politics

politics

  • Calls for Re-Engagement to Save the Economy

    Opposition leaders have called on the government to re-engage Zimbabweans living outside the country as efforts continue to find solutions to the country's faltering economy.

    The leaders were speaking at a public forum in Harare organised by SAPES Trust, hosted under the theme 'Zimbabwe Going Forward; Consolidating the democratisation Processes and Re-enforcing Re-engagement with the Global Community'.

    Calls for national re-engagement come at a time Zimbabwe is battling with mounting economic problems.

    To read the article titled, “Diaspora critical for economic growth, opposition,” click here.

    Source: 
    All Africa
  • NGOs Ignore Flood Victims

    According to an article titled ‘NGOs turn a blind eye on Chingwizi’’ by Zvamaida Murwira and George Maponga, the majority of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have ignored the humanitarian emergency facing over 3 000 families displaced by flooding in the Tokwe-Mukosi basin in Masvingo.

    Murwira and Maponga states that only the corporate sector and a few organisations providing 98 percent of assistance rendered so far, while investigations by The Herald show that there are less than five local NGOs active at Tokwe-Mukosi.

    They state that out of the 90 NGOs registered under the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Masvingo, only the Red Cross, Christian Care, Bhaso and Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers' Association have extended help to people at Chingwizi holding camp since they were there following flooding early this year.

    To read the article titled, “NGOs turn blind eye on Chingwizi,” click here.

    Source: 
    All Africa
  • SANEF Condemns Removal of Photos

    The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) condemns the removal of photographs, showing the African National Congress (ANC) T-shirts being carried in a Gauteng traffic police vehicle, from a reporter's cellphone.
     
    In a press statement, chairperson of SANEF, Mpumelelo Mkhabela, says that, "SANEF condemns the harassment of an eNCA journalist by a VIP policeman guarding President Jacob Zuma while he was pursuing his election campaign."
     
    Reacting to an incident in Duduza, Ekurhuleni, where Jacob Zuma was conducting a house to house campaign, SANEF is of the view that the deletion of the pictures amounted to censorship, which was contrary to the Constitution and Police Standing Orders.
     
    To read the article titled, “SANEF condemns deletion of photos,” click here.

    Source: 
    News 24
  • CSOs Demand Termination of Diamond Mining

    Civil society groups demand the immediate termination of diamond mining operations in Marange, Zimbabwe to allow for an independent and comprehensive audit of all companies operating there, whose findings must also be made public.
     
    The groups state that they are appalled that government has, for the past six years, parcelled out and shared such a strategic national resource to individuals and fly-by night investors in deals that have not helped the country's struggling economy or communities around the diamond-rich area.
     
    Centre for Research and Development, Zimbabwe Natural Resources Dialogue Forum and Marange Development Trust state that, "It also dampens our spirit to realise that government ... covertly parcelled out national resources to negative entities who have no interest in the socio-economic upliftment of the Zimbabwean people."
     
    To read the article titled, “Scale-up policies that work to eliminate hunger by 2025 - food expert,” click here.

    Source: 
    All Africa
  • CSOs Demand Term Limits for Malawi Parliament

    Two civil society organisations have started a public campaign to establish term limits for the 193 members of Malawi's National Assembly.
     
    Currently, legislators can remain in parliament for as long as they win re-election to another five-year term in their constituencies, many have served for more than a decade.
     
    Supporters of term limits propose that members serve a limit of two terms and the constitution mandates the president can serve only two five-year terms.
     
    To read the article titled, “Pressure to demand term limits for Malawi parliament,” click here.

    Source: 
    All Africa
  • TAC to Take on Politicians Over Health

    The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) plans to turn up the pressure on politicians ahead of the general election on 7 May 2014 by launching a manifesto to challenge them to answer 11 questions on pressing health issues.
     
    TAC national chairperson, Andile Yawa, says the activists hope to prime the electorate to ask tough healthcare questions of politicians on the campaign trail.
     
    Yawa explains that, "If politicians could use the public health system, then they would develop an interest."
     
    To read the article titled, “TAC plans to take on politicians over health, click here.

