The ANC wants taxpayer money to bankroll political parties

The ANC, which has been struggling to make ends meet, wants to increase funding to political parties using taxpayer money.

This is according to the Sunday Times, which said the ANC’s treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile wants to increase state funding of political parties from R164 million to over R500 million a year.

The report said strict new funding rules and high-profile funding scandals have resulted in private donors “closing the taps”.

The Daily Maverick reported that the “recent spate of arrests of ANC donors accused of corruption in government circles is likely to lead to more problems for the governing party”.

These arrests highlighted the problem with political funding and poses a big challenge for the ruling party.

If political donors can no longer give money to the ANC in secret, will the party be able to finance its operations?

In January, Mashatile acknowledged that the ANC has financial challenges which they were trying to address through a Presidential Golf Challenge and gala dinner.

While these events helped, the party’s financial woes resurfaced a few months later with the ANC unable to pay salaries in June and August.

It is therefore no surprise that Mashatile is looking towards taxpayer’s money to fund the party, but it will be easier said than done.

The South African economy has contracted significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, which has caused tax revenues to plummet.

The lower tax collections, combined with a ballooning budget deficit and additional government spending, has put tremendous strain on the Treasury.

If Mashatile wants to get more money from taxpayers for the ANC, he will have to convince finance minister Tito Mboweni that it is the best way to spend tax revenue.

While Mboweni told the Sunday Times he was open to discussing grant increases with political parties, to squeeze more money out of the minister will not be easy.

Other priorities like saving state owned enterprises and paying social grants may enjoy a higher priority than giving political parties more money.

Now read: Eskom bankrolled the ANC using taxpayer money

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The ANC wants taxpayer money to bankroll political parties