MISTRA and the Wits Graduate School of Public & Development Management (P&DM) jointly hosted a roundtable on the crisis in the NGO sector.
The roundtable brought together activists to reflect on the crisis, and speakers included Piroshaw Camay, (Director, Cooperative for Research & Education - CORE), Zanele Twala (Executive Director, Bridge Linking innovators in Education), Reverend Mautji Pataki (Secretary General, SA Council of Churches) and Paul Graham (former Executive Director, Idasa).
Deliberations centred on the crisis in the sector both in terms of substantive focus and resourcing. Starting with a general consensus that the roots of the crisis are to be found in the period after the demise of apartheid and the consolidation of the new South African democracy various causes were highlighted: an exit or relocation of leadership, the crisis of the economy, and an inconsistent approach on the part of the state to funding NGOs. Related to all this is wide-scale funding fatigue.
Fearing total collapse, organisations have developed a variety of strategies to survive.