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Non-Governmental Organisations Bill, 2004
July 2004

PART V

MISCELLANEOUS

23. Investigations by Council
24. Suspension of executive committee and appointment of trustees to manage organisation
25. Registrar may adjudicate disputes with non-governmental organisations
26. General offences and penalties
27. Evidence and presumptions
28. Contributions unlawfully collected
29. Minister may dissolve certain organisations
30. Disposal of assets of non-governmental organisations
31. Regulations
32. Transitional provision
33. Repeals

23 Investigations by Council

(1) In this section
“maladministration” means—

(a) theft or misappropriation of the funds or property of a non-governmental organisation; or
(b) any improper conduct on the part of an officer, employee or member of the executive committee of a non-governmental organisation which—

(i) prevents the organisation from carrying out the objects for which it was registered;
(ii) would justify the cancellation of the organisation’s certificate of the organisation’s certificate of registration in terms of section eleven;

(c) any contravention of any provision of a code of conduct as may be prescribed.

(2) If the Registrar has reasonable grounds to suspect that there is or has been maladministration in a registered non-governmental organisation, the Registrar may institute an investigation into the organisation’s activities.
(3) The Minister, at the request of the Chairperson of the Council, may appoint an inspecting officer under section twenty-three for the purposes of an investigation under subsection (2) and that section shall apply, with necessary changes, to the conduct of such investigation.
(4) the Council shall ensure that anyone whose conduct is being investigated under this section is given a reasonable opportunity to explain that conduct.
(5) If, after an investigation under this section, the Council finds that there is or has been maladministration in the non-governmental organisation concerned, the Council may take any one or more of the following courses of action—

(a) censure any Director, office-bearer, officer or employee of the organization;
(b) direct the organisation’s executive committee to take such measures as the Council may specify to ensure that maladministration does not recur;
(c) subject to section eleven cancel or amend the organisation’s certificate of registration;
(d) if the Council considers that the maladministration may constitute an offence, report the matter to the police;
(e) if the Council considers that the maladministration warrants the suspension of all or any of the members of the organisation’s executive committee, refer the matter to the Minister;

Provided that, before taking any action in terms of paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (e), the Council shall ensure that the organisation and every Director, office-bearer or employee of the organization directly affected by the action is given a reasonable opportunity to make representations in the matter.

(6) Any person who is aggrieved by any action taken by Council in terms of paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (e) of subsection (5) may appeal against it to the Minister.
(7) An appeal under subsection (6) shall be lodged in writing with the Minister within thirty days after the appellant is notified of the Council’s action, and shall specify the grounds of the appeal.
(8) On an appeal under subsection (6), the Minister may, after making such investigation as he or she considers necessary and giving the Council and the appellant a reasonable opportunity to make representations in the matter, confirm, vary or set aside the Council’s action or make such other in the matter as he considers appropriate.
(9) An appeal shall lie to the Administrative Court against any decision of the Minister made in terms of subsection (8).
(10) An appeal in terms of subsection (9) shall be made in the form and manner and within the period prescribed in the rules of court.
(11) In an appeal in terms of subsection (9), the Administrative Court may confirm, vary or set aside the decision appealed against and may make such order, whether as to costs or otherwise, as the court thinks fit.

24 Suspension of the executive committee and appointment of trustees

(1) Where the Council, in terms of paragraph (e) of subsection (5) of section twenty-three, has referred to the Minister the question of suspending all or any of the members of the executive committee of a registered non-governmental organisation, the Minister shall without delay conduct such investigation into the matter as he considers necessary and, if he is satisfied that—

(a) there is or has been serious maladministration in the organisation; and
(b) it is in the public interest for all or any of the members of the organisation’s executive committee to be suspended;

the Minister may, by written notice to the director of the organisation and every committee member concerned, suspend the member or members from exercising all or any of their functions:

Provided that, before doing so, the Minister shall ensure that the director of the organisation and every committee member concerned is notified of the proposed action and of the reasons for it, and is given a reasonable opportunity to make representations in the matter.

