Picture: File Picture
Picture: File Picture

Mixed reactions to fraud allegations levelled against Pietermaritzburg NGO

By Lorna Charles Time of article published Apr 14, 2021

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DURBAN - THE embattled human rights non-governmental organisation, Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa), suffered another blow last week after its council members resigned en masse.

This after the organisation had to end operations following more than 40 years of service due to the mass misappropriation of funds, allegedly by Pacsa’s former financial manager.

Despite the resignation, the organisation held a special general meeting (SGM) on Saturday. The working group of Pacsa Concerned Members released a statement that said there had been a “mixed mood” at the meeting.

“Participants expressed anger and hope, uncertainty and faith, sadness and excitement. There was an air of unity, as many voiced their continued support for efforts by concerned Pacsa members and partners following the resignation of the entire council.

“The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians sent a message of solidarity, and the KZN Church Leaders Group also pledged its full support for the current initiatives of the group,” it said. The statement said several resolutions were articulated at the meeting, including a strong call for all those responsible for fiduciary and due diligence to be called to account.

The group said it planned to continue pursuing the charges laid against the former Pacsa finance manager for at least two counts of fraud and corruption.

It said it hoped to hold a full annual general meeting within two months, at which members would discuss the future of Pacsa, and a new council would be elected.

The working committee of the Concerned Members’ Group was mandated to implement priority tasks left undone by the now-defunct council, with support from additional volunteers.

A letter from the Pacsa council, which tendered its collective resignation last Wednesday, said that since the dismissal and/or retrenchment of all operational staff of Pacsa by December

31, 2020, the council itself was further weakened by the resignation of the then chairperson in December, and later by the treasurer in March 2021.

“The remaining council members were left with the unenviable task of trying to keep Pacsa afloat by doing their best to respond to the many queries, concerns, requests for audits/ reports, etc. with little to no help, since there were no staff (or funds) available to attend to such matters on a daily basis.

“However, the remaining council members have reached the conclusion that with the limited time and lack of resources available at hand, they can no longer continue to take responsibility for the fate of Pacsa.”

The letter also stated that the exiting council members reserved their right to present their narrative of events to Pacsa members and the public at a later stage.

Joan Kerchhoff, 83, who co-founded Pacsa with her late husband, Peter, told The Mercury she was encouraged by the SGM.

THE MERCURY

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