Pastor Paul Phillips, chairperson of Voice of Parkwood

Community based and non-profit organisations are encouraged to apply for funding from various organisations of local government such as the Department Social Development, grants-in-aid from sub-councils, etc.

The objective is to financially assist community based organisations and structures to deliver a service to the various communities in line with the department’s service plans.

This is good as approved organisations can render counter service right from grassroots level; services and programmes that communities so badly need to address the ever escalating social and other challenges. To this end we hear of millions of rands budgeted for exactly that, to bring service delivery right to where it is needed most.

Over the past days we have seen communities voicing their frustration with non-delivery of essential services and upliftment programmes.

Just within the Parkwood Estate community we have on record more than five registered non-profit organisations rendering a valuable service to the community, that is excluding the other structures and smaller groups that endeavour to do likewise. Most of the services rendered are those that government departments are supposed to render in line with their constitutional mandate.

My question is this: how many of these organisations and structures are funded by government? How many of them who do actually apply year after year are approved? What are the reasons that these organisations cannot access the funds budgeted for exactly that? What happens to those funds?

Reasons mostly given are non-compliance to requirements. Application for funding has become such a disheartening venture for these organisations that they just give up on applying, as the outcome is just another demoralising factor.

If these departments such as social development are so serious about rending grassroots service to the community, why are these organisations not capacitated to a level where they actually can meet the set criteria
and requirements? We have on record numerous requests for such, including picketing at the gates of the Wynberg district office of the Department of Social Development, but to date nothing has materialised due to reasons given that will even confuse Einstein.

It is time that organisations take a stand and demand assistance from government. It is time that government recognises the valuable, unselfish contributions community based organisations render to our people – services that are so much needed.

I sincerely trust that maybe we will get a positive response from these departments.