S/Africa: Ramaphosa signs law to fund parties

Years of debating on the need for the South African government to fund the country's political parties has ended following…

Years of debating on the need for the South African government to fund the country’s political parties has ended following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s signing of the Political Party Funding Act which becomes operational in April, the presidency announced on Friday.The law will regulate public and private funding of political parties in the country, according to the office.

Signing the bill into law, Ramaphosa commended the country’s Independent Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Home Affairs, members of parliament, leaders of political parties and other stakeholders for the extensive preparatory work required to bring the legislation into operation.

The president called on all parties to work together and with the IEC to ensure the effective implementation of the new law.

Effective on 21 April this year, the law will empower government to provide political parties represented in parliament with funding to undertake their work, the presidency said.

It will also require that donations be disclosed by parties and donors to the IEC, the state agency that administers the country’s local and national polls.

The Act, however, prohibits donations to parties by foreign governments or agencies, foreign persons or entities, organs of state or state-owned enterprises.

The presidency said parties may, however, receive funding from foreign entities for training, skills development or policy development, adding that “no member of a political party may receive a donation other than for political party purposes.”