Thousands of NGOs face the risk of closure if the lack of government funding persists since billions of rands are being dedicated to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Organisations which provide crucial support to the government say they have received little to no funding since March 2020 and are concerned about the funding cuts which they say would impact the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments around the world to allocate increased funding to fight the virus, non-governmental and non-profit organizations in South Africa say they’ve been left in the lurch.
More than 220 000 NGOs in the country have for decades been supporting the government to treat and manage illnesses and offer psycho-social support to victims. From testing and treatment of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, to offering counselling for depression and shelters for abused victims.
However, now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, government funding ensures their daily operations has been cut drastically.
Director of the Muslim Aids Programme (MAP) Suraiya Nawab says, “We are best placed as NGOs to go into communities for COVID-19 to do a screening. For MAP, there are 30 staff members that are out of jobs, and 30 staff members that are well trained to do COVID-19 testing. There is a big problem with stigma on COVID-19, very much like HIV. Between the 28 organizations, we have a footprint in the 9 provinces. I’m very disappointed, we could go in and fast track the screening process. They are not getting the awareness about COVID-19 and the added risk that HIV places.”