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We finally have budget approval and are back on the system!

Initially, our project implementation was delayed by about a year, and the boss (Dr Gugu Calvo-Ugarteburu) submitted a revised MoA, extending the period of the contract by a commensurate year; which was accepted by the department and printed and sent through for signing by the university administration in about June 2007. Unfortunately at the time that it was issued for signature by both parties, the political situation at Hole in the Wall deteriorated to such an extent that the headwoman cancelled the project as at the 1st June 2007.... and the WSU (Walter Sisulu University) administration staff could not sign the revised MoA because of the subsequent changes in the deliverables.

We tried for several months after the murder of the headwoman last year ( to reinstate the project at Hole in the Wall; through numerous meetings with the leaders of the area, the mayor of the KSD municipality (numerous ward councilors, and even the speaker of the house) to no avail. Eventually we established that there was no hope of bringing the SRP project back to the area and we were left with no choice but to divert the funds allocated for the area to Coffee Bay; and we subsequently submitted a revised business plan accordingly in May/June 2008.

The initial revised project proposal submitted on 17th May 2008 was rejected due to the fact that we had included a vehicle in the budget for the nursery / co-op under our management; which was apparently unacceptable. We therefore submitted another business plan early in June and have subsequently met with with additional problems: such as the financial department insisting on a SARS VAT exemption for the WSU - which is a tertiary institution and thus VAT exempt.

We obtained a letter attesting to the VAT exempt status of the university from SARS, this week, and forwarded it to the dept; however they maintain that the exemption letter from SARS is not binding... and apparently consigned our project pending a binding decree from SARS.

We have received no money since February this year from the dept., and for the past 4 months salaries have been paid by the university; and most outstanding creditors have not been paid. Our expansion plans and day-to-day operations have been hampered by this issue, but I'm happy to say that not only has our project got approval, but we have also received the tax clearance certificate from SARS.

I'm delighted to add that the Nursery / Co-op has received the co-op certificate - and we have submitted indigenous permit applications accordingly.


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