The Promotion of Access to Information Amendment (PAIA) draft bill was debated in parliament on Wednesday afternoon, with Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi declaring the party’s support for the bill, which will force political parties to declare private funding.
“We’ll be the first ones as the EFF who will say who our private funders are,” he said.
However, he warned that the bill “won’t necessarily disrupt” what his party sees as the “realities” of how the existing funding model marginalise small and particularly black parties.
Ndlozi offered a “recommendation” to “business South Africa in general” not to “choose one horse in a political race”.
“It’s time to fund in the interest of supporting a democracy. If you’ve got R100 to give to political parties distribute it like the IEC does, favour everyone in the political spectra.
“Why? Because we see that those who put money for example in the CR17 campaign are the first to be considered when it comes to tenders and big state contracts,” he alleged.
“To end that, don’t fund one person, put your money in the [Multi-party democracy fund] established by the IEC which will then be distributed to all political parties, in that way our democracy may function better without the power and the greed of the capitalists, who at the moment remain white, and are just reproducing the status quo in as far as economic balance of forces are concerned,” Ndlozi said.
This after expressing the view that “the people with the most money happen in most cases to benefit because they are able to push their favorite political parties” in the current political climate.
“In South Africa, the majority of the time to constitute a formidable political campaign takes a lot of money,” he said.
According to Ndlozi, we are seeing a “commodification of the very processes of democratic elections which are seen in developed countries”.
“New entrants to the democratic space are often marginalised by the fact of funding.
“In an economy like SA where the majority of the money is with the white minority, it means that smaller political parties that often want to look after the best interests of smaller rural communities on one hand or black people in general, don’t get the majority of funding from what are white businesses.
“If those black people who are funding black political parties get punished by the ruling party, you’re going to be reproducing the existing power dimensions in society, the existing political formations of society without a proper challenge,” Ndlozi added.
The PAIA bill seeks to amend the Promotion Access to Information Act, passed in 2000, to “provide for information on the private funding of political parties and independent candidates to be recorded, preserved and made available.”