The Committee elected Mr V Smith (ANC) as the Chairperson of the Committee.
The Committee also discussed the issues around the scope of the Committee and emphasised that is should be worded as the resolution that had been adopted by the House. The Committee would allow three weeks for written submissions and then afford those who are willing to make oral submissions.
Members highlighted that the purpose of the Committee is to ensure the strengthening of our democracy and transparency.
The Committee would meet again on 01 August 2017 and scheduled to finish its business on 30 November 2017.
All the submissions will be available on www.parliament.gov.za as of 4 August 2017
Election of Chairperson
The Committee Secretary welcomed everyone and asked Members to elect a Chairperson for the Committee.
Mr B Bongo (ANC) nominated Mr V Smith (ANC) for the position of Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding of Political Parties.
Mr N Singh (IFP) seconded the nomination.
Mr Smith accepted the nomination.
In the absence of any other nominations, the Committee congratulated and recognised Mr Smith as the Chairperson of the Committee.
Chairperson’s Opening Remarks
The Chairperson appreciated the confidence that had been bestowed upon him by Members as the Committee was about to embark on a task of looking into the issues of political funding. The Committee would meet on 01 August 2017 to consider all the written submissions that had been made by the general public.
Dr C Mulder (FF+) proposed that the scope of the Committee should be worded exactly as reflected in the resolutions that had been adopted by the House. The scope of the Committee should not only be confined to looking at transparency but much broader than that.
The Chairperson noted the proposal that had been made by Dr Mulder and said that the wording of the scope of the Committee would be as reflected in the resolution adopted in the National Assembly.
Mr F Shivambu (EFF) asked if the Committee would also consider oral submissions from the general public.
The Chairperson responded that the Committee would consider oral submissions after the written submissions. The Committee would allow three weeks for written submissions and then invite those who are willing to make oral submissions.
Mr Singh said that the Committee should make it clear to the public that they would be given an opportunity to make oral submissions so that no one is left behind.
The Chairperson highlighted that the purpose of the Committee is to ensure the strengthening of our democracy and transparency. The Committee should not be seen as asking for increased funding but more about regulating and enhancing our democracy. The Committee would also ensure that the interests of the public are not diluted by undue influences exerted by private funders. There should be an element of public funding just to make sure so that the country does not open the door for private funders to look after their narrow interests and ultimately dilute the interests of the electorate.
The Chairperson further remarked that he had looked at 35 countries in terms of whether political party funding was regulated or not. South Africa fell in the category of countries where private political funding was not regulated. A total of 9 out of 35 countries banned the use of state resources being used for party activities. In other words, there is regulation in terms of how state resources should be used for political party activities. Members should look into how much regulation we need as a country and the implications of that to all political parties.
The Committee would also get a briefing from the legal team in terms on what needed to be done and the way forward. The Committee would meet again on 01 August 2017 and scheduled to finish its business on 30 November 2017.
The meeting was adjourned.