Thabiso Goba7 May 2024 | 4:23

Political party funding: Where the DA, ActionSA, PA and others get their donations

Since the Political Party Funding Act was signed into law in April 2021, parties are required to declare any donations over R100,000. Eyewitness News breaks down where some parties get their cash.

Political party funding: Where the DA, ActionSA, PA and others get their donations

DA leader John Steenuisen gestures while holding an electoral poster from the top of a ladder during the unveiling of the first election posters ahead of the 2024 elections. Picture: Roberta Ciuccio / AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has received the most funding among political parties in the last three years, estimated at over R164 million.

Second in line is the African National Congress (ANC), with over R148 million during the same period.

Since the Political Party Funding Act was signed into law in April 2021, political parties are required to declare any donations over R100,000. 

The act was introduced by government to advance transparency in the country’s political process. When the 2021 local government elections took place, the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) had only published one quarterly report of political declarations. 

However, since then, the IEC has published a further 10 quarterly reports ahead of the general elections. The DA and ANC lead the pack in terms of donations received, while ActionSA and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) have built a considerable war chest for parties that will be contesting their first general elections on May 29.

The German-based Friedrich Naumann Foundation remains one of the biggest foreign donors, having donated millions to the DA in money and workshop training for its members over the past three years.


The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) remains the only party that has been flagged by the IEC for receiving a donation from a foreign government.

While the IEC allows for donations from abroad, it prohibits parties from accepting anything from foreign government entities.

In August last year, the FF Plus received 30 wheelchairs and 2,000 kilograms worth of rice from the Taiwan Embassy in Cape Town.

In a media response to Eyewitness News, the IEC said directions had been issued to the party for failing to comply with the Political Funding Act.

Spokesperson for FF Plus Wouter Wessels said the party explained to the IEC there was nothing sinister about the donation.

"This was not in the prohibited sphere of the influence or using foreign assets in a political campaign, really this was as all political parties get. [We] received this rice and distributed to those in need, and I think our explanation was well received."


ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has dug deepest into his own pocket to fund his party, having injected over R4.3 million in the past three years, according to official records from the IEC.

Mashaba said he left business behind to join politics in order to fix the deteriorating state of the country. He has put his money where his mouth is, making five donations to his party through his business, Black Like Me, and in his personal capacity.

Another party leader who has invested a considerable amount of their own money is PA leader Gayton McKenzie, with over R3.5 million in total.

ActionSA and the PA will be participating in their first general elections this year. 

Meanwhile, billionaire and ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa made two donations to his party in August 2021, totaling R366,000.


The billionaire Oppenheimer family has donated over R68 million to opposition political parties since 2021.

The family has spread its generosity across four parties, namely the DA, ActionSA, Build One South Africa (BOSA), and RISE Mzansi.

Many say billionaires donating to political parties is done to buy influence, while others say they are participating in enriching democracy.

In a recent interview with News24, Rebecca Oppenheimer said her family did not influence any policy decisions of the parties they donated to.

Another billionaire diversifying his political portfolio is Patrice Motsepe. His companies, Harmony Gold Mining and African Rainbow Capital, have donated over R19 million to the ANC, DA, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the FF Plus.

Durban-born Australian billionaire Martin Moshal has given away R59.5 million between the DA, ActionSA, and BOSA.