Minister on mission to rescue non-profit organisations
With many non-profit organisations around the country on the brink of collapse, the Department of Social Development has stepped in to put the problems under the microscope.
Yesterday, Minister Bathabile Dlamini said funding problems with NPOs had largely resulted from the economic downturn.
Many international donors withdrew funding that was paid directly either to the department or straight to programmes.
Dlamini and her department had embarked on a nationwide "dialogue" with NPOs. Since June the department met with more than 36000 NPOs.
Dlamini said some of the problems and challenges she uncovered - many of which came from her department - were disturbing. Communication is poor and people complained that only English and Afrikaans are used by officials.
One woman, Dlamini said, had to fill out a 30-page form - the contents of which she did not understand - to apply for funding for a certain project. This, the minister said, was unnecessary.
Though provincial offices are responsible for dispersing money to NPOs, she learned that these offices enforce certain conditions that are not in line with "government legislation or norms and standards".
Her plan is to strengthen these organisations to ensure that they do not collapse.
"In South Africa we have more than 80000 registered NPOs. For those working with us we have a R7-billion [budget] and if you include other departments, that figure goes up to R14-billion. If we use it properly, it can do lots of work," she said.
Next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the department will be holding a summit for non-government organisations and NPOs in Soweto, with the aim of building a stronger relationship with government.