NPO Policy Framework

South Africa is currently undergoing a process to overhaul its principal NPO legislation, the NPO Act 71 of 1997. In doing so it published the initial NPO Policy Review Framework in September 2012, and has held subsequent consultative meetings with civil society organisation. The Framework has now been amended several times. This web page is dedicated to monitoring this process and providing valuable information to civil society organisations that are interested in the process and that would like to participate in this important process. The information uploaded here is based on documents that we have had access to and developments/activities that we are aware of, if there are any developments/activities that you are aware of that are not documented here please let us know so that we can update this page.

The NPO Act 71 of 1997 was created through an extensive consultative process aimed at repealing the Fundraising Act 107 of 1978 and facilitating the creation of an optimum environment in which civil society organisations in South Africa could operate and carry out their responsibilities. Under the South African Constitution(Article 5), the right to Freedom of Association, a measure included to protect civil society organisations, means that it is not necessary to register with any South African government department in order to exist and operate as a civil society organisation in the country. Registration under the current NPO Act 71 of 1997 is voluntary however organisations that are not registered under this Act may not receive funding from South African government departments or funding agencies. The development of the new NPO legislation is the responsibility of the NPO Directorate in the Department of Social Development.

How the South African NPO Act is being amended  

The drafting of the Policy document that will guide the development of the revised NPO legislation in South Africa was first made public in September 2014. Since then there the NPO Directorate has held consultations and made presentations on the draft Policy and the Policy document has been redrafted a few times. This timeline includes developments and activities towards the finalisation of the Policy document that we are aware of or been a part of. We have heard that there are other activities that have taken place but unfortunately we do not have concrete details about these. If you are aware of activities not included on this timeline please let us know.



30 May 2014

NPO Directorate representative, Mr Mapena Bok - Chief Director: Compliance, delivers a presentation on the Challenges and Proposed changes to the NPO Act at the NPO Collaboration Dialogue in Johannesburg 

24 March 2014 

A select group of NPO's attends a focus group discussion on the latest draft version of the NPO Policy Review Framework(5th Draft, Version 1) 

26 September 2013 

NPO Directorate representative, Ms Mpho Mngxitama - Deputy Director: Registration Compliance, delivers a presentation on the NPO Policy Review Framework at the NPO Collaboration Dialogue in Cape Town and states that there is likely to be no activity on the document until after the elections 

21 May 2013

NPO Directorate representative, Ms Mpho Mngxitama - Deputy Director: Registration Compliance, delivers a presentation on NPO Compliance in response to the mass de-registrations that took place in January 2013 at the NPO Collaboration Dialogue in Durban 

 27 September 2012 

The draft NPO Policy Review Framework is published on the Sangonet website for public comment 

15-17 August 2012  

The draft NPO Policy Framework document is said to have been presented at the DSD Ministerial Summit 


The Department of Social Development hosts provincial consultative meetings in the lead up to the DSD Ministerial Summit