• Zuma Urged to Consult on E-tolls

    The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) says the Gauteng e-tolling controversy offers President Jacob Zuma the opportunity to indicate to government officials what he means by consultation.
    OUTA chairperson, Wayne Duvenage, states that they agree with the president’s notion however are let down by the actions displayed by the authorities in ignoring the views of the people.
    Zuma told residents in Soshanguve that South Africans want to be engaged continuously and have strong views about how they want to be governed.
    To read the article titled, “Outa wants Zuma to act on e-tolls,” click here.

    Fin 24
  • NGOs Urged to Become Social Enterprise

    As the world coffers appear to gradually dry up at a time when most non-governmental organisations are donor driven, it is about time these so-called non-profit making groups embrace the concept of social enterprise to sustain their projects.

    According to an analysis by Tonderayi Matonho, these organisations also need to build positive relations with the people and communities they have assisted for the many years they have been in existence.

    Matonho is of the view that the social enterprise concept integrates into programme activities an income generation and business model, creating complete transformation and sustainable processes.

    To read the article titled, “Donor-driven NGOs, should enterprise or they die,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Residents Criticise Govt Over Housing

    Abahlali baseMjondolo, the shack dwellers’ movement, declares politicians unwelcome in Durban’s informal settlements until such time that the housing needs of the poor are addressed.
    The movement’s general secretary, Bandile Mdlalose, states that the shack dwellers are tired of the lies they hear from politicians and have to send a message that they are not wanted in their areas.
    He was responding to protests by Kennedy Road residents, following eThekwini mayor, James Nxumalo’s visit where he handed out meat parcels to the poor.
    Abahlali believes the mayor’s visit was an insult to the residents of Kennedy Road informal settlement who were yet to receive houses promised to them years ago.

    To read article titled, “Give us houses not meat, mayor,” click here.

    IOL News
  • NGO Urges Phiyega to Step Aside

    The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) states that it would be in national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega’s best interest, and that of the police service, for her to step aside while the investigation into her conduct is pending.

    Phiyega faces a criminal charge of defeating the ends of justice for allegedly interfering in Lieutenant General Arno Lamoer’s crime intelligence investigation.

    ISS senior researcher, Johan Burger, argues that a lack of experience and a police service in crisis has tainted Phiyega’s term as the national commissioner.

    To read article titled, “Phiyega must go,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • Childline On The Rocks

    When families and communities fail children, the government is left with the job of caring for them. Often non-governemental organisations (NGOs), such as Childline, carry out this responsibility - but they are struggling to survive.
    In Diepsloot, where the bodies of cousins Yonelisa Mali, two and Zandile Mali, three, were found in a public toilet this week - Childline could only field one social worker.
    The cousins' bodies were found near the spot where Anelisa Mkhondo, five, was found dumped and murdered last month.
    Joan Van Niekerk, advocacy and training manager for Childline, says the situation was dire. The organisation works to protect children from all forms of violence.
    Though it is ‘grateful’ for government funding, Van Niekerk says it covered only a third of the organisation's services nationally.
    "There is money in this country, it just doesn't go to the services that are so urgently needed," said Van Niekerk.
    "What you have is [President Jacob] Zuma spending R238-million on his Nkandla residence while he earns a president's salary. But just 10 kilometres from his home you have children who do not have enough to eat."
    Childline recently cut its staff complement. North West had the highest retrenchment rate but there were also job losses in other provinces such as Northern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
    In Western Cape, Childline had to sell its property just to survive.
    Van Niekerk says Diepsloot was not the only Childline office with only one worker. Many small offices in KwaZulu-Natal are in the same situation.
    According to a summary report by the Financial and Fiscal Commission, there are about 900 000 orphans in South Africa and the state has an obligation to provide them with social services.
    "Many NGOs are facing serious financial difficulties as a result of the increase in the demand for their services, coupled with a decline in external and government funding in recent years," the report says.
    "Delays in transfers from the government threaten their very existence and their ability to deliver services."
    Social Development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant says R5 billion had been budgeted for NGO funding this year.
    The police have offered a R100 000 reward for information about the whereabouts of the suspected killer of the Mali children.
    Police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said the suspect, who is in his 30s, is about 1.7 metres tall and light-skinned.
    This story has been updated to reflect the correct amount budgeted bythe Department Social Development for NGO funding this year.
        - Nashira Davids is a journalist for The Times, and Graeme Hosken is a senior reporter at Sunday Times. This article first appeared on the Times Live website,

  • NGOs Forced to Work With ZANU-PF

    The Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) says that ZANU-PF uses memoranda's of understanding to ensure that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) do not have total autonomy when implementing programmes.

    COTRAD programmes manager at advocacy group, Zivanai Muzorodzi, says that while NGOs want to conduct their activities impartially, his experiences in the Masvingo Province have shown that this is not always possible.

