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Nonprofit Organisations Amendment Bill on Track

May 17, 2022

Department of Social Development

The Draft Nonprofit Organisations Amendment Bill will be tabled in parliament during the current financial year.

The social development minister, Lindiwe Zulu, confirmed this during her department’s 2022 Budget Vote speech in parliament.

The draft bill was recently published for comment.

It aims to amend the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997, so as to:

  • amend and insert certain definitions;
  • provide for the office of the Registrar of nonprofit Organisations, to provide for the registration of nonprofit organisations and compulsory registration of foreign organisations, to provide for the Arbitration Tribunal for the disputes resolution; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

According to the explanatory memorandum, the aim of the proposed amendments to the act is to “strengthen regulatory mechanism and make it relevant to the current environment, without constraining its strategic intent, which is to “create an enabling environment for NPOs to flourish” in their endeavour to provide services to the most vulnerable in society and to advocate and be a voice to the voiceless”.

The proposed legislation also seeks to increase efficiencies within the NPO Regulatory Framework; reduce red tape in the administration of the NPO Regulation and to increase NPO’s access to information.

Factors that constrain NPOs in their efforts to promote social justice by providing services and performing advocacy and humanitarian functions, bringing citizens’ concerns to governments and monitoring service delivery include ineffectiveness due to an unfavourable operating environment and institutional inefficiencies.

The draft bill aims to reduce the cost of compliance for NPOs and to “tailor design compliance according to the size of the NPO, thus moving away from one size fits all approach”.

Other legislation highlighted by the minister includes the Older Persons Amendment Bill and the Draft Social Service Professionals Bill.

The Older Persons Amendment Bill was tabled in parliament earlier this month.

Cabinet approved the proposed legislation in August 2021 for tabling in parliament.

In a statement at the time, cabinet declared that the amendments “seek to strengthen measures that protect older persons. It improves the services offered to older persons such as social support, health, community-based and residential-based care”.

Cabinet added that the proposed bill also introduces the monitoring and evaluation of services offered to older persons.

“It also provides for the removal of older persons with disabilities from a hostile or unhealthy environment without obtaining a Court Order.”

The bill aims to amend the Older Persons Act, 2006, so as to:

  • insert new definitions;
  • insert new provisions relating to the monitoring and evaluation of all services to older persons and for the removal of older persons to a temporary safe care without a court order;
  • tighten up the existing implementation and compliance measures;
  • effect some textual amendments for greater clarity; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

According to the bill’s explanatory memorandum, challenges in relation to the implementation of the Older Persons Act manifested after 2010 when the act came into effect.

Challenges include institutional, coordination mechanisms and compliance measures.

The bill is designed to ensure that “older persons are provided with quality services and are afforded the necessary protection by society, including community-based and residential care facilities”.

In terms of the Draft Social Service Professionals Bill, at the end of 2021, the department pointed out that a Draft Social Service Practitioners Bill will soon be tabled in cabinet for approval.

The department added that the redrafting of the draft bill was finalized and submitted to the Chief State Law Advisor for final certification.

A SEIAS certificate on the draft bill was also received from the planning, monitoring and evaluation department.