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Petition against DSD

By Zama Myeza

Non-profit organisations launch online petition over unpaid subsidies.

Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu. Picture: Jacques Nelles
Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu. Picture: Jacques Nelles

A group of non-profit organisations have launched an online petition against the Department of Social Development following allegations that the department has not paid their subsidies for the past three months.

According to the petition, since 2022 the Department of Social Development (DSD)-funded NPOs in KwaZulu-Natal have been receiving late payment of subsidies from the provincial DSD.

Despite promises to rectify this issue, late payments continue to create serious cash flow challenges and negatively impacting service delivery.

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“The last payment we received was in October but it was for the month of August,” said Althea Govender, who runs the Pietermaritzburg-based St Monica’s Child and Youth Care Centre.

We are supposed to be receiving three months payments in advance. Our main concern is what is going to happen moving forward.

“We have debts that we need to pay, we have staff that we need to pay, food, water and electricity also need to be paid for.

“Right now, we are mainly reliant on the community. We try to make sure that the children have food and hot running water but it’s still taking a huge toll on us. We believe that the petition will help highlight the seriousness of this issue,” added Govender.

The Department of Social Development said they are committed to supporting NPOs who play a crucial role in serving the most vulnerable segments of our society.

According to a statement released by the Department of Social Development, they said they recognise the challenges associated with cash-flow management and the growing number of NPOs receiving monthly payments.

They have introduced a new payment system which was “transparently communicated to all NPOs”.

According to Mhlabunzima Memela, the spokesperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Social Development, the department acknowledges that there were previous delays in the processing of monthly subsidies to NPOs.

The department, like all departments, is experiencing budget cuts. As a result, there is a reduced allocation for the department to cover the cost of goods and services. The department receives monthly funding from the Provincial Treasury, which is based on a limited budget. The subsidies for August were supposed to be paid by September 30, but they couldn’t be paid because the funds allocated in September, like in other months, were insufficient.

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“As a result, these subsidies were eventually paid in October. That is the reason the department has opted for tranche payments. The tranche payment system was communicated during roadshows between the department and NPOs in the month of August,” said Memela.

“Some non-profit organisations (NPOs) have already received their payments on October 6, while others are scheduled to be paid in the next run of October 19.

The last batch is expected to receive payment by the end of October,” added Memela.