Victim Empowerment organisations in Vhembe marched to the Department of Social Development in Thohoyandou last week, demanding funds for the last quarter of the financial year. Photo supplied.
Last Thursday (22nd) 25 victim-empowerment organisations in Vhembe marched to the offices of the Department of Social Development (DSD) in Thohoyandou, demanding that funds for the last quarter of the financial year be paid.
The organisations claim that the DSD last paid them in November 2020.
“We are forced to go begging or source money from local businesspeople. Our organisations deal with vulnerable people. At times, we have victims staying at our offices and we need to feed them. This is really a challenge,” said Tshilidzi Masikwa, the chairperson of the Vhembe Victim Empowerment Organisation.
According to Masikwa, the DSD is supposed to pay them in advance, so that they can fulfil their obligations, but instead they are paid only after they had already rendered services. He claimed that not one of the 25 victim-empowerment organisations had been paid yet.
“We are non-profit organisations, so we do not generate money. Really, we are not sure how the DSD expects us to help people,” said Masikwa, adding that, for the past 10 years, the DSD had not increased their funding, in spite of the increased living costs.
The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Organisation alone has on average around 400 victims per month, including children. John Sadiki, who runs the Tshilwavhusiku Victim Empowerment Organisation, is also sourcing funds from well-wishers in his area. “Some victims have to stay at our place overnight or sometimes for days. We cannot let them sleep hungry. Our obligation is to continue to give support to the victims, so we have to go out our way and source funds,” said Sadiki.
According to Witness Tiva from the DSD, a total of 314 NPOs from across the province have not been paid an amount of R16.5 million by the DSD towards the end of the previous financial year.
“We attribute the delays to challenges related to non-compliance to SARS-CSD by some of the NPOs, non-compliance to our norms and standard, as well as non-submission of claims by some of these Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres,” Tiva said. “Our NGO (Non-Government Organisation) and Compliance unit is currently in the process of assisting all these NPOs to correct the outstanding grey areas, and when all is corrected, we will then be able to process payments in the first quarter of this financial year,” he said in response to our media enquiry.
Date:02 May 2021 - By: Bernard Chiguvare
Bernard Chiguvare is a Zimbabwean-born journalist. He writes mainly for the online publication, Groundup.