R2K supports the Constitutional Court case brought by My Vote Counts (MVC) to challenge Parliament to pass a law to require political parties to disclose their funders. The case, which will be heard on Tuesday 10 February 2015, comes after more than a decade of inaction from Parliament on the need to tackle party funding secrecy.
As the R2K, we support the ongoing struggle for transparency on party political funding. Voters have the right to know who funds who. Without knowing the financial backers of all major political parties, voters are kept in the dark about potential conflicts of interest and have no way of knowing who may be influencing the policies and activities of these parties. The vast majority of funding for political parties comes from private sources, and currently not a single political party is willing to say who its funders are.
The lack of transparency shown by all parties when it comes to the sources of their funding must be challenged. Transparency in who funds political parties is the first step to ensuring a more just electoral democracy, and curbing a major avenue for corruption.
The secret space between politicians and their financiers undermines democracy, allowing corporations, wealthy individuals and even foreign governments to buy influence and favours from the political elite.
In 2014 alone South Africa saw the following party-funding scandals come to light:
• Reports that in July, the ANC and Community Party of China discussed the possibility of the Chinese funding the ANC’s political school to the tune of R800million.
• The Gupta family, with close financial ties to the ANC and South African government, escaped censure after landing a private plane at Waterkloof airbase.
• Reports that South African-born billionaire Nathan Kirsh was the donor behind the failed DA/Agang merger. Kirsh controversially has a large stake in a security company which has big contracts with the Israeli military.
• Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi, who was accused of giving R1-million to the ANC in order to receive a tender from the KZN Department of the Health, lost a court battle in May 2014 to get corruption and fraud charges against him dropped.
We urge the public to join the call and stand up for their right to know.
A delegation form R2K Gauteng will join at the Constitutional Court on Tuesday, 10 February from 9:30AM in support of MVC’s bid.
For more information see MVC’s statement on the case here.