In the mist of all the developments happening with our Party Funding and IEC Commissioner campaigns, we thought we’d keep you up to speed by highlighting what has happened up until now.
Political Party Funding Bill
The Party Funding Bill is currently before the Ad Hoc Committee for Funding of Political Parties in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The committee have gone through the bill clause-by-clause with the help of the Parliamentary Legal Advisors and have heard from National Treasury and the Electoral Commission on the implications of the bill.
The latter meeting was met with some concern from MVC as we heard from Treasury that they can allocate R20 million to the implementation of the bill whereas the IEC still maintains it would require R45 million to ensure this bill is implemented in its full capacity.
The IEC had concerns with establishing a unit within its institution to undertake the political party funding mandate as set out in the bill. They feel it would not only expand on its current mandate of ensuring free and fair elections, but also add major financial implications since they would have to hire new staff. “We cannot take up a new mandate without sufficient funding,” stressed IEC Chairperson, Mr Glen Mashinini.
The IEC further stated that it cannot use it’s current baseline allocations as it should be used for the preparation and conduct of the national and provincial elections in 2019. They also mentioned the 2016 voter’s roll ruling by the Constitutional Court which put an additional financial strain on the Commission. All of this has put the IEC in a R325 million deficit for the 2018/2019 financial year.
National Treasury had agreed with the IEC on implementing this bill using a phased-in approach. It also said that in the long-term, the Multi-Party Democracy Fund and the Represented Political Party Fund should be self financed.
On 20 June the committee will hear oral submissions from the public including NGOs. We at MVC have requested that we be allowed time to make our oral submission.
For an in-depth look at what the bill entails, you can view an easy-to-digest infographic here.
IEC Commissioner Campaign
The panel interviews with the 26 shortlisted candidates will take place between 25 and 27 June at the Office of the Chief Justice in Midrand. The panel consists of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, deputy chairwoman of the Commission for Gender Equality, Tamara Mathebula and a commissioner from the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
MVC along with the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution have done extensive research on these candidates to get a better sense of who they are. The report which you can access here, highlights their educational background, experience, skills and any business interests.
The 26 will be dwindled down to eight candidates who will then be sent to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee of Home Affairs. The committee will nominate the three commissioners for the President’s approval.
This process is a crucial one as the commissioners will have the big task of preparing and conducting the 2019 general elections. It is therefore important that whoever are elected, practice fairness, have integrity and exercise their role in favour of all South Africans who look to having a free and fair elections.
To make sense of the appointment process, you can view an infographic here.
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