What is the NPO Act meant to do?
The Nonprofit Organisations Act No. 71 of 1997 (the NPO Act) became law in South Africa on 3 December 1997. It is one of several pieces of legislation that was introduced after the end of Apartheid, to support South Africa’s transformation and development. The Act (and its amendment, published in 2000) therefore, is widely viewed as acknowledgment – on the part of the government – of the role that NGOs play in meeting the diverse needs of South Africa’s population. Through the Act, government hopes to support the sector, by providing a legislative environment that will:
- support NGOs to flourish;
- provide an administrative and regulatory framework within which NGOs can conduct their affairs;
- encourage NGOs to maintain adequate standards of governance, transparency and accountability and to improve these standards;
- allow for public access to information concerning registered NGOs; and
- promote a spirit of co-operation and shared responsibility within government, donors and amongst other interested persons in their dealings with NGOs.