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Political Party Funding Act effective from beginning April

As the Political Party Funding Act comes into effect, the Electoral Commission says it is all systems go.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a Proclamation on the Commencement of the Political Party Funding Act, 2018 (Act no. 6 of 2018), which regulates public and private funding of political parties.

The Act establishes funds to provide political parties represented in Parliament and legislatures with funding to undertake their work. It also requires that donations be disclosed by parties and donors to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

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

“The implementation of the Act introduces a new era of transparency within South Africa’s electoral democracy, mandating all political parties to disclose donations above R100 000 to the Electoral Commission.

“The Act also sets restrictions on sources of funding for political parties including outlawing donations by government departments, state-owned entities and foreign governments and agencies,” the Electorial Commission said in a statement.

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All registered political parties are urged to sign-up to the Online Party Funding System (OPFS) available for free at www.elections.org.za.

The system, which has been piloted by parties over the past two months, allows parties and their donors to make electronic disclosures to the Electoral Commission via the internet.

The Commission also reminds all registered political parties that their first quarterly disclosure of direct donations above R100 000 is due at the end of the first quarter.

In terms of the Act, donations include cash, in kind (such as transport, posters, vehicles etc) or both and the R100 000 threshold is cumulative (disclosure is required once smaller donations by a single donor exceed R100 000 in a financial year).

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