Failure to do so will see several programmes closing and people losing their jobs.

The group, including Soul City and the Treatment Action Campaign, were due to receive payments from the Global Fund in July 2011 and January 2012 as part of Round 6. None have materialised.

‘€œThis grant funds life-saving programmes that we implement. These payments are late. Some of us have continued to implement our Global Fund sponsored programmes using reserve funds and other income, but we can no longer continue to do this. The consequence is that our programmes will have to close and many people will have to be retrenched,’€ the group said.

‘€œThe Department of Health is the Principal Recipient of the grant. It is unclear to us why the grant has been delayed continuously. Our understanding is that the Global Fund systems are extremely complex and that the Fund is not satisfied that the Department of Health has met its stringent criteria. We also understand that the effort to consolidate the Round 6, Round 9 and Round 10 grants into a single stream has contributed to the delay,’€ the letter said.

‘€œWhatever the reasons, we know that each of us has made a great effort to meet the demands of the Principal Recipient and the Global Fund. It is unfortunate that the Global Fund has failed to make contingency plans and defaulted its payment.

The situation is now dire,’€ the group appealed.

Fidel Hadebe, spokesperson for health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, said the country could not afford to see any of these organisations closing down.

He claimed however, ‘€œthese are circumstances not in our direct control’€.

‘€œWe are doing all we can to ensure that those resources due to the country are disbursed. We have come a long way and we cannot afford for these kind of problems to take us backwards,’€ Hadebe said.

The signatories of the letter include the Community Media Trust, Humana People to People, Mindset, Redpeg, Society for Family Health, Soul City and the Treatment Action Campaign.

The Global Fund has financed and catalysed unprecedented success over the past decade, and currently saves an estimated 100 000 lives each month.

Now, due to projected donor funding shortfalls, new Global Fund efforts to scale-up life-saving health programs are in jeopardy.

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