    Source: 
    BDLive
  • The Long Shadow of Apartheid Legislation

    New and proposed legislations do not alleviate the most pressing challenges that people in rural areas face. Instead, these laws intensify existing struggles.

    This was the outcome of discussions at a workshop attended by 50 people from across North West, representing communal property associations (CPAs), land buyers’ associations and other local organising bodies. The Centre for Law and Society and the Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA) convened the workshop to discuss the Land Restitution Amendment Bill, the Traditional Affairs Bill, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and North West’s Traditional Leadership and Governance Act, among others. Repeatedly, participants referenced their histories in explaining their current struggles and locating these struggles in broader political, economic and social contexts. This contextualisation illustrated different types of rights to land and minerals that people in the region claim, and shone light on the different governance and leadership institutions historically rooted in the area.

    Several people described feeling as though they were living in the long shadows of the colonial and apartheid-era Black Administration Act and Black Authorities Act. They continue to be forced under apartheid-era ‘tribal’ bodies and leadership, different in name today but similar in structure and definition to their predecessors.

    People’s land and mineral rights continue to be determined by boundaries and leadership structures constructed during apartheid.

    Several CPA members relayed their disquiet over traditional leaders claiming vast amounts of land on behalf of people who live within traditional council areas. This happens while CPAs representing people who were forcibly removed do not receive financial or human resource support from the state and many are still waiting for land transfers that have been approved by previous ministers or endorsed by the Land Claims Court. One participant captured the broader sentiment: “There are those that recognise chieftainship and those that do not. There are those of us who do not have chiefs, and have CPAs. If they [the state] are discouraging CPAs, what will happen to those communities like us without chiefs?”

    Others expressed frustration and anger that, even after the end of apartheid, the land that their forebears bought in spite of systemic and structural barriers to black land ownership is still only recognised as under the guardianship of traditional leaders. In much of the platinum-rich North West, this denial of land ownership also translates into denial of the mineral wealth of the land.

    Access to mineral rights emerged as a key concern. Several people brought documents showing their correspondence with different state entities, including local and provincial government structures and the Office of the Public Protector, in trying to secure state accountability. People have gone to extraordinary lengths to inform themselves about different legislation, in contexts where these texts are not easily accessible, and to put forward proposals on interventions to realise their rights.

    Many indicated feeling that they have exhausted state channels and are marginalised by a system that does not value their rights as citizens. One contributor likened current restrictions on access to mineral rights as receiving your cow back without its essential organs. He argued that these new laws impose new restrictions on people reacquiring land and disproportionately disenfranchise black landowners.

    A key concern emerged that traditional councils and ‘royal nations’ act as a fourth tier of government. The Constitution provides for only three tiers of government: national, provincial and local. Examples of this problem were traditional leaders:
    • Preventing meetings within their ‘tribal jurisdiction’ areas;
    • Using private security agents to enforce their will over people in these areas; and
    • Denying people access to local state services.
    This conversation raised an important discussion about the role that the Constitution imagines for traditional leadership, and the different levels of governance that it guarantees.

    The theme that emerged most clearly, and that drew the different strands of discussion together, was the need for the state to carry out meaningful consultation. This applied especially as most people regarded consultation as inadequate, if not non-existent. Countless efforts at engagement with the state have been frustrated, but people continue to collectively struggle for the realisation of their rights, dignity and means to economic freedom.

    - Thuto Thipe is a researcher with the Rural Women’s Action Research Programme, Centre for Law and Society, University of Cape Town. The workshop, hosted on 19 - 20 September 2013, focused on reading laws and engaging with resource texts analysing legislation. People drew on their diverse experiences of traditional leadership institutions, mining, and land restitution to discuss the ways that the legislation under discussion influences their lives. This first article appeared on Custom Contested.

     

    Author(s): 
    Thuto Thipe
  • 2014 - Upholding the legacy of Mandela!

    How will civil society reflect the vision and values of Nelson Mandela? Will we become more accountable, more transparent, more compassionate, more mission-driven, and more sustainable or just lunge from one financial crunch to another, making lame excuses, blaming the economy and tolerating weak leadership?

