Politicians get R200 million boost from taxpayers ahead of elections

 ·15 May 2024

The Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced that R200 million from state coffers is now available for allocation to current represented political parties.

This is a big financial boost for these parties, as they enter the last stretch of campaigning for the general elections taking place in two weeks.

A recent government gazette publication said that R200 million that has been paid into the Represented Political Party Fund (RPPF) is ready for distribution.

Back in February at the the 2024/25 budget speech, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said that “R200 million will be allocated for political party funding as political parties prepare for the general elections,” paid into the RPPF.

This ultimately means that political parties with representation in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures will get a portion of taxpayer funds, with the governing ANC receiving the largest share.

This fund operates under the guidelines set by the Political Party Funding Act and overseen by the IEC. It is funded by money from state coffers, and according to the objectives in the bill, provide financial support to all represented political parties.

The money placed into the fund is divided into thirds:

  • 1/3 (equal): This portion is distributed equally amongst all political parties that hold seats in the National Assembly or any provincial legislature. This ensures that even smaller parties receive some base funding.
  • 2/3 (proportional): This portion is distributed proportionally based on the number of seats each party holds in the National Assembly or provincial legislatures. Larger parties with more seats will receive a larger share of this money.

What is shown is the larger their representation in legislatures, the larger share of state funds the party will get.

Proponents say that it ultimately encourages a more competitive political landscape by giving smaller parties a better chance to compete against other parties which receive exponentially more in external funding.

While government had the R200 million to give to represented political parties, it has received blowback given that the Electoral Commission, which is in an election season, received a R30.4 million budget cut – considerably less than the planned R280.3 million cut which was met with fierce opposition.

Read: South Africa’s political parties are in the doghouse

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