By Mariette Pittaway, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The Free State Department of Social Development has again failed to pay out state subsidies to NGOs in the province.
Several provincial NGOs involved with government’s social development initiatives have been left out in the cold even after concerns were raised with MEC Sisi Ntombela.
I submitted several questions to MEC Ntombela, in the Legislature, asking her why subsidies were not being paid, how long payments have been outstanding and when the payments would be made to NGOs? MEC Ntombela has not replied to our questions.
The non-payment of subsidies is becoming a crisis in the Free State and is a direct result of the financial mismanagement by the provincial department.
NGOs play a significant role in addressing the numerous social ills plaguing our society. They perform a crucial function in assisting government in various social outreach programmes. The department’s inability to pay subsidies negatively impact on the ability of NGOs to perform these critical functions.
Some NGOs are now facing closure and it would have a devastating effect on the poor, the frail and the desperately hungry.
For the MEC to take such matters lightly is yet another indication that the government bears no regard for the most vulnerable people in our province.
MEC Ntomblea must get her department’s affairs in order without any further delay. Subsidies to registered NGO’s must be paid immediately.