Political party funding declarations surpassed R60-million in the second quarter of the 2022-'23 financial year.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) declared the highest amount – R35 314 746.51.
ActionSA, a party not represented in Parliament or any provincial legislatures, came in second, declaring R17 301 500.00.
The African National Congress (ANC) declared R7 500 000.00, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) declared R150 000 donations.
The R60-million declared donations were the highest quarterly reported donor disclosures since the Political Funding Act came into effect in April 2021.
The EFF, DA, ANC and ActionSA were the only political parties that declared donations to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in the second quarter of the 2022-'23 financial year.
A further breakdown of the numbers showed that the EFF, ActionSA and DA were the only political parties to declare donations in kind.
The DA declared R1 663 221.93 in-kind donations from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), a German liberal politics organisation that also donated to the party in previous quarters.
The in-kind donations were in the form of skills training and communications coaching for leaders of the party, the IEC said in a statement.
The EFF declared R150 000 in-kind donations.
"EFF's in-kind donation of R150 000 was received from an entity known as Twaabam (Pty) Ltd. The donation was in the form of food, transport, fuel and remuneration for the five people who were responsible for cooking," the IEC said.
ActionSA declared R301 500 in-kind donations from "Vincemus Investments (Pty) Ltd, which involves the use of a multi-purpose motor vehicle over two years. The vehicle's usage value is estimated at R12 560.00 per month".
The DA was the only political party to declare foreign donations.
"The total value of foreign donations during the second quarter is R2 364 746.51, all declared by the DA. Of this amount, the FNF made an in-kind donation valued at R1 663 221.93.
"The balance of R701 524.58 was made by the Danish Liberal Democratic Programme (DLDP), which previously donated to the same party. This donation was similarly used for training and skills development in the form of the party's youth development programmes, such as Young Leaders Third Training Retreat in Local Politics and Citizen's Participation and Political Leadership – Female Edition for DA members," the commission said.
The commission expected the donations declared by political parties to increase as the country prepared for the 2024 general elections.
Concerns about Multi-Party Democracy Fund
The IEC said it was concerned that the Multi-Party Democracy Fund (MPDF) was not receiving adequate donations.
The commission did not reveal how much was currently allocated to the fund, but its intended purpose was to support democracy. All the funds collected should be distributed to all political parties represented in the legislature.
"Despite its principles of equitable and proportional funding distribution to all the represented parties, the MPDF is yet to make significant strides. It is exceedingly important that parties are sufficiently funded to ensure a culture of financial accountability and transparency within our political system," the IEC said.
"The commission will continue and even escalate the engagement with potential funders to contribute to the Multi-Party Democracy Fund. A low success rate in securing contributions into the fund may render it ineffectual, negating the objective of enabling a broad range of stakeholders from this important aspect of promoting multi-party democracy," the IEC added.