President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed three new bills into law, giving effect to a number of previous Constitutional Court rulings.
The acts, which were assented to on 26 March, deal with a range of issues including one that grants legislative status to office of the Hydrographer as part of the country’s navy and one that deals with the suspending, disciplining or removing an Independent Police Investigative Directorate executive director.
However, the most important new piece of legislation is arguably the Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Act which will require political parties to record their funding.
The act makes it an obligation for the head of a political party – including independent candidates – to create and keep records of any donation exceeding the prescribed threshold in any given financial year.
This threshold is currently set to include any donations exceeding R100,000.
Political parties are also required to:
- Record the identity of the persons or entities who made such donations;
- Make the records available every quarter;
- Keep the records for at least five years after the records concerned have been created.
The act will commence at a later date determined by the President by proclamation in the government gazette.
You can view it below.
Constitutional court ruling
The Act comes after a 2018 Constitutional Court ruling which found that the state is under a Constitutional obligation to do everything reasonably possible to give practical and meaningful expression to the right of access to information and the right to vote.
So important is the obligation to record, preserve and make private funding information reasonably accessible to the voting public, that it must also be easily accessible to the media, NGO’s, academia and other political players.
The majority of the court also held that the disclosure of private funding would help the public to detect whose favours political players are likely to return, once elected into public office.
The Court concluded that the current Parliamentary process in relation to a private funding regulatory framework will in no way be interfered with or undermined by the judgement. These are two distinct yet necessary processes, it said.