31 March 2012

The Department of Social Development has deregistered thousands of NGO’s

The NGO sector in South Africa bears the brunt of carrying out essential services to people at grass-roots level. The sector plays a pivotal role in providing much needed services to where it is needed most in the country.

However, in materials released to SAHA it is found that the department has over the period of 7 years deregistered 5459 NGO's, with 98% of them de-registered due to non-compliance.

The department headed by Minister Bathabile Dlamini, has put in place various mechanisms to help NGO's survive. These mechanisms include courses on; financial management, compliance with the NPO act and peer education training. Despite these measures put in place, many NGO's still continue to go under.

The majority of NGO's in South Africa rely on donor funding either from government or foreign aid. Registration with the department by NGO's thus gives the entities more standing with possible funders.

In the tough NGO sector, filled with economic uncertainty and diminishing donors, the registration of NGO's by the department gives such bodies a fighting chance to seek funding and allow them to further their cause. It is therefore essential for them to register with DSD to have a better chance of continuing with delivering essential services.

In a feedback session with Solly Poto, former director of Golang Leate, an NGO that brought services to vulnerable children and women, it emerged that Mr. Poto had no knowledge of interventions being made available by the departments' Non-profit Organisations Directorate. He said "there are those programmes but we have had to close down because we are not aware of their existence". For him it was the first time learning of the programmes set out by the department through the NGO department.

For more information about the materials released, contact the Freedom of information Programme.