Former public protector Thuli Madonsela has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign the Political Party Funding Bill into law as a “major priority” so voters can know where parties get their money before the crucial 2019 general election.
“Especially in the run-up to the elections‚ we need to know who is giving money to who‚” Madonsela told Business Day on Wednesday.
“For me it’s all about capture. It’s about who is giving money to who and… if [the] government is suddenly pandering to the interests of those that have paid large sums of money‚ then as citizens we need to start knowing about it.”
Madonsela says the bill‚ sitting on Ramaphosa’s desk since it was passed by parliament in March‚ is “extremely important” in ensuring the rights of voters and enabling greater accountability and integrity among political parties.
According to voter rights organisation My Vote Counts‚ Ramaphosa has to sign off on the bill before the end of November for it to come into effect before the 2019 general election.
Madonsela said the “Oilgate” scandal — when PetroSA paid Imvume Management an R18-million advance in early 2004 to buy feedstock condensate for the parastatal and Imvume then donated R11-million of the money to the ANC — demonstrated how political party funding could be linked to tender deals.
This same pathology had allegedly played itself out in other financial scandals involving the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) and VBS Bank.
“The link between tenders and party funding is of importance‚” said Madonsela.
“There has been anecdotal evidence that suggested that‚ starting from Imvume’s funding in Oilgate‚ companies would get money from government‚ inflate the tender so that the state is charged exorbitant amounts‚ and then pay back the party and some of the people involved.”
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