DA scores R15m from Oppenheimer’s daughter

NONKULULEKO NJILO

In a single payment, Mary Slack, the daughter of industrialist Harry Oppenheimer, gave the DA a R15m donation.

The IEC said on Thursday that 17 donations of R100,000 or more had been donated to three of SA’s political parties in the last quarter, totalling R30m
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The payment, made on May 14, appears as one of six made to the DA between the beginning of May and the end of June, according to the IEC’s first ever report in response to the Political Party Funding Act.

The IEC report lifts the lid on where political parties get their donations from.

The act requires parties to declare all donations above a threshold of R100,000. The IEC said on Thursday that just three of the country’s parties – the DA, the ANC and Action SA – had donations of this amount or more. A further 108 said all of its donations were below the threshold.

In total, the three declared R30,008,841 in the quarter. Action SA had four donors above R100,000, the DA had six and the ANC had seven.

The DA was the biggest winner, receiving R15,983,751 – with Slack comfortably the biggest donor, accounting for 93.4% of the total donations in the quarter.

The ANC came second receiving R10,720,000, with just under half (46.7%) coming from one source, mining company United Manganese of Kalahari, which made a R5m donation. The party also received two donations of R1m from Nonkwelo Investment Holdings.

Action SA declared total direct donations amounting to R3,305,090. Their biggest donor was Martin Marshal, who coughed up R2.5m. The party has also received an in-kind donation worth R121,490 from a Black Like Me, a company owned by leader Herman Mashaba.

The IEC’s head of political party funding, George Mahlangu, said the commission was pleased with the levels of compliance with the act among political parties, despite hundreds of registered parties failing to respond to calls for declaration.

A total of 504 political parties are registered.

“Of the registered parties, three have submitted declarations, 108 parties have responded to our correspondence that they have not received donations that require declaration, and 393 political parties did not respond to our correspondence,” Mahlangu said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa proclaimed the act in January but it came into effect in April this year. Several political parties, mostly the ruling party, admitted that the law had crippled their finances as some donors preferred to conceal their identities when making donations.

Section 9 of the act requires that both political parties receiving donations and juristic donors – which are corporates and entities – declare such donations.

IEC vice-chairperson Janet Love said some ANC donors had failed to do this.

“Though the political party [ANC] has made the declaration and therefore complied from its end, the donors had not complied with the requirement to separately declare the donation made. This means that the record includes what is referred to as single-legged donation reports,” said Love.

108 parties have responded to our [IEC’s] correspondence that they have not received donations that require declaration, and 393 political parties did not respond to our correspondence

The commission said it had taken steps to force donors to comply, as non-compliance could result in an investigation.

“In this regard, the commission has issued a directive in terms of section 15 of the act for the party to further pursue the donors for compliance. Failure to comply may lead to investigations and possible actions being pursued for non-compliance in relation to the specific donors in terms of section 14 (3) of the act. Since the publication of the report, there has been the necessary compliance,” said Love.

The ruling party has struggled to pay its staffers and their UIF benefits, citing, among other things, the act coming into effect. In a bid to correct this, it has opted explore crowdfunding initiatives.

Asked how the IEC would regulate such donations, Mahlangu said they, too, would need to be declared.

“If a member of the crowd donates any amount above R100,000 that has to be declared to the commission. Any amount that is less than R100,000, political parties are obliged to keep a record to that effect.

“Part of what the political parties are supposed to do is appoint auditors, so we will pick up at the end of the financial year once the audit has been conducted that a political party has complied or has not complied with the provisions of the legislation for any amount over the threshold,” he said.

The act prohibits donations from foreign donors unless intended for the purposes of “training or skills development of a member of a political party; or policy development by a political party”.

The commission, in this regard, confirmed that two foreign entities made direct donations to one party, the DA, and confirmed it was compliant and that no breach or contravention of the act was detected.

-TimesLIVE

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