Many non profit organisations in South Africa are confronted with serious financial and capacity challenges. Many have already closed down or had to scale back their activities. At the same time, the country is faced with overwhelming development challenges – education, health, poverty, unemployment, etc. Increasingly, government departments and agencies are incapable of responding to these challenges – lack of capacity and leadership, corruption, etc., resulting in slow or no service delivery, and an alarming increase in social unrest in many parts of the country.
Finding solutions to these challenges will require the unique contributions of all development stakeholders throughout the country, driven by a common vision of a better South Africa for all.
However, what is of great concern is the lack of meaningful support by government and others for the work of NGOs, and the conflicting views of people in government about the role of NGOs in South Africa.
Given the size of the NGO sector, and the broad scope of NGOs’ services and activities, it is a common fact that NGOs more often than not are the ones that fill the “delivery gap” in our society. Where else can people turn to for assistance and support regarding basic social needs? But if NGOs continue to close their doors or serve less people because of funding constraints, what will be the long-term consequences for many South Africans? What will happen to abused women in Cape Town if Rape Crisis closes down or why are organisations such as Project Literacy not getting more support given the adult basic education challenges facing millions of adult South Africans?
Furthermore, what will happen to advocacy work and keeping government accountable if NGOs such as Treatment Action Campaign, Section 27 or the Right2Know Campaign don’t secure enough external support for their work? Whose interest will it serve if any of these organisations disappear from the scene?
Givinghand Foundatinon profit company