I know this has become a boring subject but remains an important issue for the NGO sector, being, no increase in subsidies for at least seven years. This has a rippling effect from appointment and turnover of staff where social workers prefer to work for Government departments due to much higher salaries and benefits; staff morale and ultimately service delivery to those in need of our services. Due to the recession it has become more and more difficult to raise funds and all are aware of the difficulties and challenges around allocations from the NLB.
In the field of mental disability, placement of such persons in care and supervision are becoming a luxury (those without families or friends). Existing state or para-state facilities are slowly diminishing. NGOs taking over this role do not have the financial capacity to establish or maintain existing ones.
The latest challenge is the review of state grants. SASSA visits our organisation twice a year for life certificates and through the year reviews are done. Of late SASSA requires an IQ test (not older than 2 years) in respect of persons with intellectual disability, in order to approve disability grants. In our town qualified psychologists are employed by the Dept of Health, visiting Psychiatric Clinics or based at the Provincial Hospital. Although qualified, none can administer IQ tests due to testing material not being available!
Minette van Loggenberg
Uitenhage Mental Health