Money and Politics

Deterring the Influence of Private Money on Political Parties in South Africa

The current political finance framework leaves private funding unregulated, increasing the risks for abuse and misuse. There is a need for comprehensive political finance reform to meet South Africa’s international obligations and constitutional commitments to transparency, accountability and inclusiveness.


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 Guiding Principles for Political Party Funding Reform in South Africa

There is a political culture of secrecy in the South African political finance system, particularly in relation to private donations to political parties, that is inconsistent with a constitutional multi-party democratic system founded on principles of accountability, responsiveness and openness. The absence of reform and lack of regulation of private political finances pose severe institutionalised corruption and political inequality risks that need to be addressed urgently. 

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Regulating the Financial Activities of South African Political Parties During Elections

In all democracies, elections are the process through which political parties compete and governments are chosen. In competing for elective office, political parties need sufficient access to money in order to reach their voters. Access to financial resources for political parties shapes political competition. Thus, money can play a positive role in democratic politics. The need to ensure political parties have access to sufficient money to fulfill their democratic functions, whilst seeing to it that the sources and use of that money do not risk the democratic process presents challenges for policy makers. 

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 Should Foreign Funding to Political Parties be Banned in South Africa

Money is essential for democratic politics. However, there is a risk of the abuse of money in politics if donations are shrouded in secrecy. Private funding is unregulated in South Africa, leaving foreign donors to contribute large amounts into the coffers of political parties in secret. Political contributions from foreign interests that are not carefully monitored risk increasing corruption and policy capture in domestic politics. 

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Public Funding Report

The answer to the question of public funding, in terms of what monies public institutions have allocated for political parties, can be found in examining public financial records. This commissioned report delineating the sources and amounts of public funding provided to political parties, resulting in some form of rationalized database, uncovers insights into the funding of parties represented in the National Assembly.

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Political Party Funding and Corruption: The Need for Legislative Reform in South Africa

Party finance and political corruption have become the subject of extensive public discourse, which has raised the need for political party finance reform. Since electoral and political processes can be corrupted by forces such as money, it is control its influence in order to ensure that a few rich people do not buy political power and influence through their support of political parties. Anti-corruption legislation can prove useful in fostering greater transparency and accountability in political party activities, especially in the area of party funding.

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Electoral Reform

Majority Voting System

A majoritarian voting system is an electoral system which gives the right to appoint all the representatives to the majority of the electors, denying representation to all minorities.

Plurality Voting System

A plurality voting system is a voting system in which each voter is allowed to vote for only one candidate, and the candidate who polls more votes (plurality) than any other candidate is elected.

Mixed Voting System

A mixed voting system uses a mixture of two different electoral system designs.

Proportional Representation Voting System

A Proportional Representation System is where divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body.

Other Voting Systems