Johannesburg - Political parties which fail to comply with the Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) to disclose financial donations they received will face the wrath of the Electoral Commission (IEC), the electoral body has warned.
This follows a complaint lodged by the DA after the IEC’s publication of the second quarter funding disclosure report did not contain the list of political parties which did not make financial disclosures to the electoral body.
Dr Dion George, DA’s federal finance chairperson, in his complaint said that the report did not achieve its stated objective of ensuring transparency in the funding of political parties.
While the DA mainly complained about the EFF’s failure to disclose its funders and the R15 million donation to the ANC by Chancellor House Trust. Other parties such as the Freedom Front Plus, UDM and Cope were also among a list which did not make disclosures to the IEC.
But in reply, IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela was quick to explain processes which allowed the electoral body to act against those defying the PPFA.
“It is apparent from the public discourse flowing from the report that a few matters require further elucidation, which we provide hereunder.
“The Commission’s mandate and role in the disclosure of funds donated to political parties is clearly defined in the Act. In the initial phase of the disclosure arrangements, the role of the Commission is to receive, record and publish declarations made on a quarterly basis.
“Section 9(1) of the Political Party Funding Act, 2018, read together with Regulation 7(1) of the Commission’s regulations, provides that donations received by political parties must be disclosed within 30 days of the close of the quarter.
“Furthermore, the only donations prohibited by the Act are those made by State-Owned Enterprises, foreign governments and their entities as well as other organs of State,” said Bapela.
She said the second phase of the disclosure arrangement involved the submission by political parties of audited financial statements after the end of the financial year, saying an auditor was duty bound to express an opinion on whether the financial affairs of the party have been carried out in line with the provisions of the Act, including whether all donations were disclosed to the Commission.
“At this stage the Commission is not empowered to probe non-disclosure or force political parties to disclose. We urge South Africans to wait until the end of the financial year for a report from the Commission which will stipulate all disclosures made and deal with non-disclosures by political parties noting that the Act provides both criminal and civil sanctions which may be meted out by courts,” Bapela said.
She said in the intervening period, the onus rests on both political parties and entities making declarable donations within the stipulated limits per donor, to disclose such donations to the Commission on a quarterly basis.