South African NGOs are being hard-hit by funding pullbacks from European donors as the global financial crisis takes hold.
As previously reported by West Cape News, Western Cape-based organisation Rape Crisis has had to pull back its operations, and now the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) is being forced to lay off almost half of its long-time staff in their Cape Town and Johannesburg offices.
Idasa promotes sustainable democratic societies in collaboration with African and global partners.
The organization’s Executive Director Paul Graham said they were on the downstream of the “massive economic slump” in Europe and North America where the majority of their funding came from.
As a result, Graham said they have to lay off 40 staff members in the Cape Town and Johannesburg offices but will continue operating with 50 employees predominantly based in Johannesburg.
This brings to an end to the Cape Town Parliamentary Monitoring Project, said Graham.
“The parliamentary monitoring comes to an end for the moment…can only do it if we receive funding from another source. We don’t have funding from our own,” said Graham.
“In the absence of funding we can’t afford to fall into debt. It’s a painful reality for us and other NGO’s having similar challenges.”
However, he said although their work in South Africa was being reduced, they would continue continue working in other African countries in North Africa region and in neighbouring Zimbabwe and Swaziland, among others.
“We touch about 30 countries in Africa (including South Africa) but most are not affected,” he said, “many of European funders were already reducing support for South Africa because it’s seen as a middle income country.”
Because South Africa was not seen by international donors as a poor country, “the politics of the day” meant it was difficult to raise fund for projects here.
As a result Idasa would be operating a much smaller organisation in South Africa in 2012 as “we come to terms with the new financial environment world wide”.
He said the operating budge of R100 million they had been working on over the last three years had now been cut to R60 million.
At Idasa’s Cape Town offices in 6 Spin Street, retrenched employees who are awaiting their retrenchment remuneration said they did not want to comment. — Peter Luhanga