Members of the Association who work in the gardens take a rest

The Centre Manager of Ikagent Self Help Association for tHe Blind in Ga-Rankuwa Zone 2 has denied allegations of misuse of the Association’s funds levelled at him and the administrator.

The Centre Manager who has been in office for over 20 years, and is a blind man himself, is accused of colluding with the Administrator to misuse the Association’s funds and denying the Association members their Covid-19 relief funds.

The previous board that was removed by the community is also accused of assisting him to allegedly misuse the Association’s funds.

The matter of misuse of funds allegedly sufaced when the new board noticed suspicious transactions and confirmed the suspicions with the bank.

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One of the beneficiaries that spoke to Ga-Rankuwa Times, said they have been to the Department of Social Development in Pretoria but their complaints fell on deaf ears.

“We suspect that officials from The Department of Social Development might also be colluding with the centre manager because our complaints are always met with silence.

“We had a social worker from Tshwane who visited Association to hear our grievances and we gave him everything. The last we heard from him is after he left the Centre Manager’s office, after that we have never heard anything from the Department of Social Development.

“That is why we believe that the social worker might have been bribed also,” he said.

Garden sites that are supposed to have been planted, are visibly full of weeds and there is no project operating because beneficiaries complain that they have not been paid.

It is also alledged that the beneficiaries were supposed to get their Covid-19 UIF Ters but only got one payment.

Another beneficiaries who is a gardener said he has been working there for a year as a volunteer and proceeded to do an agricultural course. He said he was promised a certificate and stipend but none of this allegedly ever happened.

“It is only last year that things started getting worse when we were supposed to be paid and it never happened until we gave up,” he said.

When contacted for comment, the centre manager denied that he is misusing funds stating that the reason the centre  has not been operational is because of Covid 19 restrictions.

He also said that the reason the Centre had two bank accounts was because the first bank account was suspended.

“First they accused the administrator and now they are accusing me, it is not true and no one has ever tried to remove me from my position,” he said.

The centre manager demanded to know the people who are accusing him and said work will start at the Centre because the country is now on Lockdown Level 2.

“I have to start looking for donations because the donors have not disbursed any funds,’ the Centre Manager said.

The organization is sponsored by the Independent Development Trust (IDT), Old Mutual, National Lotto Commission and the Department of Social Development.

Attempts to get a comment from the Department of Social Development and the Tshwane Regional DSD offices had failed at the time of publishing.