    Muzorodzi explains that, "Every organisation that wants to implement a programme in the community is made to sign a memorandum of understanding,” argues that this is a trick that ZANU-PF uses to ensure that all NGOs follow lines of communication crafted by the party.

    To read the article titled, “NGOs forced to work with ZANU-PF structures,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Labour Court Ruling a Victory for Equality - NGO

    The FW de Klerk Foundation states that the ruling that it is unfair for the Department of Correctional Services to only use national demographics in implementing affirmative action targets is a victory for equality.
    The foundation believes that the way the Employment Equity Act sought equality through demographic representation fell short of the constitutional values of non-racialism.
    The foundation was responding to the ruling by the Labour Court in Cape Town that the department should take immediate steps to take both national and regional demographics into account when setting equity targets.
    To read the article titled, “De Klerk Foundation welcomes labour ruling,” click here.

    News 24
  • Parliament Slams Reaction to e-Tolls

    Parliament's transport portfolio committee on transport says Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance’s (OUTA) call for motorists not to pay for e-tolls in Gauteng defies the Constitution.
    The committee has urged both e-tolling critics to demonstrate their respect for the law by accepting the decision made by the courts.
    "The committee is concerned that these two organisations are encouraging citizens not to abide by an Act of Parliament and thus defy the Constitution of the country," states Ruth Bhengu, committee chairperson.
    To read the article titled, “Parliamentary committee condemns Outa, COSATU's e-tolls reaction”, click here.

    Mail and Guardian
  • Hard Times Builds Character

    Like it or not, hard times are good for you. The old truth that it builds character, is as valid today as it was years ago when our grandparents told us so. When I think back to the times when I was under pressure, to pass examinations, to submit reports on time, to make plans for the survival of Abraham Kriel Childcare, I experienced both pain and growth. I did not experience unhappiness.

    Abraham Kriel Childcare is currently going through a tough period. The situation has forced us to look critically at what we do and how we do it.

    In the end, this will help to turn us into a leaner and more effective organisation. It has not brought unhappiness or devalued our services to children and youth. It is astounding how one’s way forward becomes clear one step at a time in periods of great difficulty. As Christians, we believe that God is in control and that we can trust in his guidance. We also laugh and cry and think and pray harder. And we learn to appreciate and celebrate every blessing. One of the things we are proud of is the ‘Integrated Report’ that Abraham Kriel Childcare managed to prepare and submit for the first time this year. Let us know if you would like one or view it on our website. Another highlight is the savings we managed to effect on the consumption of scarce resources, specifically water and electricity. 

    It is a time of serious concern, particularly about the Abraham Kriel Family Care programme in Westbury, which is at risk due to a lack of funding. Despite this, we feel incredibly privileged to be instrumental in demonstrating God’s love to every child or young adult that benefit from the services we provide. When we really look at the people we serve, we can see that we have brought a little bit of heaven into their lives, because they can experience God’s love through our actions.

    To our donors, friends and all those who pray for our work, please share this joy as you too brought it about. May God bless you all with the true happiness of bringing His love to those most in need of it.

  • Six Steps to Surviving 2013

    2012 has been a tough year for civil society. Those funding cuts that we’d been warned of since the crash in 2008, were keenly felt. The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) wrapped up its second five year programme, the Europeans curtailed their investments, the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DIFID) restructured. The retraction in international funding was exacerbated by instability in local funding as the National Lottery in trying to get its house in order, struggled to deliver on its grant mandate. Government too continued to frustrate rather than support, being slow to pay and with large underspends on its welfare budgets. Business plodded along, on hold as it waited for the new BBBEE Draft Codes to be published.

    The result is that the country may not be in recession, but it feels as if the non-profit sector is. The reality of this picture was brought to life by a recent survey by consultancy Greater Good, which interviewed over 600-plus organisations. Eighty percent of those surveyed have lost significant funding this past year, 20 percent have enough money to last another month, 17 percent have no operating cash at all. Published late last year, the report confirms my instincts - that the tough times are real, and life for civil society isn’t going to improve in the near future.

    But I’ve had a forced rethink, after attending the ‘Looking Back, Looking Forward’ forum at GIBS, which hosted visionaries whose crystal balls are a whole lot more informed than mine, strategist, Clem Sunter, constitutional expert, Roelf Meyer, City Press editor, Ferial Haffajee, civil society’s Neville Gabrielle, economist, Adrian Saville and Rand Merchant Bank Chair, Sizwe Nxasana.

    Hosted at the business school - the home of sharp suits, expensive cars and lengthy debates on profit and loss, the forum took an a-typical turn when the panel from their various areas of expertise agreed that the area of positive growth for 2013 wasn’t financial services, or mining, or media.

    But civil society.

    This is exciting, as it means that the work being done in social development is finally integrating into mainstream thinking. The commentary was fascinating: that civil society’s cross cultural mobilisation of citizenry is connecting people more than anything (think of anti-toll group, OUTA). That the nonprofit sector is where real change lies - for employment, skills development, entrepreneurship and of course, social development. That government and business have to engage if they want to move forward and civil society is the key to that action.