    Strong and active civil society organisations are needed for democracy, particularly in developing countries. This call for action comes from the failure of state controlled or top-down approaches to address poverty in communities. However, emerging societies throughout the world are demonstrating the effectiveness of a bottom-up, or community-driven approach to make a difference.
     
    Nonprofit organisations (NPOs) are important expressions of civil society and must be strengthened so that they can participate effectively in a more democratic approach to development. Drive and passion is needed to survive – do not give up, your country needs you!
     
    2014 will be an interesting year as nonprofits strive to work on sustainability plans -the evolution of social media and marketing will continue and nonprofits need to remain up-to-date on these changes to best serve their communities, even the smallest community-based organisation will harness new media and all it has to offer. However, traditional methods like special events, appeal letters, telephone calls, should not be stopped; innovation is the name of the game but always remember to ask!
     
    Individual Donors – You Do the Math.
     
    Evidence shows that people are prepared to give during economic slow-downs. They are willing, if organisations are willing to do their bit by investing in fundraising techniques and reach out to them. NPOs have to make more effort in building relationships or prepare to perish.
     
    Fundraisers should exploit all possible ideas and the tools available to them but they also need to understand their audience’s preferences in hooking up with a good cause. NPOs that have taken more care and nurtured their individual donors are reaping the benefits - it is more cost effective to look after existing donors than to recruit new donors. Segmenting and profiling donors will become a must this year. South African fundraisers are notoriously weak in analysing their markets and taking time and trouble to really get to grips with generational giving such as the Matures (retirees)  who enjoy regular giving, Baby  Boomers also known as the Silver Surfers that seek and find good causes via the Internet, yet they still respond to mail appeals. Generation X and Y (look it up) are receptive to Peer-to-Peer channels, while those born after 1985, affectionately called the ‘thumb’ generation enjoy using smart phones, MXit (over six million young South African’s) and Crowdfunding. 
     
    F2F and D2D
     
    A few locally based international NGOs (INGOs) have tested the controversial mall and street fundraising technique known as Face2Face with a positive response from the public. Thousands of people have signed debit orders for specific monthly amounts, averaging between R70 and R150 per month. However, the cancellation rate is high due to unknown or unspecified factors but one can speculate that it could be a trust issue that occurs between the donor and the nonprofit or possibly with the bank and unexplained bank fees. A great pity as this approach can be a winner if done properly. Door-to-door fundraising is also another successful approach in other countries but in South Africa it’s often difficult to scale electric fences and ring door bells and get past excitable Rottweilers (both canine and gate keepers). Contradictory to this statement; D2D works for HIV/AIDS campaigns in townships and villages so why not make it work for raising support and funds?
     
    Third Party Platforms
     
    Most donors like the safety and convenience of online giving but it has to be simple with no hidden charges and reassurance that their privacy is protected. Rather than set-up your own online donation gateway you may choose to go with a more cost effective option of using a third-party platform but be prepared to do some homework first before making your mind-up.

    A plethora of online donation platforms exist in South Africa but a number of nonprofits seek a litmus test - very few of these platforms are actually based in this country and work in Rands. So check out that there are: No set-up fees, the system allows for customisation design and or link to your website, no registration charges, donations are deposited directly into your bank account (no round tripping), less than five percent for administration fees, preferably one percent and no transaction fee per donation other than standard credit or debit card charges. 

    Also go with one that provides Crowdsourcing options for events or sponsored challenges or venture capital for new social enterprises. The service should be able to support pledges and collect on your behalf as well as link to social media and video sharing websites e.g. YouTube. An online platform should integrate with your management systems.

    Do some benchmarking with these trusted donation sites;
    • FirstGiving  - UK based
    • Fundercloud  - SA based
    • GivenGain – SA/Switzerland based,
    • Givey a social giving platform founded by David Erasmus a South African dot.com billionaire – UK based
    • JustGiving – UK based
    • PayFast, - SA based
    • PayPal Website Payment Standard which offers a facility ‘donate now button’ that NPOs can self-manage but beware it is a bit traumatic to negotiate – this company was founded by another South African billionaire; Elon Musk, inventor and space explorer.
    New Social Currency on the Horizon

    As commerce shifts from cash transactions to electronic payments and more exchanges move online, new forms of electronic currency are starting to take hold. The most well-known is Bitcoin, which describes itself as ‘an experimental new digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world’. By allowing users to remain anonymous and by operating outside of any government or entity, Bitcoin has the potential to transform banking, international trade, and even illicit trade.

