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CHAPTER 17:05
PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS ACT
Acts 63/1966, 6/1976, 30/1981, 6/1995, 6/2000 (s. 151), 22/2001 (s. 4); R.G.N. 217/1970.
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
PART I
PRELIMINARY
Section
1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
PART II
PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS BOARD AND REGISTRAR OF PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS
3. Private Voluntary Organizations Board.
4. Functions of the Board.
5. Registrar of Private Voluntary Organizations.
PART III
REGISTRATION AND EXEMPTION OF PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS
6. Private voluntary organizations to be registered.
7. Partial exemptions of private voluntary organizations.
8. Temporary authority to collect contributions.
9. Registration.
10. Cancellation or amendment of certificate.
11. Private voluntary organizations not to carry on activities except under registered name.
12. Surrender of registration certificate.
13. Restoration of cancelled or surrendered certificate.
14. Appeals.
PART IV
ADMINISTRATION OF PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS
15. Books, accounts, records, etc.
16. Registered address.
17. Branch committees.
18. Branches not controlled by private voluntary organization.
19. Audit of accounts.
20. Inspections and examination of accounts.
PART V
MISCELLANEOUS
21. Suspension of executive committee.
22. Minister may appoint trustee to manage organization.
23. General offences and penalties.
23A. Evidence and presumption
24. Persons prohibited from being office-bearers or officers.
25. [Repealed]
26. Contributions unlawfully collected.
27. Registrar may dissolve certain organizations.
28. Regulations.
AN ACT to provide for the registration of private voluntary organizations, for the control of the
collection of contributions for the objects of such organizations and of certain institutions, and for
matters incidental thereto.
[Date of commencement: 1st September, 1967.]
PART I
PRELIMINARY
1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Private Voluntary Organizations Act [Chapter 17:05].
2 Interpretation
(1) In this Act—
“Board” means the Private Voluntary Organizations Board established by section three;
“contributions” means movable or immovable property, including money or anything that can be exchanged
for or converted into money—
(a) which is not transferred in fulfilment of a legally enforceable obligation; and
(b) the mere transfer of which does not confer the right to claim any consideration except any
consideration in relation to any competition, contest, game, scheme, arrangement or system
in connection with which any prize may be won;
“contributor”, in relation to the collection of contributions, means any person from whom contributions
are collected;
“local authority” includes such authority as may be prescribed;
“Minister” means the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare or any other Minister to
whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;
“private voluntary organization” means any body or association of persons, corporate or unincorporate, or
any institution, the objects of which include or are one or more of the following—
(a) the provision of all or any of the material, mental, physical or social needs of persons or
families;
(b) the rendering of charity to persons or families in distress;
(c) the prevention of social distress or destitution of persons or families;
(d) the provision of assistance in, or promotion of, activities aimed at uplifting the standard of
living of persons or families;
(e) the provision of funds for legal aid;
(f) the prevention of cruelty to, or the promotion of the welfare of, animals;
(g) such other objects as may be prescribed;
(h) the collection of contributions for any of the foregoing;
but does not include—
(i) any institution or service maintained and controlled by the State or a local authority; or
(ii) any religious body in respect of activities confined to religious work; or
(iii) any trust established directly by any enactment or registered with the High Court; or
(iv) any educational trust approved by the Minister; or
(v) any body or association of persons, corporate or unincorporate, the benefits from
which are exclusively for its own members; or
(vi) any health institution registered under the Health Professions Act [Chapter 27:19], in
respect of activities for which it is required to be registered under that Act; or
[Subparagraph substituted by section 151 of Act 6 of 2000]
(vii) any psychological health premises registered under the Psychological Practices Act
[Chapter 27:11] in respect of activities for which it is required to be registered under
that Act; or
(vii) any body or association in respect of activities carried on for the benefit of a hospital
or nursing home which is approved by the Minister; or
(viii) any political organization in respect of work confined to political activities; or
(ix) the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society established by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society Act
[Chapter 17:08]; or
(x) such other bodies, associations or institutions as may be prescribed;
“register” means register under section nine;
“Registrar” means the Registrar of Private Voluntary Organizations referred to in section five;
“secretary”, in relation to a private voluntary organization, means the person for the time being responsible
for the affairs of such organization.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where contributions are collected from the public in respect of a body
or association referred to in subparagraph (v) or (vii), whether or not such body or association is formed under
any enactment, the provisions of this Act, in so far as they are not inconsistent with any other enactment
applicable to such body or association, shall apply accordingly.
PART II
PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS BOARD AND REGISTRAR OF PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS
3 Private Voluntary Organizations Board
(1) There is hereby established a board to be known as the Private Voluntary Organizations Board which
shall exercise the functions conferred upon it by this Act.
