Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi encountered a challenge in Parliament as he attempted to remove a section related to party funding from the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill. Motsoaledi expressed concerns about section 10 of the Political Party Funding Act, stating that it could criminalize individuals receiving donations outside party activities. He argued that donors have varying motives, making it challenging to regulate donations made to individuals.

Motsoaledi, along with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), the Department of Communication, and Parliament’s legal advisers, presented submissions on the bill before joint parliamentary committees. The proposed amendments must be passed before the upcoming elections, following a Constitutional Court judgment determining thresholds for parties and independent candidates.

The minister contested section 10, emphasizing that it criminalizes party members unaware of donors’ intentions when making contributions. Despite the disagreement, parliamentary legal services supported the retention of section 10, arguing for its alignment with recommendations from the Zondo Commission. The commission emphasized the need for legislation addressing donors seeking favors from parties in exchange for tenders, aiming to prevent corruption in the tender system.

Motsoaledi highlighted the difficulty of policing section 10, particularly in situations where individuals make donations for non-political purposes, such as cultural or personal events. Although the minister initially sought to remove the section, the Zondo Commission’s recommendations compelled its retention in the Political Party Funding Act.

The joint committees’ meeting on the proposed amendments will continue in the following week, with the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill requiring finalization before the upcoming elections. President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to announce the election date within the next 15 days, according to spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.

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