Maverick Citizen

WELFARE CRISIS

‘The stress levels are just awful,’ says NPO awaiting funding decision from Gauteng government

‘The stress levels are just awful,’ says NPO awaiting funding decision from Gauteng government
From left, people under the care of the Shangri-La Community Development Project, Frank Juskievitz, Tanki Sixishe and Leon Labuschagne. Shangri-La was founded in 2000. There are nine caregivers and a range of beneficiaries including seven people at the accommodation facility and seven receiving home-based care. (Photo:Supplied)

With provincial budgets reduced countrywide, many non-profit organisations are feeling the pinch. One such organisation is the Shangri-La Community Development Project, which has vowed to keep its services going for some of Gauteng’s most vulnerable people.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana reduced provincial budgets across SA in his budget speech on 21 February, forcing provinces to make tough decisions about where to cut spending.

The Gauteng Department of Social Development has cut R223-million from its 2024/25 budget for services to vulnerable persons, leaving many non-profit organisations (NPOs) struggling to provide services to some of the province’s most vulnerable people. 

One of these organisations is the Shangri-La Community Development Project, founded in 2000. Originally focused on individuals with high-level spinal cord injuries (which cause partial or complete paralysis), the project now also helps people with other disabilities. 

“We offer what is referred to as ‘assisted living’ by the Department of Social Development. Our preferred name is ‘independent living’, except we have redubbed it ‘independent community living’ because we live together as a community of people with similar needs,” the organisation’s project manager, Amor Malan, said. 

npo funding gauteng

Shangri-La Community Development Project provides permanent accommodation and support services to individuals with high-level spinal injuries and other disabilities. Frank Juskievitz is a beneficiary who could be affected by delays in NPO funding from the Gauteng Department of Social Development. (Photo: Supplied)

“We do our planning together, we do all the functions … together, the activities that need to be done, all the work that needs to be done, we do these together.” 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Gauteng, KZN non-profits sound future funding alarm after Social Development budget cuts

Shangri-La has nine caregivers and a range of beneficiaries.

“We have an accommodation facility where six people are accommodated, and then we have our home-based care, where we have caregiver services provided to seven people,” Malan said. 

Stress

The organisation generates 60-65% of the funding it needs and the rest comes from the Gauteng Department of Social Development. 

“The stress levels are just awful, because we are now at the end of the financial year. We are beginning the new financial year next week and we don’t know if we’re going to be funded,” Malan said.

npo funding gauteng

Tanki Sixishe is a Shangri-La beneficiary who could be affected by delays in NPO funding from the Gauteng Department of Social Development. (Photo: Supplied)

“If you’ve got to lay off staff, you’ve got to do this in a really kind manner and it’s such a difficult time for people to lose jobs. 

“What do you do with beneficiaries? If you only know next week, or in two weeks’ time if you’re going to be receiving funding, you are living in this state and it is just extremely high risk.”

While they may have to suspend some services, she said, “The beneficiaries most at risk are the seven individuals who receive home-based care. We will absolutely do whatever we can to keep services going that are essential for people’s daily living.

“Where people need critical care, where they literally need a helper there, or a caregiver there to help them get dressed and get up, you can’t suspend that kind of service.”  

Communication vacuum

Malan said the department had not communicated with them about funding.

“They said that all the information that they needed from us had been sent and then we were to be visited by a monitoring and evaluation finance team at the end of this month on the 28th. But other than that, there’s been no communication. No communication regarding funding, and the service-level agreements, usually, by this time have been signed.”   

npo funding gauteng

Leon Labuschagne is a Shangri-La beneficiary who could be affected by delays in NPO funding from the Gauteng Department of Social Development. (Photo: Supplied)

Being in the dark about funding cuts was extremely frustrating, she said.

“Are they cutting [our funding] completely, or … by 10%? Or are they cutting it by 50%? All these things have such an impact on the way we function. If you don’t have that information, you are … in limbo.”

During a sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on Tuesday, the DA questioned Social Development MEC Mbali Hlophe about the current NPO funding adjudication process, delays and the possibility of NPOs being forced to close their doors.

“The adjudication and evaluation processes are only concluded in the fourth quarter of the preceding year; the department is within schedule as we had to await the announcements of departmental budgets by national and provincial Treasury,” she said. 

Hlophe said the adjudication and evaluation process would be concluded before the end of the month.

At the time of publication, the department had not replied to specific questions sent by Daily Maverick about the Shangri La Community Development Project. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

X

This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.


Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options