PAIA: POLITICAL PARTIES MUST DISCLOSE FUNDING

The Western Cape High Court has ruled that political parties must disclose their funding. This has come after public-interest group My Vote Counts sought a declaration that information about the private funding of political parties is reasonably required for the effective exercise of the right to vote in Section 19(3)(a) of the Bill of Rights.

Furthermore, they sought a declaration that the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2 of 2000 (“PAIA”) is inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid, insofar as it does not allow for the continuous and systematic recordal and disclosure of private funding information of political parties.

The Court ordered the following:

  1. It is declared that information about the private funding of political parties and independent ward candidates (the latter concept as contemplated in section 16 of the Local Government:  Municipal Electoral Act, 27 of 2000) (“independent candidates”)registered for elections for any legislative body established under the Constitution (“private funding information”) is reasonably required for the effective exercise of the right to vote in such elections and to make political choices, in terms of sections 19(1), 19(3), 32 and 7(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act No 108 of 1996 (“the Constitution”);
  2. It is declared that the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2 of 2000 (“PAIA”)is inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid insofar as it does not allow for the recordal and disclosure of private funding information;
  3. The declaration of invalidity in paragraph 2 above is suspended for 18 months in order to allow Parliament to remedy the defects in PAIA and to allow for the recordal and disclosure of private funding of political parties and independent candidates;

Reference:

  • My Vote Counts NPC v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others (13372/2016) [2017] ZAWCHC 105 (27 September 2017)

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