By Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development:
THE DA welcomes the end of the ‘blame game’ between KZN Social Development and Finance MEC’s, Weziwe Thusi and Belinda Scott, culminating in last week’s announcement that an additional R44million has been specifically allocated to the province’s NGO sector.
Extra funding was first promised to NGO’s by MEC Scott during her KZN Budget Debate in February in the form of a 6% tariff increase. NGO’s relief was short-lived though after MEC Thusi announced that her department did not have the money to give fund any increases.
Since then, the DA in KZN has driven the matter on behalf of NGO’s.
Earlier this year we called for the matter to be placed on the portfolio committee agenda as a priority item so that the department could explain themselves. We also engaged with several leading KZN NGO’s. Meanwhile, internal cabinet fights and miscommunications between MECs Scott and Thusi continued.
KZN’s NGO sector has suffered from lack of proper financial support with no tariff increases for the past three years. As a result, many NGOs are now in a dire financial situation.
While the announcement of ring-fenced funding for NGO’s is first and foremost a victory for NGO’s, it is also a victory for the DA.
The DA will continue its oversight of KZN’s Social Development department to ensure that this additional funding is spent correctly.
We will also monitor the department’s recently announced NGO Rationalisation Plan, which could see some NGOs closing. We are aware that the planning process is ongoing and have already called for this plan to be interrogated by the portfolio committee before implementation.