NGOs in Crisis while They Wait for NLB Funds
Media Statement by Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development
With NGOs having to close shop and retrench staff, it is time for the National Lotteries Board (NLB) to be held accountable. I am very concerned about the recent news of retrenchment of key staff at Rape Crisis due to lack of funding.
We have tried to accommodate struggling NGOs like the Saartjie Baartman Centre and Rape Crisis by allocating extra money for additional services rendered. While this was a welcome contribution, it is not sufficient to sustain these and other organisations in the long term.
With a budget of only R700 million, my department partially funds nearly 2 000 NGOs across the province. These NGOs are independent entities - not state agencies. We therefore do not fund 100% of their running costs. We also cannot keep making extra money available - the pool will dry up.
Following the loss of many international donors, the need for the NLB to expedite the payment of funds to NGOs is now critical.
According to a report on the NLB website, the acting CEO, Professor Alfred Nevhutanda, has introduced major steps for change in the operations of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF). While these strategic shifts may have benefits in the future, the crisis is upon us now. I welcome any positive changes that the organisation wants to make in ensuring the money goes to where it is most needed.
However, the NGOs that are having to retrench staff and shut their doors don't have the luxury of time on their side.
I will be taking up this matter with Professor Nevhutanda, and asking the following questions:
- How many NGOs in the Western Cape have been identified for funding in this financial year?
- How much money is available to be paid to NGOs in the Western Cape?
- What are the reasons for the delay in payments to NGOs?
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