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A war of words has broken out between the mother of young fire victim Pippie Kruger and a woman who helped the family raise funds after Anice Kruger decided to use some of the money to help another young burn victim.
Isabella “Pippie” Kruger’s mother, Anice, told the Saturday Star of her disappointment with Lindy Cant after she announced that she would be attempting to raise funds for Celiwe Maseko, 5, who was badly burnt early this year.
Now Kruger has vowed to publicly declare how she uses the donation money after Cant accused her of misusing the funds.
“She accused me of asking for money for Celiwe. Obviously it’s because I posted information about the money needed. She (Cant) made it sound like I’m trying to make money for myself out of this and am doing everything illegally. Am I wrong for trying to help someone else?” Kruger asked.
Pippie sustained massive third-degree burns when a gel firelighter exploded in her father Erwin’s hands on New Year’s Eve in 2011 on the family’s Limpopo farm.
In June last year, the toddler underwent pioneering surgery at Netcare’s Garden City Hospital, in which her own cloned skin, grown in a US lab in Boston, was transplanted on to her, in a first for South Africa.
She spent several months in hospital, and underwent several operations.
The bitter feud between the two women began when Kruger posted a letter on Facebook stating that Maseko was in need of prayers and financial assistance. According to Kruger, the plight of the young girl was brought to her attention by Dr Ridwan Mia, Pippie’s surgeon, in January after that girl’s burn incident took place.
It is understood that Maseko’s friend threw a lit match on her while they were playing outside her home in Amendulbult near the Tumela mine in Limpopo where her father works.
The young girl’s dress caught fire and she ran home to alert her mother. She sustained third-degree burn injuries on her arm and thighs and is being treated at the Garden City hospital.
In the letter, Kruger said the non-profit organisation set up on behalf of Pippie would cover half of Celiwe’s medical costs.
It later said it would be paying for an operation which is likely to cost up to $48 000 (R435 000). Kruger also posted the organisation’s bank details where any donations could be deposited.
However Cant, who created the Pippie’s Angels Facebook account to garner support and financial help, later posted on Facebook that she was distancing herself from Kruger’s letter and that she disagreed with its contents.
“It’s all been about little Pippie and not Anice. God led me here because of Pippie. From the beginning, God put it all to me. Thousands of people have turned their lives around because of the story and not because of the money.
“Anice made a commitment that she’d help others right from the beginning. But why do we not know about this young girl (Celiwe)?
“Why must people deposit money into Pippie’s account? There is no set trust fund for these other kids who this money is supposed to go to.
“I feel sorry for that little girl (Pippie). We will however continue to support her,” said Cant.
The Facebook account name has since been changed from Pippie’s Angels to Walking with Angels. Cant said the account was still dedicated to Pippie and other children. She also confirmed that she had deleted some of her postings.
Kruger, said meanwhile, all she was trying to do was help and did not understand why Cant was acting this way.
Kruger said so far the organisation had spent up to R300 000 on a gym designed to help other burn victims with rehabilitation.
She added that since Pippie’s incident she had received numerous donations from the public, anonymous people and a Renault Sandero from a French-German company. She said she would also use some of the money to make 100 party packs for other burn victims. -Saturday Star