There’s nothing I hate more in politics than pettiness. And this report from the Johannesburg City Council is a prime example.
As a result of a ruling approved by the ANC’s 136 councillors last week, the amount of time each party is allowed on the floor of the chamber will be proportional to their amount of elected representatives.
The smallest parties such as the IFP will therefore only be allowed to speak for four seconds while even the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which has 59 councillors, can only speak for two-and-a-half minutes.
I think the ANC councillors knew exactly that when they passed this ruling. Of course with the size of the ANC majority in the council it wouldn’t have mattered if the opposition parties were given unlimited time on the floor, the outcome would have been the same.
Let’s face it. The funding of political parties in SA is a complete mess. In what other country which would aspire to call itself a democracy would a political party go to court to keep money (at least R3 500 000 that we know of) donated by a fraudster at a time when he was possibly insolvent?
The DA claims to have returned the R250 000 that was donated to them, although had they received as large a sum as the ANC are fighting to keep one thinks they may not have been so keen to hand the cash back.
Say what you will about the money that surrounds politics in the USA but at least there is legislated transparency (although I’m sure plenty slips below the radar). Unfortunately in SA there is not much momentum to open up the funding of political parties.
The larger political parties (ANC and… uh that’s it) want to keep their donor list private to prevent the more dodgy sources of income (Brett Kebble, Oilgate/Mvume, Chancellor House) from coming to light. The smaller political parties (DA and everyone else although the ACDP disclosed their funding… once… in 2003) would prefer their donors be kept private to prevent any kind of backlash from government towards them.
Either way the situation stinks.