• Project Tackles, Prevents Stunting of Children

    The United Nations Humanitarian food agency has launched a new project to tackle stunting in nearly one million affected children under the age of five in Malawi.
    The World Food Programme (WFP) states that the project is designed to reduce stunting in the district by five to 10 percent, as well as build evidence for the best ways of tackling the problem.

    Meanwhile, World Vision - a relief, development and advocacy organisation working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice - has been selected by WFP as the lead non-governmental organisation partner in the project.

    To read the article titled, “New Project Aims to Tackle, Prevent Stunting of Malawian Children,” click here.

    All Africa
  • MSF Opens Up Access to Humanitarian Data

    Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a humanitarian-aid non-governmental organisation, initiates an open-access approach within the humanitarian sector in the hope that other medical aid organisations will follow suit.

    According to a report published in PLOS Medicine, MSF has made the data clinical and research staff collect, freely available online – marking the first time a medical humanitarian organisation has fashioned a policy to openly share its data.

    Leslie Shanks, who led the development of MSF's data-sharing policy, states that “by making its medical data open access, MSF will enable other scientists to conduct further research on them, potentially leading to health benefits for the vulnerable and neglected communities where MSF works.”

    To read the article titled, “MSF Pioneers Opening up access to humanitarian data,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Mandela NGO to Preserve SA Heritage

    Speaking at the official opening of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, President Jacob Zuma says the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory plays a vital role in preserving part of South Africa’s heritage.
    Zuma believes the centre has made a major contribution towards integrating the liberation heritage into our nation’s cultural heritage.
    “The resources housed at this centre form an integral part of defining where we come from as a nation.  They also help in articulating the kind of society we seek to build,” he stated.
    To read the article titled, “Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is important for SA: Zuma,” click here.


    SABC News
  • Foundation Admits to Funding Breytenbach

    The FW De Klerk Foundation is footing the hefty legal bill of senior prosecutor, Glynnis Breytenbach, partly by way of multimillion-rand donations from billionaire businessman, Nathan Kirsh.

    The Foundation’s executive director, Dave Steward, admits that Kirsh, “…a major donor, also to our litigation fund, which has paid the legal fees of Glynnis Breytenbach.”

    Steward explains that from this donations, the organisation also funds other projects, adding that the main project is Breytenbech’s litigation.

    To read article titled, “De Klerk funds Breytenbach,” click here.

    IOL News
  • Department of Social Development: Members of the Panel of Arbitration in Terms of the NPO Act

    Department of Social Development
    Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
    Opportunity closing date: 
    Monday, February 11, 2013
    Opportunity type: 
    Call for Nominations of Candidates to be Appointed as Members of the Panel of Arbitration in Terms of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, No 71 of 1997 (NPO Act)

    Nominations are hereby invited for the appointment of suitable persons to serve on a panel of arbitrators to be appointed by the Minister of Social Development in terms of Section 9 of the NPO Act. The NPO Act, created an appeal mechanism in respect of decisions to refuse or cancel registration under the Act, and specified a procedure for appointing the persons who may conduct appeals and arbitrations.

    Function of the Panel of Arbitrators:

    To consider and decide on appeals and arbitrations where an organisation lodges an appeal against cancellation of registration or refusal to register.

    Criteria for Nomination:
    • Knowledge of the NPO sector;
    • At least five-year-experience in the NPO sector;
    • Knowledge of the provisions of the NPO Act;
    • Commitment to the building and strengthening of the NPO sector.
    Nomination Procedure:
    Nomination should be submitted to the Minister of Social Development for the attention of:

    Ms Siphiwe Nziyane:
    NPO Directorate
    Department of Social Development
    Private Bag X901


    Office #546 South
    HSRC Building
    134 Pretorius Street




    Ms Mpho Mngxitama
    Tel: 012 312 7015/ 7312
    Cell: 072 777 2125

    For more about the Department of Social Development, refer to

    For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to


    Want to reach the widest spectrum of NGO and development stakeholders in South Africa? Learn more about how the NGO Pulse Premium Advertising Service can support your communication and outreach requirements. Visit for more information.

