Political Party Financing in South Africa
The Democratic Alliance (DA) was the most funded political party in South Africa during the first half of financial year 2022/2023 declaring a total of R67,270,120.13 ($3,922,834) in donations from party sponsors, supporters and well-wishers. Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) declared to have received the least donations in the same period R150,000 ($8,747).
The ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) received the second biggest amount of donations in the same period have declared a total of R27,500,000 ($1,603,538) in donations, followed by ActionSA in third, as illustrated below.
Alliance for Finance monitoring (ACFIM) – the continental watchdog on money in politics, notes that during the reporting period, only five out of the 308 political parties registered to operate at national level complied with the requirement of submitting information on donations. The submissions are made to the political party funding office at the Independent Electoral Commission.
In line with the Political Party Funding Act (6 of 2018), the national electoral management body (IEC) established a new Multiparty Democracy Fund (MPDF) which accepts private donations and disburses these to political parties represented in national and provincial legislatures.
In addition, a Political Party Funding system was established to allow political parties and donors to capture and declare their donations. The system allows users to upload supporting documentation as a means of proof of donations declared.
The regulation of private funding (donations) to political parties requires mandatory disclosure of all donations above R100,000 ($5,833) by political parties and their donors and also imposes certain restrictions on the source and use of such donations. Whether in cash or kind (e.g., transport, catering) or both, donations must be disclosed to the Electoral Commission each quarter.
The regulation further sets limits for the source, size and use of donated funds by political parties. Reporting is made available to the public to assist with the monitoring of the progress/approval of the captured declarations.