(2) Subject to this section, the Board shall consist of—
(a) five representatives from private voluntary organizations or organizations which the Minister considers
are representative of private voluntary organizations; and
(b) one representative from such private voluntary organization, association, institution or other organization
as the Minister may determine, from each of the provinces into which Zimbabwe is for the
time being divided; and
(c) one representative from each of the following Ministries—
(i) the Ministry for which the Minister is responsible;
(ii) the Ministry responsible for health and child welfare;
(iii) the Ministry responsible for justice;
(iv) the Ministry responsible for finance;
(v) the Ministry responsible for co-operatives; and
(vi) the Ministry responsible for foreign affairs;
(d) the Registrar, ex officio.
(3) Members of the Board referred to in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of subsection (2) shall be appointed by
the Minister from among persons nominated for that purpose by the appropriate association, organization,
institution or Ministry.
(4) Before making an appointment in terms of subsection (3), the Minister shall call upon the association,
organization, institution or Ministry concerned to nominate such number of persons as the Minister may
specify who, in its opinion, are suitable and available for appointment as members of the Board:
Provided that the Minister may—
(i) appoint a person to be a member of the Board who has not been so nominated and may decline to
appoint any person so nominated;
(ii) where he has called for nominations in terms of this subsection in respect of any appointment to the
Board and no nominations have been made in respect of such appointment within such period as he
may determine when calling for such nominations, appoint any person to be a member of the Board
whether or not, in his opinion, the person so appointed is able to represent the views of the body
whose nominations were called for.
(5) Members of the Board shall be appointed by the Minister for such period, not exceeding three years,
as he may specify on their appointment.
(6) The Minister shall designate one of the members to be the chairman of the Board.
(7) A member of the Board who is not in the full-time employment of the State, a statutory body or a local
authority shall be paid, out of moneys appropriated for that purpose by Parliament, such remuneration and
allowances as may be prescribed.
(8) The meetings and proceedings of the Board shall be as may be prescribed.
4 Functions of the Board
The functions of the Board shall be—
(a) subject to this Act, to consider and determine every application for registration and every proposed
cancellation or amendment of a certificate of registration;
(b) to hear representations by any association, organization or institution claiming entitlement to be
registered as a private voluntary organization;
(c) to advise the Minister and registered private voluntary organizations in respect of any matter arising
out of the administration or operation of this Act or any other matter referred to it by the Minister or
the Registrar,
(d) to promote and encourage the co-ordination of the activities of registered private voluntary organizations
having similar or related objects; and
(e) to submit to the Minister an annual report concerning the administration and operation of this Act.
5 Registrar of Private Voluntary Organizations
(1) There shall be a Registrar of Private Voluntary Organizations who shall be the person for the time being
holding the office of Director of Social Welfare, whose office shall be a public office and form part of the
Public Service.
(2) Subject to this Act, the Registrar shall maintain at his office a Register of Private Voluntary Organizations
in which he shall enter all such particulars in relation to the registration of private voluntary organizations
and their constitutions as he is required to enter by or in terms of this Act or any decision or order of a court.
(3) The Register shall be open to inspection during office hours by any member of the public on payment
of the prescribed fee, if any.
PART III
REGISTRATION AND EXEMPTION OF PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS
6 Private voluntary organizations to be registered
(1) No private voluntary organization shall—
(a) commence or continue to carry on its activities; or
(b) seek financial assistance from any source;
unless it has been registered in respect of the particular object or objects in furtherance of which it is being
conducted.
(2) No person shall collect contributions from the public except in terms of this Act.
(3) No person shall in any manner take part in the management or control of a private voluntary organisation,
knowing that the organisation is contravening subsection (1).
[Subsection inserted by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]
(3a) Any person who contravenes subsection (2) or (3) shall be guilty of an offence and liable—
(a) in the case of a contravention of subsection (2), to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment
for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment;
(b) in the case of a contravention of subsection (3), 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.
[Subsection inserted by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]
(4) No unregistered private voluntary organization shall be entitled to receive a grant from the State.
7 Partial exemptions of private voluntary organizations
(1) The Registrar may, on the application of any registered private voluntary organization made in the
prescribed manner, and after consultation with the Board, grant to that organization a certificate exempting it
for a stated period and subject to the prescribed conditions, from the operation of any of the provisions of this
Act other than section six.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), the Registrar may at any time, after consultation with the Board, cancel or
amend any certificate of exemption granted under subsection (1).
(3) Before cancelling or amending a certificate of exemption in terms of subsection (2), the Registrar shall
cause written notice of his intention to do so to be given to the secretary of the organisation concerned, and
shall afford him a reasonable opportunity of showing cause why the certificate should not be so cancelled or
amended.
