SUNScholar will be unavailable on 25 April 2018 from 08:00 to 10:00 South African Time for routine maintenance. Please contact scholar@sun.ac.za for queries.

The influence of the global financial crisis and other challenges for South Africa's non-governmental Organisations and the prospects for deepening democracy

Masiko, Nomathamsanqa (2013-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The point of departure for this study was the wide-ranging furore in media publications regarding the pervasive decline in donor funding for civil society organisations in South Africa, as influenced by the recent global financial crisis, and the subsequent shutting down of a number of civil society organisations. The decision to embark on this study has its roots in the fact that civil society is an important feature in a democracy with regards to government responsiveness, accountability as well as citizen participation in democratic governance. In South Africa, particularly, this is important in light of the country’s fledgling democracy, and even more so, when considering the ruling party’s overwhelming political power resulting in a dominant party system. The aim of this study was to find out what accounts for the plummet in donor funding, and the overriding question guiding this study was: Has the global financial crisis influenced civil society in South Africa? The broader question asked was: What are the challenges facing civil society organisations in South Africa? This study aims to assist in the evaluation of the potential role that civil society has played and continues to play in South Africa’s young democracy and what the implications would be for democracy if civil society organisations were hampered in these roles and continued to close offices. This study is explorative in nature and relied on qualitative data obtained from in-depth interviews conducted with two prominent South African non-governmental organisations; namely the Institute for Democracy and the Treatment Action Campaign. A key informant was selected and interviewed from each organisation. The findings of the interviews were operationalised through the lenses of Andrew Heywood’s (2007) conceptual theoretical framework, which puts forward five resources that civil society organisations need in order to exert their influence. While acknowledging the importance of all five resources, this study pays particular attention to financial resources received through international donor funding, for without financial resources it is difficult for an organisation to survive. The findings of the interviews and the conclusions drawn underscored four realities: firstly that the decrease in funding is not limited to the organisations examined in this study, but civil society as a whole. The second reality rests on the fact that the global financial crisis has indeed influenced the Institute for Democracy and the Treatment Action Campaign in ways that are a cause for a concern, not only for the survival of the organisation, but also for the durability of South Africa’s young and at times fragile democracy. The third reality points to other challenges that have influenced donor funding, such as South Africa’s middle income status, a shift in donor orientation and focus and donor-specific problems. The fourth reality that was pointed out thrust this study into the conclusion that financial resources are the essential life-blood of civil society organisations. In light of the role that civil society plays in a democracy, the findings in this study point to a concerning trend in South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die aanvangspunt van hierdie studie is die omvangrykende mediadekking aangaande die wydverspreide afname in donateursbefondsing vir burgerlike samelewingorganisasies in Suid-Afrika. Hierdie afname is beïnvloed deur die onlangse globale finansiële krisis en het tot gevolg die ontbinding van ʼn aantal burgerlike samelewingorganisasies. Die besluit om met hierdie studie te begin het sy oorsprong in die feit dat die burgerlike samelewing ʼn belangrike kenmerk van demokrasie is veral met betrekking tot regeringsresponsiwiteit, aanspreeklikheid sowel as die deelname van burgers aan ʼn demokratiese regering. In Suid-Afrika is dit belangrik, veral met die oog op die land se jong demokrasie en nog meer wanneer die heersende party se oorweldigende politiese mag in ag geneem word en dat dit tot ʼn dominante partystelsel lei. Die doel van hierdie studie is om vas te stel wat die oorsaak van die daling in skenkersfondse is. Die rigtinggewende vraag vir die studie was: het die wêreldwye finansiële krisis die burgerlike samelewing in Suid-Afrika beïnvloed? Die studie beoog om by te dra tot die evaluasie van die potensiële rol wat burgerlike samelewing in Suid-Afrika se jong demokrasie gespeel het, en steeds speel, en wat die implikasies vir demokrasie sou wees indien burgerlike samelewingorganisasies se rol bemoeilik word en verplig word om nog meer van hulle kantore te sluit. Die studie is ondersoekend van aard en het staatgemaak op kwalitatiewe data wat verkry is deur in-diepte onderhoude met twee vooraanstaande Suid-Afrikaanse nie-regeringsorganisasies te voer naamlik die Instituut vir Demokrasie en die ‘Treatment Action Campaign’. ’n Gesaghebbende segsman uit elke organisasie is gekies vir die onderhoude. Die bevindings is geoperasionaliseer deur die lense van Andrew Heywood (2007) se konseptuele teoretiese raamwerk wat aanvoer dat daar vyf hulpbronne is wat burgerlike organisasies nodig het om hulle invloed te laat geld. Terwyl die waarde van al vyf hulpbronne erken word, skenk hierdie studie in die besonder aandag aan die finansiële hulpbronne wat van internasionale skenkersfondse ontvang word omdat burgerlike organisasies beswaarlik daarsonder kan oorleef. Die bevindinge van die onderhoude en die gevolgtrekkings wat gemaak is beaam vier realiteite: eerstens dat die daling in befondsing nie beperk is tot die organisasies wat aan die studie deelgeneem het nie, maar burgerlike samelewing as ʼn geheel. Die tweede realiteit berus by die feit dat die globale finansiële krisis inderdaad die Instituut van Demokrasie en die ‘Treatment Action Campaign’ op kommerwekkende maniere beïnvloed het, nie net in terme van die organisasies se oorlewing nie, maar ook in terme van die behoud van Suid-Afrika se jong en soms brose demokrasie. Die derde realiteit dui op ander uitdagings wat skenkersfondse beïnvloed het soos Suid-Afrika se middel inkomstestatus, ʼn fokusverskuiwing van skenkingsgeoriënteerdheid tot skenker-spesifieke probleme. Die vierde realiteit wat uitgewys is dwing die studie om tot die gevolgtrekking te kom dat finansiële hulpbronne ʼn noodsaaklikheid vir die behoud van burgerlike gemeenskapsorganisasies is. In die lig van die rol wat burgerlike gemeenskap in demokrasie speel, is die bevindings van die studie kommerwekkend.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79972
This item appears in the following collections: