COSATU notes the President’s signing into law the Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Act (PAIA) We welcome and support the PAIA Amendment Acts progressive, anti-corruption provisions. The amendments to PAIA were a requirement from the earlier signing into law of the Political Party Funding Act.
These amendments require political parties to keep records of all donations that they receive for R100 000 and above and to submit these to the IEC. Members of the public will be able to exercise their legal rights through PAIA to access such information.
Given the extent of corruption and the collapse of ethical leadership across party lines, this is long overdue. The explosion of corruption and capture amongst political parties and leaders threatens the very fabric of our hard-won democracy.
The Federation supports the provisions in the two Acts and Regulations prohibiting party funding by South African and foreign governments and public entities. This is critical in reducing the abuse of public resources and protecting the sovereignty of the nation from foreign interference.
The federation is irritated by the demand of political parties for increased funding from Parliament, the Legislatures, and the IEC; whilst the state and our SOEs have been brought to the verge of financial ruin by the very same poverty pleading politicians. Workers are faced with the very real prospect of being retrenched in their thousands by the state and SOEs. Treasury is demanding public servants’ wages be slashed. Public services have been hollowed out by the rising levels of vacancies and under resourcing, yet the same politicians whose leadership brought us to this crisis want to receive more funds from the state!
COSATU remains vehemently opposed to the Political Party Funding Act and Regulations’ provisions not requiring donations of less than R100 000 to be disclosed. It will not take a rocket scientist to figure out that they can then simply donate R99 000 to avoid disclosure. This escape clause threatens to collapse the Act’s progressive objectives.
We remain concerned that the Regulations drafted by the IEC have reduced the Act’s sentencing provisions of up to 5 years in prison to a mere 2 years. In a season of systematic looting, this is unbelievable. It must be amended and brought in line with the Political Party Funding Act. We need more criminals in prison, not less. The IEC does not have the right to water down the Political Party Funding Act’s anti-corruption sanctions.
South Africa and in particular government, have been far too soft on corruption for too long. Parliament and the IEC must deal with the weaknesses in the Act and Regulations if we are to win the fight against the looting brigades who still have yet to be punished for their acts. This should be done by a further amendment bill.
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