Afra to cut jobs in funding crisis

2013-05-30 00:00

IT will no longer be business as usual at the Association for Rural Advancement (Afra), as the organisation runs out of donor funding and is losing two senior managers.

Afra interim manager Mike Cowling has warned the organisation will retrench employees as it faces funding issues. Two members of its senior management are also leaving.

Stephen Hulbert, who was at the helm of the organisation since 2010 as director, has taken early retirement, and Afra’s deputy director, Musa Zakwe, will be leaving in June to pursue new interests, Cowling said in a statement.

Afra is one of the longest surviving land rights organisations in the province, with a 34-year history in campaigning for land rights.

Cowling told The Witness yesterday that while the organisation would continue to function, it would now be more project-orientated.

“It is certainly not going to be business as usual at Afra.

“We are facing a situation where there is no core donor funding and donors are now funding projects. We now have to be more project-orientated.”

He said some of the donors had experienced financial constraints and pulled out, and others had undergone restructuring. Afra needs about R5 million per year to operate.

“We are currently in the middle of the restructuring process and will lose some of our staff members.

Some of the workers will lose their jobs during the year and others might lose them at the end of the year.”

Cowling said that in 2009 Afra made a number of attempts to create a sustainable financial and organisational base from which to operate.

“However, the slide into financial unsustainability has continued, despite this effort by staff and the board, and it has now become apparent that Afra can no longer continue to operate without major restructuring.”

Cowling said it was unlikely the organisation would close down, as there were still projects it was working on and there was still money coming in from the donors.

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