Regulation in South Africa occurs on three levels:
NPOs are registered under the Non-Profit Organisations Act 71 of 1997
Public Benefit organisations can be registered under the Income Tax Act of 1996.
Voluntary Associations are a product of the common law.
Section 21 Companies are registered under the Companies Act 1973.
Trusts are registered under the Trust Property Control Act 1957.
There are currently plans underfoot for a new NPO law - draft proposals are with the NGO sector for comments, and a technical committee has been appointed to take this forward (March 09).
The primary regulators are as follows:
The Non-Profit Organisations Act requires organisations registered with the NPO Directorate to submit annual accounts and narrative reports. Standard formats for the narrative reports are available through the Directorate’s website. Accounts have to be approved by an Accounting Officer regardless of the size of the organisation. These annual reports and accounts must be filed within nine months of the end of the financial year. Failure to do this will result in deregistration.
Section 21 Companies are required to submit accounts and reports to the Companies Registrar.
Public Benefit Organisations are required to submit accounts and reports to the revenue department for tax exemption purposes
As far as we are aware, there is no specific Government policy to address its relation with NGOs. However the Impact Assessment of the NPO Act published in January 2005 by the Department of Social Development gives good assessment of the legal framework.
Accessing the database of NGOs:
The NPO Directorate currently has approximately 52,000 NGOs on its database which can be accessed online.
There are additionally many umbrella bodies and capacity building organisations working regionally and thematically to represent their members and strengthen civil society. Such bodies include:
GuideStar is developing a project in South Africa to map the NGO sector - Inkanyezi GuideStar (site currently under development).
"South Africa" in Global Civil Society, Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector, Vol. II (2004) Centre for Civil Society Studies, Johns Hopkins University