Abraham Kriel Bambanani (AKB) stands to lose R4,5 million in State funding as a result of the re-prioritisation of the funding to NGO Welfare Organisations implemented by the Gauteng Department of Social Development. This comes to a loss of about 30% of the total state funding that the organisation expected to receive.
The news that the AKB Soweto Family Care and Westbury Family Care programmes of Abraham Kriel Bambanani (AKB) will not be funded for the 2023/24 financial year, reached the organisation on Friday 14 April 2023, effective 1 April 2023.
With this announcement, the holistic services to 530 orphaned and vulnerable children and youth in Soweto and Westbury are at extreme risk. If AKB accepts this, it will be disastrous for these children and their family members, who will have their hope of escaping the poverty trap destroyed. In addition, it places the jobs of employees at risk.
The leadership of AKB is not opposed to the focus areas prioritised by Premier Lesufi and MEC Mbali Hlophe as such. They include very important initiatives such as the improvement of townships and informal settlements, fighting drugs and substance abuse, and caring for homeless people. However, the abrupt manner in which the proposed change has been implemented poses too many risks to too many very worthy NGO programmes besides the ones AKB is running. We empathise with organisations that care for the aged and the disabled via home-based care programmes. Many are facing the prospect of closure. We support them wholeheartedly in the joint efforts to ensure a more rational approach through the use of any legal and peaceful means. AKB made use of the opportunities to engage with Premier Lesufi, the MEC for Social Development as well as representatives of the Department of Social Development. Although no definite commitment was made by Premier Lesufi, AKB welcomes his intervention in the reprioritisation of funds to NPO’s and eagerly awaits the outcome of proposed discussions with various stakeholders.
Abraham Kriel Bambanani has no intention to walk away from the 530 orphaned and vulnerable children, who desperately need our help. We have every intention to fight for the continuation of these programmes, in whatever form we can manage to do so.
The management of AKB is hard at work to devise plans to continue services to these most vulnerable of our beneficiaries. The programme is highly valued, as it has a very positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged, orphaned and vulnerable children at a relatively low cost.
Over the last 20 years since these programmes have been initiated, numerous children were assisted to complete their schooling and find employment. Others have progressed to tertiary education and been the catalyst to help lift their families out of dire poverty and into productive lives.
These programmes are simply too important to allow them to wither away and die. These programmes should also be prioritized.
As always, the Board, Management and staff of AKB rely on the Grace of God and the love and kindness of our fellow citizens to carry it through the darkest of times.
Chief Executive Officer
Abraham Kriel Bambanani (NPC)