The #KnowYourNPO Status campaign targets Non-Governmental Organisations, Community-Based Organisations and Faith-Based Organisations registered as NPOs to comply with the provisions of the Act.
According to Section 18 (1) (a) of the NPO Act, every registered organization must, in writing provide a report of its activities together with its financial statements and the accounting officer's report within nine months after the end of its financial year.
Section 21 (1) of the Act makes provision for the cancellation or de-registration of registered NPO that fails to comply with Section 18 (1) (a).
While the department is empowered by the Act to de-register NPOs that fail to comply with the Act, it has adopted a developmental approach that fosters good relations with the sector towards the attainment of its strategic goals.
The campaign, which will run for a period of two years - forms part of the department's initiative to improve transparency, good governance, and accountability amongst organizations that render services to the most vulnerable groups in the country.
For this reason, the department urges registered NPOs to comply with laws governing their operations in the country.
"This, in turn, will ensure that NPOs are legitimate and viewed as such by government, donors and other stakeholders in the sector," said the department.
To date, there are over 200 000 organizations registered as NPOs. Of this number, 56 000 NPOs have failed to submit annual reports as required by the Act, with some of the organizations not submitting a single report since registration for years.
The department is the custodian of the NPO Act which provides for voluntary registration, establishes an administrative and regulatory framework within which NPOs can conduct their affairs.
The NPO Act aims to encourage and support NPOs in their contribution to advancing South Africa's developmental agenda as set out in the National Development Plan.
This is premised on the understanding that a strong and capable civil society can play a collaborative and developmental role in a democratic society.
"To make compliance less burdensome on NPOs, the department encourages all registered NPOs to visit the nearest Social Development offices throughout the country to update their details, verify their NPO status and submit annual reports," said the department.
NPOs who wish to de-register can also do so voluntarily. A number of officials have been trained in each of the nine provinces to provide administrative assistance to NPOs that wish to comply with the Act or de-register.
The campaign is implemented in partnership with Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), National Lotteries Commission, Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), South African Institute of Business Practitioners and South African Institute of Tax Practitioners and SANGONET.
(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)