NEWS & ANALYSIS

Party funding: Constitutionality of PAIA to be challenged - MVC

Every cent received by a political party must be accounted for to the public

MVC STATEMENT ON LITIGATION CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT (PAIA) WITH REGARDS TO PRIVATE POLITICAL PARTY FUNDING INFORMATION

11 August 2017

Next week, My Vote Counts (MVC) will be in Court to challenge the constitutionality of PAIA in terms of its limits with regards to access to information on the private funding of political parties; and we will also be making a verbal submission to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding of Political Parties in Parliament.

MVC believes that every vote should count equally. A citizen’s vote must count more than the Rands and cents that political parties collect in order to campaign for public office. When the donations made by individuals, companies, or foreign governments become more important than the common voter - when the voice of money is heard louder than yours or mine - then democracy is in danger.

We refuse to let our hard-won democracy be reduced to the economic principle of one rand, one vote. Our democracy will not be put up for sale to the highest bidder. This means that every cent received by a political party must be accounted for to the public. The public can only properly hold our elected representatives accountable if we know where their financial interests lie.  We have the right to vote for political parties, and the right to vote is the right to cast an informed vote.

In July 2016, MVC launched an application in the Cape Town High Court for an order declaring PAIA invalid and unconstitutional. PAIA is invalid because it fails to make provision for the continuous and systematic recordal and disclosure of information regarding the private funding of political parties and independent ward candidates. This application follows on MVC’s constitutional court challenge in 2015, and will be heard in the Cape Town High Court on 15 and 16 August 2017.

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and the Democratic Alliance (the only political party opposing this application) are the two respondents in the case. A factsheet on the arguments to be made by the applicant (MVC) can be found here.

MVC will also make a verbal submission to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding of Political Parties on the 15thand 16th August in Parliament. The written submissions to the Committee can be viewed here: http://www.myvotecounts.org.za/what-we-do/

MVC is a civil society organisation aimed at improving the accountability, transparency and inclusiveness of elections and politics in South Africa.

Statement issued by Janine Ogle, Coordinator: My Vote Counts, 11 August 2017