Non-profit organisations run by President Jacob Zuma’s immediate family – including his four wives – have not filed financial reports in years, a breach of the law which effectively keeps any income and expenditure by the trusts from public scrutiny.

Most donor and funding agencies require registration as a non-profit organisation (NPO) as a prerequisite for an entity to receive money. Under the NPO Act, administered by the Department of Social Development, registered entities must file annual reports which are publicly available.

Despite the regulations and the threat that non-compliant entities would be wiped from the NPO register, the Zuma-linked NPOs continue to flout the rules. An investigation by News24 has revealed that all but one of the Zuma-aligned registered non-profit organisations had failed to file their annual returns to the Department of Social Development, some never having filed financial reports at all.

Five out of the six Zuma-linked charities did not file their financial reports.

Non-compliance by the Zuma charities is the tip of the iceberg. The Department of Social Development revealed to News24 that more than half of the country’s nearly 140 000 registered non-profits were not compliant with the law. Institute for Accountability in SA head Advocate Paul Hoffman said in the past there had been a furore surrounding some NPOs which had been deregistered, but that the Zuma-linked bodies appeared to have been given “royal game status”.

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