Constitutional court gets bypassed

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa has signed into law the Gauteng Political Party Funding Act without verifying its constitutionality with the Constitutional Court.

The act allows political parties in the legislature to share R20million that was set aside by the provincial government.

All parties welcomed the move that was debated in the legislature last month, but some politicians cautioned their colleagues on the constitutionality of the measure.

Parties resolved that Shilowa refer the bill to the Constitutional Court for a declaration order before signing it.

A number of politicians claimed that legislature speaker Richard Mdakane opposed referring the bill to the Constitutional Court. But his office vehemently denied the claim and said it had sent a letter to Shilowa approving his action.

Annette Griessel, Gauteng government spokesman, yesterday said Shilowa did not take the bill to the Constitutional Court because all "concerns were considered and taken care of".

Griessel said the money for political parties would strengthen multiparty democracy.

She said the parties would use the money to promote active participation of citizens in politics and to create links between the people and organs of state.

"The money may not be used to pay salaries of party officials in the legislature or government. Parties must account for the money they get and submit audited statements to the legislature," Griessel said.