Minister Lindiwe Zulu applauds critical role played by non-governmental orgs.

Pretoria: On the occasion of World Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Day, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, applauds the NGO sector, which is at the forefront of implementing programmes that uphold human rights and giving voice to the most vulnerable in our society.

Minister Lindiwe Zulu applauds critical role played by non-governmental orgs.
Minister Lindiwe Zulu applauds critical role played by non-governmental orgs. Image credit: Facebook

Pretoria: On the occasion of World Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Day, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, applauds the NGO sector, which is at the forefront of implementing programmes that uphold human rights and giving voice to the most vulnerable in our society.

World NGO Day is celebrated annually by the United Nations and international development organizations across the globe on 27 February to recognize and honour the fundamental contribution of NGOs and civil society organizations as crucial actors of change and their commitment to social justice and building a humane and inclusive society.

Advertisement

“On World NGO Day, I thank all local NGOs as key partners of the Government in initiating and implementing programmes in local communities that ensure no one is left behind. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a classic example of the critical role of the sector and also demonstrated what and how much we can achieve when we work together. Early this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of national disaster due to heavy rainfall and devastating floods that have affected seven provinces in our country, said Minister Zulu.

The NGO sector has been and continues to be at the forefront of our national rapid response, recovery and rebuilding efforts. It is for this reason that our Government will continue to support this sector through the creation of an enabling legislative environment for it to flourish and contribute to our national development,” said Minister Zulu.

South Africa has a large and vibrant civil society. As of 23 February, 270 313 NGOs were registered with the NPO Directorate in the Department of Social Development, up from 221,000 registered organizations in October 2019. As of March 2021, nearly 25,700 public benefit organizations (PBOs) were listed on the South African Revenue Service (SARS) website, representing an increase of just over 1,500 organizations since March 2020. The sector employs almost 1 million people, according to the 2020 Trialogue Business Handbook. Between the 2019/2020-2022/2023 financial years, a total of 69 484 NGOs across the country were funded by the Department of Social Development to the tune of 7 Billion Rand.

In recognition of the important role of the NGO sector, the Department hosted the Presidential Sector Summit in 2022, which culminated in the signing of the Social Sector Framework Agreement. The Agreement sets the basis for a strong state-civil society partnership to tackle the triple challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment and fight the pandemic of gender-based violence and gender inequality, amongst others.

At the heart of the Agreement is the recognition that NGOs play a pivotal role in the realization of the National Development Plan and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In addition, the sector also plays an important role in skills development and the creation of job opportunities, particularly for women and youth who are the hardest hit by the high levels of unemployment in South Africa.

Data from Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey for quarter 2 of 2022 indicate that 648 000 jobs were gained between the first quarter of 2022 and the second quarter of 2022. Of this number, the biggest job gains were recorded in the NGO sector, which created 276,000 sustainable job opportunities.

Advertisement

In South Africa, NGOs are registered in terms of the Non-Profit Organisations Act (Act No.71 of 1998). Recently, the President signed and approved NPO Amendments as contained in the General Laws Amendment Act, 2022 (Act No. 22 of 2022) to ensure the new regulatory framework is responsive to the challenges faced by the NGO sector and to reflect the country’s adherence to the principles of a constitutional democracy that is underpinned by the commitments to a free, equal and open society.

The review of the NPO Act is also motivated by the need to implement the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. In the same breath, the NPO Regulations in respect of amendments to the Non-Profit Organisations Act, 1997, as contained in the General Laws Amendment Act, 2022 (Act No. 22 of 2022), were gazetted to solicit public comments. The closing date for submission is 21 March 2023. NPOs are encouraged to submit their comments to MphoMn@dsd.gov.za.

Minister Zulu also takes this opportunity to encourage all NGOs registered in terms of the NPO Act to check their compliance status, update organization details and submit their annual reports to the Department of Social Development.

“Section 2 of the NPO Act makes provision for all registered NGOs to maintain adequate standards of governance, transparency, and public accountability through the submission of annual reports. The Department has simplified the reporting process to ensure that all registered NGOs, big or small, duly comply with the Act,” said Minister Zulu.