2 April 2008

South Africa: ANC Gets R53,5m of R79m to Parties

Cape Town — The amount of taxpayers' money granted to political parties soared to R79,085m in the 2006-07 financial year, with the African National Congress (ANC) getting the lion's share of R53,5m.

Each year the state provides money for political parties that have achieved public representation in either provincial legislatures or in Parliament.

This money is managed through the Represented Political Parties' Fund, which is administered by the Independent Electoral Commission.

A number of parties that have not obeyed the rules governing how the money should be managed caused the fund to get a qualified audit. The Independent Democrats (ID) and United Independent Front did not state explicitly that money had been spent only on matters allowed by the Represented Political Parties Act.

Two other parties did not submit audited financial statements as required by law. One was the Progressive Independent Movement established by former Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Craig Morkel.

He created the party and defected to it ahead of a DA promise that if any of its MPs were guilty in Parliament's Travelgate scandal they would be fired. Morkel has since pleaded guilty and is now an ANC member.

The second was the National Democratic Convention, also created after floor crossing by a group of disaffected Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MPs.

The annual report of the fund, tabled in Parliament yesterday, notes 10% of the money, or R7,9m, is divided equally between all 19 parties that are eligible. The remaining 90% of the money, or R71,176m, is then divided up in proportion to the amount of support each party received in the latest election.

Parties that have emerged through floor crossing where an MP created a party and then defected to it, got fund allocations, despite never facing the voters.

Top earners were the ANC with R53,593m, the DA with R9,6m and the IFP with R4,8m. Five other parties, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Freedom Front Plus, the Independent Democrats, the United Democratic Movement and the United Independent Front received between R1m and R2m.

The one-man parties of the floor-crossing route received R85755 for the year.

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