    The nonprofit sector needs to explore how Bitcoins and similar products can enhance support for our work. Imagine depositing wealth into Cloud storage or cyber bank!

    The POPI Bill Will Become an Act – No More Spray and Pray

    The Protection of Personal Information Bill will be signed off by the President sometime soon. POPI will have serious consequences for nonprofit organisations as it secures data privacy, it simply states that organisations will have to receive consent from individual donors or consumers to retain, collect and share their personal details. 

    Currently, fundraisers using direct mail, email and short message service (SMS) to promote their cause may retain contact information and communicate with an individual until the individual ‘opts out’ which is an unsubscribe on email, and for SMS communication a reply of STOP or something along those lines and for postal communication probably a scribble on the envelope stating ‘RTS and leave me alone’.

    There has never been an OPT-IN requirement, whereby explicit voluntary consent is required prior to marketing directly with an individual. Once the Act is promulgated fundraisers or their marketing agencies or other third party service providers such as mailing list brokers will have to acquire permission from an individual first before they can obtain and retain personal information and communicate with an individual.

    Future direct mail, email and SMS communication will require prior approval before a marketing communication takes place. The subscriber will still have the option to ‘opt out’ which the fundraiser will need to honour. Should a prospective donor receive an email or an appeal letter they are entitled to be informed from where such details were acquired? By law you have to provide the source and the source has to prove that permission, ‘opt-in’, has been accepted. Facebook and Twitter are already compliant with the POPI Act with easy functions to ‘de-friend’ or ‘un-follow’ a pursuer, the same applies to LinkedIn where permission to communicate is sought first ‘I’d like to connect with you blah blah…’!

    A regulator body known as the Information Regulator will be appointed with powers to enforce the Act and administer punishment to those who do not comply – 10 years imprisonment or a R10 million fine! Organisations have 12 months to comply with the POPI Act. You’ve been warned.

    Government – Good or Bad Partner?

    2013 started with an explosion and mass de-registration of registered nonprofits for non-compliance with the NPO Act by the NPO Directorate. This was a wake-up call that revealed glitches in the system by both the Directorate and registered nonprofits. The newly-introduced automated de-registration system went mad and flagged every organisation that had not submitted reports since 2007. However, this was in contravention of the NPO Act (1997) leaving the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, little choice other than to extend the deadline for submission of outstanding reports to July 2013. This date has further been amended to March 2014 or until such time as the mandatory Arbitration Panel is appointed. NPOs have a right to appeal if de-registration was unfairly carried out; the same applies if an application to register has been rejected.

    Thousands of organisations have uttered (in whispered tones) dissatisfaction with government, mainly at provincial and local levels.  According to vociferous individuals Service Level Agreements are not honoured and payments are received late or short-changed rendering shortfalls in programme budgets and having to use other donor funds to complete government projects - borrowing from Peter to pay Paul and getting into trouble.

    The distrust continues even though the Department of Social Development established a Ministerial Task Team (MTT) after the 2012 NPO Summit to strategise and address issues as a collective, yet there’s still doubt around the sincerity of this initiative. 

    The Gauteng Department of Social Development recently issued guidelines on the ‘selection of board members for NPOs’.

    Perhaps they should be applauded for drafting this document but quite frankly it is the same as any other outline of good governance for nonprofits until you hit recommendations for a Screening Committee which states; “The Screening Committee shall comprise of representatives of the Department of Social Development, local municipality officials, and representatives from other organisations or stakeholders relevant to the sector as agreed by the Department (the religious sector, education, community forums, health sector, welfare organisations, the private sector, the public sector, business sector, development sector), the Member of Parliament/ Member of Provincial Legislature and or Ward Councillor will have an observer status when available.” According to the guidelines nominations for board members of NPOs will be advertised and the screening committee will then finalise a ‘list of shortlisted nominees’. 

