LATE PAYMENTS STRANGLE GAUTENG WELFARE NGOs

Hendrika Kruger, MPL

DA Spokesperson for Social Development

Despite reports indicating under-spending, earlier this year the Gauteng Department of Social Development was adamant that all payments due to NGOs had been processed. However, a number of NGOs have in fact not been paid on time, which seriously impacts on their ability to serve people in dire need of their assistance. Many of these NGOs have contacted me for assistance.

One NGO (that does not wish to named for fear of victimisation) is owed over R200 000 for the 2011/12 financial year. This amount was due in January 2012 as per the Service Level Agreement (SLA) contract signed with the Department of Social Development in 2011. This payment has however still not been made and this NGO has not yet signed the SLA contract for the new financial year which began in April 2012.

A source at this NGO said ” we need to provide services but we do not know if we will be funded or at what level, if funded. All our staff contracts expired at the end of February 2012 and we extended them for 1 month until end March 2012 hoping that we would have an indication whether we will be funded in the new financial year or not. If not over 70 staff will be terminated and over 60 children will need to be moved to other children’s homes in Gauteng. This process should have been completed by the Department in January.”

Another NGO is desperately trying to cover their own operational costs to avoid seven staff members being terminated and twelve former street kids (who all attend schools or colleges) ending up back on the streets. This NGO also provides 220 meals a day to the inner city poor, a programme which is now in jeopardy.

This vicious cycle of starting every new budget year with huge debts from the previous year must be addressed urgently, and all payments due to NGOs need to be processed immediately.

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