South Africa: Parliament Grants Ramaphosa Power to Set Political Donation Limits - South African News Briefs - May 17, 2024

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
17 May 2024


Ramaphosa Granted Power to Set Political Donation Limits

Parliament has granted President Cyril Ramaphosa the authority to determine the limits and thresholds for political donations, following the enactment of the Electoral Matters Amendment Act, which nullified previous regulations, reports News24. Effective last Wednesday, this Act removed the requirement for political parties and independent candidates to declare donations of R100,000 or more and capped donations from a single donor at R15 million annually. Consequently, there are currently no restrictions or mandatory declarations for political donations. Parliament adopted a resolution to allow Ramaphosa to set these limits urgently and to present comprehensive draft regulations within six months. With no limits currently in place, fears are mounting over the potential for unchecked donations ahead of the 2024 elections.

Zuma's Arms Deal Corruption Trial Set for April-September 2025

After two decades of delays, former South African president Jacob Zuma is finally set to face trial over corruption charges related to the Arms Deal scandal, reports News24. KwaZulu-Natal High Court Judge President Thoba Portia Poyo-Dlwati has scheduled Zuma's trial from April 14 to June 20, 2025, and then from July 21 to September 19, 2025. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) hopes there will be no further delays, as Zuma and his co-accused, French arms company Thales, have already pleaded. Despite Zuma's legal team indicating he would not be available for a potential trial period in November 2023, the NPA questioned an accused's ability to dictate availability, leaving it to the court to weigh the interests of both parties.

Court Blocks SARS Surveillance in Tobacco Factories, for Now

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has issued an interdict barring the South African Revenue Service (SARS) from installing CCTV cameras at tobacco-manufacturing warehouses, reports IOL. The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA), representing 80% of licensed cigarette manufacturers, brought the application challenging a new rule introduced in August 2022 that allowed SARS to install surveillance in factories to combat illicit activities. FITA argued that the law violated privacy rights, with its chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni stating that the court agreed the measure was a "blunt instrument" that went beyond tax collection and infringed on the privacy of employees and factory owners. While SARS claimed it loses billions annually due to tobacco tax evasion, the court's interdict may only provide a temporary victory for FITA as the main application regarding the CCTV rule is yet to be heard.

Joburg Faces Refuse Collection Delays Amid Pikitup Workers' Strike

Johannesburg residents face potential further delays in refuse collection after contract workers for the city's waste management entity Pikitup went on a two-day strike this week, reports News24. The workers accused Pikitup of exploiting them with poor pay and alleged the entity was selling jobs to contractors. Protests saw trash littering the streets as workers marched on Pikitup's Braamfontein offices demanding jobs and an audience with management. While some could eventually meet with city leaders, Pikitup warned that services would be disrupted in parts of Johannesburg like Norwood, Marlboro, and Randburg as casual workers prevented employees from working. The entity said it was exploring options to restore services, including engaging with protesting workers and deploying security. However, it apologized to residents for the inconvenience caused by the strike action over grievances like demands for permanent employment and alleged corruption.

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