    Since when did government get the last say over leadership for NGOs?  Oh yeah, now I remember, during the Apartheid era. Is this a glimpse into the future; will only GONGOs (government-owned NGOs) receive funding from Gauteng Province?

    The New Age newspaper reported on 8 January 2014 that the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) will actively be working with an NPO in order to create more jobs, a R100 million was mentioned in the article to carry out this work but details are still to be verified. Sandra Millar of NPO Development and Training was interviewed by Radio 702’s dashing Xolani Gwala on this announcement; she expressed her concerns to how and to which NPOs would be selected. Currently the EPWP job creation assists youth projects, early childhood development caregivers, home-based care-workers and victim empowerment.

    International aid diminishes

    After an aid review in 2011 the UKs Department for International Development (DfID) announced their intention to end bilateral aid to India and South Africa by 2015 – this is currently being challenged by the opposition party in the UK after South Africa’s shock-horror response and has become a political hot potato. DfID’s new shift might be in providing venture capital for social enterprise development of NPOs, this has worked in other countries. For South Africa the 2013 amount of £19 million focused on supporting businesses and reducing the maternal mortality rate as per the MDGs which has according to their reports been successful. As a matter of interest the allocation to India for 2012 was £300 million. One wonders if this has anything to do with grouping of emerging economies like BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)?

    The Obama administration has requested US$442 million (R4.6 billion) in bilateral aid to South Africa for 2014 which is down 10 percent from 2013 levels. The bulk of United States (US) foreign aid to South Africa currently supports HIV and AIDS programming under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Both the US and South African governments anticipate that in the coming years, PEPFAR funding for South Africa will gradually decline to US$250 million (R2.6 billion) by 2017, just above half of 2012 levels and the key activity will be Technical Assistance (TA) to government (SAG).

    Other international aid agencies are also retracting budgets but the return of the foreign donor (Foundations and individuals) will resurface in 2017/2018.
    Corporate Social Investment

    No longer is scoring Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) points a whip to shape up corporate social investment (CSI) as the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030 (NDP) will be incorporated into most CSI criterion. Programmes will be aligned with the NDP so that we move in the same direction as a nation.

    Impact measurement will be the carrot and not the stick for both corporate donors and their beneficiary organisations to collaborate - ongoing assessment of project strengths and weaknesses will help to improve service delivery. Both corporate and the nonprofits organisations will need to measure results and put their heads together to produce replicable and cost effective models of excellence.

    The focus on impact is not new, but the challenging economic context has pulled it into focus as stakeholders are seeking some sizzle and change.

    By embedding a culture of impact in our planning a clear direction will help bring programmes to life and impact will naturally sparkle. Collecting the right information and data to illustrate activities and effectively communicating results, even if they aren’t positive, will be worth the effort. Avoid ‘chasing the money’ and counting heads, start telling stories. All good projects start with the end in mind. "No numbers without stories; no stories without numbers."

    The most prominent projects attracting funds will be Early Childhood Development, Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Nutrition and Agriculture, HIV/AIDS will remain a priority but with more emphasis on strengthening health systems, infection control with ongoing support for orphans and vulnerable children. Conservation and environment will focus on quality water supplies and climate change. Saving the Rhino has not worked (nearly 1 000 poached in 2013) so this will take a bit of back seat as far as donors are concerned; despondency has set in, noble efforts made by non-profits to fight international organised crime  is like slaying dragons with toothpicks.

    Making a good impression is critical to ongoing success so it is important that organisations get more professional about the way they present themselves visually and are able to measure results - this leads to impact. Taking good photographs and sharing good news stories will encourage confidence in your work but analysing and responding quickly to what works and what does not work will bring forth good results.

