The purpose of this research paper was to identify possible sources of private funding to South Africa's political parties, beyond the annual state allocation, which are potentially corrupting and / or subverting the will of the electorate. The lack of legislation to regulate the flow of private funds to political parties is one of the greatest threats to South Africa's sanctified democracy. The paper analyses how Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment has been misapplied by some individuals and companies seeking party funding opportunities. The paper does not seek to attack the principle of BEE, which it fully supports; rather it critiques the exploitation of the policy for ulterior financial gains, revealing a new corporate front used by the ruling African National Congress to seek profit on its own behalf. The paper also provides a quantitative assessment of sources of funding to the opposition Democratic Alliance.
It was commissioned by the Cape Town based ISS Corruption & Governance Programme as part of a joint project with the Idasa Political Information Monitoring Service (PIMS) to promote debate on options to regulate private funding of political parties as well as the monitoring of party funding by researchers, civil society and the media. For more about the project and other views on the regulation of private funding to political parties in South Africa visit www.whofundswho.org.za.