EC NPOs go unpaid while DSD staff strike for six months

Issued by Edmund van Vuuren, MPL
Shadow MEC for Social Development

More than 60% of Non-Profit Organisations in the Eastern Cape did not receive a single cent of their 2020/2021 subsidy payments from the Department of Social Development (DSD).

In a very delayed response to a parliamentary question from the DA, Social Development MEC, Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi has now confirmed that of the 2661 department-funded NPOs in the province, by July, 1611 NPOs had still not received any subsidy payments for the new financial year.

The MEC has blamed the latest delays in payment on key personnel being on strike for more than six months.

How is this even possible?

See: IQP 20 QQ 474

NPOs which are at the coalface of tackling the numerous social challenges in the province, and who are often the implementing agents for DSD, are now more reliant than ever on government funding.

Instead of doing everything in their power to assist these entities, government staff, drawing full salaries, have been allowed to strike for six months, with apparently no plans in place to mitigate the impact to service delivery this has had.

The MEC has confirmed that NPOs across all programmes have been, and are still, heavily impacted by the lack of subsidy payments.

Not one single NPO of the 50 funded under the families program received their funding, and none of the 65 HIV & AIDS funded NPOs were paid. The three registered crime protection NPOs were also not funded.

Nearly all the Disability focused NPOS had not yet been paid, with 79 of the 83 still awaiting payment, while 158 of the 170 Victim Empowerment Programme beneficiaries and 45 of the 46 Substance Abuse beneficiaries were also still waiting for payment.

Fairing slightly better, of the 527 NPOs in the Older Persons program, 387 had not yet been paid.

There were 776 Early Childhood Development centres still waiting for subsidies, out of the 1570 registered, and a further 48 Child Care and Protection (CPOs & CYCCs) of the registered 147 still waiting.

Not only has department’s inability to rectify the payment system for decades crippled NPOs in the province and deprived thousands of people in need from critical services, but the department has also gone against its own Service Level Agreements, which it expects organisations it funds to adhere to at all costs.

This is a case of severe mismanagement, and the buck has to stop at MEC Mani-Lusithi’s door.

The careless attitude shown by the MEC, in her lack of response to letters written and very late responses to parliamentary questions, seems to be a common theme amongst the ANC government in the Eastern Cape.

If the MEC is unable to hold her staff to account, after a six-month-long strike, or rectify the decades’ old issue of the department’s inability to pay NPOs in a timeous manner, she should hand the duty over to someone who is able to.

The DA will continue to drive this issue until every deserving NPO has received their subsidy payments.