Since launching on 28 July 2012, the My Vote Counts Campaign (MVC) has continued to engage Parliament and the Independent Electoral Commisison about a programme to introduce legislation dealing with party funding reform.
On 8 November 2012 we wrote to the Speaker of Parliament and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces requesting that they advise us of their plans in respect of the reform of party funding.
Over five months ago, on 10 December 2012, we received a letter from the Speaker stating that the matter “is currently on the agenda of the Chief Whips’ Forum of the National Assembly for discussion“.
In that letter, we referred to the Memorandum by the People’s Power, People’s Parliament: A Civil Society Conference on South Africa’s Legislatures, which was adopted and submitted to Parliament in Cape Town on 15 August 2012, by the organising committee of that Conference (“the Memorandum”). The Chairperson of the NCOP accepted that document. The Conference requested the leadership of National Parliament and the provincial legislatures, through the Speaker’s Forum, to table this memorandum for discussion in the houses of assembly provincially and nationally, and respond to it within 60 days (12 November 2012).
Many of South Africa’s most prominent organisations supported this memorandum. It included a specific request to Parliament to enact legislation towards party funding reform before its term ends in 2014.
We maintain the position that appropriate legislation ensuring transparency and accountability in as well as regulation of the private funding of political parties are constitutional imperatives, which have remained unfulfilled for over 16 years. We have expressed this concern to the IEC and urged them to fulfil their constitutional duty as a chapter 9 Institution and take a position on this issueswith the aim of reporting to the National Assembly, which they have declined to do.
In view of the above, we have called on Parliament (including the Chief Whips’ Forum), by no later than 24 July 2013, to publish and provide us with a copy of a timetable which sets out the requisite parliamentary processes which will be followed for the passage, within 18 months of the date of this letter, of legislation for the regulation and transparency of private funding of political parties. Alternatively, we have asked them to provide reasons justifying their decision not to implement party funding legislation.
Should the above publication not take place by the said date, we will be left with no option, but to seek our remedies through the courts.
Click here to see the Letter of Demand that My Vote Counts sent to Parliament.