Thousands of KZN NPO’s facing shut down – MEC must act

Makhosazana Mdlalose, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development

The Democratic Alliance is alarmed by a parliamentary reply which reveals that as many as 7 489 KwaZulu-Natal non-profit organisations (NPO’s) face possible closure due to alleged non-compliance.

According to the August 2013 response by KZN Social Development MEC, Weziwe Thusi, the NPO’s were identified between 2010 and 2013.

Nationally, 23 040 NPO’s face a similar situation.

In the reply, the MEC states that an amnesty period, from 31 January 2013 to end July, was granted by the National Minister for Social Development to allow organisations to submit the relevant paperwork.  This process remains ongoing.

The DA is deeply concerned by the statistics for KwaZulu-Natal.  Our province has far more than its fair share of NPO’s under threat.

While we fully acknowledge the importance of compliance and registration, our oversight visits to homes and other institutions across the province have revealed a more human side to the story.

Many KZN NPO’s are run by people who have a calling to work with the most vulnerable members of our society.  They often lack the background needed to deal with financial and other compliance issues.  In many cases they are not even aware of the outstanding paperwork – all they want to do is help those less fortunate.  A common complaint is the lack of input from departmental officials, who often simply hand over the paperwork and leave.

The DA calls on MEC Thusi to take charge of this situation.  One of the solutions proposed by the DA is to look to international best practice.  In countries such as the UK and Canada there are organisations that work as intermediaries between funders and various NPO’s. They ensure that the funds reach the correct destination and that they are properly used as per spec.  They also see to the accountability and smooth running of the system which enables these types of organisations to get on and do what they do best.

It is clear that our province needs something similar.  The DA calls on MEC Thusi to begin a consultative process around this recommendation.

The MEC cannot sit back and allow thousands of NPO’s – many of which are doing outstanding work – to close simply because of an administration nightmare.