Idasa challenges municipal election candidates to disclose their campaign funding

4 May 2011

For Immediate Release

Idasa challenges municipal election candidates to disclose their campaign funding South Africa will be holding countrywide municipal elections on Wednesday 18 May 2011. They will be held against a background of many years of mounting dissatisfaction with service delivery, manifested in increasingly widespread protests and rates boycotts.
Community members frequently attribute these shortcomings in services, infrastructure and broader social development to ward councillors’ poor performance, and voice deep mistrust of their representatives’ motives for seeking public office. Many candidates in this month’s elections are viewed with similar suspicion, giving rise to protests about some political parties’ candidate lists.

In South Africa’s electoral system, municipal ward councillors are the only public representatives directly elected by voters. Elected councillors are uniquely accountable first to all their constituents to represent their collective best interests in local government, before their political parties’ interests. But whose interests are actually served by our public representatives? Citizens have a right to know.

Currently, South Africa has no law regulating private sources of funding for political parties. Secret donations from private sources such as wealthy individuals or businesses can exert undue influence on the political system, secretly drowning out the interests of the poor and less powerful. It also denies citizens the right to know the real basis for political decisions and thus denies them the right to exercise their vote in an informed manner. Thereafter, it may weaken their representatives’ accountability for their campaign promises.

We therefore issue a challenge to all ward candidates to make a full disclosure of their sources of funding for their election campaigns. Idasa will publish on its website details of ward candidates who accept the challenge of transparent accountability. Any ward candidates wishing to make a full disclosure can contact the “Private Funding to Political Parties in South Africa: The 2011 Local Elections Project” at Idasa in Cape Town.

For further information or comment please contact Justin Sylvester on or 072 138 9949 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            072 138 9949      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; or Sithembile Mbete on or 083 686 2554 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            083 686 2554      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; or Nonhlanhla Chanza on or 072 679 0448 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            072 679 0448      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; or Gary Pienaar on or 082 541 4221 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            082 541 4221      end_of_the_skype_highlighting


One Response

  1. Absolutely agree. Local politicians start their careers with secrecy and the rot sets in. Not only should their be full disclosure but they should sign a liability/commitment form to their constituents so that they are answerable to the voters and not only to their political party who may give them a salary for 5 years for not doing the job. Modern politics stinks because there’s no will to be honest.

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