06 February 2024
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) presented its submission on the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee: Home Affairs and Select Committee: Security and Justice today.
Whilst COSATU welcomes the overall thrust of the Bill, including its amendments recognising independent candidates contesting national and provincial elections as necessitated by the Constitutional Court judgement, we believe three critical amendments are needed and should be effected by Parliament.
The Bill provides for the President to set thresholds below which donations to political parties and independent candidates need not be disclosed as well as caps on the limits of donations they can receive. Whilst accepting the need for flexibility on caps on donations, the provisions for thresholds below which donations need not be disclosed opens a massive and obvious gap for tenderpreneurs and other persons with criminal intent seeking to buy influence to legally circumvent the progressive transparency and accountability objectives and provisions of the Act. This is reckless and dangerous at best.
The thresholds below which donations need not be disclosed must simply be deleted and all donations be required to be disclosed. This is critical if we are to remove the cancer of corruption from our body politic. Workers and the nation at large cannot afford the costs of corruption remaining ingrained across our political establishment and government.
The Federation supports the principles of proportionality and the recognition that access to public funding and the public broadcaster by political parties and independent candidates must be based upon the support they receive from the electorate and the representation they are afforded in Parliament and Provincial Legislatures.
We are however concerned that two key provisions of the Bill and Act contradict this fair and rational premise of proportionality. Funding from the fiscus to political parties and independent candidates must be based strictly upon their actual proportional representation in Parliament and Provincial Legislatures.
Similarly space allocated on the public broadcaster during elections to political parties and independent candidates must be based upon their actual representation in Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures. Treating parties which cannot even secure 1% of the popular vote equally with parties which secure 10% or 20% or 50% of the popular vote undermines the principles of proportionality and rationality.
Issued by COSATU
For further information please contact:
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687