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Dear Editor,

The subject matter is much more complex because of physiological and psychological factors aroung living species.

Poverty can only be eradicated through group and individual political will that could be developed by humans only in the long - term.

Otherwise how would you describe individuals who earn say +- $4,5 million per annum but could hardly spend $100 to help two or three poor people.

Reginald Maloba

Editor Responds: Thank you very much for your comments and contribution to this debate. You are right, the issue of poverty is complex and its very difficult to address the depth of the subject matter in a simple poll. I also agree that it is going to take a collective, comprehensive and fundamentally supported effort to eradicate poverty. Our August poverty eradication poll is simply a tool to test perspectives to provide a general idea about public perceptions.

Dear Colleagues,

In my simplistic good vs. evil view of the world, I struggle to place the Lotto / NLTDF on the side of good. It has too much money to ignore of course, and smart NPO’s chase all the opportunities they can. That said, how sad that R1.8 billion is in the hands of an insane donor.

The interview suggests 4 facts:

1.       Money gets allocated on a first-come-first-served basis

This means the NLTDF exercises no quality control at all before funding; it simply says yes to qualifying applications until its money is spent. Why choose this approach? Because it is easy, not because it is right, because it spends money quickly, and NLTDF cares for quantity not quality. Without a system for measuring impact and cost-effectiveness, the NLTDF struggles to rank projects, so it doesn’t – it closes its eyes. The sector plays a price for the NLTDF avoiding the issue. “Good guys” can lose to “bad guys”. Even when the projects are the same (e.g. feeding AIDS orphans), the low-cost and high-impact projects can lose to expensive flops. Poor provinces can lose to rich provinces, the countryside can lose to the city. Worse, because big projects consume money faster than small ones, its administrators are tempted to favour the urbanised provincial white elephants.

2.       Money gets allocated without reference to externally audited impact

This means the NLTDF exercises no quality control after funding either; by not auditing its beneficiaries it produces no benchmarks, builds no capacity to evaluate and support genuine performance, and encourages the “bad guys” to invest only in their marketing and not in their operations – which promotes extravagance, con-men and scams.

3.       Money gets allocated without a funding cycle

This means the NLTDF gives highly variable funding without giving NGO’s income security (e.g. for 3 years or so). This tempts NGO’s into destruction with the classic “Lotto-1-2-3”.

Year 1, the NGO applies for a bit, and gets it. The amount is small, only enough to fill some gaps.

Year 2, emboldened, the NGO applies for a lot in year 2, and gets it. It’s enough to start projects, buy assets, hire staff, become more expensive to run.

Year 3, the NGO applies for even more, and gets nothing. It loses staff, closes projects and alienates donors. Possibly, it closes down.

4.       Money gets allocated for the project, not the organisation running the project

This means the NLTDF somehow wants the work of designing and delivering the project to be done, which is managed by the organisation, without paying for it. The result will be weak projects and closed head offices. Does the NLDTF really think it is good and right to feed the child and starve the parent?

The unintended consequence of the NLTDF’s playing pin-the-donkey is that “bad guys” and high-cost / low-impact projects squeeze out “good guys” and economical / effective ones. What is worse, that the NLDTF is doing it or that Sershan endorses it? For the money it costs and the money that it spends, the taxpayer, the public, the lotto player and the non-profit sector expect the NLTDF to work harder and smarter than this. It is no excuse that the NLTDF is learning. It’s parent in the UK had EXACTLY the same issues decades ago, and South Africa is filled with wise counsel in government, the aid agencies, industry, CSI departments, auditing firms and the non-profit sector.  

Ta ta ma chance to get this right, or bye bye the charities.

Errol Goetsch, www..xe4.org

Just a question for NGOs - it seems that we are disadvantaged when tendering for Government contracts, which we do quite often - as we cannot show HDI ownership especially of equity.  Would it not be possible for NGOs to negotiate with Government to introduce an exception?  Afterall, Section 21 companies are truly more completely owned by and representative of the public then even the most ardent BEE consultant!  Is the ownership of a Section 21 company not the demographics of the entire country???

I would value any clarity on this matter.

Regards,
Chris
Dr. Chris Dickens
Institute of Natural Resources

Editor Responds: I sent your query to Tessa Brewis, tax lawyer at the Non-Profit Consortium who refers us to an article produced by Project Literacy's Andrew Miller:  Nonprofit Sector Needs new BEE Gauge.

After all the rah rah about Jeppestown - NO DONT CALL ME INSENSITIVE. THREE weeks ago i visited my local police station to submit information on a hijacking syndicate and after being ushered all 007 like into an INTELLIGENCE ROOM (uh huh) I submitted this info.

Because i could not give the EXACT address of this operations headquarters but could point it out to them they said that this was a key act in shutting down the syndicate and therefore thanked me profusely for coming forward.

Well THREE WEEKS LATER still nothing. I have called three times spoken to captains and Supts to no avail. Its a sad day when members of the public have to resort to begging the authorities to act. Shortly after that there were two succesive hijackings in the area. ARE THE POLICE AFRAID ? SPOOKED MAYBE ? As community based organisations trying to create opportunities for our youth , positive opportunities , NOT CRIMINAL OPPORTUNITIES , try to pass information from community members to the authorities and are then BALATANTLY ignored what does that say about the rule of law , perhaps the relevant officials are involved ? Or profiting ? Questions Questions.

So in the coming week in my blog i will be documenting step by step the events from begining to end. I am going forward and submitting information on fraudulent use of donor and government funding by a local well known NGO (ALL PROOF INTACT). I wont be holding my breath though ........................................

TIAN JOHNSON

TIANS BLOG PUBLISHERS NARRATIVE ON CURRENT EVENTS IN THE DEVELOPMENT SECTOR AS WELL AS FRANK LOOK AT HIS DAY TO DAY LIFE AS A DEVELOPMENT WORKER AMONG COMMUNITIES LIVING IN EXTREME POVERTY. YOU CAN VISIT HIS BLOG BY CLICKING HERE.......
http://insidelive.blogspot.com/ AND REMEMBER IF YOU CAN READ THIS ....THANK A TEACHER.

Dear Colleagues at SANGONET,

Many thanks for this communication.  I am glad that we have in South Africa individuals and organisations that are prepared to tell our National Lottery how disappointed some of us are with their operations.

In the Zululand region our organisation works with a significant number of non-governmental and community-based organisations.  Most of these organisations just have no idea who the National Lottery is serving in the Zululand region.  Please continue with these efforts.  It will not help us to completely lose hope.  We fully support you.  You may pass on this communication to our National Lottery.

I only know of a few organisations that receive funding from the National Lottery.  National Lottery, for example, cannot advance cogent reasons why they would not support Uthungulu Community Foundation when the Foundation has since 2001 been issuing small grants to non-governmental and community-based organisations.  Even when we tried to assist some local organisations obtain funding from the National Lottery, things just could not develop as would be expected.  Lastly, I would be glad if your office could arrange for a meeting between Uthungulu Community Foundation and our National Lottery.  If they would decide to come to Zululand, we would certainly ensure that obtain a venue for the meeting and catering.

Best Wishes,

Chris Mkhize
CEO: Uthungulu Community Foundation

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