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Political Party Funding Act to Come into Effect on 1 April 2021

February 1, 2021

Electoral Commission

The Political Party Funding Act will come into effect on 1 April 2021.

President Ramaphosa assented to the act in January 2019.

The proclamation was published in Government Gazette 44125.

The bill was tabled in parliament in December 2017.

It was passed by the national assembly and sent to the national council of provinces for concurrence at the end of March 2018.

Parliament passed the bill and sent it for assent in June 2018.

The act flows from the ad hoc committee on the funding of political parties.

The committee was set up to inquire into and make recommendations on the funding of political parties represented in national and provincial legislatures.

The act aims to:

• provide for, and regulate, the public and private funding of political parties, in particular: the establishment and management of Funds to fund represented political parties sufficiently;
• prohibit certain donations made directly to political parties;
• regulate disclosure of donations accepted;
• determine the duties of political parties in respect of funding;
• provide for powers and duties of the Commission;
• provide for administrative fines;
• create offences and penalties;
• repeal the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act, 1997 and provide for transitional matters; and
• provide for related matters.

The act’s regulations have also been published.

The Electoral Commission sought comment on the regulations in March 2019.

The regulations focus on, inter alia, request not to disclose contribution in terms of section 3(5) of the act; proceeds from unlawful activity; determination of a fee to defray costs of administering and managing the Multi-Party Democracy Fund; payment of money to represented political party; funding of represented political parties by legislatures; disclosure of donations received by political parties in terms of Section 9 of the act; disclosure of donations made by juristic persons and entities; publication of donations in terms of section 9(3); duties of accounting officer of political party and issuing of direction in terms of section 15 of the act.

The regulations also come into effect on 1 April 2021.

In a recent statement, the presidency described the proclamation as an “historic development for transparency and accountability in South Africa”.

“The implementation of the Political Party Funding Act will have far-reaching consequences for good governance and ethical political activity. It will strengthen the confidence of citizens in the democratic political process and enable them to assert their right to information.”