  • De-registration of NPOs in South Africa – What You Need to Know

    In the past few weeks many NGOs have discovered that their “NPO registration status” with the NPO Directorate has changed to 'de-registered' or 'non-compliant' 

    According to well-known consultant to the sector, Ann Bown, 36 513 organisations have been de-registered, 35 217 are on a warning (non-compliant) while only 29 019 are in good standing (registered), out of the approximately 85 000 registered on the NPO Directorate database.  

    Whatever the reasons for these changes - non-compliance by NPOs or administrative incompetence by the NPO Directorate - NPOs need to understand the implications of these changes and take the necessary steps to rectify this situation.  

    # Why is it important to be registered by the NPO Directorate  

    Registration in terms of the Nonprofit Organisations Act of 1997 (the NPO Act) is voluntary. However, for some organisations it has become practically compulsory. For example, those setting up a voluntary association must be registered in terms of the NPO Act if they have any hope of opening a bank account. Banks are now insisting on the NPO certificate for voluntary associations.

    Government departments and some donors (e.g. National Development Agency and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund) also require registration in terms of the NPO Act as a condition for funding, while others believe it contributes to increased NPO transparency and credibility.  

    # How to check your status

    If your organisation is registered with the NPO Directorate and has been issued an NPO number, refer to to check your status.

    The status will reflect - Registered, De-Registered or Non-compliant.  

    # Reasons for de-registration  

    If your organisation has been de-registered, it is important to establish the reason/s for the change in your status. The NPO Directorate’s website would usually indicate the reason, and it should be reflected in the notice of non-compliance that the Director for NPOs issued to your organisation before de-registration.

    De-registration is usually linked to the failure by NPOs to submit financial and narrative reports as required in terms of the Act.

    The Director for NPOs can de-register NPOs that are registered in terms of the Act if such NPOs have not complied with:

    • a material provision of its founding document;
    • a condition or term of any benefit or allowance conferred on it by the Minister of Social Development in terms of the Act; or
    • its obligations in terms of sections 17, 18 and 19 and any other provision of the Act.
    # Requirements before de-registration  

    It is important to understand that Section 20(1)(a) of the Act requires that the Director for NPOs must send a compliance notice in the prescribed form to a registered NPO if the organisation has not complied with its obligations in terms of sections 17, 18 and 19 and any other provision of the Act.

    This notice must, first, be in writing, second, notify the NPO of the compliance steps required and, third, inform the NPO that it has one month from the date of the notice to comply.  

    # Is re-registration possible?  

    Section 22 of the NPO Act allows a de-registered NPO to dispute its de-registration by referring the matter for arbitration to an Arbitration Tribunal. This Tribunal must within three months, after having received an appeal, consider the arbitration. Unfortunately, the Tribunal has not been appointed as required in terms of the Act.  

    It seems that an organisation will be re-registered if it submits its outstanding narrative and financial reports - if it has been de-registered for failing to submit those reports. The NPO Directorate’s system is now automated and you can submit your financial and narrative reports online.  

    Otherwise, if your deregistration or non-compliant status is due to an administrative mistake by the NPO Directorate, then submit proof to the NPO Directorate that your reports were submitted on time.  

    # Other steps to be taken  

    As expected, the change in “registration” status has upset many NPOs because they claim their information is up-to-date. Others feel this is part of a sinister move by government to regulate the work of the sector as it cannot be the case that so many organisations have not fulfilled their responsibilities in terms of the NPO Act.

    CAF Southern Africa is collecting information about organisations that have been de-registered due to administrative error on the part of the NPO Directorate.  

    Click here for more information.

    NPOs should visit the NPO Database to establish their current status or contact the NPO Directorate at for questions in this regard. 

    Also comment on this blog by sharing information about your experiences with the NPO Directorate, the NPO registration process or efforts required in restoring your registration status.  

