Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court has awarded a Mrs South Africa 2020 finalist access to information about the financial records of the beauty pageant for married women’s affiliated empowerment charity Women4Women (W4W).
Chandré Goosen-Joubert had gone to court using a Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) application, demanding the right to financial documents for 2019, 2020, and 2021, that she had requested and been denied by W4W.
In opposing the application, W4W said Goosen-Joubert had brought it with an ulterior motive and that she had embarked on a social media smear campaign against W4W and its director Cindy Nell-Roberts, with whom the court was told she had a long-standing feud.
The dispute with W4W goes back to March 18 last year, when the final event of the 2020 edition of the Mrs SA beauty pageant was held, following an interruption because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the run up to the final, Goosen-Joubert and other contestants went through a number of elimination stages and, after each round of the elimination process, they were required to raise increasing amounts of cash through organising functions and sponsorships.
She said in court that she went over and above these requirements, and raised R136 100 for W4W, which she paid into their FNB bank account.
On failing to win the title of Mrs South Africa that evening, Goosen-Joubert was awarded the “Mrs Charity” title, which meant that she would be affiliated to Mrs SA and W4W, and would be expected to raise even more funds – while being responsible for any costs she incurred in the role, such as transportation and accommodation.
Unhappy with the arrangement, she decided not to accept the title.
Meanwhile, she won a court order to peruse W4W bank statements, arguing that because W4W is a non-profit organisation, she had a right to see its financial records.
In the statements, Goosen-Joubert noticed that there had been numerous personal payments made from the W4W account, including gym membership and a personal trainer for Nell-Roberts, and it was this that made her want to see further records.
Judge Babalwa Mantame ruled that Goosen-Joubert had made out a proper case, giving her the right to the W4W’s general ledgers.
“Even if she was a general member of the public and had a reason to believe the funds were not being used in a manner that was intended, she was entitled to invoke the provisions of Paia,” said Judge Mantame.