MEC gets tough with region’s NGOs

Zandile Mbabela

A YET-TO-BE-RELEASED auditor-general’s report on the Department of Social Development’s funding of non- profit organisations has hinted at an abuse of resources due to a lack of monitoring by the department.

Based on opinions given to the department from the recently compiled report, the department was told to closely monitor where the money was going as many organisations did not submit annual reports.

To heed that call, the department has been holding a series of dialogues with those running non-profit organisations across all provinces, which will form the agenda to be taken to the national summit next month.

Opening the two-day dialogue at the Nelson Mandela Bay’s Coega Village yesterday, Deputy Minister Maria Ntuli and MEC Pemmy Majodina raised the auditor-general’s opinions with the group – with the MEC even threatening to withhold funding to organisations that did not submit their annual reports.

“Every year the auditor-general finds poor or non-reporting by non- profit organisations. Is this a deliberate move or is there a genuine lack of capacity because as the department we always get a qualification on the AG’s report,” she said.

“We were told that there was a lack of reporting and accountability from NPOs and that we do not monitor you. Why should we monitor you when you know what is expected of you?”

Delivering the keynote address, Ntuli said the auditor-general stressed the importance of getting the department and the NPO sector to “get to know each other”.

“We need to look at where the money is going – who, what and how we’re funding because we just keep funding without really knowing,” she said.

“Some of those we fund are just one-man NGOs, where it is just the person, an [empty] office and suitcase with nobody else benefiting. Today we are trying to rectify that.”

Ntuli said the trend by department officials to “sit in the office and wait for funding applications without knowing the faces behind the applications” should stop.

“We are also looking into double- dipping, where NGOs get funding from a number of departments yet they are the most vocal when it comes to complaints about funding.

“We are fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality, so please let us not use poor people for personal gain.”

The NPOs yesterday posed questions to the department, which Majodina is to respond to today.

The city’s dialogues are the last, along with those simultaneously held in KwaZulu-Natal with Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

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