Social development tackles registration backlog

2015-06-04 06:01
PHOTO: supplied 

Senior officials of the Department of Social Development at national and provincial level with members of various NPOs who received certificates for their organisations to work legally in Bulwer.

PHOTO: supplied Senior officials of the Department of Social Development at national and provincial level with members of various NPOs who received certificates for their organisations to work legally in Bulwer.

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THE national Department of Social Development (DSD) is making significant progress in tackling the backlog of registering non-profit-making organisations, this in collaboration with its provincial outlets.

DSD national representative Lillian Mswane, who is part of a team of national officials from this department, said since 2012 Minister Bathabile Dlamini dispatched national teams to embark on an aggressive road show aimed at fast-tracking the issuing of certificates to NPOs in the various South African provinces, including KwaZulu-Natal.

“This is part of the national government’s ongoing initiative of taking its services directly to the communities who need them.

“Previously, people struggled to register their NPOs because the issuing of certificates, which legalise the work of such organisations, is centralised at national office. This road show is registering NPOs on the spot where people are – in their local communities.

“The impact of these provincial road shows has been enormous and people are appreciative of this initiative because it is enabling them to service their communities and raise funds to do their work, be it running crèches, old age homes, organisations that take care of orphaned and abandoned children or income generation projects etc.,” Mswane said.

She said the aim of the road shows is to address all matters pertaining to the work of NPOs, including registration of new organisations, changing the details or particulars of the organisations like the name, members of the executive committee or board, altering of the constitution to suit its redefined or renewed mandate or objectives and other related matters.

Speaking from the Harry Gwala District at the Ingwe Municipality in Bulwer, Mswane said these road shows are also receiving annual reports of NPOs for accounting purposes, to prove their operations and existence or commitment to carry on with their services.

She said the South African Police Service (SAPS) is helping representatives from these NPOs to write affidavits in order to prove their legitimacy for reporting purposes should they have not received any funding or if they have lost their original certificate.

The Department’s National Development Agency (NDA) which distributes funding and facilitate organisational capacity building, is also a part of the DSD-driven national road shows.

KZN Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi, has a section which specialises in institutional capacity building and support to NPOs, which involves their registration, regulation and training in this province under senior manager, Gabi Sikhakhane. Her office can be accessed on 033 345 2174 or by writing to sandisiwe.ngcobo@

Some of the pertinent challenges of the NPOs includes compliance standards, especially with regards to accounting for money received and used. She said bigger organisations had an advantage over smaller ones because they had the financial capacity to pay for accounting officers and produce audited financial statements which often place them at a greater advantage to qualify to receive funds as compared to local NPOs.

“That is why talks with civil society are underway to work out how government can relax accountability requirements for NPOs without compromising standards, especially for community based organisations handling smaller budgets,” said Mswane.

She said this will require legislative adjustments or amendments to the NPOs Act which regulates and guides the way they should function. She said the private sector was strict when it came to making corporate social investments and said that big business get incentives from government to support the work of such organisations.

“Big businesses want to know exactly where their money is going and if it does go where it is supposed to go. Hence, they prefer giving money to NGOs with a good compliance record. The smaller organisations are expected to be mentored by big or established organisations for purposes of accountability.

“This often contributes to the small organisations being marginalised by big ones. Even Lotto funders have started recognising that smaller organisations get a raw deal in this regard.”

Mswane said the department depended on its respective provincial offices to determine which NPOs are working and which ones are not functional due to financial or capacity limitations.

The government welcomes the fact that the presence of such organisations is helping to provide jobs for local people and also helping to speed up service delivery at grassroots level.

“Minister Dlamini is engaging with NPOs and is encouraging them to establish their own forums to address such challenges and concerns at grassroots level,” she said.

The minister held an NPO dialogue­ with the NPOs from 11 to 13 May in Cape Town to discuss these matters

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