Requests sent for party funding details – MVC & R2K

Organisations say the have sent written letters asking for this information

MVC and R2K Writes to Political Parties Requesting Funding Information

21 August 2018

As part of our commitment to promoting transparency in our political system, we have sent written letters to political parties requesting information about their organisational funding over the past five years.

By directly invoking Section 32(1)(b) of the Constitution, and exercising the right to access to information and the right to participate fully in elections through the right to vote, Ms Janine Ogle and Mr Mluleki Marongo, who work for My Vote Counts and Right to Know respectively, have sent letters to each of the 13 political parties represented in the National Parliament. The political parties have been given a deadline of 10 September 2018 to disclose the following:

- The income of all donations (this includes donations, interest, dividends, loans, payments) from the amount of R10 000 for each financial year from March 2014 until May 2018 from all direct and third-party financial vehicles ( trusts, individuals, corporate entities) at the National, Provincial and Regional level;

- The identities of all donors who provided income above R10 000 to their political party either directly or through a third party in the form of donations, interest, dividends, loans, and or payments to any bank account, investment entities, trusts or third-party accounts of their political party.

This request is based on the recent MVC Constitutional Court Judgement, that declared that PAIA does not allow for access to information on the private funding of political parties and “that information on the private funding of political parties and independent candidates is essential for the effective exercise of the right to make political choices and to participate in elections”.

In paragraph 88 of the judgement, it is further stated that, “ In the interim, it is open to those seeking access to information on private funding to do so in terms of section 32(1)(b) of the Constitution…. All they would have to do is state that they require information for the exercise or protection of the right to vote. For the correct position is indeed that those who require information for the exercise or protection of the right to vote, reasonable access would no doubt have to be facilitated by this judgement.”

In the interest of transparency, accountability and upholding our democracy, we believe this information should be disclosed before the next general elections.

These letters follow an open letter addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa that MVC (along with Right 2 Know; amaBhungane; Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape; Open Democracy Advice Centre; Corruption Watch and South African National Editors’ Forum) published in the Mail & Guardian on 10 August 2018. In it we urged the President to sign the Political Party Funding Bill into law which was passed in Parliament in June this year.

You can read our open letter to the President here.

Issued by Sheilan Clarke, Communications Officer, My Vote Counts, 21 August 2018