“I have never used an ATM.”

Two boys, orphan refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, grew up in a Child and Youth Care Centre (CYCC) in Pretoria. Here they were safe. Here they had regular, healthy meals and could attend school – theirs was a childhood with significantly more care, provision and hope than many other children in South Africa face.

The boys spent their childhoods in the CYCC until age 18 when they had to leave the facility and make a life for themselves in the real world. Fortunately a generous supporter of the CYCC offered the boys the opportunity to work in his restaurant as waiters in order to assist them with the transition into independent living.

The boys did well, but later confessed that it was challenging for them being out on their own, having to face all the complexities of being an independent adult. Growing up in an institution satisfied their basic needs allowing them to survive and acquire basic life-skills. Unfortunately, due to the nature of institutionalised care these young men missed out on many learning opportunities that we so easily take for granted.

Working long hours at the restaurant the young men saved their money and decided to open a bank account for the first time in their lives. When they were then faced with the task of withdrawing some of their hard-earned cash, the men had to confess that they have never used an ATM before…

Children are taught many of life’s soft-skills through everyday experiences that they have with their parents, friends, teachers and other significant adults in their lives. These are the skills that help us to get through our daily tasks and activities, and allow us to engage with.

During the month of April, the Thuthuzela Care Centre  (TCC) survivors in Mamelodi saw the conviction of a serial rapist who had raped 21 women from 2008 until he was arrested in March 2013, when he was caught using a victims cellphone.

His youngest victim was 11 and three other victims were 16-years-old when he raped them. All his victims were threatened with a firearm or other dangerous weapons, and most were tied up before they were raped and robbed of cellphones, cash, clothes and jewellery. Almost all of his victims were unable to identify him because he covered their faces while raping them, but his 11-year-old victim recognised him at a police identity parade.

The visibly angry mother of perpetrator’s 11-year-old victim said she was not happy about his sentence, and believed that 500 years would have been better, as he was a threat to every woman and child in the community. DNA tests provided by 6 HealthCare Professionals who worked with the women including cellphone records were proof enough to get him 7 life sentences.

The women are still receiving psychosocial support provided by a group of psychologists from Itsoseng Psychology Clinic in Mamelodi. The psychologists are also assisted by nurses and counsellors at the TCC to provide psychosocial support and to encourage the women to form support groups when they are ready to share their stories.  

There is also a story of a woman who was raped 4 times by prominent people with money, status and power. Mandisa is a mother of 3 children and the incidents happened while she was well-known model. “According to Mandisa, they went to Sunning Hill, Johannesburg with her friend, Candice on a Saturday evening to watch soccer and to hangout. During the soccer match Mandisa lost interest because she was not a soccer fan. She asked if there was another TV she could watch and John, the owner of the house, took her to a bedroom upstairs where she stayed and watched TV alone.

John offered her a glass of wine and as she drank it she could realise that it tasted different but she didn’t want to say anything, she was offered a second glass and as was about to finish it, she noticed that the noise of her friends’ chanting at the soccer match was fading, she didn’t suspect anything until she realised that the house was completely quite. She ran down stairs to check on her friends only to find out that they had left without her. John rushed up to her and told her that she could sleep over for the night and he will take her home the following day. Mandisa was shocked and couldn’t comprehend how Candice would just leave her in a strangers’ house. She then asked John to lend her a phone so that she can call Candice but she didn’t pick up so Mandisa decided to sleepover because it was late.

Mandisa took a bath and asked John to give her a t-shirt that she could sleep with. While she was asleep, John came into the room, and started seducing and undressing her, she tried to push him away but he was too powerful and forced himself onto her. He raped her anally and she was badly hurt. In the morning John took her to the taxis and gave her money to go home.

“Mandisa came straight to the centre and she was traumatised. She told me that this was the 4th time she was raped by people who are prominent and moneyed. She never reported the first 3 incidents but she decided to come out this time because she wanted to put an end to the continuous trauma. The unfortunate part is that when we eventually convinced her to test she was HIV positive.”

