Funding of political parties - explain control statement by National Deputy-Secretary (27 August 1998)

The notion that the money in the "Funding of Political Parties Act" may not be used for electioneering is a myth. There are no controls in place to assure that that will not happen. Already the monthly allowance of R4 489,00 per member is not used for that that it was intended. Political parties are not opening constituency offices with that money but rather use it to cover their running costs and even pay the salaries of personnel from that amount.

An astonishing amount of R100 349 972,00 per year (excluding the salaries of public representatives) is already paid by the taxpayer to the coffers of political parties. The Minister responsible should lay down clear guidelines on how he intends to assure that this money does not end up being used for the 1999 elections. It is in any case almost impossible, especially so close to the election to differentiate between the normal functions and duties of a political party and its office bearers and that of electioneering. Let us also not loose sight of the fact that money from the R53 million that are now used to cover running costs is money saved by these parties and that savings will contribute to the election fund of each party. This in itself contributes to an uneven playing field for the 1999 elections.

The fact that polls also indicate that the ANC and the NP have lost substantial support and that other parties in parliament like the DP and the PAC have increased their support makes the distribution of that fund also questionable. The NP is still receiving 23% of the fund while it is currently only representing 10% of the electorate.

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