State funding woes for NPOs

2017-08-30 06:00

THE Eastern Cape Democratic Alliance (DA) has committed to fighting for the fair funding of the province’s non profit organisations (NPOs) in order to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society receive help.

This comes after a motion tabled by the DA’s Eastern Cape shadow MEC for Social Development, Kobus Botha, in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature in Bhisho, was halted in its tracks by the ANC as the majority party recently.

Botha expressed concern that the NPOs rendering various critical and specialised services, such as social welfare services to children on behalf of the Department of Social Development, would have to wait much longer for their much-needed funds.

“The Christelike Maatskaplike Raad (CMR) in Port Elizabeth is still owed R1.9 million since the beginning of the financial year 2017/2018.

“Organisations such as CMR, Child Welfare and many others render services to children in need of care, abused women, the vulnerable and the elderly,” Botha explained.

He said the impact of not being able to render these services could see children, women and the elderly being left on the streets in dangerous situations. 

“I tabled this motion in the sincere hope of getting all political parties to agree on the prioritisation of payments to outstanding NPOs as a matter of urgency, as the budget was passed four months ago by the Eastern Cape Legislature,” he added.

“I was also hoping to get the support of all the legislature members to instruct the department, through this motion, to seriously focus on and fix their broken systems that cause endless delays in transferring much-needed funds to qualifying NPOs timeously.”

Magdelena von Solms, the regional head of CMR in Port Elizabeth, said they had received the service level agreement regarding subsidy adjustment.

“The signed agreement was submitted to the Department of Social Development last week. We are expecting to receive subsidy payments within the next four weeks,” she said.

“We are running our organisations now for the fifth month without government subsidies.”

Provincial board member of Child Welfare Magdelena Ritter echoed Von Solms statement that subsidies to the NPO sector contribute not only towards social workers’ salaries but to the administration portion as well.

“Therefore, the subsidy per post needs to be substituted by the organisation and operational costs have to be fundraised in order to sustain services,” Ritter said.

She said, according to the signed service level agreement between both parties, it was stated that subsidies would no longer be paid monthly as in the past but three months in advance. “Since June 2016 this has not materialised.”

Botha said that the late payment of funds has become a trend over the last three years and no efforts have been made to speed up or to make the system more efficient in order to get funds to qualifying NPOs.

Spokesperson for the Department of Social Development Mzukisi Solani said all the payments for the first quarter, ending June 2017, were made to more than 3 000 NPOs amounting to over R82 million.”

He said R54 million was already handed over in the second quarter.

He added that there were still close to 2 000 outstanding claims for payment which are at different stages in terms of processing.

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