 “The moral of the story is that when victims come forward they are able to be helped to regain their confidence with the help of our Thuthuzela Care Centres and the positive experience and outcomes from the South African Justice System, said Dr Grace Makgoka.”

Please note that all the names used in this story are not the real. 

I have written about the frustration of fundraising for nonprofit, community based organisations in South Africa before and feel the need to once again touch on this subject.  My frustration level has not decreased.  Some of the frustrations include:

The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF):

Where the “bleep” is the lotto of South Africa. Why is there no annual call for proposals, why – if they have to sporadic call for proposals does it take so long to pay out to organisations? They seem to have a high level administration system set up to get the money into their coffers and maintain their organisational system, but an inadequate, not-so-important system to get the money to organisations.  It seems like the Lotto exists and function to maintain the Institution of the Lotto. International Donors: International funders seem to have the belief that everything is A-OK in South Africa and many do not fund services in our country any more – looking at the larger number of rich and well to do people in our country, and seemingly forgetting about the substantially increased number of very poor and vulnerable. Yes, as far as the very rich are concerned, resources and money is shared more equitable – but for the poor and very poor inequality levels has increased ominously.

Department of Social Development:

The Department enters into partnerships with nonprofits and non-governmental organisations, but it is the most unequal and lopsided partnerships imaginable. Many of the organisations we have worked with have at present have a split personality approach to service delivery – rendering services as pre-scribed and “purchased” by the Department one the one hand ( to ensure some income) and rendering  needs based community services on a shoestring budget.  The fact that nobody – both the department and the NPO field – seems to have a holistic picture for the development and management of the nonprofit field does not help.

Disclaimers, exclusions and process:

It is very frustrating when you land on a CSI/CSR webpage and see the company focus and what they have funded, see a match, but do not see any way to contact them. It is further frustrating to see a match, see contact details, but see the dreaded words – no unsolicited applications. You receive an explanation of how they go about selecting their partners and how their staff monitors the NGO field-and you know the small locally based NGO, that does brilliant services, has no or little possibility coming to their attention.  In the event that they have a process and contact information, and you submit a proposal – you receive a standard response of your application not falling in their funding area – with added requirements and conditions that they failed to mention previously. Also let’s not forget the dreaded non-fundable administration or running costs (including salaries). In the past year we have worked with over a 100 organisations in training, organisational development, M& E and Fundraising – there is not one where the skill and expertise of their facilitators and staff IS the project, and a quite often THE project expense – but tough luck.


Unfortunately Nonprofits contribute to the present status quo. The lack of cooperation, partnerships and sharing of resources, leads to significant duplication of services and costs.  It does seem that some organisations raise funds and render services to ensure sustainability of the organisation (in terms of job security for staff) – as opposed to rendering needs based services that communities require. Many organisations do not have (and some are not really eager to develop) governance and accountability processes to illustrate the impact of their services and how funds were spent.

So what does one do?

We work with about 10 non-profit organisations in the Western Cape at a flat fee of R3800pm for a one year period.  For this we develop a case statement, service profile and organisational audit, matched donor database, mentor relevant personnel in how to source, cultivate and steward donors etc. Also included in this is the sourcing of funds from 60 matched donors (where we assist relevant staff in the follow up, cultivation etc. of these donors). By the end of the year the client has an extensive database of matched donors, comprehensive fundraising strategy, base documents and skills to take on resource mobilization independently.

We do not however do this without pushing, prodding and harassing organisations in developing risk management plans, Accountability processes and tools, comprehensive monitoring and evaluation systems, service impact evaluation processes, analysis of relevance of services, customer and stakeholder satisfaction processes, partnership analysis, service priority matrixes etc.  In other words – addressing the gaps in organisations to ensure full and comprehensive accountability and addressing concerns raised by funders. 