    (I would like to thank Ricardo Wyngaard for the inputs provided in support of this blog. He has prepared A Basic Guide to the NPO Act which provides detailed information in support of many of the issues highlighted above. He has also produced a training DVD on compliance with the NPO Act, which includes an interview with the NPO Directorate. The training took place in September 2012. A limited number of DVDs is available free of charge from Ricardo Wyngaard Attorneys.)

    Related article:

    Joint media statement by Minister Bathabile Dlamini and the Ministerial Task Team on Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) (31 January 2013)

  • Report Back on Lotto March

    Many thanks to the 450 NGOs who marched to the National Lotteries Board (NLB) offices in Pretoria and the hundreds who signed our petition and supported us. NGOs from throughout South Africa i.e. Eastern, Western and Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Gauteng. People travelled from as far as Secunda, Nelspruit, Vereeniging to voice their outrage – one only has to look at the posters to gage their opinions.

    We must also thank the media for the extensive coverage we received in the week leading up to the march – radio, TV and press, which clearly highlighted the corruption and maladministration of the lotto and the distributing agency.

    And yet, the chairperson of the board, Alfred Nevhuthanda, persists in dismissing our concerns in a most condescending and unsatisfactory way.

    It is my view that the only time when we present irrefutable evidence of corruption, we will be able to bring about change and take this matter to the Public Prosecutor. During the Lotto’s road shows last year, NGOs did come forward and report cases of bribery, which the Lotto has done nothing about – could these people please contact me?

    The way forward

    We now have a core of representatives within the sector, people with years of experience who are willing to ensure that the sector is treated fairly, honestly and is acknowledged for the vital services they provide.

    We would like to call a press conference in about three weeks to give NGOs the opportunity to present proof of corruption, maladministration and bribery.


    There is an abundance of dedicated, professional and experienced people who work in this sector and one has to wonder why the NLB has never bothered to seriously seek their input or opinions when determining policies.

    Our time is now – we must use this opportunity to expose corruption, bribery and maladministration in order to ensure our survival so that the most marginalised people in South Africa are not forgotten.

    On behalf of the NGO sector:

    Sandra Millar
    Tel: 012 430 2630
    Mobile: 082 555 4905


  • Cronje Appointed New SAIRR CEO

    The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) has appointed Frans Cronje as its new chief executive officer.

    Cronje, who will be taking over from John Kane-Berman who retires at the end of February next year, joined SAIRR’s research department in 2004 and since taken over responsibility for the organisation’s marketing drive while also launching its Risk Analysis.

    Meanwhile, SAIRR president and the University of the Free State vice-chancellor, Professor Jonathan Jansen, describes Cronje’s appointment as ‘wonderful news for independent research and courageous thinking in South Africa today’.

    To read the article titled, “SAIRR gets new CEO,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Bangladesh: Losing Some Battles, but Winning the War

    We are searching for leadership in every corner we know, but it may be where we least expect it - on the ground, in the simplest of solutions.

    In a time where we desperately search for heroes and heroines, I found a generation of leaders and legions of activists who qualify, led by extraordinary human beings like Professor Muhammed Younis, who founded the Grameen Bank, and Sir Hasan Fazle Abed, who built BRAC (formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), the largest and most admired non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the world.

    Perhaps we have been searching too long in the wrong place. It is time to refocus our gaze and look downwards to our people, where we will find legions of Mandelas who are working selflessly among the poorest, bringing hope to their doorway everyday - in a world that may seem to have stopped caring.

    Bangladesh has achieved a number of the Millennium Development Goals already. Poverty has been halved, child and maternal mortality reduced dramatically and girl enrolment in school is almost universal; between 1990 and 2010 life expectancy rose by 10 years, from 59 to 69. Human well-being has improved.

    I try to understand why.