    Fraud Fears

    The National Lottery Board (NLB) circulated a news alert stating its commitment to the National Development Plan and obligation to fight fraud and corruption. The NLB has introduced strong verification procedures during the adjudication process that will assure reduced fraudulent activities of NPOs. The NLB is serious and will take action against ‘city slickers’ who portray themselves as representatives of the lottery and can guarantee a grant, consultants who charge a commission for completing forms, submission of fraudulent financial statements or exaggerated project budgets, securing funds for the purchase of assets and then selling off the goods and pocketing the money for personal gain. The list goes on - take note, they mean business - no more Mr Nice Guy. Unfortunately, rigorous adjudication takes time. Will this slow down, the already laboriously slow application process further?

    Image and Perceptions of a Brand

    Many nonprofits have had to revisit their strategy for recruiting celebrities - you must keep them busy and focussed on your cause, be clear on what you want them to do. Yes, movie-stars, politicians, sports heroes, princes and priests can improve the public image of a good cause and add excitement to events; they can be an asset and a big draw card but before you make the approach take time to way up the pros and cons. They require time to woo and time to manage once they are on board. There are several things you need to consider above helping to raise awareness of your cause or attract funds.

    Will the benefits of their support be worth the effort it requires? What do you do if they get negative publicity (regardless of whether they are later found innocent)? What happens when they die? How will it affect your image and brand?

    Consider the emotional issues internally should things come adrift. A senior fundraiser at the British Red Cross worked closely with Princess Diana and said he suffered from depression for more than two years after her sudden death.

    Consider the cost involved in developing promotional materials - what happens if you have a big name added to a massive Capital Campaign and you have created all marketing visuals around that face and name and the relationships comes to an abrupt end?  Do you have a plan B?

    It is incredibly rare that problems occur but from the moment you start thinking about working with a celebrity you need to consider how your brands fit together, what your stakeholders will think and what happens if that celebrity's brand is tarnished, either temporarily or permanently.

    So how will civil society uphold the legacy of Nelson Mandela and ask “what would Mandela do or say?”

    Will we stand in the sun or sit in the shade?

    In a nutshell:
    • Be  value and mission-driven like Nelson Mandela;
    • Do not let the Fox into the Hen house;
    • Clean-up your management systems – check ‘opt-in’;
    • Try new ideas in fundraising but keep the old ones alive;
    • Think twice before seeking patrons, ambassadors, celebrities; and
    • Measure progress. Do not just ask how much but rather how many, how effective is our work. 
    Ann Bown of Charisma Consulting.  Ann is a financial sustainability adviser and trainer (9 January 2014)
     

    Author(s): 
    Ann Bown
  • NPOs Under the Cosh – Again

    Here we go again. Every time that this country’s nonprofit part of civil society imagines that its independence is secured and respected by politics, out they come to have another crack at subverting that independence.
     
    Our Constitution, often mistakenly called ‘the most liberal in the world’, guarantees freedom of association and therefore also of disassociation. Try telling that to nonprofit organisations (NPOs).
     
    In the mid-nineties there was a serious attempt by ‘development experts’ to push for law that would have forced NPOs to submit to state oversight, including government being able to fire governing boards and appoint their own. It was defeated after rigorous NPO opposition.
     
    In its place came the liberalising 1997 NPO Act, making registration of NPOs with the-then Department of Welfare (now Social Development - DSD) voluntary, reporting requirements less onerous, and removing the need for NPO fundraising numbers. All anyway work under common and other law, and NPOs that do not register are excluded from state, lottery and most corporate funding.

    But in January 2013, the department claimed that only 29 percent of registered NPOs were fully compliant with reporting requirements, and deregistered 36 000 organisations. This has since been reversed, with NPOs having until end-March 2014 to get their affairs in order. Since then there has been a government proposal to set up a monitoring South African NPOs Authority, and a related tribunal, to hunt for undefined ‘unscrupulous practices’ in the sector.
     
    Now, the Gauteng Department of Social Development has issued ‘guidelines’ for the selection of NPO boards, guidelines that give it an overriding say in who should sit on these boards and how they should be selected. Confusingly referring to ‘boards of management’ where boards are usually about oversight, the department wants NPOs to submit to board candidate screening committees that involve itself, municipalities, other NPOs doing similar work, undefined community representatives, and elected politicians. Acceptable candidates will helpfully be issued with government developmental policy guidelines.
     