(2) The Minister may at ay time revoke a suspension in terms of subsection (1)
(3) Where the Minister has suspended members of the executive committee of a registered non-governmental organisation in terms of subsection (1), from exercising all their functions and the suspension has not been revoked within thirty days, the member’s office shall thereupon become vacant.
(4) Where the Minister has suspended some but not all the members of the executive committee of a registered non-governmental organisation and has not revoked the suspension within thirty days, the remaining members shall forthwith call for the appointment or election of new members in accordance with the constitution of the organisation.
(5) Where all the members of the executive committee of a non-governmental organisation have been suspended, the Minister may appoint two or more persons as trustees to institute procedures for the appointment or election of a new executive committee and to run the organisation’s affairs pending such appointment or election.
(6) Subject to the Minister’s directions, trustees appointed under subsection (5) shall have all the powers of the executive committee of the non-governmental organisation concerned.
(7) The office of a trustee appointed under subsection (5) shall terminate as soon as the vacant offices on the executive committee of the non-governmental organisation concerned have been filled.
(8) An appeal shall lie to the Administrative Court against decision of the Minister made in terms of subsection (5).
(9) An appeal in terms of subsection (8), shall be made in the form and manner and within the period prescribed in the rules of court.
(10) In an appeal in terms of subsection (8), the Administrative Court may confirm, vary or set aside the decision appealed against and may take such order, whether as to costs or otherwise, as the court thinks fit.

25 Registrar may adjudicate disputes within non-governmental organisations

(1) The Registrar or any officer delegated by him, may adjudicate disputes between members of a non-governmental organisation at the invitation of the executive committee of a non-governmental organisation or of a general meeting of members of the organisation as provided under the organisation’s constitution.

26 General offences and penalties

(1) Any person who—

(a) collects or attempts to collect or instructs another person to collect or attempt to collect any contribution in furtherance of any of the objects mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (j) of the definition of “non-governmental organisation” in section two, except where the collections is—

(i) on behalf of and with the authority of a registered non-governmental organisation; or
(ii) on behalf of any body, association, institution, or service excluded from that definition by subparagraphs (i) to (x) thereof;

or
(b) collects or attempts to collect or instructs another person to collect or attempt to collect any contribution for or on behalf of an unregistered non-governmental organisation;
shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(2) Any person who falsely represents or causes or permits any other person falsely to represent to any member of the public that he is associated with a non-governmental organisation shall be guilty of an offence and liable to fine not exceeding level four or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(3) Any person who, is or in connection with—

(a) any application for the registration of a non-governmental organisation or the exemption of such an organisation under section ten; or
(b) any application for the registration of the alteration of the name of a registered non-governmental organization;

makes a statement or submits information that is false or misleading in a material particular, not having reasonable grounds for believing the statement or information to be true, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(4) Any person who becomes, continues to be or acts in the capacity of an offence-bearer or officer of an non-governmental organisation within five years after having been convicted under the law of Zimbabwe or of any foreign country of any offence involving dishonesty shall be guilty of an offence.
(5) Any person who is guilty of an offence in terms of subsection (4) shall be liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(6) For the purposes of subsection (4)—
“office-bearer”, in relation to a non-governmental organisation, means a member of the governing body of—

(a) that organisation; or
(b) any branch, section or committee of that organisation; or
(c) any local, regional or subsidiary body forming part of that organisation;

“officer”, in relation to a non-governmental organisation, means any person employed by that organisation or any branch, section or committee thereof or by any local, regional or subsidiary body forming part of that organisation, whether or not he or she receives any remuneration or reward for such work.

