Poor and sick suffer because of funding delays

By Anita Dangazele

More than 200 struggling non-profit organisations (NPOs) have had a bleak start to the new year as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has failed to allocate R6-million in grant aid.

The organisations, which are traditionally paid before Christmas, have been waiting for the money since last year.

Before the funds are allocated to the NPOs, the requests need to go through the council’s budget and treasury committee. From there, it needs final approval from the council before the money is released.

However, the committee has not met since 30 November last year and the next meeting is only expected to be held on 24 March.

Meanwhile, hundreds of NPOs in the metro are battling to provide help to the needy.

The House of Resurrection Haven in Salsonville, which looks after children who have lost their parents to Aids, was not able to buy uniforms and school stationery.

Its director, Siphokazi Gxayiya, said they had a rough start to the beginning of the school year.

“All of the children attending school have been given a specific list of stationery and we were not able to buy that. Thank God that some schools provide stationery, but they don’t cover everything,” said Gxayiya.

“Whatever is outstanding will just have to wait for the funding to be released, whenever that may be.” 

Gibbs Ntete, the founder of the Sisonke Sophumelela Soup Kitchen in Zwide township, which provides cooked meals for the unemployed and the sick, said last Christmas Day was bleak as they were unable to provide warm, cooked meals to the poor.

“Even now we are unable to cook as often as before. We used to cook four days a week. Now things are tough, but we’ll wait,” Ntete said.

Al-Fidaa Foundation administrator Mohammed Matvad said his organisation visits hospitals and clinics to provide fruit and food to patients waiting in queues.

“Patients are required to take their medication after they’ve eaten so we provide that meal for them. If there’s no funding, it means we can’t feed them,” he said.

Malcolm Figg, the DA budget and treasury spokesperson in the metro, said he was in the process of engaging the budget and treasury portfolio head, Buyelwa Mafaya, to schedule a special budget sitting.

“The delay in the distribution of funds to these organisations hurts communities. These are community members who need welfare organisations to survive and live dignified lives,” he said.

The grant aid needs to be paid over before the end of the current financial year on 30 June.

Pictured above: Sisonke Sophumelela Soup Kitchen beneficiaries waiting to be served.

Image source: Supplied

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