Writing in Ground Up, James Stent reports that some organisations, such as children’s homes and old age homes, have gone for four months without receiving their subsidies from the Department of Social Development.
“Hundreds of organisations in the Eastern Cape and some in the North West province that perform social work on behalf of the government have not been paid their subsidies since March. Others, in North West, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga, have faced subsidy cuts of up to 25%, without consultation and with no reason given. In Limpopo, they have been told that 10-15% of their operational budget must be spent on procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) to face the Covid-19 epidemic.
“The picture of a social services network on the brink of collapse is painted in a 20 July report by Lisa Vetten of the Care Work Campaign, and Margaret Grobbelaar of the National Coalition of Social Services, a national voluntary coalition of social work organisations. The report, Rapid assessment on the financial status of non-profit organisations providing social care services, describes the experiences of hundreds of organisations across South Africa and has been sent by its authors to the national Department of Social Development.
“On 5 August, Care Work and the National Coalition of Social Services wrote to Linton Mchunu, the Acting Director General of the national DSD. “We are deeply concerned to prevent full-blown crises from developing in parts of the country. We remind you that the Gauteng Department of Health’s failure to pay subsidies on time left organisations unable to purchase food — the lack of which directly contributed to the deaths of some of the former residents of Life Esidimeni. We do not wish to see such a scenario repeated in social welfare services.”