[Subsection inserted by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]
(4) If the secretary of a private voluntary organisation receives a written request from the Registrar to
lodge with him for the purposes of cancellation or amendment any certificate of exemption which has been
cancelled or amended, as the case may be, in terms of subsection (2), and, without reasonable excuse, fails to
comply with the request within ninety days of receiving it, he shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine
not exceeding level three or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one month or to both such fine and
such imprisonment.
[Subsection inserted by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]
8 Temporary authority to collect contributions
(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this Act to the contrary, the Registrar may, after consultation with
the chairman of the Board, grant to—
(a) any person or group of persons; or
(b) any private voluntary organization which is not registered;
written authority to collect contributions for any object referred to in paragraphs (a) to (g) of the definition of
“private voluntary organization” in section two, if the Registrar is satisfied that the circumstances giving rise to
the proposed collection of contributions are such that the delay which is likely to occur in the registration of a
private voluntary organization for the purpose of making such collection will probably prejudice the objects
for which such contributions are to be collected.
(2) An authority under subsection (1) shall be granted—
(a) for a period which shall be stated in the authority but which shall not exceed ninety days:
Provided that the period stated in the authority may be extended for a further period not exceeding
ninety days; and
(b) subject to such of the prescribed conditions as the Registrar may impose.
9 Registration
(1) The secretary of any private voluntary organization which is required to be registered shall lodge with
the Registrar in the prescribed manner an application for such registration together with the constitution of the
organization.
(2) A private voluntary organization which lodges an application in terms of subsection (1) shall at its
own expense publish in a newspaper circulating in the area concerned a notice containing the prescribed
information and shall submit proof to the Registrar that such notice has been published.
(3) Any person may within the prescribed period lodge with the Registrar an objection to the grant of the
application setting out the grounds on which such objection is made; and the Registrar shall submit any such
objection to the Board for consideration.
(4) The Registrar may require any private voluntary organization which has applied for registration to
supply any further information in connexion with its application which he may deem necessary.
(5) Where the Registrar is satisfied that the requirements referred to in subsections (1), (2), (3) and (4)
have been complied with, he shall submit the application, together with the constitution of the organization,
any objection to the grant of the application and any further information supplied in connection with the
application to the Board and the Board may—
(a) after considering the application, grant it and direct the Registrar to issue to the organization concerned
a certificate of registration subject to such conditions as the Board may impose; or
(b) reject the application if it appears to the Board that—
(ii) the organization is not bona fide operating in furtherance of the objects mentioned in its
application for registration; or
(ii) the organization does not, in respect of its constitution or management, comply with the
provisions of this Act.
(6) Where the Board rejects an application for registration wholly or in part, the Registrar shall notify the
applicant organization of the rejection, and inform it of the grounds upon which the rejection was based.
(7) The registration of an organization under this section and the objects in respect of which it has been
registered shall be published by the Registrar in the Gazette.
(8) Where a registered private voluntary organization wishes to change its name or add to or alter any of
the objects in respect of which it is registered, the secretary thereof shall apply to the Registrar for the certificate
of registration thereof to be amended accordingly; and the provisions of this section shall apply, mutatis
mutandis, as if such application were an application for registration.
10 Cancellation or amendment of certificate
(1) The Board may at any time cancel any certificate of registration—
(a) on any ground, other than a ground referred to in subparagraph (v) or (vi) of paragraph (b) of subsection
(5) of section nine upon which he could have rejected an application for registration by the organization
concerned; or
(b) if any remuneration or reward, which in his opinion is excessive in relation to the total value of the
contributions received by the organization concerned, has been retained or received by any person
other than a person for whose benefit the contributions were intended; or
(c) if the organization has failed to comply with any condition of its registration; or
(d) if the organization has ceased to function as a private voluntary organization; or
(e) if he considers that the objects in respect of which the organization was registered are merely ancillary
or incidental to the other objects of the organization or
(f) if the organization, unless a certificate of exemption has been granted to it under section seven—
(i) has failed to submit any report or return in accordance with section fifteen; and
(ii) thereafter, having been requested by the Registrar to rectify such default, has failed to do so
within three months after receipt of such request.
(2) The Board may at any time direct the Registrar to amend a certificate of registration—
(a) for the purpose of correcting any error therein or by varying the conditions attaching thereto; or
(b) by the deletion therefrom of any of the objects in respect of which the organization in question was
registered, if in the opinion of the Board the organization is no longer bona fide operating in furtherance
of such objects.
(3) Before cancelling or amending a certificate of registration in terms of subsection (1) or (2) the Registrar
shall cause written notice of his intention to do so to be given to the secretary of the organization concerned,
and shall afford him a reasonable opportunity of showing cause why the certificate should not be so
cancelled or amended.
