ANC under fire for changing funding model for parties ahead of elections in May

The ANC has been accused of changing the funding model in the new bill. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ndependent Newspapers

The ANC has been accused of changing the funding model in the new bill. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ndependent Newspapers

Published Mar 12, 2024


The African National Congress (ANC) has come under fire over the Electoral Matters Bill with opposition parties accusing it of benefitting from new amendments on the funding of parties based on proportional representation.

Political parties said the ANC has changed the funding formula to get a bigger slice of the funding ahead of the elections.

They said the ANC used the guise of independent candidates to change the funding formula. They said in the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill, the ANC changed the funding model from 66.6% proportional representation and 33.3% equitable funding to 90% proportional representation and 10% equitable funding.

They said the funding model now favours the ANC. Political parties said they will challenge the bill n court.

They said the new amendments would give the ANC more financial support when it comes to funding of parties represented in parliament.

They said when the bill was brought to parliament for changes following the Constitutional Court judgment the ANC inserted provisions that would give it more access to financial resources.

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi said they had to amend five Acts to cater only for independent candidates.

Parliament on Tuesday passed the the bill.

The previous acts allowed for the funding of political parties and not independent candidates

In doing this work home affairs was guided by the Constitution.

Political parties said the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill was skewed in favour of the ANC.

But the ANC said the bill was necessary to comply with the judgment of the Constitutional Court.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said the bill was an attempt by the ANC to direct more funding to itself.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) lashed out at rich families who back the DA, Rise Mzansi and ActionSA.

EFF MP Naledi Chirwa said the decline of the ANC has led to the formation of smaller parties.

She said before new parties get seats in parliament they must declare their funders.

“We believe all new political parties and independent candidates must declare their funding even before they are represented in parliament.

“The IEC must audit their books and check if their funding does not come from illegitimate sources and criminal activities,” said Chirwa.

She said they are opposed to the clause where voters to vote in the district where they are registered unless they contact the IEC.

DA MP Adrian Roos said the ANC made substantive changes to the bill.

He said the ANC was trying to direct more resources to itself by changing the funding formula.

He added that the Constitution provides for funding to be distributed on an equitable and proportional basis.

“Clause 29 of this bill does exactly the opposite. It increases the proportionality of the party funding allocation from 66.6% to 90% and decreases the equitable allocation, shared equally between all represented parties, from 33.3% to 10%,” said Roos.

He added that this would lead to the ANC getting more funding.

Liesl van der Merwe of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said their task was to make consequential amendments to bring several laws in line with Electoral Act.

She said the ANC has stretched the nature of the work that needed to be done on the bill by making substantial changes.

She said the ANC changed the funding formula to benefit from it and this will have an impact on new and smaller parties. But they will not let the matter lying down and allow the ANC to get away with these changes.

“The bill now changes the funding formula of political parties, The current two-thirds proportional and one-third equitable funding model is being replaced by a 90% proportional and 10% equitable model. This takes us back to the funding model that was in place before the introduction of the Political Party Funding Act.

“The current funding formula, which will be repealed today if this bill is passed, was the work of an ad hoc committee of parliament, It was a negotiated settlement of all political parties It developed a more playing field in terms of public funding and providing smaller or emerging parties with a bigger slice of the public funding pie” said Van der Merwe.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) also said it did not support the changes made by the ANC.

UDM chief whip Nqaba Kwankwa accused the ANC of manipulating the process of independent candidates by replacing the 66.6% proportional and 33.3% equitable model to 90% proportional and 10% equitable model.

He said this would only serve to benefit the ANC.