If we are to trust politicians (and as a profession, politics by its nature attracts morally dubious individuals) to not be led by corporate interests, we might as well legalise the more overt forms of bribery. The needs of the corporate persons will soon overrule those of living, breathing people and society in general. The few corporations that have publicly declared their contributions include MTN (R13 million to unnamed parties) and SAB Miller (R5 million to the six biggest parties), but there remains a silent majority. A more prudent system would force parties to reveal their sources, ensuring they are not unduly influenced by the private sector. But the political will to implement this is lacking. A utopian solution would be publicly funded campaigns which ensure that parties are only accountable to the electorate and not business interests, but it would take a brave party to threaten its cash flow in this way…
An article I wrote for Varsity newspaper before the 2009 election, about the troubling relationship between sponsors and political parties – especially Chancellor House and the ANC. It’s amazing that such brazen money-for-favours type deals can happen openly and legally (edit: how naive we were to the full extent of the problem).
Writer Gugulethu Hlekwayo
Publication University of Cape Town Varsity Newspaper, Volume 68, Number 4