Yesterday, the Western Cape Hight ruled that political parties will now be compelled to disclose the source of private funding.
The ruling, which the Parliament’s ad hoc committee has welcomed, was made following the application by lobby group My Vote Counts and serves to ensure that the electorate will be able to make effective voting choices.
The court also found the Promotion of Access to Information Act to be unconstitutional where full disclosure is concerned and has given Parliament 18 months to make the necessary changes.
Party funding committee chair Vincent Smith says the judgment has given the work of the ad hoc committee a boost and is in line with its position of total disclosure.
“It will once and for all close the debate on whether it is prudent for political parties to declare who their donors are.”
Smith says Parliament will have to deal with amending the Promotion of Access to Information Act as a separate matter.
The court ruled that independent candidates should also disclose their funders.
But Smith says this falls outside the ambit of the committee’s terms of reference.
“We stayed clear of anything to do with local government specifically for the reason that there are independents and so on that are not specifically political parties.”
The committee will allow a second round of hearings next month before making its final submissions to Parliament by the 30 November deadline.