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Civil Soci­ety

 
Civil Society

Organ­ised civil soci­ety plays a crit­i­cal role in build­ing par­tic­i­pa­tory democ­racy, in pro­mot­ing a cul­ture of human rights and in facil­i­tat­ing socio-economic devel­op­ment for mil­lions of poor and dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple. The work of non-profit organ­i­sa­tions (NPOs) within civil soci­ety is indis­pens­able to the growth of democ­racy and socio-economic devel­op­ment.

Through­out the last 40 years, NPOs have played an impor­tant role in the down­fall of apartheid and the tran­si­tion to democ­racy. NPOs con­tinue to con­tribute valu­able resources, skills and exper­tise to the national build­ing process in South Africa. Through the medium of NPOs, the State is able to imple­ment impor­tant pro­grammes that are vital to the devel­op­ment and well-being of the most mar­gin­alised and which require the flex­i­bil­ity of NPOs: for exam­ple, dis­as­ter inter­ven­tion or home-based care which has taken on a crit­i­cal role in rela­tion to the HIV/AIDS pan­demic. NPOs also facil­i­tate the processes of con­sul­ta­tion with larger com­mu­ni­ties, enabling an expan­sion of par­tic­i­pa­tion that var­i­ous poli­cies and leg­is­la­tion seek. There are exam­ples of these around munic­i­pal plan­ning processes and the devel­op­ment of water catch­ment man­age­ment struc­tures.

The LRC recog­nises that NPOs have to com­ply with var­i­ous rig­or­ous demands and seeks to assist these organ­i­sa­tions to meet some of these new legal chal­lenges. The LRC also seeks to pro­mote good gov­er­nance and account­abil­ity within the non-profit sec­tor in order to strengthen civil soci­ety and con­tribute to socio-economic devel­op­ment in South Africa.

The spe­cific objec­tives of our NPO sup­port work are: 

  • To pro­vide legal assis­tance and sup­port to NPOs so that they may estab­lish appro­pri­ate legal enti­ties and reg­is­ter with the rel­e­vant author­i­ties.
  • To assist NPOs with their estab­lish­ment and reg­is­tra­tion in terms of the Non­profit Orga­ni­za­tions Act, No. 71 of 1997.
  • To pro­vide the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal train­ing to law grad­u­ates, can­di­date attor­neys and other legal pro­fes­sion­als with regard to laws that deal with NPOs.
  • To pro­mote bet­ter co-operation and co-ordination between NPOs and the State.
  • To make mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tions to pub­lic pol­icy affect­ing the non-profit sec­tor in terms of new leg­is­la­tion, includ­ing in con­nec­tion with devel­op­ing a more pro­gres­sive tax regime for NPOs.
  • To develop and dis­sem­i­nate resource mate­ri­als for NPOs on prac­ti­cal legal mat­ters that affect community-based organ­i­sa­tions (CBOs) and NGOs alike.
  • To pro­vide insights with regard to fund-raising and the draw­ing up of pro­pos­als and reports.
  • Con­duct­ing ‘train the train­ers’ work­shops to equip train­ers to train rural CBOs in mat­ters per­tain­ing to the estab­lish­ment and run­ning of NGOs and CBOs.
  • Advo­cat­ing for the cre­ation of addi­tional mech­a­nisms to enable and facil­i­tate the work of NPOs.
  • Mon­i­tor­ing the admin­is­tra­tion of the new pro­vi­sions of the Income Tax Act and the Non-profit Organ­i­sa­tions Act, No. 71 of 1997 which directly affect NGOs.

Client assis­tance:

The LRC also pro­vides spe­cific advice and assis­tance to NPOs on request to the extent that it is able to do so.

Train­ing work­shops:

Work­shops have been con­ducted in Limpopo, North­ern Cape, Gaut­eng, East­ern Cape, KwaZu­lu­Na­tal and West­ern Cape. The work­shops have been hosted in part­ner­ship with the Non-Profit Part­ner­ship, Part­ners With After School Care Projects (PAS­CAP), Cape Child and Youth Devel­op­ment (CACYD) and Namakwa Katolieke Ontwik­kel­ing (NAMCO). The objec­tive is to strengthen the non-profit sec­tor by hold­ing work­shops rel­e­vant to the needs of NPOs, of which at least some must be organ­ised at venues that are more eas­ily accessed by rural area-based organ­i­sa­tions.

Pub­li­ca­tions:

The LRC has pro­duced infor­ma­tion book­lets that are dis­trib­uted to NPOs free of charge. Please visit the ‘Doc­u­ments’ sec­tion in our web­site to down­load these pub­li­ca­tions.

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National Offices

Tel: +27 11 836 9831
Email: info@lrc.org.za

Address: 15th and 16th Floor, Bram Fis­cher Tow­ers,
20 Albert Street, Mar­shall­town, Johan­nes­burg
PO Box 9495, Johan­nes­burg 2000

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