South Africa: landmark report on party funding is more lax than revelation


The first political party funding declarations are in effect – and are as interesting for what they don’t say as for what they do. They suggest the DA is the only party still able to rely on high net worth individuals for massive donations, while questions need to be asked about the EFF’s non-disclosure and possibly other parties as well.

Anyone who hoped that the first files published by South Africa on the financing of political parties would provide a revealing key to the levers of power in that country was disappointed.

When the CEI released its very first report on political party funding on Thursday, it turned out that it only contained accounting entries for only three parties: Herman Mashaba’s Action SA, the DA and the ANC. This is because they are the only parties to disclose having received donations of over R100,000 between April and June 2021.

The most striking donation was certainly the R15-million recorded as having been given to DA by Mary Slack. This was by an order of magnitude the most significant donation in the report. Slack, 77, is the daughter of Harry and Bridget Oppenheimer, mining tycoons who have long funded liberal politics in South Africa …

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