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Electoral Matters Amendment Bill demonstrates blatant ANC greed, but will not succeed

The Electoral Matters Amendment Bill is a blatant attempt by the ANC to get its hands on millions more of taxpayers’ money to fatten up the ruling party’s thinning wallet.

It will, however, not be successful because it runs counter to the Constitution’s prescripts and South Africans will vehemently oppose it on all levels, even if it means fighting it in the Constitutional Court.

It is reminiscent of the desperate attempt by the sweating Nathi Nhleko, former Minister of Police, to convince the country that the swimming pool at Nkandla is in fact a fire pool.

Likewise, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Home Affairs, is trying his utmost best to persuade the people that the proposed legislative amendment is harmless, and in the best interest of the country and democracy.

That is just as much the case as a swimming pool is a fire pool, and it will blow up just as spectacularly in the Minister’s face.

The Constitutional Court has never before made any mention of the funding of independent candidates. The Constitution also has very clear guidelines on the matter.

The objective of section 236 of the Constitution is to promote multi-party democracy. The proposals put forth by the ANC in the legislative amendment will bring about the exact opposite and benefit only one party, namely the ANC.

The Constitution, furthermore, clearly stipulates that there should be funding for political parties represented in legislatures. The only exclusion is independent candidates who merely participate in elections.

This means that someone first needs to be elected before there can be any question of funding.

The Constitution also makes it clear that funding should be allocated on an “equitable and proportional basis”. After 1996, the ANC switched this formula around by putting proportional before equitable.

In addition, the proportional allocation came to 90% of the sum total, which means that the ANC received the greatest portion of funding up until just a few years ago. The formula was completely void of equitability.

This changed in 2018 in terms of the Political Party Funding Act, which provided a formula of two-thirds proportional and one-third equitable, that went a long way towards levelling the playing field for all parties and promoted true fairness.

But now the ANC wants to revert to the previous model under the guise of funding for independent candidates.

The ANC is playing with fire and jeopardising the upcoming elections. It should not think for one second that other political parties and civil organisations will sit idly by as the ANC blatantly tries to take all the election funding for itself.

The ANC should be careful, the courts may possibly even decide to enforce the Constitution’s prescripts and allocate a value of 50% each to equitable and proportional allocation.

And seeing as the ANC’s financial position is just as dire as the country’s which it has governed over the past thirty years, it will not be able to run a proper election campaign.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and this a desperate party’s final attempt to get its hands on the country’s state coffers.

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