Cape Town – The City of Cape Town says it is working with authorities to recover unspent grant funding transferred from an Atlantis-based NGO to a church in contravention of grant conditions.
In a statement on Thursday, the City noted the ’’charging of a councillor related to this matter and will continue to offer its full assistance to the Hawks in this regard'’.
DA councillor Nora Grose, from Table View, appeared in the Atlantis Magistrate’s Court today on fraud and money laundering charges involving the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme.
She allegedly used TERS funds for personal gain in collusion with Reuben Swartz, the chairperson of the SA Religious Civic Organisation. The Hawks said the R170 000 allegedly involved was meant for food parcels in Atlantis.
“The City’s legal services department have been working with authorities for some time. They advise me that, based on the information available to the City, this is not a criminal matter and that records show the funds went towards the intended purpose of food relief,’’ said Mayor Dan Plato.
’’All allegations regarding malpractice by a City councillor were investigated by the City of Cape Town’s Office of the Speaker and no malpractice was found. I have no doubt the authorities will continue to receive the full cooperation of our officials.
’’We remain fully committed to ensuring all financial transactions are carried out to the letter of the law, and this is confirmed annually by the auditor-general.
’’I’ve further been advised by City officials that additional mechanisms will be put in place to ensure grant recipient organisations are fully aware of the manner in which funds may be used.’’
Over the past year, the City said it has allocated R39 million to an emergency food relief programme, ’’going above and beyond its municipal mandate to assist those who’ve fallen on hard times due to the global pandemic and national lockdowns’’.
Over 260 soup kitchens have benefited from this programme, and more than 200 000 residents now receive a daily warm meal from these soup kitchens, it added.
’’All funds spent on humanitarian relief are fully audited, allocated 100% in line with the City’s supply chain process, and not subject to political interference in any way.’’
The City said its food relief programme has included:
- Approximately R14 million from the Mayor’s Relief Fund, which has been spent to support a major food relief drive. This included equipping soup kitchens and direct food relief. To date, 262 soup kitchens have received equipment and ingredients across the City, bolstering their capacity to feed over 200 000 residents in need, every single day, during lockdown.
- R10 million grant-in-aid funding was approved in January by Council and is being rolled out to 14 qualifying registered non-governmental organisations, public benefit organisations or non-profit organisations that applied to issue relief within the municipal boundaries of the City of Cape Town to prepare and distribute cooked meals directly to vulnerable communities. These successful organisations, which met the relevant requirements, were also appointed to supervise community-based organisations in their preparation and distribution of cooked meals.
- Most recently, R15 million was approved by Council in March as part of the Budget Adjustment process. Applications from registered NGOs, PBOs or NPOs are currently being assessed.