The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has appointed financial expert George Mahlangu to its new political party funding unit.
Strong financial background
Mahlangu has a strong finance background having previously been the chief financial officer (CFO) at the Gauteng departments of health and local government.
He was also the CFO at the National Youth Commission and joins the IEC from the private sector leaving his job as chief executive officer of a transport company.
“Mr Mahlangu is a seasoned financial expert having served as a chief financial officer in the private and public sectors for many years,” the IEC said in a statement.
“He is qualified with both an LLB and a Bcompt (Honours) which provide him with an ideal blend of legal and financial knowledge to fill this important new role as head of the new party funding unit.
“He will operate at the level of a deputy chief electoral officer and report directly to the chief electoral officer, Sy Mamabolo.”
New political party funding bill
The IEC is reacting to the party funding bill that was passed in parliament in 2018 and signed into law by Ramaphosa earlier in 2019.
The act will regulate political party funding by ensuring that private donations are disclosed. It requires parties to report their funding to the commission and those would then be published by the commission every three months.
Ideally, this will create better transparency and more accountability for political parties and how they are funded.
Ramaphosa vs the Public Protector
Political party funding has been a hot topic in recent weeks following Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s adverse findings against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign.
The Public Protector ordered Ramaphosa to reveal who funded the African National Congress leadership campaign after she discovered some red flags – namely, with the R500 000 Bosasa donation he’s said to have “misled Parliament” about.
Mkhwebane has even accused Ramaphosa of “money laundering” over the R400 million that was raised for his CR17 leadership campaign.
“The R500 000 is the main issue of dispute. But we had to follow the money. It came from Bosasa, which travelled to different accounts – these suspicions were also raised by the Democratic Alliance.”
“We had to follow the money, and saw that cash went from Gavin Watson’s account to the trust account for the CR17. We have to see how this money has moved. I have referred this criminal activity – which also included money laundering – to the NPA.”