RULES GOVERNING CONSTITUENTS’ ALLOWANCES PAYABLE TO POLITICAL PARTIES
Formula for calculating constituents’ allowance
1(1) The Speaker: National Assembly and the Chairperson: NCOP must annually, with due regard to national budgetary constraints, determine an amount per member of Parliament to be budgeted for distribution to political parties as a constituents’ allowance during the next ensuing financial year.
The total amount to which a particular political party is entitled is determined by multiplying the number members of that political party, including Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Presiding Officers that are members of the political party concerned, with the amount per member determined by the Presiding Officers.
Objective of constituents’ allowance
2(1) The objective of the constituents’ allowance payable to a political party is to enable such political party to establish and maintain an infrastructure to serve the interests of constituents and to enable its members to render a service, not related to their political affiliation, to all their constituents.
(2) The services provided at a constituents' office must be available equally to all members of the public.
Payment of constituents’ allowance
3(1) The Secretary to Parliament must, subject to the provisions of Rules 2 to 12, pay a constituents’ allowance to each political party represented in Parliament.
The constituents’ allowance is paid as a total amount to the political party concerned and not to individual Members of Parliament.
A political party must open a bank account with a registered banking institution exclusively for the purposes of income and expenditure in respect of its constituents’ allowances, into which the Secretary must pay that political party’s entitlement.
Advance payment in April
4(1) In April of each financial year the Secretary pays to each political party an advance of two twelfths of its annual constituents’ allowance entitlement.
No further payments may be made to a political party until such time as it has submitted audited financial statements for the preceding financial year.
5 Upon receipt of audited financial statements and audit certificate that confirms compliance with these Rules during the preceding financial year, the Secretary must pay to the political party concerned the balance of its constituents’ allowance entitlement.
6(1) A political party determines the location of its constituents’ offices and allocates its members to serve such constituencies.
A political party must during March of each year provide the Secretary with written information regarding the location of its constituents’ offices and the names of its members allocated to each constituency.
Political party offices in a constituency may not be used for the purposes of a constituents' office and a constituents’ offfice may not be used as a political party office.
The constituents' office must be clearly marked as a parliamentary constituents' office.
Leasing of office space
7(1) A political party must enter into a formal lease for the office space to be used as a constituents' office.
The lease must be in writing and must specify -
the name and address of the owner of the building in which the office space is leased;
the address of the office space leased;
the duration of the lease;
the rental per square metre payable;
where applicable, a declaration that the premises do not belong to -
the political party concerned;
a member of the political party concerned;
the parent, parent-in-law, spouse or child of a member of the political party concerned; or
a company, closed corporation or partnership in which a member of the political party concerned or a person mentioned in paragraph (e)(iii) has a controlling interest.
Staffing of constituents’ offices
8 A political party is the employer of its constituents’ office staff and is responsible for the recruitment, selection, management and remuneration of such staff.
Expenditure to be defrayed from constituents’ allowance
9(1) Money paid to a political party as a constituents’ allowance may only be used to defray expenditure with regard to the following items:
Payment of remuneration and benefits to staff, including UIF contributions;
payment of costs arising from staff training, including travel and accommodation expenditure arising from a training exercise;
purchase, rental, maintenance and insurance of office furniture and standard office equipment such as a facsimile machine, photocopier, dictaphone, shredder and computer equipment;
cost in connection with the refurbishment of office space [for example, painting, curtains, carpets, etc];
general office requirements such as office stationery, stapler, paper punch, computer software, crockery and cutlery;
expenditure in respect of telephone, internet and other modem line usage, provided that such communication lines are registered in the name of the member or her or his constituency and not in the name of her or his political party;
reasonable catering expenses, excluding alcoholic beverages;
advertising, printing and postage costs;
production and distribution of bulletins containing information on parliamentary business;
travel and parking expenses, except travel expenses incurred by a Member of Parliament;
rental of office space;
municipal and regional services levies, including water and electricity;
audit fees; and
other items that are reasonably required for the normal administration of an office.
Despite the provisions of subrule (1)(k), a political party may use its constituents’ allowance to cover reasonable travel and subsistence expenses of a Members of Parliament if-
the party has not designated that Member to a particular geographical area (constituency); and
such expenses are reasonably required to enable the Member to render a service to constituents, for example to visit different areas or constituency offices to talk to constituents.
Subject to the provisions of Rule 13, expenditure items other than those listed in subrules (1) and (2) will be regarded as irregular expenditure.
The Secretary must deal with irregular expenditure in accordance with existing statutory requirements.
Accountability of political parties for application of constituents’ allowance
10(1) A political party must appoint a Registered Accountant and Auditor [CA(SA)], who may not be a Member of Parliament to audit the party’s financial statements in respect of constituents’ allowances received in a financial year (1 April to 31 March).
A political party must appoint an accounting officer for its constituents’ allowance allocation.
A political party must keep and maintain a fixed asset register reflecting assets acquired from constituents’ allowance money.
If the Secretary is convinced that a political party is failing to manage its constituents’ allowance in accordance with these Rles and that such failure prevents the submission of unqualified audited financial statements, she or he may require such corrective measures as she or he may deem necessary to ensure compliance with these Rules.
The Secretary may suspend any further payment of constituents’ allowance payments to the political party concerned until such time as he or she is satisfied that the required corrective steps have been implemented.
Submission of audited financial statements
11(1) A political party must before 30 May of each year submit audited financial statements to the Secretary in respect of the application of its constituents’ allowance for the year ending 31 March.
The audited financial statement must deal only with the constituency allowance paid to the political party concerned.
The audited financial statement must indicate-
the unspent amount brought forward;
receipts from the Secretary to Parliament during the current year;
payments during the current year [see Rule 9(1)];
interest earned during the current year; and
a list of assets acquired to date.
The Secretary, in her or his discretion, may either in full or in part accept or reject an audited financial statement submitted by a political party.
If the Secretary rejects in full an audited financial statement submitted by a political party, she or he may not make any further payments in respect of constituents’ allowances to the political party concerned until such time as an audited financial statement to her or his satisfaction are submitted.
If the Secretary rejects certain items included in an audited financial statement submitted by a political party, she or he must withhold an amount equal to the amounts queried until such time as she or he has received satisfactory responses to such queries.
Matters to be addressed in audit report
12(1) The audit report must state separately in respect of each of the following matters whether in the auditor’s opinion-
the annual financial statements fairly present a record of transactions for the year;
the transactions examined in the course of the audit were made in accordance with these Rules; and
the political party implements effective, efficient and transparent financial management and internal control systems [see sec 38(1)(j) of the PFMA].
The audit report must include a verification of the fixed asset register.
The audit report must draw attention to any matter relating to the application of the constituency allowance, which, in her or his opinion, should in the public interest be brought to the attention of the Secretary.
Application of Rules
13(1) The Secretary may apply these Rules in such a way that they cover particular circumstances or eventualities that are not specifically provided for, but which, in the opinion of the Secretary fall within the spirit of the Rules.
(2) If there is any disagreement between the Secretary and a member about the application of this Rule, the Secretary must refer the matter to the Speaker: NA or the Chairperson: NCOP, as may be appropriate.