Friday, 27 March 2009

'China funding ANC campaign?'

26/03/2009 21:00

Cape Town - The government's refusal to grant the Dalai Lama a visa highlights the need for the regulation of political party funding, political analyst Judith February said on Thursday.

"We just had the situation with the Dalai Lama, so I think it is reasonable to ask whether the ANC received funding from the Chinese recently to fund its election campaign," February, an analyst for the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa), told the Cape Town Press Club.

The Dalai Lama was refused a visa to attend a 2010 World Cup peace conference to have been held in Johannesburg starting on Friday.

The event was cancelled after Nobel peace laureates FW De Klerk and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu withdrew in solidarity with the Dalai Lama.

Shrouded in secrecy

"The whole process of party funding is shrouded in secrecy," February said.

"There are no regulations of private funding to political parties. This is a big gap in our anti-corruption apparatus. It needs to be fixed sooner rather than later."

Idasa took five political parties to the Cape High Court in 2005 to get them to reveal their funding.

The organisation was unsuccessful in its application, with the judge ruling that political parties were private bodies which did not have to make their books public.

Issues with funding

She said all political parties had had issues with funding, including the ANC, DA and Independent Democrats.

"I think most political parties agree on a situation of 'show yours and I'll show you mine'," she said.

February said it was worrying that Parliament had shown no movement on the issue, despite the ANC taking a resolution at its conference in Polokwane in 2007 calling for transparency on contributions to parties.

February also spoke on the upcoming April 22 elections.

ANC could be hurt in polls

She said there was a good chance that the ANC might be hurt in the polls after the way in which it handled corruption charges against party president Jacob Zuma.

"I think that the ANC is in danger of losing the two-thirds majority in Parliament," she said.

"Some of the pressure to drop the charges against Zuma might hurt them at the polls," she said.

"The ANC needs to be very careful in the way it deals with this issue."

February said she expected the DA to "do very well" in the Western Cape and the ANC had itself to blame for losing support in the province.

"The party did not do a good job in running the city," she said.

"I think that in Helen Zille people see a leader of integrity. The city of Cape Town has had no corruption scandals. That sticks with people."



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