South Africa

Durban's Tafta in financial crisis after state subsidy cutback

Durban's Tafta in financial crisis after state subsidy cutback

The Association for the Aged (Tafta) in Durban is facing a severe financial crisis in the wake of state subsidy cutbacks and Covid-19 expenses.

The organisation, which operates care homes in greater Durban, has made an urgent appeal for public support after cutbacks by the social development department.

Tafta CEO Femada Shamam said the organisation is reliant on state funding to continue social care services. The organisation has to date recorded 67 Covid-19 positive cases, including staff and elderly residents, as well as five deaths.

“Recent subsidy cutbacks, coupled with unbudgeted Covid-19 expenses, have severely affected the organisation’s financial position, resulting in an urgent need for donor support,” said Shamam.

The organisation featured in a recent report prepared by the Care Work Campaign and the National Coalition of Social Services on the financial status of non-profit organisations providing social care services.

“Three-and-a-half months into the financial year, some provinces have yet to receive any payments from the DSD (department of social development). In addition to delaying payments, the department also took the unilateral decision to reduce certain subsidies paid towards services for older people and people with disabilities, as well the running of early childhood development (ECD) centres,” the report stated.

Shamam said the recent months had been “extremely stressful”.

“It all paints an alarming picture of a system under severe financial pressure. At a time when NPOs are already struggling to meet the additional costs associated with Covid-19 (such as providing PPE and sanitising), having to put fundraising events and activities on hold, and losing support from individuals and companies that are themselves struggling, we are in for a challenging few months,” said Shamam.

“In addition, the organisation had been severely affected by loss of rental income from elders losing family support. This, coupled with Tafta’s inability in recent months to fill vacancies in our homes, has placed the organisation under severe strain,” said Shamam.