NPO Service Delivery Initiatives and Partnership Engagement - 24 August 2017

Programme Director
Honourable Executive Mayor
Councilors Present
Head of Department, Ms. Hendrina Samson
Officials of the Department of Social Development
Esteemed guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is wonderful to see so many luminaries in attendance from the private sector, NGO community, the public sector and the media. I believe it is imperative that civil society join hands on equal footing with the business community and government to collectively push forward our aims of social and economic transformation in the Province, so I am glad to see we are starting out on the right foot here today.

The South African Civil Society plays a significant role in addressing the needs of vulnerable communities. The proximity of NPO’s to individuals and communities makes them a significant partner in the provision of social services. In line with International practices the South African Government has acknowledged the reliance of Provinces on NPO’s to deliver much needed services. The National Development Plan states that in the provision of professional social services the State relies mainly on NPO’s to fulfill on its Constitutional and developmental mandates.

South Africa has long had vibrant non-profit organizations that provided important frontline services to help meet the needs of those involved in the liberation struggle and the destitute.

From faith‐based formations, community based organisations and various constellations of civil society organisations – the oppressors felt the pressure through the work of Non-Profit Organizations supporting the work of the liberation movement.

We had organisations supporting detainees, prisoners, organisations exposing human rights abuses in urban and rural areas, organisations exposing police brutality, others mobilizing to get troops out of townships or against conscription, many still were working to promote food security and development to enable people to survive under difficult conditions.

We learned during that period, the value of the Non-Profit Sector, the Non-Governmental Organisations, charities, community groups, faith-based organisations, community development clubs and foundations and a host of others.

We have seen a significant growth in the sector since 1994, due to the enabling environment fostered in by the democratic African National Congress led government.

The activities have also expanded from anti-apartheid petitions and protests to active service delivery initiatives in key areas such as HIV and AIDS, child care, poverty reduction, victim empowerment programmes, social crime prevention, economic development and policy advocacy.

In recognition of the invaluable contribution of the NPO sector to South Africa’s economic and social wellbeing, government enacted the Non-Profit Organisations Act in 1997 to create an enabling environment and align them with the Constitution of the Republic.

At that time, there was an estimated 10 000 registered organisations in both the formal and informal NPO sector. 

There are now about 100 000 organisations in the NPO sector and more than 85 000 are registered in terms of the NPO Act.
The registration figures are highly impressive, given that except for welfare organisations seeking direct support from the Department of Social Development, registration under the NPO Act is voluntary.

The Department of Social development take cognizance the progressive and positive input made by the Non Profit Organizations in strengthening the much needed service delivery to the poor, the needy and the vulnerable. As a result of this the Department commits to remain in partnership with NPO’s that render services ranging from Early Childhood Development, poverty alleviation initiatives, Drop Inn Centres, Welfare Services Organizations rendering services to people with disabilities, the elderly and aged, crime prevention programs, prevention and the consequences of substance abuse, Home Based Community based Organizations, soup kitchens and Youth Organizations.

Non Profit Organizations remain key and central partners in our effort to deliver strategic and development services to our communities. In all interventions that we seek to extricate our people from poverty and deprivation, NPO’s are playing a critical role. We therefore value their support and partnership in making sure that we deliver quality services to the people of the Northern Cape in a transparent and honest manner. 

It is in this culture of transparency and respect for funders that the NPOs have opted to register and do everything above board. We acknowledge this sound management practice. As government we appreciate the work of the NPOs as they complement our work and at times reach communities quicker as some are based within communities. But a lot more has to be done in terms of full compliance to all the prescripts governing NPO’s. And that is exactly what this Summit seeks to address.

Many NPOs do valuable work in the field of child protection, prevention of women abuse, legal aid provision, food security provision, victim empowerment and a host of others. We recall the invaluable support we received from NPOs as government during the drafting of the Children’s Act of 2005. It was remarkable that government and NPOs could work together so well on a piece of legislation, and in the end, the product is supported and implemented by all. There are lessons for all of us in the work that was done then, over 10 years.

At the height of the social grants extension campaign a few years ago, we relied on many community based organisations and NGOs to identify needy families in various areas, and to assist them to apply for social grants.

Working together with NPOs we have certainly done more. And despite what the naysayers would propagate- in this regard too, we have a good story to tell. A very good one indeed.

There are new NPOs on the scene, others promoting good work in enforcing the role of men in fighting women and child abuse.  Others assist us in promoting HIV testing and the expansion of access to anti-retroviral drugs. We cannot as government, do all this work alone. Many run child care centres in communities which provide care and nutrition to children, allowing women to earn a living.

We firmly believe that this sector will continue to play an important role in shaping the next hundred years of deepening democracy in our country.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In addition to providing much-needed services, NPOs also play an important role in promoting volunteerism and job creation.  While there is no official data in this regard, there is an abundance of dedicated, professional and experienced people who work in this sector and make up South Africa’s workforce.

Similarly, we have witnessed a surge in the number and registration of cooperatives in the last ten years.

According to data from the Department of Trade and Industry, there are currently more than fifty four thousand (54 000) registered cooperatives throughout the country.

Given the size of the non-profit sector and its potential, it is important for government to harness the power of the non-profit organisations in tackling development challenges.

Some of the support that government provides came through the establishment of the National Development Agency (NDA).Its mandate is to eradicate poverty by granting funds to civil society organisations and assisting with training and sharing of development experience between civil society organisations and relevant organs of the State among other services.

Since its establishment in 2000, the NDA has to date distributed over one billion rand in grants, with specific focus on rural development poverty eradication initiatives, early childhood development, social cohesion and gender-based violence.  I urge you to find out more about the work of the NDA so that support to the sector can be strengthened.

In addition, the National Lottery Board established in terms of the Lotteries Act (Act No 56 of 1997, as amended) provides for funding of NPOs in the welfare sector, arts, culture and heritage sector as well as sports and recreation sector.

As an added incentive to NDA support, government provides certain tax exemption for NPOs as well as tax relief to individuals and corporations that support this sector.

Ladies and gentlemen,
This NPO Service Delivery Engagement is taking place at a moment of profound political and economic change.

In the past four years the world economy has experienced the worst economic crisis and global political turmoil that the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, the crisis has led to a shrinking of financial support to many NPOs locally. We hear that many companies no longer provide corporate social assistance as they did in the past, due to financial constraints.

This situation threatens the viability of many NPOs that play an important role in meeting social service needs and in promoting development. I am therefore pleased to note that this conference will discuss opportunities for supporting the NPO sector to ensure financial sustainability.

We trust that you will emerge with ideas on how to ensure financial sustainability of the sector under these difficult economic conditions. We urge the private sector as well not to make the NPOs the first area of focus when they have to undertake financial austerity measures.

They should appreciate the contribution of the sector in promoting social cohesion and stability in many communities and society in general.

This diverse sector must be supported in order for it to grow and continue supporting our people.

I know personally the contribution that such NPOs can make in support of the work of government, to improve the lives of many people that government cannot reach fast enough.

I have no doubt that government and NPOs will continue to work together meaningfully, as we have done so for many years, to address the challenges confronting our society.

I trust that you will emerge from this engagement with a common resolve to intensify our partnership to advance our common agenda for development.

My appreciation to the HOD and staff for convening this all important engagement which we will roll out in all districts.

Let us continue to work together, to do more to improve the lives of our people.

I thank you.

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