'No attempt to block Shilowa court bid'

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

Claims that Gauteng legislature Speaker Richard Mdakane wanted to block Premier Mbhazima Shilowa from approaching the Constitutional Court for verification of a bill to regulate the funding of political parties were denied yesterday.

Mdakane's political adviser Mzi Khumalo told Sowetan that a letter was sent yesterday giving Shilowa their blessing to take the bill to the Constitutional Court.

"If the Speaker had an issue with the bill, he would have taken it back to the house for further discussion," said Khumalo.

He refused to forward the letter to Sowetan as proof that Mdakane supported the move.

Sources Sowetan spoke to said they were in the dark about the alleged objection by Mdakane.

The Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Bill, which was adopted in the Gauteng legislature last month, would result in the ten parties represented in the legislature sharing the allocated R20million.

Though the bill was supported by all political parties represented in the legislature, concerns were raised about the constitutionality of the bill. Political parties also receive funding from the state and private donors.

Shilowa was requested by the legislature to forward the bill to the Constitutional Court for a declaration before signing it.

"We believe the bill will assist to promote democracy by helping parties to get more involved with their constituencies," said Khumalo.

Shilowa's spokesman Simon Zwane said the provincial government's legal team was still involved with the legal processes.

"As soon as they are done, the bill will be taken to the Constitutional Court," Zwane said.