And this is why my frustration level has not decreased. I raised 5 frustrations – these organisations have fixed up their portion of non- performance.  But still NLDTF is not calling for proposals or paying out money, international donors are missing, South African corporate donors are investing in sports, Department of Social Development maintains their power base and the disclaimers, exclusions and processes keep on growing

Once again - It should be easier to change the world for the better

Pauline Roux is Managing Partner at the Organisational Puzzle

Feet on the Earth or Head in the Clouds? The State Plans Our Agricultural Future: Part II - Can the Informational Requirements for Heavy Regulation be Met? The second Brief in this series sets out the massive information requirements of the proposed system.

The first brief in this series set out definitions of agricultural land and outlined the regulatory framework contained in the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Framework Bill. The Bill proposes heavy regulation of agricultural land, which in turn imposes substantial information requirements.  Can these requirements be met?
The draft Bill provides for the establishment of an electronic geo-referenced land register which will:

  • Store data and information for the development, protection, sustainable use and management of natural agricultural resources and agricultural land. This includes demarcation of high potential cropping areas and potential agricultural land. For each piece of agricultural land there must be a record of its ownership, including the nationality and gender of the landowner, and any other information as may be prescribed by the Minister from time to time, and the characteristics of agricultural land, including land cover and land capability class. Information on current agricultural or other land use, environmental encumbrances, water licenses and other natural resource-related information is also required.
  • Lodge and track applications.

Every provincial Department must provide information on relevant spatial datasets, show the extent of agricultural land lost to mining, formal urban residential developments, informal urban residential developments, and industrial developments, and integrate datasets from different sources, including municipal and farm level.

What resources do we currently have to help meet these requirements? 

  • The State Land Audit, completed in 2014, was conducted to determine how much land was owned by the state, what was it used for, and who were the occupants or users. The audit was conducted for all spheres of government, and the former homelands, public land held by the Ingonyama Trust and land of state owned enterprises. It excluded land not registered at the Deeds Office. There were site visits to registered state land, while a desktop study was made of private land.

The audit provided statistical information pertaining to land ownership, specifying gender, and   nationality or citizenship, and identity of owner. The audit found that of the 121 973 200 hectares of land in South Africa, 79 percent was privately-owned, 14 percent was state land and seven percent could not be accounted for. Of the private land, 48 percent was owned by individuals, 22 percent by companies, 27 percent by trusts and three percent by private organisations. The 17 061 882 hectares of state land was divided into 1 155 508 land parcels. 40 percent of this land was held by national departments, including tribal trust land, 22 percent was held by parastatals, 19 percent by provinces and 12 percent by municipalities, with the remainder not classified.  

The surveyor-general also reported to Parliament that 95 percent of unsurveyed land in the former homelands in 2011 had been surveyed by 2013. The Land Audit reported that 16 035 593 hectares of land were situated in the former homelands. Some of this would have been private and some held in trust by the state.
The extent of electronic geo-referencing of land is unclear.  

  • On the basis of national spatial data in its possession [1], the Department estimates that the distribution of land capability by class and land by use is:


Class I           0.0%          Land water                         0.2%
Class II         1.5%           Irrevocably transformed from  
Class III        11.5%          Agricultural use                     2.6%
Class IV        13.5%          Formally protected  
Class V         11.2%          Game reserves 4.6%
Class VI        14.9%          Forestry 1.3%
Class VII       37.3%          Cultivation                             11.4%
Class VIII      10.3%          Range land                          80.0%