    Although given the opportunity, the department has not provided reasons for this intervention; nor said why a provincial department is involving itself in NPO oversight that is normally a national function; nor on what legal basis does it proceed. It is silent on whether it plans any sanctions against NPOs that ignore its grab for governance control. Would NPOs involved in, say, childcare work, lose state subsidies if they insist on independent governance?
    Gauteng’s move follows the passing of a new Lotteries Bill that allows for funding of NPOs aligned to government priorities, even for NPOs that do not apply.
     
    Expect an NPO fight-back of a sort currently happening in Kenya, where proposed law would restrict foreign support of civil society.
     
    Advocacy coordinator of Johannesburg Child Welfare, Jackie Loffell is unequivocal: “It is unacceptable for the DSD to be seeking to control the appointment of NPO boards”. Inyathelo executive director, Shelagh Gastrow describes the Gauteng DSD guidelines as “Mind-blowing”… “It is clear they are trying to create a civil society in their own image.”

    She wonders if government has entered the business of setting up its own NPOs that would get state moneys but that could also then receive corporate and lottery support. “These are clearly not civil society organisations but state-created structures. This is a way for the government to side-line independent organisations and replace them with the party faithful, or to marginalise independent thought”.   
     
    Quick Facts

    NPO Register status (January 2013)
    • Registered NPOs (good standing): 29 286 (29 percent)
    • Non-compliant NPOs (medium risk): 35 190 (35 percent)
    • Deregistered NPOs (high risk): 36 429 (36 percent)
    Reporting duties with voluntary registration
    • Narrative reports listing office bearers, contact details, meetings list;
    • Basic financial reporting with audited reports not compulsory;
    • Report of the accounting officer.
    Types of NPO legal status (with different forms, or combinations of these, for different types of NPO):
    • Voluntary Department of Social Development - DSD - registration (the “NPO number”, Nonprofit Organisations Act of 1997);
    •  Public benefit organisations (receiving tax exemption and SETA-payment exemptions from the SA Revenue Service);
    • NonProfit Companies (replaces the old section 21 companies; Companies Act of 2008)
    • Trusts (Trust Property Control Act of 1988). 
    Common terms for NPOs:
    • NonProfit Companies (NPCs)
    • Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
    • Community-Based Organisations (CBOs)
    • Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
    • Public Benefit Organisations (PBOs)
    • Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs)
    NPO growth in voluntary DSD registration
    • 2008/09: 55 341
    • 2009/10: 65 633
    • 2010/11: 76 175
    • 2011/12: 85 248
    • 2012/13: 102 297              
    DSD-registered NPOs

    There were 102 297 NPOs on the voluntary DSD Register at end-September 2013.
    • Social services       
    40 078: 39.2 percent
    • Development and housing                                         
    20 964: 20.5 percent
    • Religion  
    11 791: 11.5 percent
    • Health
    10 582: 10.3 percent
    • Education                   
    8 039: 7.9 percent
    • Culture and recreation              
    5 570: 5.4 percent
    • Law, advocacy and politics                    
    2 229: 5.6 percent
    • Environment  
    1 228: 1.2 percent
    • Philanthropic intermediaries  
    1 089: 1.1 percent
    • Business, professional bodies, unions                     
    662: 0.6 percent
    • International activities              
    65: 0.1 percent   
                                                         
    Sources: Trialogue; NPO Chief Directorate (Department of Social Development – DSD); Gauteng DSD; Inyathelo; Jo’burg Child Welfare; DevEx; SANGONeT’s NGO Pulse; NPO Act 71 of 1997

    - Paul Pereira owner at WHAM! Media. First published in The Citizen.
    Author(s): 
    Paul Pereira
  • National Sexual Offences Statistics Reflect Silence and Failure

    There was quite an uproar following the recent release of South Africa’s national crime statistics - considered the worst figures in the ten years. However, lost in these heated debates is the rampant sexual violence that women face every day of their lives. If we do not, at the very least halve gender-based violence (GBV), we will certainly be fighting a losing battle against crime in this country.
     
