PARTY FUNDING COMES TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ON TUESDAY
On 13 March 2018, My Vote Counts (MVC), will appear at the Constitutional Court for the confirmation hearing of the Cape Town High Court Judgement on the constitutionality of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) as it pertains to access to information about the private funding of political parties and independent candidates in our electoral system.
My Vote Counts believes that information about the private funding of political parties and independent candidates is reasonably required to exercise an ‘informed’ vote at the ballot box.
Access to information about the private funding of political parties was not required during the Apartheid era, and more than 20 years into South Africa’s Democracy political parties continue to insist on accepting private funds in secret.
In July 2016, MVC asked the Cape Town High Court to declare that ‘information about the private funding of political parties is reasonably required for the effective exercise of the right to vote’. MVC also asked the Court to declare that the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) is inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid, insofar as it does not allow for the continuous and systemic recordal and disclosure of private funding information of political parties.’
On 27 September 2017, the Cape Town High Court ordered the following:
- That ‘information about the private funding of political parties and independent ward candidates … is reasonably required for the effective exercise of the right to vote in such elections and to make political choices’;
- That PAIA ‘is inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid insofar as it does not allow for the recordal and disclosure of private funding information’.
However, because the High Court order concerns the constitutional validity of an Act of Parliament, the order has no force until it has been confirmed by the Constitutional Court. This is the Constitutional Court hearing that MVC will appear in, with the Minister of Justice as the only opposing party.
This litigation process aims to reform our political system by making it more transparent to the South African public therefore allowing the public to hold political representatives and political organisations more accountable not only on election day but also in between elections.
This judgement, once confirmed, will provide a necessary change to South African politics, where political parties will no longer operate in secret and allow for greater understanding of the values that our political parties are based on.
We have produced a factsheet to assist the public to understand the arguments in this court case. The factsheet can be accessed here: www.myvotecounts.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/MVC-Fact-Sheet-1.pdf
MVC is a civil society organisation aimed at improving the accountability, transparency and inclusiveness of South Africa’s political and electoral systems.
For media queries:
Janine Ogle, Coordinator: My Vote Counts, firstname.lastname@example.org, 071 345 1522.
Zahira Grimwood, Researcher: My Vote Counts, email@example.com, 060 638 3075.