We bring to you what has been brewing at MVC and in political and electoral spaces more broadly in the last few months. Please share this newsletter with your friends and colleagues.
Political Party Funding Act
On 22 January 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa finally signed the Political Party Funding Bill. The Bill, which is now an Act, now makes it mandatory for political parties to disclose their private donor information. However, the president has yet to gazette the proclamation which would ultimately bring the Act into operation. Regardless of the fact that we will not be able to get parties’ donor information before the 8 May elections, we see this as a crucial big step towards more transparency and accountability in our politics.
You can read more about the Act and its implications in a recent Daily Maverick article.
The IEC has now released the draft regulations for the Act and it’s open for comment.
We are embarking on some new research into intra-party democracy (IPD). IPD allows party members a fair chance in participating in internal elections and other decision-making processes. It is based on principles of fairness and bottom-up membership participation and includes a range of democratic provisions and norms which all political parties should institutionalise. The clear centralisation of power within our political parties allows politicians to abuse their power and put the country’s citizens at a disadvantage.
We spoke to Doctor Zwelethu Jolobe and Professor Pierre de Vos to get their take on what IPD is and why it is important to note the level of IPD within our political parties.
Elections Consultative Meeting
On 16 January we partnered with KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council to host an Elections Consultative Meeting with Open Society Foundation – South Africa grantees. The purpose of the event was to showcase elections related work, to share knowledge and to identify synergies and potential collaborations between the organisations present. This was in a bid to have a more collective civil society approach towards the upcoming elections. The meeting was attended by representatives from 24 civil society organisations engaged in election related work.
A similar meeting was held on 27 February in Durban.
In the news…
Nigerians went to the polls on 23 February which ended up having the lowest voter turnout in history. Only a third of the 73 million eligible voters had gone to the polls. Muhammadu Buhari (76) had been re-elected sparking calls of rigging by opposition leader, Atiku Abubakar.
State Capture Inquiry
Since the State Capture Inquiry resumed earlier this year, Former Bosasa (African Global Operations) executive, Angelo Agrizzi implicated many players including ministers in corruption. Most memorably the Louis Vuitton bag filled with R300 000 involving former South African Airways Chairperson, Dudu Myeni supposedly for the Zuma Foundation which Agrizzi believed didn’t reach the Foundation in the end.
Agrizzi also revealed how in an effort to avoid investigation by the Special Investigating Unit, directors at Bosasa would burn evidence related to the Department of Correctional Services and then national commissioner, Linda Mti.
Ghana opposition party chairman questioned by police
The chairman of the Ghanian opposition party National Democratic Congress (NDC) is currently being questioned by police after an alleged audio tape was leaked. In the audio leaked by GhanaWeb, the country’s leading political news website, he allegedly talks about how his party plans on carrying out political killings ahead of the country’s 2020 elections. You can listen to the audio here (listen from 12:00)
One for the books…
About: Charles Abrahams is a man with no fear. A successful lawyer who sued countless multinationals for colluding with the apartheid government, he’s tenacity comes from living in hardship on the Cape Flats. Growing up in an abusive home in an area marred by gang violence and apartheid protests, he was once told by a school inspector to forget about his dreams of becoming a world-renowned surgeon because coloured children shouldn’t aim too high. So he became a relentless and successful lawyer instead. Most recently winning a landmark case and secured a R5 billion settlement from the gold mining industry for miners suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis.
Our take: This gripping memoir takes you on a journey where racism and social injustices were designed to reshape communities and identities. It however acted as fuel for Charles to not limit himself and serve the greater community no matter if all odds were stacked against him.
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My Vote Counts NPC is a non-profit company founded to improve the accountability, transparency and inclusiveness of elections and politics in the Republic of South Africa. We work to ensure that the political and electoral systems are open, fair and accountable to the public and that they remain relevant in the changing South African socio-political context.