ANC is coming for your money with its controversial plan to improve its bank balance

‘Repulsive’ Political Party Funding Act blamed for financial woes

The ANC plans to introduce several controversial funding mechanisms to deal with its dire financial position, including amending the Political Party Funding Act which it says is the main cause for the party being broke.

Most of the plans will be funded by the taxpayer, as the party is looking to draw more money from the taxpayer-funded parliament and the Electoral Commission (IEC). Both already fund the ANC and other parties.

This emerged during the final leg of the ANC’s 55th national elective conference convened in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

ANC members themselves will have to fork out more than the current R20 a year membership fee, although the conference did not decide how much more.

The party wants its members and leaders who have jobs in government to pay more levies to keep the party financially afloat.

The ANC wants the ceiling of R15m a year a party can receive from a single donor pushed up to either R50m or R100m, or for the limit to be scrapped altogether

It is also looking at exploring new investment avenues, including buying property.

The ANC has blamed the Political Party Funding Act for its financial woes, despite being its biggest and most vocal supporter when it was introduced.

The party said in its current form, the legislation was repulsive to previous and potential donors as the threshold required to declare was too low.

The regulations guarding how money from international donors can be used are too stringent and have to be relaxed, the party has resolved.

The ANC wants the requirement to declare donations changed and the minimum amount that can be declared increased from R100,000 to R250,000 or R500,000.

It wants the ceiling of R15m a year a party can receive from a single donor pushed up to either R50m or R100m, or for the limit to be scrapped altogether.

The act limits the use of international donations to specific things, including training, but they cannot be used to fund specific activities including paying of salaries.

The party has on several occasions failed to pay staff salaries on time owing to its R18m monthly salary bill.

The Sunday Times reported in 2021 hat the South African Revenue Service (Sars) had garnished the ANC’s funding from the IEC for part-payment of its ballooning tax bill. At the time the ANC owed Sars R80m in unpaid PAYE debt and about R140m in provident fund debt.

National executive committee member Joe Maswangayi, reporting on resolutions of the commission on financial sustainability, said the ANC previously received a lot of funding from international players, but as things stand it cannot use the money effectively, especially since the economic situation has led to fewer domestic donors.

“The minister of home affairs has been given the responsibility of amending the Political Party Funding Act — not in a manner that we’re going to shut down transparency, we can’t. If the money comes from the state, we have to account to the public. It is taxpayers’ money. But it [legislation] can’t be in a manner that is repulsive to other sources from whom we were receiving money,” said Maswanganyi.

“We are not calling for doing things behind a veil of secrecy, that’s not what we’re saying. It comes with lots of responsibilities. If money comes from outside the country, these are the regulations.”

He said the passing of the legislation, promulgated two years ago with full support from the ANC, has come with consequences the party did not foresee at the time.

“There were good intentions to pass this legislation but it has come with unintended consequences. Business is no longer interested in funding the ANC. Other political parties are also having serious issues. We are saying, even if we don’t amend the legislation, we are calling on the state to increase funding to political parties.”