Municipal grant blow for many non-profits
● Just not enough money in budget
Dozens of non-profit organisations in Nelson Mandela Bay were dealt a blow after some were either denied financial assistance from the municipality or received far less than they asked for.
While the Ready for Life Trust and Siyaloba Training Academy were among the organisations whose applications for grant funding were declined, some organisations received only a fraction of what they asked for. These include the Eastern Province Child and Youth Centre, the Maranatha street workers and the Northern Arts Festival.
The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality had budgeted R6m towards financial assistance to external organisations, with most of the money – to the tune of R1.2m – distributed to welfare organisations, economic development and sporting bodies.
Of the R6m, arts and culture and educational institutions were set to receive their share of R900,000.
The figures are detailed in a report that was presented to the mayoral committee on Thursday.
The report comes in the wake of the city facing major financial strain, having passed a deficit budget for the 2018-19 financial year while costs continue to pile up.
In the report, acting human resources boss Nosipho Xhego wrote that the total sum of assistance required far outweighed the available budget.
“It was reported that the budget for financial assistance to outside organisations had not been increased for the past two years and that not even the cost of living had been factored into the budget.”
Xhego wrote that this had led to the subcommittee which sifts through the applications recommending that first-time applicants receive slightly more than the R10,000 the policy stipulates while other applicants receive less than what they had received the previous year, or the same.
Acting chief financial officer Jackson Ngcelwane said the distribution of the money was handled by a technical task team which followed the grantin-aid policy.
“The distribution is handled by a subcommittee which is
guided by the policy. There is a very strict process that is followed,” Ngcelwane said.
The subcommittee also includes councillors from various political parties and municipal officials.
“The applications are assessed based on the policy, which gives conditions around what had been done with the money in the previous financial year.
“They must also give evidence of what they did with the money in line with the municipal financial management act. They need to be able to demonstrate that they did not get money through other municipal departments,” Ngcelwane said.
He said various departments managed to get funding through the grant as well as through the sports and recreation department.
“The policy then determines our criteria with conditions, it is not a question of which organisation is more likable. The budget is also very limited,” he said.
They must [prove] what they did with the money Jackson Ngcelwane ACTING CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER