Two long-standing organisations, the Institute for Democracy in SA (Idasa) and the Black Sash in SA say they are losing millions in funding, forcing them to close down crucial projects and retrench staff.
They say part of the problem in terms of securing international funding was that SA was no longer seen as being among the poorer countries.
National director of Black Sash Marcella Naidoo said: “It’s a pity and a tragedy that we won’t be able to do the substantive work that we’re used to. We have always been resilient but this time, it’s particularly sad.”
Paul Graham, Idasa’s executive director, said they were forced to retrench 70 staff members over the past year.
“International funders have been withdrawing their funds to South Africa for a few years now. The global financial crisis was precarious but we were able to keep going because we had secured funding and we had reserves but that ran up last year and we had to cut staff sharply.”
At the end of 2010, Idasa had 120 staff. They now have 50. Idasa’s annual budget had been halved from R100 million to R50m this year.
“We had to close down our Cape Town office where we had our media department and Political Information and Monitoring Service and those projects were completely locally based so it was impossible to get funding,” Graham said.
Graham said the Dutch government said they would no longer fund projects in SA as it was now seen as a middle- income country.
Black Sash has lost six major donors over the past five years, most of them large international church-based donors. The withdrawal of funds has meant a loss of around R24m.
The organisation had to retrench eight staff members and could possibly lose more if contracts for certain projects were not renewed.
Children’s rights organisation, Molo Songololo say they are also battling with a gradual depletion of funds since 2005.
Patrick Solomons, director of Molo Songololo, said the reduction in funds has forced the organisation to cut back on their services to children.
“The depletion of funds is a result of the global recession but also the change in trends. Donors are moving their funds to poorer countries or countries in conflict. Corporates are also not easily giving money for things like the daily operational costs of an organisation. They only fund certain projects. We are also still waiting for money from the National Lottery Fund,” Solomons said.
At the moment the organisation has no more international funders. Before they received money from various global organisations including the UN and the EU.
“The money we received from the UN and the EU was for certain projects which have now been completed but we are continuing to apply for funds wherever we can,” Solomons said.
While there have been no retrenchments, Solomons said they had to curtail some of their support services to children and stopped their Young Men’s Forum, a skills and empowerment project directed at high school boys.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has also not had any clarity on their R6.5m grant from the Global Fund, which is itself facing a crisis with donor funding shortfalls.
The grant was due in July and the TAC has said they would have to close their doors if they do not receive the money by January.
Nathan Geffen, TAC treasurer, said previously that the delay with the grant was an annual problem. Geffen said he could not comment on the status of their funding from the Global Fund as negotiations were at a critical stage