More than a thousand Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs), which are in many cases dependent on funding from government to provide critical support services to Eastern Cape residents, have still not been paid.
These are the organisations that look after women and children who have been abused, assist victims of domestic abuse, help those with substance abuse problems, assist the disabled and the elderly and help with early childhood development.
According to Social Development MEC, Phumza Dyantyi, 1,043 NPOs have not been paid what is owed to them since April, and that the total amount owing is in excess of R19 million. The bulk of these NPOs are the Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, with 978 of the identified 1091 ECD NPOs still owed funding.
SEE: IQP 27 Q24
In May this year, MEC Dyantyi announced that a special NPO unit had been established to assist with, among others, the funding of NPOs, and that R118,5 million had been allocated for staffing the NPO unit this year.
In fact, the MEC said an entire division of the new NPO unit would be focused on funding coordination and partnerships and would be responsible for the implementation of the funding process. MEC Dyantyi went as far as to give assurances that this division would be sufficiently staffed to ensure that the Unit was operational.
SEE IQP 10 Q101
It is therefore simply unacceptable that half way through the new financial year, a reliable payment system for NPOs is still not fully functional.
The lack of payment to the NGO sector by the Department has been a recurring theme, year in and year out.
All the while, the people doing the work, who depend on these government grants for their survival, are forced to jump through more hoops to meet legislative and policy requirements, so that the department can claim their successes as their own.
The DA is concerned about the adverse effect that the delayed funding transfer has on the effective and efficient operations of these NPOs.
Payments should be made timeously without the need for further intervention. This is, after all, stated in the Service Level Agreements signed between the NPO and the Department of Social Development.
NPOs render a range of services on behalf of the Department, and it is for this reason that they must be treated with respect.
In a DA-led government, state of the art, efficiently operated systems will be put in place to ensure that the payments to NPOs are processed in a timeous fashion, in line with the service level agreements in place.