Categories: GovernmentNews
| On
2023-12-01 6:39 PM

Billionaire Backing: Political Funding Reshapes South African Landscape

  • DA Dominance: The Democratic Alliance (DA) emerged as the primary recipient, garnering a substantial percentage of declared donations, largely attributed to significant contributions from prominent billionaire families - the Oppenheimers and the Le Rouxs.
  • Financial Dynamics: The financial landscape of South African politics revealed a staggering flow of donations, particularly towards major parties like the DA and ActionSA, showcasing the significant influence of affluent backers on the country's political arena.
  • ANC's Late Declarations: The African National Congress (ANC) solely declared late donations, prompting inquiries and requests for representations due to these delayed disclosures, signaling potential regulatory scrutiny and implications for the party.
By Miriam Matoma

The Democratic Alliance (DA) stands as the most prominent beneficiary in South Africa’s political funding realm. According to the latest Party Funding Disclosure Report by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for the second quarter of the 2023/24 financial year, the DA drew in a substantial R36.2 million in donor funds, marking its total for the year at R59 million.

This surge in donations for the DA constitutes a staggering 88% of all declared donations during this period. The party secured substantial funding from influential billionaire families, primarily the Oppenheimers and the Le Rouxs.

The report disclosed donations from six political parties: Action SA, the ANC, the DA, the IFP, the PA, and the Freedom Front Plus, summing up to R41.1 million. This declaration encompassed late donations amounting to R778,309.

Interestingly, the ANC did not declare any donations for the second quarter. However, their late donations accounted for three separate sums received during the previous and current fiscal years.

Detailed breakdowns of contributions reveal the scale of financial support extended to the parties:

  • DA – R36,388,690
  • Action SA – R3,458,000
  • ANC – R778,309
  • PA – R225,000
  • VF Plus – R131,000
  • IFP – R112,473

The largest donation, a substantial sum of R15 million, poured into the DA’s coffers from Fynbos Kapitaal Proprietary Limited, an entity associated with Michiel le Roux, the billionaire founder of Capitec.

The second significant contribution of R10 million hailed from Mary Slack, daughter of the renowned billionaire Harry Oppenheimer, further cementing the financial foundation of the DA.

However, the DA’s financial backing extended beyond these massive contributions. Martin Moshal channeled R5 million, D Barnes contributed R3 million, and the Danish Liberal Democracy Programme added R1.5 million to the party’s funding pool.

The rest of the donations, albeit below the million-Rand mark, aggregated over R1.5 million, combining monetary and in-kind contributions from various sources.

ActionSA emerged as the second-highest recipient of donations. Notably, 86.8% of these donations came from individual donors, with Herman Mashaba, the party leader, contributing R2 million. Another consistent donor, Martin Paul Moshal, who also supports the DA, pitched in R1 million.

Additionally, a regular donor to ActionSA, Shave & Gibson Group (Pty) Ltd, contributed R150,000. The remaining donations trickled in from various sources, including Petrocam Trading (Pty) Ltd at R200,000 and Alan Beesley, a party leader, at R108,000.

Meanwhile, the PA’s declared donation stood at R225,000, courtesy of its leader, Gayton McKenzie.

Surprisingly, VF Plus received in-kind donations—a meaningful contribution in the form of 30 wheelchairs and 2,000 kilograms of rice, with a cumulative value of R131,000.

The ANC’s declared donations solely comprised late declarations. Three entities—Elohim Erets Retailers CC, Iceburg Trading, and Phepha MV Security Services (Pty) Ltd—contributed R150,000, R428,309, and R200,000, respectively. These donations were made in previous and current fiscal year quarters.

Consequently, the ANC received a request for representation regarding late declarations, as per section 15(1) of the Act. The IEC will assess the representations before determining the subsequent course of action.

The financial landscape of South African politics paints a vivid picture of influential donors shaping party dynamics. The dominance of major parties like the DA and ActionSA reflects the significant sway of wealthy backers on the nation’s political spectrum.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: Twitter: @MatomaMiriam