Shifting Sands: The Relationship between Foreign Donors and South African Civil Society

Tuesday, 14 August, 2001 - 23:00

This paper investigates the dynamics between donors and civil society organisations (CSO) in South Africa

Social Policy Series, Research Report No. 86, 2001. Centre for Policy Studies.

Extract from the Paper

This paper investigates the dynamics between donors and civil society organisations (CSO) in South Africa. It provides a background to the papers written for phase three of the project entitled ‘The impact of foreign political aid on civil society organisations in South Africa,’ aimed particularly at investigating the role played by foreign funding in strengthening democracy.

Although most of the literature on CSOs in South Africa identifies two broad funding periods – before and after 1994 – little has been written about the exact nature of donor funding to CSOs in either. This is understandable in respect of the period prior to 1994, during which donor-assisted ‘struggle’ CSOs were deliberately non-transparent in their donor interactions in order to avoid close scrutiny by the apartheid state. The highly regulatory policy and legislative framework at that time, couples with the hostile political environment, meant that relationships between donors and CSOs were often covert. For this reason, the extent of donor funding of South African CSOs, the degree to which those funds were efficiently administered and spent, and their impact on those organizations and society at large have not been accurately recorded.

To read the report, click here.

NGO Services

NGO Services