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Threat to democracy: A flawed new Political Party Funding Act

The Political Party Funding Act unlawfully requires the Zackie2024 NPC bank

account to shut down, if it is not run as a sole proprietorship. Our campaign will be thrown into deep disarray on the eve of the election should we be compelled to adhere to an unjust and unconstitutional law.


Despite several compelling submissions, including by Zackie Achmat, to Parliament on

the proposed amendments, the new Political Party Funding Act doesn’t grapple with the

complexity of running a campaign as an independent candidate, and potentially

undermines accountability, openness and oversight.


What are the problems with the PPFA for independents?


The PPFA must fulfil its objectives to hold parties and independents accountable and

require them to be transparent and to deepen democracy. Regrettably, the Act now

creates loopholes to avoid these duties.


The amended law forces all independent candidates to run their campaigns and offices

as sole proprietorships. This means administering all campaign funding through

personal bank accounts, and if elected for their Parliamentary constituency work and

operational allowances. Political parties have party accounts.


This requirement does not take into account the practical implications it holds for the

operations of campaigns and the administrative burden. Independents’ campaigns, like

those of parties, require the remuneration of staff and consultants, disbursement to

organisers and the procurement of goods and service.


What are the implications for the Zackie2024 campaign?


  • Zackie2024 campaign is a Non-Profit Company (NPC) with independent financial oversight; Zackie Achmat has no control over the bank account. The new PPFA removes this accountability from independent oversight, and creates space for potential misuse of funds.

  • The NPC was established to represent working-class interests, with Achmat accountable to community organisations and 4000 volunteers, adhering to a Contract of Work, Ethics, and Accountability. His first duty is to be accountable to these movements, and to be transparent about budget and spending.

  • Before the PPFA amendment, Zackie2024 voluntarily disclosed its funding on its website, despite not being required to by the IEC.

  • Zackie2024 employs over 100 staff and the new requirement to use a personal bank account for payroll is burdensome and inappropriate.

  • Suppliers, such as printers and t-shirt manufacturers, would also need to be paid from a private bank account, which is impractical.

  • The campaign operates in nearly 200 voting districts, and the new requirement would severely disrupt its operations and logistics.


Aside from the PPFA amendment being impractical and unrealistic, it also undermines accountability, openness and oversight.


A higher standard of accountability and adherence to the Constitution should not be

criminalised, it should be supported by Parliament and every organ of state.


“We are not avoiding accountability, openness and oversight instead the Zackie2024 campaign demands it. The PPFA opens the door to fraud and corruption with its requirement that independents open personal bank accounts to receive and disburse funds,”

says Zackie Achmat


Zackie has written to the President, IEC, NPA, and SAPS, urging them to recognize the unconstitutionality of this provision, and to avoid unnecessary litigation at this stage. He stated his refusal to comply with a law that undermines openness and accountability and plans to challenge its constitutionality after the elections.


“Section 12A(4) of the PPFA requires independent candidates to deposit all donations into a separate but personal bank account, effectively forcing me to shut down a registered non-profit company that has serious internal and external oversight. Instead, I would be forced to have two personal bank accounts, a private one and a political one. I refuse to do this because I believe in the daily oversight over my campaign account on which I do not have signing power.”

For interviews on this issue please contact Communications Manager, Alma Viviers.


CONTACT INFORMATION

Alma Viviers

Zackie2024

alma.v@zackie2024

+27824441729


Read Zackie's letter to the President here:

20240512 Letter to President
.pdf
Download PDF • 124KB




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