PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
24 February 2005
Dear Madame Speaker
INTRODUCTION OF A BILL
I wish to submit a bill in the Assembly in my individual capacity and accordingly in terms of Rule 234(1),l hereby submit to you-
1 A memorandum, setting out-
2 Although not specifically required by Rule 234, I nevertheless enclose a copy of my proposed bill.
I should therefore be pleased if Madame Speaker would kindly in terms of Rule 234(2) table my memorandum in the Assembly and thereafter in terms of Rule 234(1) refer my memorandum to the Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions.
PF SMITH MP
To establish the Represented Political Parties' Election Fund with a view to making provision for the state contributing to represented political parties' election expenses; to provide for the management of that Fund by the Electoral Commission and for accountability regarding that Fund; to regulate the allocation of moneys from that Fund and the purposes for which allocated moneys may be used by political parties; and to provide for incidental matters.
WHEREAS the Constitution establishes the basic principle of multi-party democracy;
AND WHEREAS regular, fair and free elections are foundations underpinning multi-party democracy;
AND WHEREAS section 236 of the Constitution, in promotion of that principle, requires national legislation to provide for the funding of political parties participating in national and provincial legislatures on an equitable and proportional basis to enhance multi-party democracy;
AND WHEREAS effect is to be given to section 236 of the Constitution through money made available to those political parties from a fund created by law for that purpose; AND WHEREAS the money so allocated is to be utilised by political parties for the purpose of meeting expenses incurred in their election campaigning;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, as follows:—
1. In this Act, except if not consistent with the context—-
Establishment of Represented Political Parties' Election Fund
(2) The Fund will be credited with-
Deposit and investment of moneys of Fund
3. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), the moneys standing to the credit of the Fund will be deposited in a separate banking account to be opened by the Commission with a bank registered in the Republic. Payment of all moneys allocated to political parties in terms of section 5 will be made from that account.
(2) The moneys of the Fund that are not required immediately for making allocations to political parties in terms of section 5, may be invested with the Public Investment Commissioners contemplated in the Public Investment Commissioners Act. 1984 (Act No. 45 of 1984).
Management and control of Fund
4. (1) Subject to the directions of the Commission, the chief electoral officer acting in the capacity of head of the administration of the Commission is responsible for the management and administration of the Fund, and is the accounting officer and chief executive officer of the Fund.
(2) For each financial year the Commission must have records kept, in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice and procedures, of all moneys received by or accruing to the Fund, all allocations and payments made therefrom, and all expenditure arising from the allocation of moneys from the Fund, as well as a current record of the capital and liabilities of the Fund during that year.
(3) (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), the financial year of the Fund will run from 1 April in every year to 31 March in the following year, both days included.
(b) The first financial year will run from the day on which this Act comes into operation until 31 March first following, both days included.
Allocations from Fund
5. (1)(a) Every political party represented—
which is registered with the Electoral Commission to contest an election contemplated in section 49 or section 108 of the Constitution, is entitled to be allocated moneys from the fund
(b) Every political party represented in a municipal council and which is registered with the Electoral Commission to contest an election contemplated in section 159 of the Constitution, excluding a by-election or an election following the dissolution of a council, is entitled to be allocated moneys from the fund.
(c) Subject to subsection (3), the moneys so allocated to a political party may be used for any purposes compatible with its campaigning for an election in a modem democracy. These purposes include, amongst others—
(d) Allocations from the Fund to political parties will be made at the times or intervals and in the instalments that will be prescribed, save that at least one half of a party's allocation will be made before the election.
(2) (a) Allocations from the Fund arising from the from the entitlement in section 5(1 )(a) must be made in terms of the formula contemplated in section 5 of the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act, no 103 of 1997. (b) Allocations from the Fund arising from the from the entitlement in section 5(1)(b) must be made and paid to each of the political parties concerned in accordance with a prescribed formula based on the relation that the number of such a party's representatives in all municipal councils jointly bears to the sum of the memberships of all parties in the those councils jointly.
(3) Moneys allocated to a political Party from the Fund may not be used-
(4) The allocation of moneys from the Fund to a political party will end when the Party ceases qualifying therefor in terms of subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b). Within 21 days after the date on which a political party has so ceased to qualify, it must repay the unspent balances as at that date, of all moneys that had been allocated to it in terms of this section.
Political parties to account for moneys allocated to them from Fund
Recovery of allocated moneys irregularly spent by political parties.
(b) Any moneys so repaid, will be credited to the Fund.
(2) The Commission, represented by the chief executive officer of the Fund, must recover the moneys irregularly spent, and may do so by—
Commission to report to Parliament on Fund
8. (1) As soon as possible after the end of each financial year, the Commission must have-
Surplus moneys as at end of financial year
9. (1) Any unspent moneys, as at the end of the period referred to in section 6(3), in the special banking account kept by a political party in terms of section 6(1)(a), will be shown in that party's relevant books and records of account as a credit balance to be returned to the Commission on its request.
