Payment averts Childline crunch

The department of social development has paid more than R400 000 owed to the non-profit organisation Childline Eastern Cape.

Childline, which takes about 800 calls a day for counseling and information sharing, last week revealed it faced having its phone lines cut as it was unable to pay its Telkom bill.

The organisation and several other NPOs in the Buffalo City Metro and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro had been in dire financial straits after having their budgets cut by the provincial social development department.

Following a public outcry, the department threw the cash-starved NPOs a R6.7-million lifeline.

However, the government has been slow in making the payments.

Childline has been waiting ever since July for its R401000 grant.

Last week, when reports emerged that Childline faced the possibility of having its lines cut, the department made payments.

However, it is not clear if Childline has received the money.

Department spokesman Mzukisi Solani yesterday confirmed that payment for Childline had been processed as scheduled last week.

He said it was unfortunate that those who relied on services provided by NPOs like Childline had to be subjected to such uncertainty.

However, Solani said Childline had contributed to the delays in payment because its managers failed to submit all the required information on time in order to get the money social development head Ntombi Baart had promised.

Baart had made the promise when she tabled the rescue plan in July.

This followed a Dispatch exposé on the possible closure of some of the centres and retrenchment of staff.

NPOs affected included East London Child Welfare, Childline Eastern Cape, Christelike-Maatskaplike Raad (CMR) in King William’s Town, and Uviwe Child and Youth Centre in Port Elizabeth. —

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