Represented political parties fund

The Represented Political Parties Fund (RPPF) was established in 1997 by the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act (103 of 1997). The aim of the Act was to provide funding for political parties represented in the national and provincial legislatures and to mandate the Electoral Commission to administer the fund and distribution of funds to parties.

Funds for the RPPF are provided annually from the National Revenue Fund and are distributed to political parties represented in the National Assembly or in any provincial legislature.

Funds from the RPPF are currently distributed according to the formula:

  • 10 percent equal: 10 percent is allocated equitably to all parties that    hold seats in the National Assembly or any provincial legislature
  • 90 percent proportional: 90 percent is allocated in proportion to seats held by a political party in the National Assembly or provincial legislatures


However, the new Political Party Funding Act legislates a new formula:

  • 1/3 equal (33.3%): A third is allocated equitably to all parties that hold seats in the National Assembly or any provincial legislature
  • 2/3 proportional (66.6%): Two thirds allocated in proportion to seats held by a political party in the National Assembly or provincial legislatures


Once it commences, the Political Party Funding Act will repeal the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act and the new formula and requirements of the new act will apply.

FAQs

Q: How does a party obtain public funding?

   A. A political party is entitled to an allocation from the RPPF for any financial year that it is represented in the National Assembly and/or in any provincial legislature. In other words, no allocations are made from the RPPF to political parties which are represented in municipal councils only (nor to those which have no public representatives at all).

Q: For what purposes may a party use its allocation from the RPPF?

    A: Section 5(1)(b) of the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act says that the allocation may be used “for any purposes compatible with [the party’s] functioning as a political party in a modern democracy”, and that these include:

  • the development of the political will of people (allowing voters to choose)
  • bringing the party’s influence to bear on the shaping of public opinion (providing voters with a choice)
  • inspiring and furthering political education (keeping voters up to date with what is available and who is offering what)
  • promoting active participation by individual citizens in political life (getting people involved)
  • exercising an influence on political trends
  • ensuring continuous, vital links between the people and organs of state (developing the interface between citizens and public administration
  • A party must account for the money allocated to it under these classifications: personnel expenditure, accommodation, travel expenses, arrangement of meetings and rallies, administration, and promotions and publications.


Q: Are there any specific prohibitions on the uses to which a party may put its allocation from the RPPF?

   A: Yes: these are set out in section 5(3) of the Act.

A political party may not:

  • pay any direct or indirect remuneration or other benefit of any kind to any elected representative of the party or to any public servant at any level of government
  • finance or contribute directly or indirectly to any matter, cause, event or occasion if it contravenes any code of ethics binding on members of parliament or any provincial legislature
  • use the money directly or indirectly to start any business or acquire or maintain a right or financial interest in any business
  • use the money directly or indirectly to acquire or maintain a right or financial interest in any immovable property, unless if solely for ordinary party-political purpose
  • use the money for anything else that is incompatible with a political party’s functioning in a modern democracy.


In effect, this means that the RPPF is administered through the IEC, which keeps parties informed of the relevant rules and regulations.

The responsibilities of each political party receiving an allocation from the Fund include the following:

  • Keep a separate account with a bank in the Republic, into which money allocated from the RPPF must be deposited.
  • Appoint an official within the party as accounting officer to take responsibility for the money received in this bank account and ensure that the party complies with the requirements of the Act.
  • The accounting officer must keep separate books and records for this money in the manner prescribed.
  • An income and expenditure statement, showing for what purposes the money has been applied, must be audited annually. The auditor is to express an opinion as to whether the allocation has been spent for purposes not authorised by the Act
  • The accounting officer must submit the financial statement and the auditor’s report to the Commission annually.


Annual Reports of the Represented Political Party Fund [listed from 1998/99 – 2018/19]