By Lindy Wilson DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Social Development:
The DA has discovered that many NGO’s in Limpopo, including creche’s, Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers and old age homes, have not received their quarterly subsidies, and in some instances the last two quarterly subsidies.
This has resulted in financial crises for these important structures. An old age home in Ephraim Mogale is facing closure, as they are now unable to pay staff, creditors like Eskom, and are unable to buy food for the residents.
The residents are elderly and frail, and trauma, no matter how small is very detrimental to their health. Many do not have families to support them.
If their quarterly subsidies are not received by Friday, they may have to close their doors. This will mean that the residents could be put out with nowhere to go. The Union, NEHAWU has made it clear that if staff are not paid on time, they will strike. This will result in no staff to bath, clean or feed the residents.
Most NGO’s in the Province provide support for children and the elderly. In ECD centres and creches, children receive the only meal they are likely to get for the day. SANCA, who play a critical role in the support of alcohol and narcotic addicts have also not received their subsidies.
Most NGO’s are also reporting that when subsidies were paid previously, they were usually at least a month late. Subsidies for April, May and June should have been paid by the first week of April and subsidies for July, August and September by first week of July.
NGO’s are reporting that they are lucky if subsidies are received by mid May for the first quarter and to date no payments have been received for the second quarter.
The Provincial Department of Social Development are failing the people of the province, particularly the poor. Children will suffer, the elderly are facing life on the streets and those ill with epilepsy and cerebral palsy are paying for this incompetence.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini has some serious questions to answer. I will also request that the Provincial MEC, Joyce Mashamba and HOD be called to face the National Assembly Portfolio Committee to explain why such an untenable situation has arisen.