Original Research

Consequences of (un)regulated party funding in South Africa between 1994 and 2017

Kealeboga J. Maphunye, Kgobalale N. Motubatse
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 15, No 1 | a557 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v15i1.557 | © 2019 Kealeboga J. Maphunye, Kgobalale N. Motubatse | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 March 2018 | Published: 08 October 2019

About the author(s)

Kealeboga J. Maphunye, African Politics, Department of Political Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Kgobalale N. Motubatse, Department of Auditing, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Globally, the topic of political party funding evokes strongly defended positions, partly because of the nasty dynamics that usually arise whenever money and politics cross paths. The primary issue in contention is whether to institute mandatory disclosure legislation, legally compelling parties to reveal their sources of funding, and the likely consequences of such disclosure. Alternatively, a laissez-faire approach may be adopted to party funding, and to determine which parties to exclude from state or public funding. In South Africa, these issues routinely raise public outcry and result in emotive debates pertaining to the expenditure of public finance and accountability. Thus, this article explores contemporary issues on political party funding in South Africa, focusing on recognised parties and examining their sources of funding. This article examines recent media reports on allegations of a lack of accountability on the part of political parties, particularly their apparent reluctance to disclose their sources of funding. It seeks to contribute to the debate on party funding in South Africa, through the use of a qualitative research method using content analysis. The authors contend that officially recognised parties should be audited by a Supreme Audit Institution (the Auditor General South Africa, locally) prior to tabling their annual reports in Parliament. The article concludes that such audit responsibility should not be given to private audit firms in order to avoid possible conflicts of interest, as some audit firms and individual employees may also be funders of some of the political parties.

Keywords

Political funding; public accountability; public interest; regulated funding; political parties

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