It has been a big month for My Vote Counts! On 16 May, we launched an application at the Western Cape High Court challenging aspects of the Political Party Funding Act (PPFA). Before its implementation on 1 April 2021, we spoke about the need to strengthen the Act and clear up any ambiguities. For MVC: access to information, transparent and accountable politics have always been at the cornerstone of our work. 

Just like our Western Cape High Court application in 2016 regarding the invalidity of the Promotion of Access to Information Act as it excluded information on private political funding, this court application speaks to the need for access to information for voters to make an informed vote. It also speaks to deepening democracy through ensuring greater transparency and accountability of private political funding. 

The main failures of the Act we seek to be addressed include:

• All private donations be disclosed; effectively scrapping the R100 000 disclosure threshold. Having this disclosure threshold defeats the purpose of disclosure and in effect, defeats the purpose of the Act.

• The R15 million maximum donation limit in a financial year be significantly reduced. What we have observed in the two years of quarterly disclosures is a heavy reliance on private funding by political parties. The quarterly disclosures have shown how large donors have the potential to yield undue influence.

• The disclosure of financial information related to all expenditure of private donations. The Act does compel parties to keep record of every cent received and thus they do have this information. We are therefore calling for the disclosure of this information as well.

• The Act in its current form does not give direction on how to deal with donors who are related — whether through family or through business. In the past disclosures, we have seen examples of this where three sisters of the Oppenheimer family, and various companies linked to Patrice Motsepe made donations to parties.

In the affidavit, My Vote Counts requested the Court orders the constitutional invalidity in respect of the R100 000 reporting threshold immediately from the date of the Court’s judgment. Whereas relief in relation to other aspects be suspended until Parliament acts, within 12 months, to remedy those provisions of the PPFA.

As the courts proceed with this case, we call on all civil-society partners, and voters to support this action in the interest of deepening democracy, transparency, and accountability.

Watch our Head of Communications speak more about our court application below.


You can find our affidavit below.


Final set of 2022/2023 disclosures released

My Vote Counts applauds the Electoral Commission on publishing political party’s funding disclosures in the final quarter of the financial year 2022/23. The disclosures are for the period 1 January – 31 March 2023 and amounted to R5 985 983.83.  

The IEC will be acting against non-compliance with the Political Party Funding Act. The Commission will be withholding public funds from the African Independence Congress, the National Freedom Party and Congress of the People because they have not submitted financial statements – as required by the Act. We support the IEC’s action and will be following the responses closely.  

You can read the IEC’s statement here

Aligning Party Funding Act to Electoral Amendment Act

Staying with the PPFA, the controversial Electoral Amendment Act (EAA) requires an amendment to the PPFA as it does not make provisions for independent candidates. The Minister of Home Affairs — Dr Aaron Motsoaledi — briefed Parliament and proposed increasing the R100 000 disclosure threshold and excluding the disclosure of donations from investment and holding companies. There is a clear need for these types of donations to be disclosed because the public has a right to determine if the companies that donated benefited unduly due to their relationship with the political party. In his presentation, Motsoaledi suggested that the rand value of the reporting thresholds and donor limits should be in the regulations of the laws, rather than in the laws themselves. If this is the case, it will make it easier for the political elite to change the amounts when it suits them, without the same level of public oversight and input.

The Minister’s utterances are concerning as it shows the intensions to weaken the PPFA and defies the ANC’s mandate agreed to at the party’s 2022 National Conference.

Read more on this in an opinion piece written by our Executive Director and Senior Researcher.


Audited Financial Statements on Party Funding

This month, the IEC released the much-anticipated Audited Annual Financial Statement (AFS) for the financial year ending 31 March 2022. The total amount disclosed by political parties in the financial year was R145.4 million of which R137.3 million was monetary and a further R8.1 million were in-kind donations. These amounts however only include donations above the R100 000 minimum disclosure threshold.

The Represented Political Party Fund distributed R162.9 million to represented political parties whilst the Multi-Party Democracy Fund distributed R5 million.  

We commend the IEC for delivering this on time given this is the first time the IEC had to present the AFS. We are however left with more questions which we thought the report could provide. For example, the AFS does include the total amount received below the R100 000 threshold however, we do not know who those donors were. In addition, the actual Audited Statement for each party is only an extract of information and does not account for the amounts below the threshold. This does not allow us to get a holistic view of the private funding of political parties which is what we expected the AFS to provide.

You can find the Audited Annual Financial Statement below.


The new Electoral Amendment Act faces court challenge

The Electoral Amendment Act is facing legal challenges by various interest groups who believe that the Act — among other reasons — does not allow for an equal playing field for independent candidates. MVC will not be joining any court action in relation to the Act as we feel it has the potential to compromise the 2024 provincial and national elections. For MVC: the entire process was flawed, and the Act is possibly unconstitutional. 

Another Electoral Reform panel

One of the important steps in response to the identified problems with the new Electoral Amendment Act, is the amendment to the law requiring the establishment of the Electoral Reform Consultation panel. The Minister of Home Affairs is tasked to institute the panel within 4 months of the law’s enactment.

The panel will be required to undertake various tasks including independently investigate and make recommendations in respect of potential reforms of the electoral system; engage in research and consider issues concerning the Act prior to the 2024 elections and, undertake a public participation process regarding the issues raised concerning the Act after the elections.

In the next few weeks…

The Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) will be leading a panel interviewing a new IEC Commissioner on 27 June. This comes after former Vice-Chairperson Janet Love’s term came to an end in April of this year.

My Vote Counts is committed to ensuring a transparent and inclusive recruitment process as the IEC is an essential institution in our democracy and will therefore send a representative to the interviews. MVC has also confirmed with the OCJ that the interviews will be livestreamed.

The 12 candidates are:

  1. Ms Janet Yetta Love
  2. Dr Sithembiso Govuzela
  3. Adv Olivier Josie
  4. Ms Bongekile Zulu
  5. Ms Sinenhlanhla Thuleleni Mthembu
  6. Mr Hanif Vally
  7. Adv Geraldine Carol Chaplog-Louw
  8. Dr Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe
  9. Mr Lumko Caesario Mtimde
  10. Ms Preetha Dabideen
  11. Dr Rachel Fhumulani Munyai
  12. Ms Thezi Rosemary Mabuza

We will be launching an interactive online tool very soon. Be on the lookout for that. Then we are hard at work on a 3-day convening of various civil-society and other like-minded groups which will be happening in the weeks to come.

Stay warm!