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Disclosure of Political Party Funding: A Useful Insight into the extent of South African Progress.

Article authored by Azania Matiwane and Bonakele Ncemane.

The recent revelation by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) regarding political funding is deeply troubling. It has come to light that individuals financing parties, such as the Democratic Alliance (DA), are profiting from the earnings of black citizens. A case in point is Le Roux, who has contributed a substantial R50 million to the DA, while Motsepe’s Foundation has spread its financial support across various political parties, opposing the ruling party.

Le Roux amasses his wealth as the head of Capitec, a bank predominantly serving the black working class and the poor. Essentially, this situation suggests that, by and large, black citizens are inadvertently financing their own oppression and underdevelopment. This is particularly concerning when viewed against the backdrop of the DA-led Western Cape (WC) provincial government and City of Cape Town’s budget allocation to black townships, which is significantly lower compared to affluent white areas.

This raises a critical question: why are these businesses, foundations, and individuals turning away from the ANC, which traditionally represents the interests of the black majority? This trend demands attention and raises concerns about the direction South African democracy is taking and the role that business plays in this turning point. Furthermore, it underscores the ethical and moral reasoning of political party funders.

In the South African context of the political party system, policy origination starts with political parties, influenced by their analysis of the social, political, and economic imperatives of the country. These imperatives necessitate prioritizing certain policies as a measure of government intervention. Therefore, funding for both the DA and the ANC should be understood as directly influencing government policies.

The DA governs the WC and City of Cape Town, while the ANC governs all other eight provincial governments and the national government. These are the only two parties with a real chance to exercise influence on policy direction in government, whether at the provincial or national level, and they are the only two with real-life experience in the challenges of governance.

Political party funding, in the case of the DA and the ANC, signifies real support for political policy choices in government. The ANC represents the voice of the majority, reflecting the aspirations and struggles of black South Africans, while the DA is predominantly supported by the white minority. Conscientious political party funders are, therefore, expected to understand that responsible funding should not be based on either/or but rather on funding political diversity.

It is time for political parties to reconsider their allegiances and reevaluate their sources of funding. Likewise, funders of political parties need to recognize the importance of funding democracy. Democracy in South Africa entails the values and principles that form the basis of the constitutional democratic system.

Therefore, true funding of democracy in South Africa offers options, whether through government programs or political party funding. Political party funding is the primary entry point for funding the ideal values and principles that underpin government policy.

It is inconceivable that political funders who support the DA or any opposition party would not also support the ANC. This is driven by the notion that the ANC represents the voices of the black majority—an essential and critical aspect if South African democracy is to function effectively. The well-being and representation of black citizens must remain at the forefront of our democratic processes.

The disclosure of political party funding sources provides a valuable glimpse into understanding the progress South Africa has made in establishing a united nation committed to reversing past injustices while advancing new constitutional ideals. However, funders like Le Roux are a cause for concern, as they clearly indicate that some have not fully embraced or accepted the values of the new constitution, which promote diversity and coexistence as non-negotiable elements for a prosperous South Africa.

Azania Matiwane

A risk and governance expert, an activist philanthropist, and an independent non-executive director of an alternative asset manager specializing in private equity and mezzanine solutions. He writes in his personal capacity.

Bonakele Ncemane CA(SA)

A Chartered accountant (SA), a consultant, an ANC-aligned activist, and an academic at a higher education university. He holds an MBA and writes in his personal capacity.

Caleb Tayi
Caleb Tayi
I'm a critical reader and a lover of words. As the ECToday Editor my job is to polish and refine a story or an article, check facts, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.
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