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SECTION27 says NPO funding must be addressed to avoid another Life Esidimeni


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SECTION27 says NPO funding must be addressed to avoid another Life Esidimeni

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10th May 2024

By: Thabi Shomolekae
Creamer Media Senior Writer


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Public interest law center SECTION27 has demanded that the Gauteng Department of Social Development (GDSD) pay non-profit organisations (NPOs) their subsidies to prevent another Life Esidimeni.

Over the last few weeks, SECTION27 has been engaging with the GDSD on behalf of several NPOs that offer welfare services to vulnerable people.


The law center explained that despite the GDSD confirming that the NPOs are eligible for subsidies, they have not yet been paid.

SECTION27 warned that the closure of these NPOs risked leading to the extreme deterioration, if not death, of the beneficiaries they served.


SECTION27 called on Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and Gauteng Social Development MEC Mbali Hlophe, to address the “dysfunction in the GDSD” and to prevent the mass violation of NPOs' beneficiaries' rights.

It explained that the departure of Head of Department (HOD) Matilda Gasela in the midst of the NPO funding crisis is indicative of the dysfunction of the GDSD.

“The disruption caused by this could result in more delays in the payment of compliant, non-corrupt NPOs who only seek to serve those most vulnerable. These are delays NPOs cannot afford, and lives are at stake should they close,” it said.

Gasela’s departure is due to the expiry of her contract following allegations of corruption.

“However, as has been widely reported, because of a new process implemented by the GDSD in 2023 to select NPOs to fund, the process of informing NPOs of whether their annual funding applications have been successful and sending out service level agreements (SLAs) has been delayed this year,” it said.

SECTION27 noted that this had resulted in the payment of funds being delayed, causing another NPO funding crisis in the province.

“After a meeting held between SECTION27, our clients, and officials in the GDSD on 5 April 2024, our clients have been receiving their SLAs, although not for many of the essential programmes they offer, and some of the SLAs received have issues. The SLAs without issues have been signed and returned to the GDSD. However, payment has still not been made to these organisations, despite us making it clear to the GDSD, from the beginning, that they were on the brink of closure and that there is no plan regarding where the extremely vulnerable beneficiaries of the NPOs would go if they closed,” it said.

The SLAs without issues have been signed and returned to the GDSD, said the organisation.

However, payment has still not been made to these organisations, despite SECTION27 making it clear to the GDSD, that they were on the brink of closure with no backup plan regarding where extremely vulnerable beneficiaries could turn to.

SECTION27 highlighted that continued non-payment would likely result in the mass resignation or retrenchment of staff.

“This situation was completely predictable and would have been avoided had the lives and safety of the beneficiaries of these programmes been prioritised,” it said.

SECTION27 called on the GDSD to make payment to all the NPOs who have signed their SLAs, adding that the department must also imminently finish sending out SLAs and afford NPOs who have been denied funding for certain programmes an opportunity to appeal those decisions.

The NPOs in question are House Otto Self-help Centre for Quadriplegics, Impumelelo Self-help Centre, Remme-los Residential Care and Independent Living, Epilepsy SA, Vaal Mental Health, Central Gauteng Mental Health Society, North Gauteng Mental Health, and West Rand Association for People with Disabilities.


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