Although The annual Budget Speech delivered by the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, has been touted as pro-poor and highly transformative, it remained rather silent about the non-governmental sector and its impact in South African society.
Education and social welfare are to receive a large portion of the state’s budget, with increases in the budget for higher education and incremental increases in the social grants received by the poor who are largely serviced by the NGO sector.
Kenneth Thlaka, Executive Director for the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT) believes that the Budget Speech showed no support to the South African NGO sector, the sector that assists and relieves government of the burden of caring for the poor majority of South Africans.
“Our government is continuously increasing the burden of care of those who continuously require their services to NGOs but NGOs are closing down because they are not able to afford and to handle the pressures on the demand for their services, yet the government is not providing adequate support,” Thlaka commented.
“Take for instance the Early Childhood Development Centres, these centres are assisting children and parents and relieving the burden from government and if an organisation is relieving a burden from government that organisation requires support from the government.”
Organisations in the South African NGO sector receive and survive on international grants to facilitate their programmes. Although these funds exist, it is important that the South African government contributes to the active NGO space in the country.
“The country needs to review the funding model for the NGO sector,” continues Thlaka. “NGO funding should be placed under the Finance Ministry.
“We have to take care of the South African agenda. If the government wants to implement NDP we need to support those organisations that are already implementing the NDP,” laments Thlaka. “We can’t expect outside funding to implement the NDP. The government is not taking care of its own NGOs in the country that’s why most of the NGOs will continue implementing the agenda that is set for them by external parties.
“If NGOs are important, then we need to support them financially. If we require economic growth, we should also focus on transformation of our society and that’s where NGOs are playing and can continue to play a role.”
- Staff Writer
Photo courtesy: Planet NGO