The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes the Constitutional Court’s decision in My Vote Counts NPC v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Another. The decision, which confirmed an earlier Western Cape High Court ruling, makes it apparent that the unchecked funding of political parties or individuals running for political office, has no place within a constitutional democracy founded on values of transparency and accountability.
The decision enhances the voting public’s right to make informed political choices through requiring that the information pertaining to the private funding of political parties and independent candidates must be recorded, preserved and made reasonably accessible. The provisions of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA), which excluded political parties and independent candidates from its purview, were also declared invalid. The order of invalidity was however suspended for 18 months to allow Parliament to remedy PAIA to bring the Act in line with the decision. This means that there is a high likelihood that political parties in the 2019 national and provincial elections will be governed by the amended PAIA. South Africa’s democracy will be all the richer for it.
The decision will ensure that the “will of the people” is not subverted by corruption, which is often enabled by undisclosed private funding. It also leaves very little room for narrow sectarian interests to thrive. The adoption of the Political Party Funding Bill (B33 - 2017) is at an advanced stage before Parliament. This Bill, applied with the amended PAIA, will ultimately overhaul private political party funding, enhancing and deepening South Africa’s democracy.
Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
22 June 2018