Child Protection Organisations in deep water

Apr 24, 2023 | News

The future has never been darker – and this applies to the most vulnerable in our country: children, women, disabled persons and the elderly.

Last week, the news that thousands of these people will be left without professional social work services became known.

The Department of Social Development ( DSD) has published a worrying budget: which is directly contrary to quite a few laws.

So says Henda van der Merwe, director of CMR Gauteng-East, a Child and family care organization in Pretoria.

“We have been warning for years – decades – that NGOs’ task is getting bigger, but the available means are getting smaller.”

The recent announcement by the Department of Social Development, in which their new policy direction was announced, together with a significant reduction in funding, showed that the situation is more than worrying – it is blatantly unacceptable.

The biggest problem is the plan to merge the DSD with the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment.

This merger means that much-needed funds are taken away from children, people with disabilities, the elderly, the poor. There is a clear move away from social work services towards community development, which means that the vulnerable groups served by us are pushed aside – and will be left to their own devices when funds dry up completely.

“Where is the priority of people in our society who are at the lowest level, who, due to economic realities, cannot help themselves, and are therefore assigned to the multitude of NGOs that depend on funding to be able to do their work,” asks Van der Merwe.

The impact of these rebates (CMR Gauteng-East faces a 61% rebate) means that where in 2022 we could serve 28,676 people with care, we will now be able to assist less than 10,000.

As a Child Protection Organization, we want to emphasize that people will now have nowhere to go. Children who are molested, abused, neglected… who will stand up for them?

We have signed contracts with the Department until 2024, but they are announcing a rebate in 2023. What about the existing contracts? Is the government going to act so illegally?

The department should provide support, but what is happening now is a centralization of powers which is an outrage. They want to arrogate to themselves more and more powers, but in fact, deny their own mandate.

CMR Gauteng East closes its doors on Monday until further notice. No services will be provided. All services are referred to the Department of Social Development for handling.

CMR Gauteng East has 13 satellite offices across Pretoria and handles almost 30,000 cases annually. The organization is registered as a registered Child and Family Protection Organization, As well as an NPO 035-918 and also has PBO status with SARS.