Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa Children Centre’s kitchen supervisor Ester Masoga shows Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza around during her oversight visit to the facility. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - The police’s priority crime unit, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, or Hawks, is investigating allegations of financial maladministration at the Father Smangaliso Mkhwatshwa Child and Youth Care Centre (FSM-CYCC) in Soshanguve, Tshwane.

This was revealed by Gauteng Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza after an unannounced visit at the centre to look into allegations of child neglect, mismanagement of South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) funds, the general state of disrepair and reports of substance abuse.

“Even though allegations of mismanagement of Sassa funds sound improbable because no Sassa funds are administered at any of our CYCCs, we welcome the Hawks investigation. The Gauteng provincial government is committed to clean governance. From that point of view, we are happy to have every allegation of irregularities investigated,” she said. 

She praised the Sunday Independent for reporting the story, but however expressed disappointment that some aspects of the story were exaggerated. 

“The picture used in the story depicting dirty children, wearing torn clothes is an exaggeration and untrue. That picture is a gross misrepresentation of the condition of children in that centre, even the background looks foreign. It is also untrue that children at the centre are fed Marie biscuits for lunch. To the contrary, children are fed four meals a day as per the government’s CYCC standardised menu. All schoolgoing children have up-to-date school uniform and there was no R300 000 worth of clothing that went missing as alleged by Sunday Independent,” said Mayathula-Khoza.

She said her visit also highlighted challenges such as dilapidated infrastructure and compliance certification. She said a team of experts has been appointed to assist the institution to attain full compliance and registration.

"I am happy that some of the children have been moved. The centre has until March 2019 to be fully compliant." 

African News Agency (ANA)