Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo has warned that the Registrar of Societies will deregister political parties, churches and other societies which will fail to submit their annual returns by April 30, 2018.

At a media briefing, Tuesday, Kampyongo revealed that a number of societies, out of the registered 4,500, had been defaulting for years.

As you may be aware, the department of Registrar of Societies which is under the Ministry of Home Affairs is mandated under the Societies Act CAP119 of the laws of Zambia to register and regulate all societies operating in Zambia. This is to ensure that they operate legally and further the promotion of good governance. As Minister of Home Affairs, I am alarmed by the number of registered societies that have been breaching some of the provisions of the Societies Act in terms of remittance of annual returns. You will note that amongst the regulations is the requirement to submit annual returns which must be done not later than 31st March each year. Failure to submit the returns, the Registrar of Societies is required by law to deregister the erring society. Over the years, the Registrar’s office has seen an increase in those applying to register, namely; clubs, religious groups, community service societies and political parties just to mention a few,” Kampyongo said.

“In order to reduce the numbers of erring societies and save the public more effectively, the Registrar of Societies in 2017 embarked on the digitalisation of all the records in order to ensure that all societies in the system were in compliance with annual return submission, I wish to request all societies that have defaulted in the remittance of annual returns to report to the Office of the Registrar of Society or the nearest national registration office, which also falls under this ministry in their districts and pay K100 for each year they have defaulted to submit annual returns.”

He said government had given societies an amnesty from February 13 to April 30 in which to normalize their registration status.

“This exercise will help weed out dormant societies which have stopped operating and those operating illegally. I therefore wish to urge all clubs, religious groups, community service, associations, political parties and pressure groups to come forward and normalise their registration status. I further urge all registered branchings of religious groups and political parties to take advantage of this waiver to normalise their status. This amnesty will run effective from today 13th February 2018 to 30th April 2018 after which the penalty charges of K6,000 shall apply. Meanwhile, all those societies which have not yet paid their annual returns for the year 2017-2018 should take advantage of the remaining time and ensure that they file their annual returns accompanied by their last annual return receipts, activity and financial reports,” said Kampyongo.

“May I take this opportunity to urge all religious groups and other societies that are not registered to ensure that they register with the Registrar of Societies as not doing so is breaking the law and they will be visited soon. The Registrar of Societies will not hesitate to deregister any society that is not going to comply with the amnesty that we have put in place.”