(4) If the secretary of a private voluntary organization receives a written request from the Registrar to
lodge with him for the purposes of cancellation or amendment any certificate of registration granted to such
organization and, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply therewith within ninety days of the receipt of
such request, he shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level three or to imprisonment
for a period not exceeding one month or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
[Subsection amended by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]
(5) The cancellation of a certificate of registration under this section or the deletion therefrom of any of
the objects in respect of which the organization in question was registered, shall be published by the Registrar
in the Gazette and shall take effect as from the date mentioned in such publication, whether or not the certificate
has been lodged with the Registrar in compliance with a request made under subsection (4).
11 Private voluntary organizations not to carry on activities except under registered name
(1) No registered private voluntary organization shall—
(a) carry on its activities; or
(b) seek financial assistance from any source; or
(c) collect contributions from the public; under a name other than the name under which it is registered.
(2) Any person who in any manner takes part in the management or control of a registered private voluntary
organization, knowing that such organization is contravening the provisions 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.
[Subsection amended by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]
12 Surrender of registration certificate
The secretary of a registered private voluntary organization may surrender to the Registrar the certificate
of registration thereof, and the Registrar may thereupon accept the surrender subject to such of the prescribed
conditions as the Registrar may impose.
13 Restoration of cancelled or surrendered certificate
Upon the application of the secretary of a private voluntary organization the certificate of registration
whereof has been cancelled or surrendered, the Registrar may grant to the organization a fresh certificate of
registration and section nine shall apply, mutatis mutandis, in connection with an application for, and the
granting of, a certificate of registration under this section.
14 Appeals
(1) Any private voluntary organization which is aggrieved by any decision of the Board relating to the rejection,
either wholly or in part, of an application for registration or exemption or to the cancellation, amendment,
surrender or restoration of a certificate of registration or exemption, may appeal against that decision to
the Minister.
(2) The Minister may confirm the decision of the Board or, subject to this Act, give such other decision as
in his opinion the Board ought to have given, and may instruct the Board to do everything necessary to give
effect to his decision.
PART IV
ADMINISTRATION OF PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS
15 Books, accounts, records, etc.
The secretary of every registered private voluntary organization shall be responsible for ensuring that
books, accounts and records are kept to the satisfaction of the Registrar and shall within the prescribed period
render to the Registrar the prescribed reports and returns and such additional information as may be required
by the Registrar.
16 Registered address
(1) Every registered private voluntary organization shall have a registered address in Zimbabwe.
(2) Notice of any change of the registered address shall be given within twenty-one days thereof to the
Registrar.
17 Branch committees
(1) Every registered private voluntary organization which conducts its operations wholly or partly through
branches established and functioning under the control and direction thereof shall constitute a committee for
every such branch and the said organization shall grant to every such branch a letter of delegation in the prescribed
form and subject to the prescribed conditions.
(2) Upon the cancellation or surrender of a certificate of registration issued to a private voluntary organization,
any delegation granted thereby to any branch thereof shall automatically lapse.
18 Branches not controlled by private voluntary organization
The Registrar, after consultation with the Board, may determine that any branch of a private voluntary organization
which is not subject to the control and direction of that organization shall, for the purposes of this
Act, be deemed to be an independent and separate private voluntary organization.
19 Audit of accounts
The secretary of every private voluntary organization shall, within three months after the end of each financial
year of that organization, cause an account of its expenditure and revenue for that financial year to be
audited by an auditor registered as a public auditor in terms of the Public Accountants and Auditors Act
[Chapter 27:12]:
Provided that if the Board is satisfied that the financial position of a private voluntary organization is such
that the employment of such an auditor is not justified he may, subject to such conditions as he may determine,
authorize the appointment of some other person to audit the accounts.
20 Inspections and examination of accounts
(1) The Minister may appoint any officer in the Public Service (hereinafter called an “inspecting officer”)—
(a) to inspect any aspect of the affairs or activities of any private voluntary organization and to examine
all documents relating thereto;
(b) to examine the books, accounts and other documents relating to the financial affairs of any private
voluntary organization;
and to report thereon to the Registrar.
(2) For the purpose of any inspection or examination in terms of subsection (1), an inspecting officer
may—
(a) by notice under his hand, delivered to the person concerned personally or sent to him by post, require
any person to produce to him any book or other document which has any bearing on the subject of
the inspection, examination or audit; and
(b) retain for a reasonable period any book or document produced to him by virtue of a notice under this
subsection or voluntarily by any person.
(3) Any person who, having received notice under subsection (2), without lawful excuse fails to produce
any book or document referred to in subsection (2) which he may be able to produce, 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:
[Subsection amended by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]
Provided that in connection with the production of any such book or document, the law relating to privilege,
as applicable to a witness subpoenaed to produce any book or document before a court of law, shall
apply.
(4) Any person who—
(a) wilfully hinders or obstructs an inspecting officer in the exercise of his functions in terms of this
Act; or
(b) falsely holds himself out to be an inspecting officer;
shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not
exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
[Subsection substituted by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]
PART V
MISCELLANEOUS

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