’Mayco member lied about not funding the Strandfontein shelter’
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Cape Town – Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien is accused of lying after he said the City of Cape Town was not funding a Strandfontein shelter which will house 100 homeless people as of August 1.
While Independent Media’s investigations unit is in possession of the funding documents for the specific project, which falls under the City’s winter readiness programme, Strandfontein ward councillor Elton Jansen had also confirmed the funding in a WhatsApp group with his residents.
Badroodien had last Friday emphasised the City was not providing any funding other than support in the form of blankets, mattresses, food, and toiletries, as well as Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers to assist with cleaning and cooking at the shelter.
But on July 20, after a council meeting, when Strandfontein residents stressed concerns over the relocation of the poor to a community church, which was done without their consultation, Jansen had differed in response, when he said funding was made available by the City's social development department.
In the community WhatsApp group, which the investigations unit has seen, Jansen said it formed part of the winter programme, to get people from the streets from August 1 to October 2021.
“The funding was given to the Haven which is run by Mr Hassan for the ID Morkel, YMCA, and Oasis. There is no presentation that I can provide you with, but I can provide you with a report even though the report does not mention ID Morkel. They (City) interrogated the report and the official gave the verbal communication,” he told residents.
Independent Media viewed the report of June 11, 2021, signed and approved by the City’s project manager, departmental finance manager, support manager, and the EPWP co-ordinator, which noted the project’s total budget amounted to R905 465.65, with the multi-year budget being R1 537 390. 24.
As per the breakdown of funding for the project, 70 EPWP workers will get R180 per day for a duration of 66 days, which totals R831 600, with a remainder of R73 865 going towards labour cost, UIF, COID, leave pay, and skills development levy.
While a percentage of the funding was signed off for skills development towards the project, residents had questioned the whereabouts of the allocated funds, as the report stated it was not an approved skills project and there was no planned training for the winter project.
The document also stated no criminal and substance abuse check was needed for the EPWP workers who would be working at the shelter to oversee the relocated poor, which had now raised further concern after residents had questioned the safety of residents and the homeless, before relocating them (homeless).
While Jansen did not respond to the SIU, Badroodien, who was provided with evidence of the signed funding documentation, which Jansen had shared in the chat group, said: “The ward councillor received only one briefing on the winter readiness project. I have a broader view and understanding of the matter and presented a factual indication of the nature of the support being offered which is limited to resources only and not operational costs of running the facility managed by the Haven Night Shelter.”
He said the City did not manage or operate shelters, and again emphasised “there is no funding involved”.
“The only support provided are dry food ingredients, cleaning materials and hygiene packs, mattresses, bed linen, and EPWP work opportunities for 70 persons who are living on the street but have taken up bed space during the winter readiness campaign.”
While the SIU noted the signed documentation for the EPWP workers, Badroodien did not mention how much was spent on the mattresses, blankets, food, and toiletries, among others, or where it came from, which clearly involved funding.
However, when asked how much funding was given towards the entire project, he directed the SIU to a press statement on the City’s website of July 9, which states the City was disbursing aid to the value of R1 429 586 to 10 organisations that had successfully applied for assistance during winter and a memorandum of agreement was signed between the City and the respective organisations to ensure all parties complied with their roles and responsibilities.
Badroodien confirmed: “We are pleased that we have been able to increase our funding for this critical programme, from R700 000 in 2019 to just more than R1.4 million this year, because it means even more people are able to receive assistance.”
While Badroodien claimed the EPWP project was incorrectly being considered as an indication of the funding of the winter readiness programme, Independent Media, who have evidence of funding on the project continue to question the City’s exact amount of funding for everything, which could be more, for the EPWP workers and items provided for the poor, as Badroodien’s statement of July 9 and the City’s financial documents signed off by senior managers, do not add up and is not being fully disclosed.