The Private Funding of Political Parties: What Do We Know?

Partner Publication

The negative impact of unregulated private funding of political parties in South Africa stretches back to the period prior to the inception of democracy in 1994.  Although on the 23rd of January 2019 President Ramaphosa signed into law the Political Party Funding Act (The Act) that provides for the regular and systematic disclosure of the sources and amounts of private funding allocated to political parties, South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) decided to postpone its implementation until after the May elections. In the absence of an effective party funding transparency disclosure regime that enables an informed vote, this research compiled by My Vote Counts (MVC) collates historical and publicly available information on the private funding of political parties through donations and/or other financial transfers.

The report's content relies on information that is already available in the public domain, but not all the sources referenced are available online or compiled collectively as they are here. It also cannot claim to be complete: the data collected is restricted to five political parties, and even for those there is surely a huge gap in publicly available information on the various private donations allocated to political parties. This report cannot claim to have all the publicly available information on political parties private funding, but has included the most accessible sources.

This report provides the following information:

  • Political parties: The report mainly lists donations allocated to the African National Congress, the Democratic Alliance, the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the United Democratic Movement. In the last segment, companies who donated to all or various political parties represented in Parliament, at the time the donation was allocated, are listed.
  • Sources, amounts & the Years allocated: The amounts donated, the type of donation (e.g. money, goods or services) are included. The sources/donor(s) include banks and other corporations, individuals, foreign entities, foreign governments, foreign political parties, foreign government officials and a state-owned entity.

Download the report here.