    Bangladesh is poor. It is not hidden. There is no visible enclaves of sheltered privilege like we are used to in South Africa. The teeming mass of humanity pours out of every corner of the country. Population pressure is overwhelming. Twice the density of China or India, this country is the most populous state in the world. And it is reflected in Dhaka's infamous gridlock of competing traffic that pits rickshaw pullers against the plush 4X4s and battered buses of a bygone epoch. Driving is not for the faint-hearted here.

    To decode Bangladesh's development trajectory, we have to go back to the War for National Liberation in 1971. Dominated by Pakistan as part of its eastern territory, the Bengali people rose in revolt at authoritarian rule that sought to destroy its culture, language and heritage. In the ensuing war, an estimated three million people perished. The institutional and intellectual class was largely slaughtered. Independence was won, but the founding father Sheik Mujibur Rahman, the newly-elected Prime Minister, a political activist of great integrity, was assassinated shortly after victory in 1975. The country, in turmoil, slid towards a failed state.

    Out of this hardship arose great leaders of the people. With no party-political agenda, they began to reconstruct the social fabric through painstaking community-based work. Today, leaders like Sir Fazle Hasen Abed and Professor Younis, and the institutions they founded, BRAC and Grameen Bank, are celebrated as models of participatory democracy that have lifted millions out of poverty.

    In June 2013, I spent a week with BRAC. They are a household institution. With over eight million members, they reach close to a 120 million rural people and over six million in the urban slums.

    I am in the crowded urban Korail slum of Dhaka, with its narrow streets, open gutters, a mass of human beings crammed in an impossibly tight space. It is navigating a maze lined with traders meeting every imaginable need the community has for food, medicines, airtime, tea and services. It is another universe far from the air-conditioned comfort of the middle classes. There is a familiarity that the people escorting us have with the community.

    The heat is rising. The air is humid. Already I feel the rivulets of perspiration running down my body. We arrive at a BRAC Delivery Centre. It has neatly laid out rows of sandals outside. I really admire this tradition. Respect for the home; it also keeps diseases picked up, outside. In a squashed space we are crammed with a score of women, they are resplendent in their simple but colorful garb. They are the 'Mothers’ Club', reviewing activities of the past week. I listen carefully.

    The meeting reminds me of the union meetings of the 80s. It is an essential part of painstaking social organisation at the community level. Coordinated by Shasthya Shebikas, the healthcare volunteers, they bring the pregnant and lactating mothers together. There are close to a 100 000 in this cadre of leadership in BRAC. Like shop stewards on the factory floor, they know everything that happens in this community. They are from the community. And every week they have to meet every mother who is pregnant, lactating or raising a young child.

    I ask Kohinoor, a Shasthya Sebika, what her job is. “I live here in the slum. I was trained. I visit 10 households a day. I monitor all mothers and children and track progress of pregnant mothers. We bring the mothers to the central delivery centre to receive regular education. Each mother has a book detailing the progress but also providing simple information about the dos and don’ts during her pregnancy. I spend time with the husbands, educating them about pregnancy and also involving them as fathers.”

    They are the on the ground surveillance system. Every step has been standardised. Any complication is a telephone call away. A local midwife, a Shasthya Sebika or her supervisor, a Shasthya Kormi, is available within minutes. The logistics chain is seamless. A rickshaw ambulance, navigating the narrow rutted streets, gets the mother to the main street, an ambulance or the local hospital which is already alerted and waiting with all the history of the mother available. The referral system is as elaborate in its simplicity. I understand why the maternal and child mortality is so dramatically down.

    Women’s empowerment is the core. And mothers are the centrepiece of this community organising strategy of outreach. Haemorrhaging, a scourge of maternal mortality, has fallen dramatically and 90 percent of women breastfeed their children in the first hour. Today, women have access to safe deliveries in a hospital or BRAC delivery centre.

    The next day I visited a village. I met with another group of Shasthya Shebikas. I wanted to interrogate this model and understand it. How does it work, I ask?
    “I was a mother. I saw the value of the education I received. I applied and was selected. After my training, I was allocated an area to work. My job was monitoring and educating the pregnant mothers and also the families, especially their husbands. I also teach women about their rights, family planning, the law and justice,” replies Sumaya, a Shasthya Kormi, a supervisor of Shasthya Sebekas.

