CAPE TOWN–The National Assembly, the lower chamber of the South African Parliament, has approved the Political Party Funding Bill and it will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces, the upper house, for its consideration.

The only party which objected to the Bill Tuesday was the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which said it would not provide effective accountability and transparency.

If the Bill becomes law, political parties represented in the national and provincial legislatures will be required to declare their financial donations to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as part of regulating their funding.

The EFF said the Bill is not going to solve the problem of accountability, especially by parties with big numbers in Parliament.

EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini said: The EFF therefore rejects this bill because once again it repeats the political imbalances without achieving any meaningful transparency. The EFF since its inception has asked for total financial disclosure of all political parties so that the public knows who funds the parties who represent them in parliament.

African National Congress (ANC) MP Vincent Smith, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee responsible for drafting the Bill, took the lead in support of it, telling the house that the passing of the envisaged Bill is something which should have happened a long time ago.

The courts agreed, and today Parliament has heard this demand and we are implementing accordingly. This Bill is about building the nation and not the Rand taking superior of the will of the people. The will of the people wants to make sure that the narrow interest those with the big bank balances or who have access to big party bosses never rejects the will of the people or party supporters.

The official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), supported the Bill but not without words of caution.

DA MP James Selfe said the Bill in its current form, falls short in addressing certain loopholes in the system regulating political party funding.