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Michelin-Starred Chef César Ramirez Denies Accusations of Racism

Michelin-Starred Chef César Ramirez Denies Accusations of Racism



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Chef César Ramirez of Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare has responded, along with restaurant owner Mo Issa, to a recent lawsuit

Whether chef César Ramirez will have to face consequences for these alleged actions, will be made clear as the case is brought to trial.

We recently reported that a lawsuit is being brought against chef César Ramirez, of the famed three star-Michelin-rated Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, claiming issues of wage violation and racism towards Asians. Former employees claimed that he withheld tips, and frequently used racial slurs, expressing his desire to serve the worst meat to the “sh*t people.” Now chef Ramirez has responded to the allegations.

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare owner Mo Issa told The Daily Meal, “I would like to reiterate, we are severely disappointed in this lawsuit and the allegations made. This comes as a great shock as our offices have yet to be contacted regarding the alleged lawsuit. I would like to comment that what has been reported are allegations and by no means representative of the truth. The allegations are false.”

In addition, chef César Ramirez has released a statement in the wake of the lawsuit, addressing the issues of racism, but has not responded to the allegations of wage violations. We have copied the letter here:

“I am deeply saddened to write that it has been reported that former employees have filed a lawsuit with allegations of racism and wage withholding against me. I am writing to say that these allegations are false.

“With great humility I write here today to ensure all who are reading this that I am not a racist and I have never been. I am fortunate to work with a talented staff who come from all over the world and I value each and every one of these individuals and the knowledge and experiences that they bring. I myself immigrated to the United States as a child and it is a culmination of many cultural experiences that have guided me professionally and personally. My culinary skills and inspirations are derived from working for and learning from professors during my apprenticeships in Japan, Europe, and across the United States. The Chef’s Table began as a vision that stemmed from these dynamic experiences that have made an impact in my life.

“Our guests are the reason I put on an apron each day to cook. Whether they are local New Yorkers or traveling from near or far, they bring experiences to the restaurant that would be difficult to replicate anywhere else in the world. We treat the restaurant as our home and everyone that comes here is immensely valued. I am indebted to our guests. I would like to request that those reading this understand that these are allegations and I deny them. This has been tremendously hurtful and damaging to myself and everyone who has contributed to building The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare over the last five years. I acknowledge that these allegations can be hurtful and painful to those reading them as well and I want you to know that I sympathize with you as I personally understand how painful this is.

“Throughout my career as a chef, my main goal has been spending time in the kitchen to create meals for my guests. Thank you for reading this note with compassion. It will be my continued dream to cook for you one day.”

For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


S.Africa's political party funding law takes aim at graft

A new law forcing parties to disclose financial donations they receive came into effect in South Africa on Thursday, in a closely-followed step to foster transparency and curb corruption.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, politicians and parties have had carte blanche to collect money from anyone, with little scrutiny.

Now they have to reveal any gifts of 100,000 rand ($6,730) and more, while smaller annual donations from a single source will be capped annually.

Donations from foreign governments, agencies or individuals are also prohibited.

The law "signals a fundamental change in our political landscape," My Vote Counts, a pressure group that fiercely campaigned for the legislation, said on Thursday.

"It will enhance transparency, deter corruption, allow us to better hold political parties accountable and, ultimately, deepen democracy," it said.

Parties and givers will have to disclose donations to the election organiser, the Independent Electoral Commission. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine or jail of of up to five years.

The commission's vice chairwoman, Janet Love, has lauded the change as "part of the country's evolution" -- "the most important far-reaching enhancement to the electoral legislative framework since 1994."

Damning allegations of corruption and politicians using public office to further agendas of their benefactors have become a distinguishing feature of South Africa's politics.

The magnitude of that has been highlighted in countless testimonies before anti-graft investigators probing state looting since 2018.

Political leaders, too, have been tarred by the obscure sources of funds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under attack over funding for his campaign to be elected leader of the ruling ANC in 2017.

A millionaire who has strong support from the business community, Ramaphosa reportedly received a billion rand ($68 million) from undisclosed sources.

Firebrand Julius Malema's leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gone to court seeking to unseal bank records of the 2017 campaign. The case is still being heard.

"As the president of this country Ramaphosa must lead by example and disclose his funders immediately," the EFF thundered.

But the EFF itself has admitted receiving 200,000 rand from a controversial cigarette manufacturer, Adriano Mazzotti, ahead of the 2014 national general elections, a year after the party was created.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, came under fire in 2003 for secretly accepting 300,000 rand from wealthy Italian businessman Count Riccardo Agusta in return for permission to develop a private housing estate on a wine farm -- a breach of environmental protection laws.

In this light, it is unsurprising that the law has struggled to gain party support, say commentators.

"The ultimate goal (of the law) is to ensure transparency and remove any influence of money," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

But "there is no single political party that has been enthusiastic about this legislation."

Thirteen parties represented in parliament already receive an annual funding allocation from government, proportional to their representation in parliament.

Most large parties have historically resisted disclosure of private donations.

The DA bemoaned during a recent parliamentary debate that it was "simply impractical and impossible to report the small donations".

The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has voiced concerns around the implications of the new law on donors and also wants state funding to parties to be increased.

"Otherwise, political parties, including opposition tend to rely mainly on private corporates to fund their activities," said ANC treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile.

Approved by parliament in 2018, the bill was signed into law by Ramaphosa in 2019.

It takes effect as the country prepares for local government elections, expected between August and November.


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