Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Paul Mavima, has said the government has not deregistered any Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) operating in the country.
In an interview with the Zimpapers Television Network’s The Chase programme on Thursday night, Mavima said the government has identified and informed 391 NGOs who are non-compliant with the dictates of the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Act to regularise their operations.
He said the identified NGOs, whose figure was 450 last year but has come down to 391, still have a chance to regularise their operations before the Government gazettes their deregistration. Said Mavima:
The list still gives them an opportunity to regularise before we gazette, for now, we haven’t gazetted but soon we will be gazetting.
We have given them a very long rope but once we gazette they will then have to apply afresh to operate.
He also denied claims that the listing of non-compliant NGOs was done based on the amended PVO Act, saying the process to amend the law has not been completed. Mavima said:
The new Act’s amendment process has not been completed and a lot of people have been saying there is a draconian action by Government in line with the new Act and we have started to see the implementation of that Act which is going to constrain civil society space.
The Act has always been there and just like in any other country, it provides a criterion for registration for anyone who wants to operate a PVO.
It sets the requirements needed, a management arrangement, provides annual reports to the PVO board, audited financial statements and keeps within the mandate that you said you wanted to operate in and also to confine yourself to the geographical space that you said you want to operate from. This is standard procedure, everywhere.
Mavima said Zimbabwe has only deregistered two NGOs last year for national security reasons.
He said one of the NGOs had said they wanted to provide services to children and started constructing schools and after that started teaching fundamentalism in those schools.
Mavima also explained that Jairos Jiri Association, which is among the 291 NGOs that were listed, has over the years been unbundled and become a number of organisations offering various services.
He said some of the offshoots have complied while others are now defunct. | Chronicle