Registration of NPOs

There have recently been confusing and misleading media reports regarding the registration process for non-profit organisations (NPOs) and how this relates to issues of compliance and funding.

It is necessary to provide clarity so that the general public, who benefits from the services of NPOs, understand these processes.

It is important to start off by stating that the successful registration of an NPO with the Department of Social Development does not guarantee funding. To receive funding, the applying NPO needs to ensure the following:

That its application is in response to a call for funding proposals in terms of the department’s three-year funding cycle;

That its application responds clearly and directly to the services and other specifications in the call for proposals;

That its systems of governance, financial management and other processes are functional and in place; and

Contrary to the impression created in media reports, the department funding assessment process is neither arbitrary nor cumbersome. Instead, applicants must comply with the necessary legislative and other requirements for the department to allocates funds in a transparent manner.

Funding applications are considered in accordance with business plans and the necessary application forms submitted by NPOs. The business plans must speak directly to the services required by the department, as set out in the call for proposals. It must include a detailed budget that will be matched against available funding.

The notification of possible funding shall clearly state the criteria and specifications governing the allocation of funding.

The notice, together with the criteria and specifications, shall be deemed to be the total requirements of the department in the event that a department funding allocation decision is challenged.

The minimum compliance criteria required for NGOs to obtain funding from the department are the following:

Legislative compliance;

blob Alignment with department strategic priorities;

Evidence of previous track record of performance;

In the case of NGOs currently funded by the department, compliance checks include an assessment process that measures performance with respect to the outputs, targets, reporting duties and financial compliance as determined by the NGOs current Transfer Payment Agreement with the department; and

A capacity assessment report certified by the delegated relevant programme authorities that indicates that the NGO is able to provide the services required.

Where organisations are declared non-compliant, the department’s Policy on the Funding of Non-Government Organisations for the Provision of Social Welfare and Community Development Services, as amended in 2017, requires that our programme officials are in constant engagement with non-compliant organisations to ensure they address the issues of non-compliance to restore their eligibility for further funding.

Regarding recent misled concerns circulated in the media; the following should be noted:

We have increased funding for the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offences (NICRO) from R3.3 million last year to R3.5 million this year. This follows after misreports that Nicro’s funding had decreased this year;

We are in constant engagement with the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust to resolve issues of non-compliance. To that end, we will provide them with conditional registration to resume their funding;

Funding to Families and Marriages of SA (FAMSA) NPO was stopped due to the closure of its offices as they no longer provide the required services; and

We no longer fund the Cape Flats Development Association (CAFDA) because it has stopped providing child protection services. Cafda did not reapply for funding in the 2018/19 financial year.

It must be emphasised that the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape absolutely values our partnership with NPOs. We fund 2100 NPOs which deliver outstanding services to vulnerable communities.

We will continue to fund our NPO partners in line with the highest levels of service delivery and governance standards. We shall also continue to address the concerns of each NPO on its merits and specificity and will continue to engage with non-compliant organisations to resolve issues and resume funding.

For NPOs to receive donor funding, legal and tax benefits; it must be registered with the NPO directorate. Where the application is successful, an NPO is issued with a registration certificate with its registration number by the NPO directorate. For more information on how to register an NPO, go to

Under my leadership, the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape remains committed to ensuring that our NPOs remain compliant and are governed in a clean
and accountable manner.