Why did the Electoral Court fine the ANC?

In addition to the ANC being fined by the Electoral Court, several other political parties have been guilty of the same offense. The parties in question have not provided the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) with audited financial statements. These had to be delivered before delivery Wednesday May 29 voting day in terms of the Political Parties Funding Act (PPFA), GroundUp reports.

ANC FINE BY THE Electoral Court

ANC fined by the Electoral Court
Image of the results of the 2019 national and provincial elections at the Tshwane Events Center in Pretoria. Image: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Therefore, the Electoral Court in Bloemfontein has ordered the African National Congress and a number of other political parties to pay fines ranging from R10,000 And €40,000. By the standards of the millions each party receives in private funding, the fines are just a drop in the ocean.

In addition to the ANC being fined by the Electoral Court, ATM, COPE, NFP, AIC and PAC were also fined. Neither side opposed the court’s findings or even attempted to argue their case. Judge Lebogang Modiba was highly critical in his judgment for this apparent blatant disregard for the law.

RULES FOR PARTY FINANCING

ANC fined by the Electoral Court
All citizens have the right to know where a political party’s financing comes from. Image file

The Political Parties Financing Act came into effect in 2021. This stipulates that every registered political party must keep records of its income/financing. This includes private donations and membership fees. And any donation that exceeds R100,000 must be disclosed to the IEC. In addition, every registered political party must appoint an accounting officer and an accountant to maintain proper records and comply with all disclosure dates.

In addition to private financing, the IEC also provides public financing to parties. This amount is based on the size of representation in the National Assembly and the Provincial Legislature. The fined parties did not submit their annual accounts to an IEC auditor within three months after the end of the financial year.

Such disclosure requirements have been put in place so that voters can make an informed choice before voting day. And, most importantly, it prevents corruption. After the years of Jacob Zuma and state capture, major private financiers have the opportunity to pressure the party to advance their own private interests. And this is exactly what the law is intended to stop.