    To hear development debates making their way onto business school panels marks a significant change in thinking. It is an opportunity we cannot miss.

    Although I believe that 2013 will be tougher than 2012, I am heartened by the way the work of nonprofits and activists is being viewed. Jim Collins writes about the importance of gaining momentum to achieve change. I like to think that the years of consistent and persistent pushing are starting to gain traction. We don’t have momentum yet, but we’re starting to see the extra spin. And that’s heartening.

    So rather than predictions for 2013, I have written instead a few survival tips to ensure that your organisation comes out fitter, stronger and more focused by 2014.

    These six steps to surviving 2013 create a well-connected approach that will strengthen your relevance and contribution to social development, creating a solid foundation for the more stable years that sit tantalisingly close on the 2014 horizon.

    1. Look beyond the of jobs jobs jobs mantra

    Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. It was the mantra of 2012 which resulted in a flurry of activity because it came with access to sizeable sums of money, and is a neatly measurable indicator.

    I hope that we have learnt from the HIV-years, when everyone ended up with an HIV project regardless of whether it was relevant to their work or not. And in chasing the easy funding, non-profits neglected the local options which is part of why we’re facing financial difficulties today.

    My advice for 2013 is then let’s not focus on jobs, but rather on the more sustainable approach of building business. It’s the entrepreneurs who will create work for those in their communities. We have to move away from the thinking that institutions will create more work. They won’t – the financial pressure that we are already under means that many of us are cutting not creating employment. So it is common sense to think away from the traditional institutional framework. We need to broaden the base of people in employment. We need to focus on improving the systems they work in. And we need to make instill a strong sense of social focus in our entrepreneurship, so that they are a contact point of positive development.

    For more on this, refer to

    2. Accountability – getting our house in order

    With 80 percent of nonprofits not submitting their annual financial statements and narrative reports to the Department of Social Development, we have no foundation for criticising the other sectors of democracy, business and government.

    2013 must be a year where nonprofits commit to Codes of Good Practice and then follow them.

    Only with an accountable, robust civil society can we attain the moral high ground and hold others to account.

    Business and government are making concerted efforts to improve their accountability as evidenced in King III, and the work of the Public Protector, Auditor-General and legislative framework of the Public Finance Management Act.

    We cannot afford to cruise along with a misplaced arrogance that because we do good, we are good.

    If anyone is to survive 2013, accountability and transparency has to be central to their ethos.

    For more on this, refer to

    3.Monitoring and Evaluation

    If you don’t have monitoring and evaluation in place, 2013 is your year to get it going.
    If you fail to get basic measurement in place, chances are your organisation will be obsolete by 2015.

    Not only is measurement an important part of being more accountable, but it enables nonprofit leaders can challenge their assumptions of what works and what doesn’t.

    I believe that as we all focus on monitoring and evaluation, partnerships will become easier to manage leading to a natural consolidation in the sector. When you realise your areas of expertise you begin to share knowledge and so begins a positive cycle that leads to improved more professional services.   

    For more on this, refer to

    4. From Programmes to Activism

    There is a growing voice that is calling for a move away from programme funding to donor support of activism and rights-based movements. The argument is that civil society’s role is not to provide services that government should be delivering (e.g. like HIV care), but rather to hold government to account to provide these services.

    It’s a good argument, and even better because it is rattling our rather traditional approach to development. I think that 2013 will see more money being available in building accountability and growing the rights-driven voice of civil society. The success of SECTION27, the Right2Know Campaign, even the Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) in Gauteng, adds credence to this movement. This is moving the flywheel significantly and I like it.  Watch out for more activism in 2013 and even more for 2014.

    5. Rise of the CBO
    We can’t keep ignoring community-based organisations (CBO). Just because they don’t have the institutional structures that our funding models demand, doesn’t mean that they are irrelevant. We cannot continue channeling funding for communities via national organisations just because they comply structurally to the needs of the donor.

    I would like to see a concerted effort by the larger nonprofits to bring in CBOs, and to help them build up their institutional structures, securing accreditation, developing financial statements and creating annual narratives.

    I think that national organisations will find that the role they can play as mentor and guide is part of their survival strategy as it is through the CBOs that they will maintain their relevance.

    6. Making Profits out of Nonprofits

    A key survival strategy for 2013 is to grow the profit base of your nonprofit. Usually a sacrilegious word in social organisations it is important that we start to professionalise the work that we do by increasing the surplus of funding. And this doesn’t mean going out to raise more grant funding, but rather taking a longer term view on what type of funding you need to survive. Research by the Stanford Innovation Review shows that America’s top nonprofits have funding stability as their common denominator. This is difficult in South Africa where government and donor funding is erratic. But what must happen is a focus on building a surplus into the organisation, by doing what you do well. Whether that funding stream is grant, or entrepreneurial it must be a surplus and it must provide the type of funds that you need to grow.

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