In politics money talks and sets the agenda for the nation

By Sandile Swana

Many stakeholders have commented on the funding of political campaigns because such funding ordinarily binds the politicians and their parties to certain policy and budget choices regardless of the needs and wishes of the voters.

Professor Andre Thomashausen of Unisa stated on the SABC Morning Live show that the 2017 Cyril Ramaphosa campaign was significantly funded by European business interests to protect them from the radical economic transformation faction and the EFF, regardless of what the voters wanted in South Africa.

That campaign succeeded in many ways redirecting South Africa towards new levels of economic, governance and political failure.

Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton Mackenzie says he was offered R200-million to remove the ANC from power by Rob Hersov in a total of five billionaires who have set aside about R5-billion to determine the political future of the republic.

Hersov says the DA, ActionSA and Ramaphosa are not delivering, I suppose on the wishes of the billionaires, and perhaps Freedom Front Plus is a much better alternative.

There is no doubt that the tycoons who have business interests in South Africa do influence the political chessboard of the country.

This involvement of major business organisations and tycoons in politics entrenches neo-apartheid economics which is visible in how South Africa is a world leader in terms of worsening inequality in the fields of wealth, incomes, and land ownership.

Vested interests protect, through political funding, pre-existing apartheid and colonial privileges. This view lines up with the research and teachings of professor Joseph Stiglitz of the US.

The Constitutional Court, the non-government organisation Right to Vote, and opposition parties have distilled the dangers and precautions related to the funding of political parties and political campaigns anywhere in the broad political system of the country.

That is why the ANC in its elective conference in December demanded, with limited success, that all financial contributions and uses of funds be disclosed and audited.

Gwede Mantashe, ANC chairperson and Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, later confirmed that the amount of money used to determine the outcome of the election in December was much less than that used in 2017.

The Constitutional Court stated that when you vote for any political party or candidate who has not disclosed their sources of funding, then you do not know who you are voting for.

It argued that there is no free lunch in political campaigns, the funders want rewards in terms of policy choices, budget allocation, tax concessions and state tenders.

The voter who supports a particular candidate who is funded by manufacturers and suppliers of antiretrovirals (ARV), solar power or other renewables, must be aware that once the voting is done, the candidate in question will go ahead and support ARVs or renewable energy at all costs, even to the detriment of the voters and residents in general.

The Eskom privatisation lobby has confused ANC policy and practice in the field of building new power stations since 1998 and has deepened many crises in state-owned companies for the sake of privatisation, which has damaged the UK economy since 1980 and undermined ours since 1994 with Iskor, Telkom and others retrenching workers left right and centre.

The funding of a political process cannot be legitimately a private and confidential matter because political work affects the shared wealth of the nation and the security of the nation.

We now know that it is normal to pre-pay for political favours through financing political campaigns.

This idea and practice of buying shared power for private use has cascaded down through the civil service since 1994 and resulted in our police generals being bought to endanger the lives of many citizens, businesses, infrastructure, and institutions.

Jackie Selebi, Khomotso Phahlane, and Ria Phiyega, all allegedly bowed to major corporations and criminal syndicates.

Home Affairs and some of our universities have been allegedly captured by money to issue bogus credentials. The funding of political campaigns presently has been used to largely exclude independent political candidates from contesting the 2024 elections through exorbitant costs.

Party bosses and political party funders want politicians to belong to large political parties where bribes and campaign funding goes to parties and party bosses who then curtail independent thought and direct all MPs to tow the party line as desired by funders.

Swana is a 70s Group member, political analyst and governance expert

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