The Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed its disappointment with the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC's) political party funding report, saying it “is hopelessly inadequate”.
The IEC, on Thursday, released its first quarter 2021/22 Party Funding Disclosure report in terms of the Political Party Funding Act.
The DA is one of three political parties that have made declarations of qualifying donations received from donors.
The Political Party Funding Act makes it mandatory for all registered political parties to disclose all donations above R100 000. Additionally, no donations may be made by a single donor above R15-million in a year.
The African National Congress declared R10 720 000 in individual donations received, the DA received R15 983 751.48 and ActionSA declared total direct donations of R3 305 090.26.
The IEC explained that as part of the commission’s efforts to foster compliance with the Act, all registered political parties, represented and unrepresented, were sent reminders to submit their declarations before the due date of July 31, 2021.
Far from all political parties responded, although a significant number, especially among the represented parties, reported in writing that they did not receive qualifying donations in the reporting period, the IEC said.
The DA, however, said that although the IEC mentions that some parties have indicated that they have nothing to declare or did not respond to their reminders, it fails to name those political parties.
“This clearly indicates that the IEC is incapable of implementing the legislation. When the legislation was signed into law, the DA stated that it would fully comply although it did not support the legislation,” said DA Federal finance chairperson Dr Dion George.
He went on to say that if the purpose of the legislation is to ensure transparency, then the IEC must list the name of the political parties who did not receive donations above the maximum threshold as well as the names of those that ignored their communication.
He added that the IEC should withhold payments from the Represented Political Party Fund from these parties.
“The IEC must also take active steps to ensure that nil declarations are correct. It can easily do this by inspecting the financial records of those parties. The purpose of the Act is purportedly to promote transparency in the donor funding to parties and the IEC has failed at its first attempt. It needs to try harder, otherwise it might find a reluctance from compliant parties to report in future,” George stated.