    Gender Links and partner organisations conducted Violence Against Women (VAW) baseline studies in four provinces of South Africa. The findings are highly disturbing, especially considering that South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions on gender equality in the world.
     
    The studies found that 77 percent of women in Limpopo, 51 percent in Gauteng; 45 percent in Western Cape and 36 percent in KwaZulu-Natal have experienced different forms of GBV during their lifetime. A higher proportion of men in Gauteng (76 percent) and KwaZulu-Natal (41 percent) admitted to perpetrating VAW in their lifetime. A lower proportion of men, compared to the proportion of women reporting GBV said they perpetrated GBV in Limpopo (48 percent) and Western Cape (35 percent).
     
    The studies also reveal an awareness gap about protective laws such as the Domestic Violence Act, the Sexual Offences Act and current VAW prevention campaigns.
     
    The national crime statistics recently released by the South African Police Service (SAPS), paint a picture that is both misleading and disturbing. According to their statistics, reports of sexual offences have decreased by a mere 0.4 percent from 2012, and in the last nine years have declined by more than 10 percent. However, we have to ask whether this is a true reflection of the actual number of sexual crimes committed. Regrettably, the answer is no!
     
    In fact, this marginal decline of reported sexual offences is also a matter of concern, pointing to an ongoing pattern of under-reporting and systemic problems within SAPS. In South Africa, it is estimated that one in four women are raped during their lifetime, one in every 13 women report rape to the police and only one in 12 cases result in a successful conviction. 
     
    Furthermore, when one considers the figures found in the VAW baseline studies, SAPS’ statistics are clearly unreliable. In Gauteng for example, of the women interviewed only 12 percent said they experienced non-partner rape in their lifetime, while more than twice as many men - 31 percent, said they had perpetrated rape. 18 percent of women said they experienced intimate-partner sexual violence, while about 19 percent men admitted to perpetrating this violence.
     
    The most predominant form of GBV in the four provinces occurs within intimate-partner relationships. 51 percent of partnered women in Gauteng, 51 percent in Limpopo, 44 percent in Western Cape and 29 percent in KwaZulu-Natal reported experiencing intimate-partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime.
     
    There is persistent misconstruction of IPV and domestic violence as a ‘family’ concern rather than a police matter. The pressure from within the family not to report these crimes, as well as fear of intimidation and further violence felt by the survivor, family and community members worsens the culture of silence around domestic violence.
     
    Not only do police have inadequate training and facilities to deal with sexual offences, but also it is widely known that many officers subject survivors to secondary violence and are even in some cases the perpetrators of these crimes.
     
    Although, there has been some progress in developing a sensitive and supportive environment for survivors at police stations, SAPS needs to do much more to regain the trust and faith of women and community members.
     
    Research shows that there is a lack of coordination and clear referral systems for GBV survivors. Therefore, they fail to benefit from police services, healthcare, counselling and the justice system.
     
    There is a high degree of non-compliance with the Domestic Violence Act because officers do not fully understand how to use it. Copies of the Act are often unavailable at police stations and non-compliance is seldom reported and inadequately addressed.
     
    Gaps also remain in police data relating to domestic violence. SAPS does not accurately categorise different forms of violence such as rape, assault, femicide and sex work. Not enough data specifies the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, which would help in providing statistics that are more accurate. It is also unclear whether police capture incidents of domestic violence perpetrated outside of the home.
     
    All these shortfalls continue to fail the women of this country, rendering survivors silent, perpetuating misleading crime statistics and leaving GBV unchecked.
     
    The government and SAPS need to effectively understand and implement the laws in place.
     
    However, it is also up to us as individuals and communities to ensure we lead by example constantly engaging with family, friends and the community to change mindsets, create awareness about GBV and break the spiral of silence that helps fuel violence.
     
    We should all get involved in our local Community Police Forums to help the police to move in the right direction for the sake of a safe, supportive and zero tolerant society that respects women and their rights.
     
    - Keith Peacock is the chairperson of the Yeoville Community Police Forum. This article is part of the Gender Links News Service, special series on 16 Days of Activism, providing fresh views on everyday news.

    Author(s): 
    Keith Peacock
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