MPs applying brakes on compulsory NPO registration bill welcomed – IRR

Institute says subjecting NPOs to more severe govt regulation would be a step in the wrong direction

IRR welcomes MPs applying brakes on compulsory NPO registration bill

12 October 2022

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) welcomes the decision of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance to allow more time for public comment on the General Laws (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing) Amendment Bill – as the IRR urged earlier this week.
The present Nonprofit Organisations Act was adopted in 1997 after Parliament reached agreement with various civil society organisations, the IRR prominent among them, that the NPO sector must remain independent of government.
In contrast, the new Amendment Bill, on which the public was given just under 10 working days to comment, would not only require NPOs to register with the government, but would also subject NPOs to more severe government regulation.
“This would be backwards,” says Martin van Staden, IRR Deputy Head of Policy Research, “as it is government that is supposed to be subject to the oversight of civil society.
“Even when international entities threaten to greylist South Africa, this principle will not change. It is government’s responsibility to find a way to avoid greylisting without sacrificing an independent civil society as a pillar of constitutional democracy.”
With the period for public comment now having been extended to 25 October, the IRR will carefully study the Amendment Bill and provide its considered comments during the public participation process that must follow.

Issued by Martin van Staden, Deputy Head of Policy Research, IRR, 12 October 2022