Again, the extent and precision of geo-referencing is unclear, especially since the class of land can vary over short distances. The 2002 land type data set has a resolution of 25 hectares and there must be close to five million such squares across the country. Each square is classified by majority land use, so all irrevocably transformed areas smaller than 12.5 hectares per square were excluded in the results. Permanently transformed areas smaller than 12.5 hectares per square include features such as roads, rural dwellings, open cast mining, small residential and industrial developments. So the irrevocably transformed area estimate is below what is in fact on the ground. Further studies, the Department concludes, are need to quantify the extent of these areas.
There is another aspect to the information required. Every application for subdivision, rezoning, land consolidation, long leases and acquisition by foreigners will require an agro-ecosystem report. This report must contain the proposed use of the land, municipal and provincial land use frameworks, information on soil, terrain, natural vegetation, climate and water sources, agricultural land capability, on and off farm infrastructure, current agricultural enterprises and uses and an agro-system impact assessment of the change. Only a South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions registered agricultural scientists can do the work.

Done properly, the preparation of such a report will be expensive, to the point of being unsupportable for many small farmers and all micro farmers. If incorporated into the land register these reports will build up more detailed knowledge of agricultural land in a piecemeal fashion and some land will not be the subject of reports for a very long time.
Developing a geo-referenced information system will involve a massive amount of work.  In the process, inconsistencies in the Deeds Office records will be uncovered and will have to be dealt with. Unregistered land will have to be dealt with. There is a great deal of potential for land to be assigned to the wrong capability class and extensive applications for changes can be expected.  Moreover, there are rights to the occupation of land not recorded in the Deeds Office: the right to occupy land on privately-owned farms, on state land and in tribal areas. The Bill envisages that these rights must be registered as servitudes, and that the Minister or MEC must approve them, except in some specified cases.
Can such an elaborate system work at tolerable cost, and with South Africa’s state capacity? The next brief will deal with this issue.

These include:

  • National Land capability classification derived from the 1:250 000 land type data set - 2002 
  • Former homelands and TBVC states – spatial demarcation 
  • Protected areas - national and provincial as derived by the Department of Environmental Affairs - 2009 
  • Cultivation – National Field crop boundaries, KZN Landcover 2009 and Inkomati Catchment Management Area   Landcover 2010 
  • Forestry plantations – DAFF 2010; Landcover 2000 
  • Permanently transformed areas – SPOT Building Count (ESKOM) 2009; Roads 2006; Landcover 2010.  

Charles Simkins ( is a senior researcher at the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF). This article first appeared on the HSF website.

Nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and civil society organisation by nature inhabit a world of relationships. Whether between NPOs and beneficiaries, local NPOs and their partners, NPOs and donors, governments, the private sector, relationships are foundational to everything the sector does. However the term ‘partnership’ has been diminished by misuse and is applied to a range of relationships and at this stage is quite often a devalued term.  In addition Network’ and ‘networking’ have become something of a ‘magic bullet’ – buzz-words to be fired in connection with almost any kind of activity or situation.

However many NPO’s and civil society organisations seem to misunderstand the purpose of partnerships - implementing and forming partnerships to secure the survival of their organisations or to strengthen their organisations. (Keeping your “enemies” close)

We need to understand that the best partnerships create programmes which are better than the sum of their individual (organisational) parts, and improve performance and enhance impact of services. Partnerships are not formed to strengthen our mutual organisations, but to strengthen services to our mutual clients. We need to be in agreement that there is strength in unity and that we need to learn from other CSO’s and to share information with others. But how often do we hear “we cannot share skills and ideas -they are going to steal our ideas and services.”

If we really bought into the purpose of civil society organisations partnerships we would not be limiting the possible distribution scope of innovative   and impactful services by keeping it to ourselves – we would be happy that more organisations pick up the baton and take these services to more clients and communities.

Part of our concern is based in linking the  individual strength of our organisations to our own job security. It is also based in the unbalanced and lopsided partnerships we are forced to form with structures such as governments, conduits  and some funders in which we have no or limited power. Whatever the reason, with the possible exception of lobbying, partnerships on grassroots level quite often does not translate to the sharing of resources, ideas and services and delivering more comprehensive, and impactful services to our shared clients.

- Pauline Roux is Managing Partner at The Organisational Puzzle.


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