Below is an interview Political Analysis South Africa’s Stephanie Naidoo had with Hon. James Selfe, the Chairperson of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Executive, on the position of the party as it relates to political party funding disclosure.
Interviewer: In terms of the disclosure of political party funding, the DA is the only political party that has not been in agreement with disclosing sources of political party funding. What is the DA’s actual stance?
Hon. James Selfe: Well, we, in a perfect world, would welcome transparency, because with it comes accountability. But, we live in a state which has been captured, and as a matter of course and deliberate policy, the cadres of the ruling party have deployed into government. We are apprehensive, as are our donors, that the information will be used to prejudice them in one way or another. And, for that reason, we believe that it has less, on the part of the ANC I would say, to do with a new-found belief in transparency, and more to do with the matter of disadvantaging the opposition.
As I understand it, the court has said that the Public Access to Information Act (PAIA), as it relates to permitting non-disclosure, was in fact unconstitutional. In terms of the Draft Bill on Funding Disclosure, that disclosure of sources of funding will be reasonably required. In terms of the DA’s position on the matter, what will be the course of action as it relates to funding disclosure, and the Draft Bill?
I do not know, actually. (A) It has not been finalised, it is still before the Ad Hoc Committee – it is still receiving input from the public. And (B) the matter has not yet been to our Caucus.
Is there anything that you would like to add on behalf of the DA, or from yourself, as it relates to political party funding?
We profoundly, and respectfully, disagree with the findings of the Cape High Court, and if it was relevant, I think we would take it on appeal. In fact, in our view, PAIA does strike the right balance between the right to privacy and the right to information. But, in the absence of that, we believe it is right to disclose donations, more particularly, given the very clear and present danger of state capture. We believe that it would be more appropriate for the disclosure to take place, much like as the Parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests does; to take place on a confidential basis, and that access to that information should only be required in the cases where a very direct conflict of interests or undue influence could reasonably be inferred.