Minister Fritz: National Lotteries Board is Failing the Poor
Media Statement by Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development
A recent media report on the financial difficulties of the Saartjie Baartman Centre in Manenberg acknowledges the additional support my department has given this centre. However, at the same time, the article slates this government for not doing more to ensure the continuation of the services offered at this centre.
The National Lotteries Board (NLB) should be slated for failing to release millions of rands to local charities who render critical services to the poor and destitute in our society. It is precisely their failure to support the NGOs that warranted my department's urgent intervention with additional funding to the Saartjie Baartman Centre. They admit that they have not even received acknowledgement of their application, let alone financial assistance from the NLB in the last year.
My department partially funds nearly 2 000 NGOs across the province. These NGOs are independent organisations that are responsible for their own fundraising. As such, they rely heavily on funding from key organisations like the NLB.
Now, while several NGOs face the possibility of closing down due to financial difficulty, the NLB is calling on them for input into how the billions they are sitting with should be spent. According to the NLB website, the response from the NGO sector was so good that they have extended the deadline for submissions and comment until 22 May so that more role players will have an opportunity to provide input.
This is nothing more than a waste of critical time - time that many NGOs simply don't have. The NLB is guided by very specific guidelines on how, why and when to award money to applicants. They should stop wasting time with so-called public engagements and instead of being overly generous with funding to politically connected organisations like COSATU and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), they should get on with releasing funding to worthy NGOs.
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