Desparate shortage of NPO Funding

Cape Argus
21 February 2014
Lester September
Portfolio: Liquor Licence and Alcohol Abuse
The Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA)

 

Diversion of social expenditure budgets since 2010, is alarming especially in the Western Cape where 70% of our violent crimes are fuelled by social ills.

A survey of NPOs conducted by Greater Good SA, reveals significant funding cuts between 2011-2012, with resultant job losses.

Engagement with various Social Welfare NPO’s, points a damning finger at the Western Cape Provincial Department of Social Development (DSD). Social workers, complain they have had to close down children safety programs in high risk areas such as Du Noon due to the funding shortfall from DSD and their unrealistic expectations of what could be accomplished with the funds.

NPO’s operating in Hanover Park, have complained about an ineffectual and inappropriate plan led by Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith and Community Safety MEC Dan Plato to curb gang violence, which they warn is driven by arrogance. NPOs have stated that they were deliberately sidelined when they questioned the strategy, but are today being courted, as the City of Cape Town- and Provincial-led plan have been unsuccessful, seen in escalating gang violence and other social ills.

Police need to allocate their resources more equitably, but crime trends reveal this will not on its own, substantially reduce the number of murders and rapes in the Western Cape.

Premier Helen Zille has blasted the Police for the high 2012 crime rate in the Western Cape, but NPO’s state that interventions by social workers in conjunction with police can curb the high crime rate fuelled by social ills.

Yet the Saratjie Baartman Centre’s Financial administrator Shumeeze Johaardien, complained bitterly that MEC Albert Fritz’s allocation of R1.1 million a year, was not sufficient, as the organisation’s operating costs are about R4.3 million.

Ms Johaardien stated “They are giving us a quarter of the money and we are doing the government’s work,” NPO’s who have received funding from MEC Fritz, complain that important programs, have had to close as funding was withheld as this did not fit in with politically driven policies.

We are pleased that funding has recently been increased, to organisations such as Saartjie Baartman, but substantially more is needed for the sector in the Western Cape. NPO’s require proper funding from Zille’s government, but her failure to properly fund them in previous years can be linked to increased rates of murder and rape in the Western Cape in 2012.

While it is easy to point a finger at police, the real problem lies with DSD, which the Province has direct oversight over.

Worryingly our engagement reveals a NGO sector cowering behind anonymity as fear of funding cut reprisals, override transparency.

 

 

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