• Rise Mzansi lifted the lid on who was funding its operations ahead of the 2024 general election.
  • The party received a donation of R15 million from Rebecca Oppenheimer.
  • Party bosses said it did not receive taxpayer funding, like other parties in Parliament.

Political newcomers Rise Mzansi secured close to R17 million in funding less than 12 months after it was established.

But even so, the party believes more resources are needed if they are to make any significant impact in the upcoming general election.

READ | Inside Rise Mzansi’s manifesto: End corruption, reduce Cabinet size, and ban blue-light brigades

Most notably, one of its main funders is Rebecca Oppenheimer, who donated R15 million to the party.

Oppenheimer is the daughter of Mary Slack, the daughter of South African industrialist Harry Oppenheimer, and the heir to the Anglo American and De Beers fortune.

She donated R15 million to the DA in the previous quarter.

In 2021, News24 reported that Slack’s daughters – Jessica Slack Jell, Rebecca [Oppenheimer] and Victoria Freudenheim – donated a combined R10 million to ActionSA in the second quarter of that year.

Asked about the relationship between Rise Mzansi and the Oppenheimers, the party’s chief organiser, Makashule Gana, said: “There is no relationship with the Oppenheimers or Rebecca. People donated because they want to see a prosperous South Africa. We have committed ourselves to that.”

READ | IEC hands out cash to political parties – ANC gets lion’s share amid questions about its funding

Rise Mzansi disclosed the donors who made contributions at the level that must be submitted and declared to the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) as per the Political Party Funding Act.

“Political change and deepening democratic participation require significant resources. Unlike established political parties represented in Parliament and provincial legislatures, new political parties, such as Rise Mzansi, do not get taxpayer funding.

“It is private citizens who are committed to democracy that enable us to do the work we do,” he said.

InJozi Design CC donated R160 000 in-kind to the party, Main Street 1564 (Pty) Ltd donated R1 million, and Kairos Communications (Pty) Ltd made an in-kind donation of R559 958.00.

Gana said the party did not accept funds from just anyone, foreign entities or foreign governments.

“We also do not accept donations where we suspect the funds may be the proceeds of crime, or where prospective donors want to unduly influence our policies, politics and decision-making processes.”

Gana said:

All our existing donors support us because they believe in our commitment to build a safe, prosperous, equal and united country, where people live in happiness and dignity, in one generation. They also accept the conditions set out above.

Cumulatively, in the first two quarters of the 2023/24 financial year, more than R102 million was donated to political parties, according to My Vote Count’s dashboard.

The DA received a little more than half of it – R59 million of the total declared donations.

The ANC got R20.7 million (20.3%) and ActionSA – a party not represented in Parliament – received R19.6 million (19.2%).

The biggest chunk of the total donations received during this period came from companies linked to Capitec founder, Michiel le Roux, with his Fynbos Ekwiteit making a R15 million donation to the DA in June, and Fynbos Kapitaal making a similar donation the following month, totalling R30 million.

READ | Who funded political parties in 2023?

Le Roux was one of the authors of the report, commissioned by the DA, after its dismal electoral performance in the 2019 general election.

The second-biggest contributors were members of the Oppenheimer family, who donated more than R17 million. The DA received R10 million from Mary Slack in August and ActionSA received R7.2 million from Victoria Freudenheim in June.

The third-biggest contributor was the Batho Batho Trust, which gave R15 million to the ANC in April.

Both ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba and online gambling mogul Martin Moshal donated R8 million during this period.

Mashaba donated on three occasions to the party he leads.

Moshal donated to three parties: R5 million to the DA in August, R2 million to Mmusi Maimane’s Build One SA in May, and R1 million to ActionSA in July.

The ANC’s investment front, Chancellor House, donated R5 million to the party in June, while the DA received a similar amount from a company called Main Street 1654 in May.


Originally published on News24.