Although South Africa’s political, social and economic context is likely to increase the demand for CAO services, the CAO sector has been struggling to survive due to decreasing public and philanthropic funding and shrinking civil space. In light of this and given the critical role the CAOs play for access to justice in South Africa, the FHR has decided to distribute Emergency Grants to a number of CAOs across the country.
Within the framework of this emergency funding, at the end of 2019 the FHR allocated a total of R 3 000 000 to 60 CAO’s. An amount of R 50 000 was distributed to each successful CAO in order to keep the CAO operational for at least six months. The CAOs which qualified for the funding were selected through a targeted call and were assessed based on their ability to operate and comply with requirements of the funding (e.g. previous financial statements were taken into account) and according to principles of good governance and transparency. The FHR commissioned an Independent Assessor to evaluate the received applications and to recommend offices that should be allocated funding. Recognizing the essential role of the CAOs for access to justice, the funding is meant to cover operational costs such as salaries, rent and airtime/data, in order to keep them afloat during the financial crisis within the sector.