What an incredibly eventful year it has been! Here’s a final look at what MVC has been up to before we ring out 2022.  

Road to ANC conference

Earlier in December we hosted our second webinar on intra-party democracy. The webinar was set against the backdrop of the ANC’s December elective conference and the party’s very public campaign of renewal — partly through improving its internal processes towards greater accountability and integrity. The discussion explored how the ANC practices internal democracy, what the governing party could be doing better, and the implications for our democracy. Maverick Citizen’s Editor Mark Heywood facilitated the webinar, and our Senior Researcher, Joel Bregman was joined by Political Analyst, Khanyi Magubane.

This new branch of research will also be important to consider as we move into the upcoming general elections.


Latest set of party funding disclosures

Covering the period of 1 July to 30 September 2022, four parties have declared to have received funds over the minimum disclosure threshold. ActionSA, ANC, DA and the EFF, disclosed a cumulative amount of over R60 million. This is the highest amount of donations disclosed for a single quarter.

The published donations highlight the trend of a small elite funding our politics. The large donors to political parties in this quarter are repeat donors or linked to entities who have donated. Jessica Slack-Jell (R8 million), Victoria Freudenheim
(R8 million), Martin Moshal (R15 million) and Chancellor House (R7.5 million).

This set of disclosures once again shows weaknesses in the Political Party Funding Act. The Act does not consider that entities may be related, meaning that a director with multiple companies can donate through each of those companies. Similarly, family and friends can donate money from the same source of wealth. Victoria Freudenheim and Jessica Slack-Jell are members of the Oppenheimer family, and together donated a total of R16 million to ActionSA.
Their donation accounts for over 90% of ActionSA’s disclosed donations for the quarter. Jessica Slack-Jell also donated R2 million to the DA. While donations from the same source of wealth are not explicitly illegal, it can be a loophole exploited to sidestep the upper threshold limit of R15 million.

What’s going on with Electoral Reform? 

Parliament has approached the Constitutional Court to request yet another extension on the finalisation of the Electoral Amendment Bill. The previous extension granted ran until 10 December but Parliament realised it had not given this process the proper public consultation it required — as previously highlighted by MVC. As the National Legislature is currently in recess, it means that they have not met the Court order by meeting the deadline. This is of grave concern to MVC as this undermines democracy.

We still maintain that the current Bill is flawed. We will continue to monitor the process and take necessary action where and when needed.

My Vote Counts’ 10-year celebration 

On 28 June, My Vote Counts turned 10! It has been such an eventful year that we could only celebrate with friends and partners earlier this month. On 28 July 2012, MVC was initially launched as a campaign with principles that we still hold today: ensuring transparency and accountability in our electoral and political system. It was a wonderful mocktail evening with a live marimba band and some of our closest NGO partners and friends. As an organisation, we have achieved so much in the last 10 years and have no intention of doing any different in the next 10.

UNICEF Budget Training

We’ve been attending the UNICEF Budget literacy training programme which is training on budgets in sectors that have a direct bearing on socio-economic development. The training involves analysing the composition and allocation of sector budgets while describing how proposed allocations and past spending are likely to affect the realisation of socio-economic development in South Africa.

One of our specific areas of interest is budget cuts for institutions, specifically institutions like the Electoral Commission. IEC’s budget cuts are relevant to MVC’s work on deepening democracy. The IEC needs to be well-resourced to fulfill its mandate of ensuring free and fair elections.

The knowledge gained will assist us to conduct research and make submissions to key stakeholders.

Democracy Dissected

Episode 5 of our monthly radio show on Radio 786 (100.4 FM) is titled at What Motivates the ANC’s Leadership Choices. Dr Ongama Mtimka, political analyst, and Livhuwani Matsila, Secretary of ANC electoral committee spoke to our Executive Director, Minhaj Jeenah.


Strategy meeting  

MVC staff held an intense 3-day strategy workshop. We revisited our principles and vision and laid the foundation for our work in 2023 and beyond. We are really excited to show you what we have coming up next.

Happy holidays!

We will close for the December break on 15 December 2022 and will reopen fresh and ready to take on an even more exciting year on 9 January 2023.

Enjoy your holidays, have a happy new year, and please stay safe over this festive season.