by Justus De Goede MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Social Development
A re Ageng’s first quarter grant payment has been delayed by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) and now the organisation is struggling to render social services to the Randfontein community and neighbouring areas.
During an oversight visit to the facility today, the DA was shocked to learn that A Re Ageng has not yet signed the Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Department which means they have not received any payments for their first quarter.
This is totally unacceptable, as this West Rand NPO is rendering a critical service to local communities. The organisation is delivering professional, essential services which include; an adult diversion programme, victim empowerment programmes, counselling, and shelter for abused women and their children.
It now appears that the Department is punishing the organization for disputing illegal conduit payments done in the past by the Department.
A re Ageng staff members have been impacted negatively as some have been evicted by their landlords for not paying rent. They are struggling to feed their families and find transport money to come to work as they have not yet been paid last month’s salaries.
Communities like Westonaria, Fochville, Khutsong and Wedela are in desperate need of these social services as they are unable to pay for private services. A re Ageng has been rendering services to these communities for the past 15 years.
It is the Department’s responsibility to ensure that the grants are paid timeously to NGOs who are solely dependent on it for survival.
The DA urges the Social Development MEC, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza to fast track the payments of all NGOs that have not yet received their first quarter grants.
In addition, it is time for a resolution of this senseless dispute between this organisation and the Department of Social Development so that beneficiaries, the most vulnerable people in our society, do not suffer.