Social Development aiming to improve NPO management

THE Eastern Cape Department of Social Development is implementing stricter measures to monitor departmentally funded non-profit organisations (NPO), following the closure of two funded NPOs, King Williams Town Child and Youth Care Centre and Child Welfare in East London due to non-compliance and maladministration.

The department made the announcement this week, along with saying NPOs’ over-reliance on government for funding is not sustainable.

“The department’s mandate of building a caring society is based on partnerships and Batho Pele principle of service delivery engendering a culture for transforming public service delivery,” spokesman Gcobani Maswana said in a statement this week.

“This mandate is centered on partnerships with NPOs, faith based communities, business sector and other role players. The NPO sector in particular is essential in the delivery of our services as it serves as an extension of the department.”

He said the department, working closely with the NPO sector, has prioritised embarking in a process of reviewing its funding model of the NPOs during this financial year with assistance from the National Treasury.

“Currently, a majority of NPOs rely on government for funding and their sustainability. This over reliance on government is not sustainable as such the department is mobilising resources from other role players such as the business sector for the funding of the NPOs.”

The department is mobilising resources from other role players such as the business sector for the funding of the NPOs

A 2015 report issued by Statistic South Africa on the NPO sector in the country states that NPOs rely heavily on government subsidies. Of the total income received in 2012, 39.2% was in the form of subsidies and 28.5% comprised of donations of all income received.

Armed with the newly revived NPO Management Directorate, the Department of Social Development is closely monitoring the running and management of NPOs and is implementing stricter approach regarding departmentally funded NPOs.

Following the closure of King Williams Town Child and Youth Care Centre and Child Welfare in East London, the department has moved its services rendered to these organisations to other suitable organisations, to ensure that its statutory obligations are not compromised.

“The well-being and protection of children is the key priority in the matter as the department prides itself as the custodian of children’s rights protection. We have taken this close monitoring approach to ensure the funding serves the mandate and obligation of the department,” Maswana said.

NPOs have played a major role in trying to resolve the challenges and inequalities prevalent in South African society, often supporting weak or failing government services. But NPOs are facing a future with increasingly limited funding and support within a fragile economy.

“Our research has shown that the increasing governmental pressure on NPOs to be compliant with regulations has often been cited as one of the reasons for these closures. We have also observed that through the minefields and of political end economical challenges, there are ways in which the NPO can move forward,” Maswana said.

“The department is also striving to rope in the private sector through their social responsibility programmes to support these unstainable NPOs in order for them to continue rendering services to the poor and vulnerable. As a department we have also taken a decision that in in response to the changing landscape in the sector, they have to change, to shift away from the charity mentality and towards a businesslike approach.”

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