Political parties declare record R172 million donations

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The Electoral Commission (IEC) says more than R170 million has been donated to political parties under the Political Party Funding Act.

According to the IEC, this marks the first time such an amount has been raised in a single quarter.

“The cumulative declared quantum is a prodigious R172 069 959.39. This amount is both higher than all of the quarters previously reported on and the combined quarterly disclosures reported during each of the previous two (2021/22 and 2022/23) financial years,” said the Commission in a statement.

Up to 13 parties have formally declared their donations and these include Able Leadership, ActionSA, African National Congress (ANC), African Transformation Movement (ATM), Change Starts Now, Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Independent South African National Civic Organisation (ISANCO), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Patriotic Alliance (PA), Rise Mzansi, United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the Vryheidsfront Plus (VF Plus).

Out of the parties, the Democratic Alliance topped the donations list with just over R65 million donated by donors who include Naspers Limited, Jonathan Ernest Maximillan Oppenheimer and NF Oppenheimer.

Other significant donations to political parties came from Main Street 1564 (Pty) Ltd, Martin Moshal, Gap Infrastructure Corporation and African Rainbow Minerals Limited alongside Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited – two entities associated with businessman Patrice Motsepe, as well as Naspers Limited with an amount of R2 000 000.

Change Starts Now (CSN), which was only registered in February 2024, follows the DA with over R35 million in donations which were received from three separate donors namely Fynbos Ekwiteit (Pty) Ltd, Main Street 1564 and the Ball Family Trust.

The IFP garnered R20 million, and the ANC R16 million.

RizeMsansi followed behind with R15 million donations while ActionSA received over R10 million.

The EFF, UDM both received donations well over R2 million.

There are also two donations made by international entities.

The IEC indicates that one was an “in-kind donation” received by the DA.

The donation in question was made by Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) while another monetary donation received by the the DA comes from the Danish Liberal Democracy Programme (DLDP), which the IEC says was made towards the cost of a training programme titled “Ready to Govern Locally II.”

“All of the foreign donations complied with the legislative prescripts in that none of the donors exceeded the regulated R5 000 000 per foreign donor per party in a financial year, and the funds were utilised for purposes and functions regulated in law,” states the IEC.