    Was there resistance from your husband’s? There is an excited response.

    “Yes, at first. But our children were always sick. Now they are healthier. We showed that some of our cultural practices were not right for the child or the mother. For example, some mothers did not breastfeed in the first hour and give the baby the colostrum because they thought it was bad for the child. Now 90 percent of the mothers’ breastfeed in an hour and exclusive breastfeeding is above 65 percent for the first six months. Now we are respected by our husbands and our community. We have dignity. “

    I see them all carry a black bag. I ask Sumaya to show us what is in her bag. The Shasthya Sebekas are trained in dispensing 10 over-the-counter medicines, from dehydration fluid, micronutrient sprinkles, painkillers to iron tablets, in addition to sanitary pads, female contraception and condoms; for those trained further there are eye tests – the most expensive costing less than US$2 - and treatment of hypertension. There are 22 products that are accredited by BRAC. The Shasthya Sebika earns a percentage of each item that is sold. It is a fully sustaining model of social entrepreneurship with a conscience of service at its core.

    Next we visited Nurmahar, a mother at her home. It is a simple mud adobe structure, spotless and proud. Her baby, Turna, now seven months, is about to eat her first meal of solid food. Sumaya leads the lesson. The first step is hand washing. Then the ingredient: dhal lentils, fish, rice, green herbs and one teaspoon of soya bean oil are mashed carefully in a measuring bowl. A sachet containing micronutrients is mixed into the food. Turna is unperturbed by the gaggle of strangers on the stoep of her home. She smiles and chuckles, wondering what the fuss is. She swallows and turns her head, to her mother, waving her hands wildly and demanding more.
    I find this model of social organisation so familiar. It is a model from community and union organising around the bread-and-butter issues affecting the poor. The objective is to build community power and cohesion through systematic education and co-creating tools that are useful. It has standardised processes and creates an ecosystem that is plugged directly into the ‘mothership’ - BRAC. It is a democratic closed loop that is constantly monitoring, evaluating and feeding back.

    I ask the BRAC founder, Abed Bhai, how he steers the institutional bureaucracy. “We must never be arrogant that we know everything. Even the best ideas fail in implementation. We must learn to listen to the voices of the community.”

    He gives me an example of the simple saline dehydration solution that BRAC introduced with great fanfare to deal with the epidemic of dysentery, especially when the monsoon season hit. “We were targeting the mothers, and it was a simple solution that mothers can do themselves at home by combining salt, sugar and water in the right proportion. But we failed because we did not bring the family, the husbands and the in-laws into the discussion."

    I find that there is so much to learn in Bangladesh. The country remains politically divided and fragile. But there is glue of community giving that holds it together. Bangladeshi live in villages that are self-sustaining, it is a life of hardship subjected to periodic ravages of tsunamis, cyclones, floods and drought - it breeds a resilience because they are less dependent on government.

    If we listen carefully and tap the soul of our people, we will find a deep and persistent desire, especially among mothers and women, that the new generation of children should have a better life than the previous one. That desire is the motive force that must be fuelled, and the improved rights, productivity and incomes of women will be translated into major gains for our development vision of a world free from poverty and inequality

    - Jay Naidoo is founding General Secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions, former Minister in the Mandela Government and Chair of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). You can follow him on Twitter, or visit his Facebook Page or
    Jay Naidoo
  • NGO Not Impressed by Reduced e-toll Tariffs

    The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) says that the public is not fooled by the reduced e-toll tariffs.

    In a press statement, OUTA chairperson, Wayne Duvenage, warns that the public know that the rate of today is not the rate of tomorrow.

    Duvenage, who questions the timing of the possible tariff reductions, adds that, "Have the collection costs suddenly been reduced, or is this a case of trying to force a thinner edge of the wedge into the door of public acceptance?"

    To read the article titled, “South Africans not e-toll fools - OUTA, click here.

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