South Africa: Deadline Looms for Political Party Funding Hearings

South Africa's houses of parliament in Cape Town (file photo).

The Electoral Commission (IEC) has advised those who intend to make oral submissions at the upcoming public hearings into the Political Party Funding Act in the Western Cape to do so by the end of business on Wednesday.

This as the IEC is set to hold public hearings into the draft regulations in Cape Town on 1 and 2 August.

The hearings follow the publication of draft regulations for comment between 1 and 21 March 2019, during which approximately 4 300 written submissions were received.

The Draft Political Party Funding Regulations 2019, read in conjunction with Schedule 2 of the Act, are intended to give effect to these provisions and cover all chapters of the Act - except Chapter 5, which deals with enforcement and which is intended for implementation in a later phase.

In April 2019, the Commission postponed the implementation of the first phase to allow time to process the large number of written submissions and to allow further opportunity for engagement through public hearings.

The postponement also took into consideration the capacity demands on the IEC, political parties and other stakeholders during the National and Provincial Elections that were held in May.

"Following the success conclusion of the elections and a high-level analysis of the thousands of written submissions received, the Electoral Commission is now in a position to proceed with the finalisation of the regulations and the implementation of the Act in a phased approach," said Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo on Monday.

The Electoral Commission has written to key stakeholders including all represented political parties, a number of civil society organisations, business associations and those persons who made substantive written submissions inviting them to attend the hearings.

The Political Party Funding Act regulates the public and private funding of political parties, in particular:

providing for the establishment and management of Represented Political Parties' Fund and a new Multiparty Democracy Fund;

to prohibit certain donations made directly to political parties;

to regulate disclosure of donations accepted;

to determine the duties of political parties in respect of funding;

to provide for powers and duties of the Commission;

to provide for administrative fines;

to repeal the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act, 1997, and

to provide for transitional matters.

Last weekend, the Commission published notices in Sunday newspapers inviting persons to participate.

Those wishing to make submissions are urged to email the Commission at RanyaneB@elections.org.za by no later than 24 July.

For more information, the public can contact Boitumelo Ranyane via email RanyaneB@elections.org.za or on 012 622 5209.

Copies of the Act and the draft regulations are available at http://www.elections.org.za/content/Documents/Laws-and-regulations/Political-Party-Funding/Government-Gazette---Invitation-to-make-representations-in-respect-of-proposed-regulations-for-Political-Party-Funding-Act-No_-6-of-2018/

The provisions of the current Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act, 103 of 1997 remain valid until the new Political Party Funding Act is promulgated.

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