A ruling against an application that would have forced political parties to disclose the identity of its funders has been branded “disappointing” by the NPO that launched the bid; My Vote Counts. The Constitutional Court ruled that the matter, which sought to have legislation enacted on the issue should have been taken up with the High Court instead, through a challenge of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).
Spokesperson, Axolile Notywala said that if the revelation of party funders continue to be delayed, this would only help fuel corruption amongst political parties.
Because the application was taken to the Constitutional Court, there is little room for the organisation to appeal the ruling. But Notywala said My Vote Counts would approach its lawyers to see whether the recommendation of the court to instead challenge the PAIA would be viable.
“Maybe we will challenge the PAIA itself at the high court,” he reiterated.
The bid to have funders and sponsors revealed would not only affect the ruling party, but would speak to all opposition and minor parties as well.
“Everyone has the right to know, and this is where our case was premised. Section 32 (of the constitution) gives everyone the right to know so that people, in terms of section 19 can make an informed vote,” he stated, declaring that the current election process was not an informed one on the part of voters.
The main concern of the organisation is that some of the policies of specific political parties could be influenced by money. Notywala said external funding could prove a problem to politics without the proper transparency around it. He suggested revealing party funding could go a long way in curbing corruption at party, and governmental levels.
“Big corporations and rich individuals can influence policies, contracts and tenders. This goes to affect individuals who receive services from government,” he declared.
Notywala Said there were many ways in which the party funding could be legislated, including putting limits on how much donors could pay. While they were not being specific in what type of legislation was needed, he said the issue need be debated by parliament to make sure some form of legislation did exist. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)