Parties rake in another R172 million in funding – this is who South African billionaires are backing

 ·17 May 2024

Political parties are stepping up their campaign efforts as the general elections on May 29 approaches, simultaneously boosting their attempts to secure donors for their notably competitive and costly campaigns.

According to the Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) latest Party Funding Disclosure Report, thirteen political parties made donation declarations for the fourth quarter of 2023/24 (1 January to 31 March 2024), amounting to a record R172,069,959.

This amount is higher than the total disclosed in all previous quarters and the combined disclosures of the last two financial years (2021/22 and 2022/23).

Parties that declared donations

A record thirteen (13) political parties have made private donation declarations during this quarter, and they are:

  • Able Leadership (AL) – R360,000;
  • ActionSA – R10,525,000;
  • African National Congress (ANC) – R16,782,000;
  • African Transformation Movement (ATM) – R120,000;
  • Change Starts Now – R35,820,000 (not competing in the elections anymore);
  • Democratic Alliance (DA) – R65,074,359.39;
  • Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – R2,640,000;
  • Independent South African National Civic Organisation (ISANCO) – R1,599,000;
  • Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) – R20,000,000;
  • Patriotic Alliance (PA) – R1,030,000;
  • Rise Mzansi – R15,100,000;
  • United Democratic Movement (UDM) – R2,250,000;
  • Vryheidsfront Plus (VF Plus) – R769,600.

According to the Political Party Funding Act, parties must disclose all donations received above R100,000.

The total “declared value of donations has for the very first time since the inception of the Party Funding Act (which requires donation declarations over a certain threshold) surpassed the R100 million mark in any one quarter,” said the IEC.

Interestingly, the DA continued to trump other parties with their donor pull, while the party with the second highest declared donations no longer competing in the upcoming elections.

Additionally, billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s companies donated to four separate parties, Martin Moshal gave to two, and other billionaires, the Oppenheimers, gave two parties a big boost.

Able Leadership (AL) – R360,000

Able Leadership (AL) is an unrepresented political party that will be contesting the 2024 elections on the national ballot and the two provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

The party received a total direct donation of R360,000, split into three donations of R200,000, R100,000, and R60,000, all from Madzahisi Trading Enterprise in monetary form.

ActionSA – R10,525,000

ActionSA is a regular party on the list of parties that receive and declare direct donations on a quarterly basis. 

Martin Moshal contributed R9 million through three separate donations of R3 million, R2 million and R4 million in January, February, and March 2024.

Additional contributions amounting to R1.525 million to came from regular donor Moss Kadey, Chris du Toit, and the company Style Eyes of California (Pty) Ltd. All donations were monetary.

African National Congress (ANC) – R16,782,000

Two of the party’s highest donations, valued at R6.9 million each, were received from companies associated with the mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe, namely; African Rainbow Minerals Limited and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited.

The rest of the declared donations were received from three different entities in the names of Naspers Limited (R2 million), Elohim Erets (R472,000) and Vukuzenzele Boukontrakteurs (R510,000).

African Transformation Movement (ATM) – R120,000

African Transformation Movement (ATM) made a total donation declaration of R120,000 received from an individual donor by the name of Caesar Nongqunga.

Change Starts Now (CSN) – R35,820,000

Change Starts Now (CSN), one of the unrepresented political parties registered with the Electoral Commission in February 2024, received the second-most donations of any party.

CSN is not contesting the forthcoming elections as it did not meet all of the requirements to appear on the ballot.

The donations were received from three separate donors: Fynbos Ekwiteit (Pty) Ltd (R15 million), Main Street 1564 (R15 million) and Ball Family Trust (R5.82 million) and were all in monetary terms.

Democratic Alliance (DA) – R65,074,359.39

Democratic Alliance (DA) declared the highest of all donations for the fourth quarter from twenty-four different transactions.

Donations to the DA include three R10 million donations from Main Street 1564 (Pty) Ltd, Jonathan Ernest Maximillian Oppenheimer, and NF Oppenheimer.

Other notable contributions came from Martin Moshal (R8 million), Section 48 of Flat 405 San Michele Clifton (Pty) Ltd (R6 million), and Gap Infrastructure Corporation (R10 million in total).

Patrice Motsepe’s entities, African Rainbow Minerals Limited and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited, each donated R2.52 million, with Naspers Limited giving R2 million.

Additional donations ranged from R63,000 to R1,099,000.

The DA also received in-kind donations for training and social media content boosting from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the Voice of South Africa Foundation NPC.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – R2,640,000.

The EFF, which has not declared any donations in several quarters, declared two separate donations received from companies associated with Patrice Motsepe, namely; African Rainbow Minerals Limited (R1.32 million) and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (R1.32 million).

Independent South African National Civic Organisation (ISANCO) – R1,599,000

ISANCO, another one of the currently unrepresented political parties, declared two donations.

Both donations were received from an entity known as Main Street 1564 (Pty) Ltd in two separate amounts of R599,000 and R1 million received in January and March 2024, respectively.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) – R20,000,000

IFP declared R20,000,000 received in two separate donations of R10,000,000 from a duo of father and son, NF Oppenheimer and Jonathan Ernest Maximillian Oppenheimer.

Patriotic Alliance (PA) – R1,030,000

The donations were received in two separate amounts of R800 000 and R230 000 made by the party leader, Gayton McKenzie and an entity referred to as E Botha and Y Erasmus INC.

Rise Mzansi –  R15,100,000

Rise Mzansi declared donations from two separate donors.

The largest donation was received from a voluntary organisation named We Are the People, at R15 million and the rest, valued at R100 000, was received from an individual named Peter Vundla.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) – R2,250,000

R1.5 million of the total amount was late declaration of two separate donations received during the third quarter in September and November 2023. The two donations declared after the regulated time were received from Exxaro Resources (R500 000) and an individual known as Mary Slack (R1 000 000).

The rest of the donations were received from two other separate donors, namely; We Are the People (R500,000) and the Douw Steyn Family Trust (R250,000).

Vryheidsfront Plus (VF Plus) – R769,600

The Vryheidsfront Plus’ (VF Plus) declared donations were from three separate donations from the two companies linked to Patrice Motsepe, namely; African Rainbow Minerals Limited (R300,000) and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (R300,000), as well as an individual, Robert Hersov (R169,600).

Foreign donations

Two foreign donations were declared for the fourth quarter, amounting to R1,118,391. All of which were declared by the Democratic Alliance (DA).

One was an in-kind donation received by the DA from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) valued R292,664 and the other was a monetary donation of R825 726,93 received by the DA from an entity referred to as Danish Liberal Democracy Programme (DLDP) towards the cost of a training programme titled “Ready to Govern Locally II”.

Read: Politicians get R200 million boost from taxpayers ahead of elections

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