10. (1) The President, acting on the recommendation of a joint committee of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, may by proclamation in the Gazette make regulations consistent with this Act—
Short title and commencement
11. (1) This Act is called the Public Election Funding of Represented Political Parties Act, 2005, and comes into operation on a date that will be determined by the President by proclamation in the Gazette.
PUBLIC ELECTION FUNDING OF REPRESENTED POLITICAL PARTIES BILL
Private member's bill
Notice is hereby given of the intention, subject to rules 234 to 237 of the National Assembly, to introduce in the National Assembly, a private member's bill whose details are set out hereunder. Although the rules do not require a draft bill to be submitted at this stage of the process, with a view towards facilitating the process, a draft is appended to this memorandum.
Particulars of the proposed legislation
The bill is intended to make legal provision for the state to contribute towards the funding of represented political parties' election expenses through the mechanism of a Represented Political Parties Election Fund; to provide for the management of such funds by the Electoral Commission and for accountability regarding the fund; to regulate the allocation of moneys from the fund and the purpose for which allocated moneys may be used by political parties; and to provide for incidental matters.
The preamble affirms the foundational constitutional principle of multi-party democracy; the centrality of elections to multi-party democracy: the injunction in section 236 of the Constitution to fund political parties; that such funding be given effect to via the establishment of a special fund; and that the moneys be utilised for the purpose of meeting expenses incurred by parties in their election campaigning.
This provides for definitions.
This provides for the establishment of the Represented Political Parties Election Fund ("the Fund") and indicates its sources of funding.
This provides that moneys credited to the Fund must be deposited In a separate, ' bank account in the name of the Commission and that moneys in the fund not yet disbursed to parties may be invested with the Public Investment Commissioners.
This provides for the management and control of the Fund, requiring that the CEO of the Commission be its accounting officer and CEO and that proper records must be kept by the Commission. The financial year is specified.
This provides that any party registered to contest a defined election represented in any legislature in the three spheres of government is entitled to be allocated moneys from the Fund. Provision is also made to define the purposes for which the moneys may be utilized by the parties. The clause also provides that in respect of national/provincial elections, the formula contemplated in section 5 of the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act, no 103 of 1997 be used, while the formula in respect of municipal elections is provided in the bill. The clause also enumerates what the moneys may not be used for.
This provides that the political parties must account for the moneys allocated to them from the fund. Provision is made for the keeping by each party of a special bank account; for the appointment by the party of an accounting officer: for the responsibilities of the accounting officer: for the keeping of separate books and records of account: for auditing of accounts: for submission to the Commission of auditor's report and statement; and for the powers of the Auditor-General in respect of suspension of allocations to a party.
This provides that moneys irregularly spent by political parties must be recovered and indicates how this should be effected.
This provides that the Commission must furnish a report to Parliament regarding the management and administration of the fund and its financial statements; that it must submit same to the Auditor-General; and that this must likewise be submitted to Parliament.
This provides that in the event of a political party not spending the moneys allocated in the required manner, any credit balance be returned to the Commission.
This provides that the President may make regulations in respect of enumerated matters.
This provides for the short title and commencement date, as well as for the possibility of the funding taking place retrospectively.
Objects of the proposed legislation
The proposed legislation is intended to strengthen the Constitution's foundational principle of multi-party democracy by giving effect at an operational level to the requirement of regular elections in which participating parties are not rendered unable to property contest elections because of an inability to raise sufficient funds.
The proposal is not that parties' election expense are met in toto and that they cease their fund raising efforts, but that a contribution be made by the state towards parties election expenses, the deficit being funded by the parties.
The proposed legislation is also intended to remedy a perceived shortcoming in the application of section 236 of the Constitution, in terms of which Parliament in 1997 unnecessarily restricted the present funding of political parties to exclude election expenses.
It provides that the state, via the establishment of a dedicated Fund, should provide moneys which assist parties in offsetting some of the expenses associated with conducting an election campaign, to which end the purposes for which the moneys maybe used are enumerated as area range of matters incidental thereto, including accountability, reporting and auditing.
The proposed legislation has financial implications to the State, the magnitude of which is not determined by the bill itself, but by the appropriations process. In other words, the proposal is neutral in respect of the quantum to be appropriated. However, if one were to have regard to the level of funding provided to represented political parties allocated via the Represented Political Parties' Fund, as well as to needs of political parties, it is not unreasonable to assume that the quantum could be of a significant magnitude. Be that as it may, this possibility should not of itself, comprise a determining factor in Parliament's consideration of the proposal, precisely because the determination of the quantum bears no relation to the legislative proposal itself (which is merely enabling).
Name of Member: Peter Francis Smith