NEW MANDATORY REGISTRATION FOR NGOs newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

NEW MANDATORY REGISTRATION FOR NGOs newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

Despite objections from civil society organisations, charities and trusts in Zimbabwe will be subject to mandatory registration under the newly passed Private Voluntary Organizations Amendment Bill.

Many forms of trusts will now require registration as private private organisations, with registration mandatory for all organisations. Those who fail to register face penalties.

On March 1, 2024, the Private Voluntary Organizations Amendment Bill, HB 2, 2024 was gazetted to amend the Private Voluntary Organizations Act. [Chapter 17:05].

This comes after the previous amendment bill for 2021 failed to obtain the president’s approval.

The CSO Technical Legal Committee (TLC), a subcommittee of the CSO Coordination Committee, analyzed the draft law and raised concerns.

They believe the new registration requirements could violate Zimbabwe’s constitutional rights to freedom of association and assembly (Section 58) and administrative justice (Section 68).

“Organizations currently operating legally as trusts and associations will immediately become illegal if they continue to operate and receive donations from the public or donations from sources outside the country,” TLC said.

“Employees working in these organizations will also be held criminally liable for asserting their right to freedom of association with these organisations, once the Bill is passed into law, and pending the Registrar’s decision on their applications for registration.”

Because there are no time frames, these organizations could be left in limbo indefinitely, TLC said.

“The sudden cessation of activities will also violate the labor rights of employees of the affected organizations guaranteed in Article 65(1) of the Constitution which guarantees fair and safe labor practices for all.”

Civil society organizations have recommended that trusts be registered under the Property Deeds Registration Act [Chapter 20:05] Public law universities should be allowed to exist, carry out their mandates and remain exempt from registration as private private organizations.

This recommendation for the trusts to continue to operate as registered under the Registers of Deeds Act was ignored.

TLC raised concerns that the new amendments introduce mandatory registration as private charitable organizations for all organizations undertaking charitable activities specified in the Private Charitable Organizations Act, yet the current law exempts trusts and public law universities from such registration.

“Helping people with physical, mental, physical or social needs; Giving alms to people in distress; Support the needy; Raising people’s standard of living; Providing funds for legal aid; Preventing cruelty and promoting the welfare of animals; Collect contributions for these purposes; And: Any other charitable works that may be stipulated in the regulations.

The TLC recommended that trusts be registered under the Registers of Deeds Act [Chapter 20:05] Public law universities should be allowed to exist, carry out their mandates and remain exempt from registration as private private organizations.

“This position has been maintained and clarified. The Bill now specifies which other associations must be registered including trusts, in all their forms – (Section 2C) on the definition of PVO. As such, trusts registered with the High Court, or with the Registrar Deeds under Section 70A of the Registration of Deeds Act [Chapter 20:05] “Subject to the registration process,” said the TLC, whose recommendation was ignored, “instead, the Bill now explicitly refers to trusts to remove any doubt about the need for registration.”

Another concern raised is how the amendments to the PVO Act will introduce a new section with more stringent and immediate requirements for trusts, bodies and associations of legal or unincorporated persons, and any non-exempt organizations under the Act that receive financial donations or raise contributions from the public to undertake specified charitable activities to be registered as organisations. especially.

Failing to do so, any person associated with the then unregistered organization may be subject to criminal penalties as discussed.

“A new provision stipulates that no person may collect contributions from the public except in accordance with the provisions of the Act, thereby prohibiting crowdfunding (for charitable and relief purposes), unless a registered or provisional authority is provided by the Registrar under the Act.” TLC said.

The TLC recommended that phrases such as “legal persons” and “legal arrangements” be deleted from the draft law. It is not defined and is too broad to restrict the entire non-profit sector (even public law universities).

“This differs from the targeted approach set out in FATF Recommendation 8 and Outcome 10.2 which the Bill seeks to give effect to.”

The new amendments say that new organizations that were not operating legally before the bill was passed must register or face penalties.

The Registrar has the power to issue a civil penalty in this regard. As for companies that have operated legally before, they have 30 days to start the process. Once the process begins, they can continue working while the application is considered.

The recommendation to remove phrases such as “legal persons” and “legal arrangements” was ignored. Site

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