The new Political Party Funding Act comes into effect on 1 April. What does the act aim to achieve and what are the implications for political parties, individual party members and donors?

The new Political Party Funding Act comes into effect on 1 April.

According to the legislation, political parties cannot receive funds from foreign governments or their entities, South African government departments and state-owned entities, among others.

Last week the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) addressed a workshop on the new act. The IEC explained that it had the power to suspend or withhold payments from political parties should there be irregular donations.

The IEC provided the following information about the new act.

WHY IS THE ACT IMPORTANT?

The Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) is enacted to fulfil the obligation placed on Parliament by Section 236 of the Constitution, 1996, which states that for “the funding of political parties participating in national and provincial legislatures on an equitable and proportional basis” so as to “enhance multi-party democracy”.

Before this Act, the relevant legislation was the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act 103 of 1997.

HOW DOES THE ACT ACTUALLY WORK?

The Act provides for, and regulates, the public and private funding of political parties, particularly the establishment and management of money to fund represented political parties sufficiently, namely; the Represented Political Party Fund (RPPF) for the funding of political parties represented in national and provincial legislatures from public funds.

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