution. We need to challenge this as we continue the fight for a just society. Is it fair that voters are once again being asked to vote for parties who collectively embrace secrecy that is in complete contradiction with the very essence of democratic elections – accountability and transparency?
Join us today on Twitter Space @r2kcampaign as some of the political parties who ignored the call to make financial disclosure will be engaging us directly on why they have failed to exercise the transparency that they preach.
– Michael Beaumont, ActionSA
– Dr. Corné Mulder, VFPlus
– Robyn Pasensie, MVC & Coalition on Party Funding
– Brett Herron, GOOD
– Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, UDM
– Dion George, DA
Thami Nkosi, R2K & Coalition on Party Funding
Originally published here.