Multi-party democracy fund

The new Political Party Funding Act establishes a Multiparty Democracy Fund (MPDF) to raise and distribute donated funds from the private sector to represented political parties.

The Electoral Commission is mandated to administer the fund including to raise funds for the MPDF from corporate and private donors and to distribute these funds to parties represented in the national and provincial legislatures.

The Electoral Commission is entitled to charge the MPDF an administration fee which may not exceed 5 percent of the money credited to the fund in the previous financial year. 

As is the case with the RPPF, funds from the MPDF are only available to political parties represented in the National Assembly or in any provincial legislature.

Funds from the MPDF are distributed according to the formula:

  • 1/3 equal (33.3%) representation
  • 2/3 proportional (66.6%) representation 


The Electoral Commission may not accept money for the MPDF from:

  • Any organ of state
  • Any state owned enterprise
  • Any foreign government or foreign government agency
  • Any donor to the MPDF may request to remain anonymous 


Purposes for which money from MPDF may not be used:

  • To pay remuneration to any person representing the party in the national, provincial or municipal legislatures
  • To pay remuneration to any person in the service of the state and who receives remuneration for that servic
  • To finance or support any cause in contravention of any code of ethics binding on members of parliament or provincial legislature
  • To establish any business or acquiring or maintaining immovable property (except where that property is to be used solely by the party for party political purposes
  • To defray legal expenses relating to internal party disputes
  • Any other purpose which may be prescribed

FAQs

Q: Who may donate to the Multiparty Democracy Fund?
   A: Any private individual or corporate entity may donate funds to the MPDF. Those excluded from making donations are organs of state,  state owned enterprises and any foreign government or foreign government agency.

Q: Who may not donate to the MPDF?
   A: The following are not permitted to donate funds to the MPDF:

  • Any organ of state
  • Any state owned enterprise
  • Any foreign government or foreign government agency


Q: How are the funds distributed?
   A: Funds from the MPDF are distributed according to the formula:

  • 1/3 equal (33.3%) representation
  • 2/3 proportional (66.6%) representation


Q: Who are the beneficiaries of the funds?
   A: Political parties represented in national and/or provincial legislatures are the beneficiaries of the funds raised by the MPDF.


Q: What may the funds be used for by political parties?
   A: The funds may be used by a represented political party for any purpose compatible with its functioning as a political party including:

  • The development of the political will of the people
  • Bringing the party’s influence to bear on the shaping of public opinion
  • Inspiring and further political education
  • Promoting active participation by individual citizens in political life
  • Exercising an influence on political trends
  • Ensuring continuous and vital links between the people and organs of state; and
  • Complying with provisions of the Political Party Funding Act


Q: What may the funds be NOT used for by political parties?
   A: The Act prohibits the use of funds from the MPDF by represented political parties

  • To directly or indirectly pay any remuneration, fee, reward or other benefit to a person representing the party in any legislature (including national, provincial and municipal councils
  • To directly or indirectly pay any remuneration, fee, reward or other benefit to a person who is appointed by or in the service of the state and is paid for that service
  • To finance or contribute to (either directly or indirectly) any cause, matter, event or occasion in contravention of the code of ethics of the national assembly or provincial legislatures
  • To directly or indirectly establish a business or acquiring or maintaining any right of financial interest in any business or immovable property – except where the right or interest in the immovable property is solely for party political purposes
  • To defray legal costs relating to internal political party disputes


Q: How often are distributions made?
   A: Depending on availability, funds from the MPDF are distributed quarterly to represented political parties.


Q: What are the benefits of donating to the MPDF rather than directly to political parties?
A: Many organisations and individuals want to support multiparty democracy in South Africa but wish to remain impartial/a-political and do not want to support any specific political party.
The MPDF provides a channel for donations in support of multiparty democracy at “an arms’ length” and leaves the distribution of the funds up to the Electoral Commission according to the prescribed formula.
The Fund is carefully regulated and all income, administrative costs and distributions are audited and reported on to Parliament annually.
Donors may also request to remain anonymous when donating to the MPDF.