Categories: Government

Record Political Donations Surge in South Africa

  • Record Donations: South African political parties declared a historic R 58 million in donations for Q1 2023-24.
  • Major Contributors: The Democratic Alliance and the African National Congress received substantial donations from corporate entities and individuals.
  • Transparency and Oversight: The Electoral Commission's report highlights the importance of accountability and training to ensure compliance with funding regulations.
Published by
Lethabo Ntsoane

The Electoral Commission of South Africa has unveiled its eagerly anticipated Political Party Funding Disclosure Report for the first quarter of the 2023-24 financial year, and it’s making headlines for all the right reasons. The report, which covers the period from April 1, 2023, to June 30, 2023, reveals a significant uptick in funding declarations by political parties compared to previous quarters, with total donations amounting to a staggering R 58,365,321.09.

Record-Breaking Donations

The most striking revelation from the report is the record-breaking donations received by South Africa’s political parties. Four major parties took center stage in this disclosure, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) leading the pack. The DA declared a monumental donation of R 22,901,161.09, marking a historic high for the party.

Not far behind was the African National Congress (ANC), which declared donations totaling R 20,000,000. ActionSA made a formidable showing as well, with donations amounting to R 12,164,160.00. Meanwhile, a new entrant on the political scene, Build One South Africa (BOSA), made waves by declaring a notable R 2,000,000.

These numbers reflect a remarkable surge in political funding, setting the stage for an intriguing political landscape in South Africa.

Insights into Donations

A closer look at the major donations reveals interesting patterns and contributors:

Democratic Alliance (DA)

The DA’s massive donation of R 22,901,161.09 came primarily from Fynbos Ekwiteit (Pty) Ltd, contributing R 15,000,000. This entity has consistently supported the DA over the past two financial years. Additionally, Main Street 1564 chipped in R 5 million, and an individual by the name of Mr. G Ryan donated R 2 million to the party. The DA’s ability to secure substantial funding from both corporate entities and individuals highlights its financial strength.

African National Congress (ANC)

The ANC declared R 20,000,000 in donations, with two-thirds of this amount (R 15 million) coming from Batho Batho Trust. Chancellor House Trust also contributed R 5 million to the party’s coffers. Both these entities have maintained their status as regular donors to the ANC, reaffirming their commitment to supporting the party.

ActionSA

ActionSA secured a significant R 12,164,160.00 in donations, with the largest share (60%) contributed by an individual named Victoria Freudenheim, who generously donated R 7.2 million. Solomon David Group (Pty) Ltd made two separate donations of R 2 million each. Style Eyes of California (Pty) Ltd, another consistent donor, added R 700,000 to the party’s funds. The diversity of contributors suggests a broad-based support network for ActionSA.

Build One South Africa (BOSA)

As a newly registered political party, BOSA made a noteworthy debut with a declared donation of R 2,000,000. In addition to this, the party issued late declarations totaling R 1,300,000. These late declarations comprised donations from individuals Hlumelo Biko (R 200,000) and Robert B Hersov (R 100,000), as well as an entity called RTH Investments (Pty) Ltd (R 1,000,000). Despite the late declarations, BOSA’s commitment to transparency is evident, and they’ve taken steps to address any potential oversights.

Foreign and In-kind Donations

Notably, the report highlights only one foreign donation, amounting to R 221,161.09, received by the DA from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF). This foreign contribution was the sole in-kind donation reported during the quarter. The FNF’s donation was earmarked for various training workshops, including programs like DA Youth Cape Metro Training, DA Fundraising Training Workshop, Strategic Planning for Political Parties Training, and Empowering Women in Politics – A Leadership Workout Training. Importantly, this donation is in compliance with the requirements for foreign donations.

A Record-Breaking Quarter

The disclosed donations totaling over R 57 million during the first quarter of the current financial year represent a significant surge compared to previous quarters. It’s the second-highest amount declared since the implementation of the Party Funding Act, with the highest being R 60.2 million declared in the second quarter of the previous financial year.

This surge in political funding is poised to impact South African politics significantly. It raises questions about the influence of donors on political decisions, transparency in campaign financing, and the potential impact on the upcoming elections. As South Africa’s political landscape continues to evolve, it’s essential to closely monitor and analyze these funding trends to ensure the integrity and accountability of the country’s democratic processes.

Ensuring Accountability and Transparency

The Electoral Commission has not only provided this detailed report but has also taken steps to ensure that all political parties adhere to the Party Funding Act. In the case of late declarations by BOSA, the party received a direction in terms of section 15 of the Act. Furthermore, as a newly registered political party, BOSA officials underwent comprehensive training on the Party Funding Act. This initiative aims to empower the party in understanding the intricacies of party funding regulations and to prevent future compliance issues.

As South Africa moves forward, transparency and accountability in political party funding will continue to be paramount to maintain public trust and uphold the principles of democracy. The record-breaking donations declared in this quarter serve as a reminder of the importance of rigorous oversight and regulations to ensure that political parties operate within the bounds of ethical and legal standards.

Conclusion

The first-quarter Political Party Funding Disclosure Report for the 2023-24 financial year has provided a remarkable glimpse into the financial dynamics of South Africa’s political landscape. With record-breaking donations, both from familiar contributors and new entrants, the report underscores the evolving nature of political funding in the country. As South Africa looks ahead to crucial elections, the impact of these contributions on the political arena will be closely watched, and the call for transparency and accountability in party funding remains stronger than ever.

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Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted: Email: lethabo@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @NtsoaneLethabo