South Africa - National Assembly

Corruption Watch, in its oral submission made on Tuesday 15 August to the parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding of Political Parties, highlights the importance of ensuring transparency in political party funding, in accordance with global conventions.

The organisation focuses on three key topics, namely the nature and scope of disclosures and financial reporting in respect of the Represented Political Parties Fund (the Fund), foreign and private funding, and the role of oversight bodies.

Stressing the need for public disclosure of direct and indirect sources of funding, Corruption Watch calls for clear guidelines around the meaning of these forms of funding, and recommends the OECD Framework on Financing Democracy and Supporting Better Public Policies and Averting Policy Capture as the most appropriate guide.

The submission also points to the importance of public access to details about expenditure and all funding and allocations from the Fund, and provision for revising allocations in accordance with various best practice models. It is also critical to allow sufficient time for public and civil society scrutiny.

Leanne Govindsamy, head of Corruption Watch’s Legal and Investigation unit, commented: “Most grand corruption occurs at the interface of politics and money. The toxic nature of this relationship in South Africa has been clearly exposed in accumulated evidence of the past several years which reveals the extent to which key elements of our political leadership have been captured by money interests. If our parliamentary representatives want to restore the credibility of politics and avoid the stench of corruption then they will support maximum transparency in the funding of political parties.”

Corruption Watch places further emphasis on banning foreign funding and funding from private or other entities doing business with the state, or indeed enterprises fully or partially owned by the state.

The role of oversight bodies such as the Independent Electoral Commission and the Auditor-General should be strengthened for more effective guidance. They should report to the public on their findings and concerns about political party funding.

The organisation draws attention to a statement by Kofi Annan, chairperson of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security, which greatly contributes to the debate around political party funding:

“If large corporations and rich individuals are able to buy greater influence through large campaign donations, then citizens can lose faith in, or be marginalized from, the political process.”

Download our submission.


Phemelo Khaas            083 763 3472