The National Development Agency (NDA), that was bizarrely tasked by the Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, to administer the R100 million Criminal Assets Recovery Account (CARA) grant fund meant for Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) and victim empowerment programmes, have seemingly distributed funds to organisations that do not have victim empowerment programmes.
After months of requesting the CARA grant recipient list, the Parliamentary Social Development Committee finally received it on 21 October 2020.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) questions how the NDA could approve funding to the Soweto Rugby School Academy, Champions Boxing Council of SA and Kurhula Early Learning Centre when they appear to not have empowerment programmes for the victims of GBVF.
This, while well-established institutions such as the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children and Rape Crisis were left forsaken despite submitting applications. The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children experienced a fire earlier this year in May and is currently in desperate need of raising R3 million for repairs while victims of abuse are housed in a hall.
The Director of Rape Crisis, Kathleen Day, is concerned about their long-term sustainability as, like many NGOs, they "struggle to accrue funds more than 6 to 12 months in advance" which "is not ideal for a sector that desperately needs strengthening in the face of the enormous challenges our country faces."
The DA calls on the Auditor-General to urgently look into the NDA's funding allocation to ascertain on what basis the funding to the Soweto Rugby School Academy, Champions Boxing Council of SA and Kurhula Early Learning Centre was approved. This is important given the NDA's terrible financial track record and a history of under-performance.
It would be repulsive if this money was allocated via nefarious means, as these funds are meant to combat GBVF and assist victims of these heinous crimes.
The DA, from the beginning, questioned Minister Zulu's insistence in appointing the NDA, when provincial Social Development Departments have dedicated victim empowerment directorates, to administer CARA funding. The NDA has zero experience in GBFV and victim empowerment programmes, and has already coined R5.7 million in administration fees as well as a further R1.4 million in interest as the facilitating agent, essentially taking a huge chunk of funds that could've been directed to GBVF and empowerment programmes.
Another area of concern is the allocation of funds per province. Police Minister, Bheki Cele identified 30 GBVF hotspots in September, which saw the Western Cape and Gauteng home to eight hotspots each, followed by KwaZulu Natal with seven, Eastern Cape with three, Free State with two, Mpumalanga and North West with one hotspot each.
Minister Zulu and the NDA should therefore account as to why the Western Cape who has the same number of GBVF hotspots as Gauteng received R10.5 million less. Similarly, why a province not listed with a hotspot like Limpopo receives R8.8 million more than KwaZulu Natal with seven GBVF hotspots.
There is no question that GBVF takes place in all nine provinces and every province is in constant battle mode fighting this second pandemic. But government resources must be proportionally allocated to where GBVF is most prevalent in order to make impact in the lives of victims.
With imminent budget cuts looming for all NGOs, coupled by the dull economic glimpse into the future by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni last week, government should not be paying exorbitant and totally avoidable administration fees to State entities when the blood of women and children continue to flow, staining our beautiful country.
PROVINCE Number of recommended emerging CSOs Number of recommended established CSOs Total number of recommended CSOs Total amounts of recommended CSOs per Province
GAUTENG 8 52 60 R17 200 000.00
EASTERN CAPE 37 30 67 R16 400 000.00
WESTERN CAPE 2 21 23 R6 700 000.00
MPUMALANGA 3 34 37 R10 800 000.00
FREE STATE 3 17 20 R5 700 000.00
NORTHERN CAPE 5 8 13 R3 400 000.00
NORTH WEST 4 5 9 R2 300 000.00
LIMPOPO 9 48 57 R16 200 000.00
KWAZULU-NATAL 4 22 26 R7 400 000.00
R 86 100 000.00
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