The Independent Electoral Commission says its final preparations for the implementation of the Political Party Funding Act were well under way, with the act set to come into force on April 1.
The Independent Electoral Commission said its final preparations for the implementation of the Political Party Funding Act were well under way, with the act set to come into force on April 1.
In a media briefing, the commission’s senior leadership outlined plans around the implementation of the act and what its regulations meant for political parties.
The commission said once the act commences would create transparency around the issue of party funding and that this would allow for the investigations to be possible when misdemeanours occur.
The commission’s deputy chairperson, Janet Love, said that the commission would table an annual report in Parliament with a record of all donations across the political spectrum, while the act also prohibited donations to political parties by foreign governments, agencies or persons, and organs of state and state-owned entities.
Love also added the act set an annual limit of R15 million as the maximum an individual or organisation may donate annually to an individual party.
After it comes into effect on 1 April, one of the first moves of the act would be to require all parties to disclose all donations received between April and June this year ahead of the local government elections.
The local government elections have been scheduled for the period between the beginning of August and the beginning of November 2021.
The act will require all political parties and their corporate donors to declare donations, including donations in kind, above the value of R100 000 per year to the Electoral Commission quarterly.
George Mahlangu, the commission’s chief executive for party funding, said that parties did not have to declare donations less than R100 000 from a single donor source in one year, although these would have to be noted by an official auditing firm.
“As long as what you have donated to a political party is less than R100 000 in one year you do not have to disclose, so it doesn’t work like you’ve got R500 000 and you are going to make it R90 000 one month, R90 000 another month.
“It has to be R100 000 from a single source in one particular year, then you do not have to disclose to the commission,” Mahlangu said.
He added that the business of political parties was exempt from taxation and that this will apply with the donors of political parties.
“If the recipient is exempted from tax, that applies to the donor as well. So those who are going to donate to political parties are going to be exempted as a result of the fact that political parties are entities that are exempted from paying,” Mahlangu said.