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Source: South Africa News Agency

Government has reiterated its commitment towards supporting non-profit organisations (NPOs) as they continue to address the scourge of social ills, particularly in vulnerable communities.

However, the Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the department can no longer overlook non-compliant NPOs. 

Speaking during the launch of Know Your NPO Status, she said the department spends about R7.9 billion in the form of transfers to support the work conducted by the NPO sector.

“This shows how much government acknowledges and appreciates the role of NPOs in communities,” Zulu said this week. 

The department is responsible for administering the NPO Act, which it has to ensure all registered NPOs comply with the provisions of the legislation and the standard of governance principles.

Meanwhile, the department is also responsible for the financial management systems of NPOs, which are monitored through the annual and financial reports.

According to Zulu, 233 180 NPOs were registered by the end of September this year.

The Minister said while there is a demand for the registration of new not-for-profit organisations, the department has also noted an alarming non-compliance rate of 73%.

This means 149 757 NPOs are non-compliant, which is more than half of the organisations that failed to submit annual reports as expected by legislation.

“It is for this reason that I am calling upon the networking structures and mother bodies to support the department as we mobilise NPOs to comply by submitting their annual reports,” she pleaded.   

According to the Minister, the NPO Act further empowers the department to deregister non-compliant NPOs.

However, Zulu has acknowledged the challenges faced by the sector regarding the fulfilment of compliance obligations.

“Over the past years, a decision not to instantly deregister non-compliant NPOs was taken with consideration of the developmental approach,” she said, adding that provision of support programmes have been offered instead.

The department has since initiated interventions to support the sector NPOs, including outreach programmes in the townships and rural areas.

However, despite the interventions, the low compliance rate is still persistent, Zulu said. 

“We cannot continue to turn a blind eye forever with the hope that the problem of non-compliance will disappear.”

It is, for this reason, the department decided to implement Know Your NPO Status campaign that was piloted last year.

The drive also aims to mobilise organisations to use various platforms to check their compliance status, update organisational details and submit annual reports so they may comply.

The Minister said the campaign would be implemented over a three-year period.

“However, the deregistration of non-compliant NPOs will commence by the end of March next year,” she said.

To ensure continuity of services, especially in the context of COVID-19, the department has since opted to implement a four-phased deregistration approach.

  • The first phase of deregistration will commence at the beginning of March next year for non-compliant NPOs which were registered between 1998 and 2012.
  • The second phase will be on 1 July 2021 for NPOs who registered between 1998 and 2012.
  • The third phase will be on 1 October 2021 for non-compliant NPOs, which registered between 2013 and 2015.
  • The last phase of deregistration will take place on 01 April 2022, for NPOs who registered between 2016 and 2019. –

MIL OSI Africa