27 Evidence and presumption

(1) A certificate purporting to be signed by or on behalf of the Registrar and stating whether or not a non-governmental organisation is registered under this Act shall be admissible as evidence in any court on its production by any person, and shall be prima facie proof of the matters stated therein.
(2) If in a prosecution for an offence under subsection (2) of section twenty-six—

(a) it is alleged that the organisation which the accused person represented himself or was represented to be associated was not in existence at the time the offence is alleged to have been committed; and
(b) a certificate is produced to the court by any person which purports to have been signed by the Registrar and states that at the time of the alleged offence no such non-governmental organisation was registered under this Act or had applied for registration;

it shall be presumed unless the contrary is proved that the organisation was not in existence at that time.

28 Contributions unlawfully collected

(1) The Minister may, but order in writing under his hand—

(a) direct any person holding or having the control of any money, securities or other property, representing any contributions collected contrary to this Act, to retain the possession or control thereof until a further order in regard thereto is made by him;
(b) direct any person holding or having control of any money, securities or property such as are mentioned in paragraph (a)—

(i) to return to every contributor who is known the money, securities or property contributed but such contributor and to transfer or deliver the balance, if any, to the Minister, and to supply proof to the Minister of having complied with such order; or
(ii) to transfer or deliver such money, securities or property to the Minister, and thereupon the Minister shall return to every contributor who is known the money, securities or property contributed by such contributor.

(2) Any money, securities or property which cannot be returned to the contributor in terms of subsection (1) or which were received from any unidentified contributor shall be paid into the Guardian’s Fund for the account of such contributor and shall be dealt with in accordance with the Administration of Estates Act [Chapter 6:01].
(3) Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with an order in terms of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level four or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

29 Minister may dissolve certain non-governmental organisations

(1) The Minister may dissolve a non-governmental organisation and dispose of the assets of the organisation in accordance with its constitution if it ceases to function and the persons responsible in terms of its constitution for dissolving the organisation fail or are unable to dissolve it within six months thereafter.
(2) he Minister shall ensure that before any organisation is dissolved in terms of subsection (1), it is notified of the proposed action and of the reasons for it, and is given a reasonable opportunity to make representations in the matter.
(3) An appeal shall lie to the Administrative Court against decision of the Minister made in terms of subsection (1).
(4) An appeal in terms of subsection (3), shall be made in the form and manner and within the period prescribed in the rules of court.
(5) In an appeal in terms of subsection (3), the Administrative Court may confirm, vary or set aside the decision appealed against and may make such order, whether as to costs or otherwise, as the court thinks fit.

30 Disposal of assets of non-governmental organisations

Upon the dissolution of a non-governmental organisation, whether in terms of section twenty-nine or voluntarily or otherwise, its assets shall be distributed and disposed of as provided for in its constitution, and any surplus remaining thereafter shall vest in the State as bona vacantia.

31 Regulations

(1) The Minister may make regulations providing for—

(a) the form of any application, authority, certificate, notice, order or register to be made, given, issued or kept under this Act and any other form which may be required in carrying out this Act;
(b) the books, accounts and records to be kept by non-governmental organisations and the manner in which they shall be kept;
(c) the procedure to be followed on the dissolution of a non-governmental organisation and the manner in which its assets shall be disposed of;
(d) the circumstances under and the conditions upon which contributions may be collected by one non-governmental organisation on behalf of another non-governmental organisation;
(e) the manner in which persons shall be authorized by registered non-governmental organisations to collect contributions on their behalf;
(f) a non-governmental organisations operation manual;
(g) any other matter which in terms of this Act is required or permitted to be prescribed;
and generally for the better carrying out of the objects and purposes of this Act.

(2) Regulations made in terms of subsection (1) may provide penalties for contraventions thereof, but no such penalty shall exceed a fine of level four or imprisonment for a period of three months or both such fine and imprisonment.

32 Transitional Provision

Every non-governmental organisation which, immediately before the date of commencement of this Act, was lawfully registered as a private voluntary organisation under the repealed Act shall be deemed to be registered as a non-governmental organisation under this Act.

33 Repeal and savings

(1) The Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05] is repealed.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) any statutory instrument which immediately before the fixed date was in force under the repealed Act; shall remain in force as if it had been made under this Act.

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