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THE OUTLIER

Party funding in graphics — from the Oppenheimers to Chancellor House, here are the top donors

Party funding in graphics — from the Oppenheimers to Chancellor House, here are the top donors
Illustrative image: Build One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi) | IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart) | ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba | (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach) | ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Leila Dougan) | DA leader John Steenhuisen. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart) | Rise Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti) | Leader of the Freedom Front Plus Dr Pieter Groenewald. (Photo: Gallo Images / Rapport / Elizabeth Sejake) | EFF Leader Julius Malema. (Photo: Gallo Images)

These are some of the individuals and families that are putting a lot of money into, mostly, the official opposition DA or the new and emerging crop of political parties. The most intriguing is the notoriously secretive Martin Moshal. Durban-born Moshal lives in Sydney and has made his fortune in gambling technology. He was also recently revealed as a shareholder in the UK’s Betway gambling group. Closer to home, he’s the biggest single donor to local political parties.

Top donors

The Oppenheimers, Africa’s third-richest family, and Durban-born billionaire Martin Moshal donated R149-million to political parties between April 2021 and December 2023. That’s a third of the R437-million of funding declared to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

The DA received 42% of the money donated by the Oppenheimers and Moshal. Four-year-old ActionSA received 41% of the donations, and Mmusi Maimane’s Build One SA received 7%. Rebecca Oppenheimer donated R15-million to Rise Mzansi, which is almost 90% of its declared funding.

Investment companies Fynbos Ekwiteit and Fynbos Kapitaal, which have Capitec founder Michiel Le Roux as a director, contributed 15% to the total donations declared. All of their R65-million went to the DA, making up one-third of the party’s total funding.

Almost half of the DA’s declared R164.3-million is from individual donors, with financial services companies contributing 41% (R66.7-million) to its declared donations.

The shaded cells in the table above are members of the Oppenheimer family. 

The ANC received more than half of its funding from established trusts such as Batho Batho and Chancellor House, and a quarter from mining companies.

Batho Batho and Chancellor House only donated to the ANC. The two trusts contributed R82.5-million (19%) to the total donations declared to the IEC.

With its contribution of R30-million, United Manganese of Kalahari is one of the ANC’s largest funders. Half of the donation was labelled “in kind”, which is a donation in the form of goods, services or assets.

Botho Botho Commercial Enterprises, Harmony Gold and African Rainbow Minerals, which together donated R29.3-million, are all companies connected to billionaire Patrice Motsepe. Botho Botho’s R10-million donation went to the ANC. African Rainbow Minerals and Harmony Gold’s donations were split between the ANC (R5.85-million from each company), the DA (R2.12-million from each), the EFF (R1.1-million from each), the IFP (R344,000 from each) and the Freedom Front Plus (R242,000 from each).

Two-thirds of the declared funding of the IFP and the EFF were from mining companies Harmony Gold and African Rainbow Minerals.

In-kind donations

About 10% of total donations are categorised by the IEC as in-kind donations. The data doesn’t specify exactly what these are but there are a few interesting ones worth pondering: 

  • ActionSA lists R659,000 from beauty companies Black Like Me and Style Eyes of California;
  • R559,958 from Kairos Communications to Rise Mzansi;
  • The EFF lists a R202,600 donation in kind from Car Junction;
  • The Taipei Liaison Office in Cape Town donated R131,000 to the Freedom Front Plus.

All political parties are legally obliged to declare any donation above R100,000 to the IEC. The R100,000 is cumulative, so multiple donations from the same entity must be added together and declared when the total value reaches R100,000.

The figures above are based on amounts declared by parties to the IEC. Only nine months of data is available for 2021. DM

Read more: Our political donations dashboard

First published by The Outlier. For more like this subscribe to the newsletter.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Rae Earl says:

    Thankfully, the donations to the EFF appear to be sparse in the extreme which gives us hope that their election results will diminish. One corrupt government being replaced by one just as corrupt would spell doom to the country.

  • Fox Bravo.. says:

    Chancellor House owns a stake in United Manganese of Kalahari. Chancellor house is part of the ANC. The mining rights for United Manganese of Kalahari were given to Victor Vekselberg’s Renova who I believe still owns the stake. VV is a Russian oligarch, he is likely a front for Putin. No wonder UMK donate to the ANC…. no wonder the ANC supports the corrupt Russian regime.

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