Long wait for Motsepe money

| Nombulelo Damba
Businessman Patrice Motsepe and his wife Precious promised R500 000 to uplift the community of Khayelitsha. Photo by Nombulelo Damba.

Khayelitsha residents who applied for funds from the Khayelitsha Motsepe Foundation in 2013 might have to wait months for the money, says the head of the Motsepe Foundation in the Western Cape, Steve Mashalane.

In June 2013, mining magnate and billionaire Patrice Motsepe told hundreds of Khayelitsha residents gathered at OR Tambo Hall that he would donate R500,000 from his family trust to help develop Khayelitsha and get rid of poverty. He said the money had to be used within 12 months.

But after 21 months some applicants have lost hope of ever receiving the money.

GroundUp interviewed several people from different sectors who applied for the funds. Some accused the businessman of fooling them, while others said the announcement he made was just a PR stunt.

Communication between the applicants, the Khayelitsha Motsepe Foundation (KMF) committee members and the Motsepe Foundation national office seems to have broken down.

Traditional dance group teacher Boniswa Malgas from R-section in Khayelitsha’s Site B said for the past 16 months she had been waiting to hear if she would receive the money or not. Malgas said when she applied for funds for her dance group, she thought the money would be available within a few months.

“Remember ntate Motsepe said the money must be used within 12 months, but it’s more than a year now [that] we have no feedback,” said Malgas.

She teaches traditional dance to girls and boys aged seven to 17. She formed the group five years ago but she’s been struggling to buy them uniforms and drums.

“I’m helping these young stars to stay away from gang violence and drug abuse,” she said.

“My dream is to put Khayelitsha on a map one day. I want to take these kids somewhere and I was hoping that with the Motsepe money I could achieve all that.”

“What is frustrating about this KFM is that no one is telling us what is happening, we don’t know if we are going to get the money or not. No feedback. Even the committee members that were supposed to give us answers seem to know nothing,” Malgas said.

Bongiwe Mazomba from Khayelitsha Netball Association said she had heard nothing. “When we asked about the money we ended up fighting among ourselves because no one knows what is happening with the funds. We are no longer talking about the funds because KMF is also on silent,” said Mazomba.

Bathandwa Mayiti who applied for funding for his soccer and a netball team in Khayelitsha, told GroundUp that he was not surprised.

“You know how these things work. They say this on media and then they do not deliver,” he said.

KMF chairperson Derick Mtsolo said he did not know what was happening to the money Motsepe had promised the people.

Since sending application forms he had not had any feedback from the Motsepe Foundation, he said.

“I’m also waiting like the applicants. We sent all the forms to the Motsepe national office. They are the ones who kept quiet, not us. I cannot even call a meeting because there’s nothing to say to the people,” he said.

Mashalane urged applicants to be patient. “There are legal requirements we need to follow before the money is released to the people. I had no other option than to tell Mr Motsepe to hold the funds until we solved all the challenges,” he said. He said some money had been paid out. “These things takes time. All the applications were divided into sectors. We first sorted out the education sector and now we are busy with women and youth in business. We still need to check all the background and find out who they are and see if their businesses are registered and that takes time,” he says.

Mashalane said he was surprised the chairperson, Mtsolo, was not aware of the challenges.

Response from Motsepe Foundation

GroundUp has received the following response from Sandile Langa of the Motsepe Foundation. It was added on 13 April.

The Motsepe Foundation has awarded bursaries covering tuition, books, accommodation and allowances to 735 students over the last two years from the 26 Motsepe Foundation Development Forums that have been established in the nine provinces throughout South Africa. Of these, the Motsepe Foundation awarded bursaries to 10 students from Khayelitsha in 2014 and an additional 10 students from the same area in 2015. These bursaries have been awarded to students studying mainly in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Business studies.

The amount spent on the Khayelitsha students in 2014 is approximately R600 000, and will exceed R1.3 million in 2015. The total commitment to these students over a period of four to five years is approximately R7.1 million.

In the current year, the Motsepe Foundation is also focussing on processing applications for the funding of women and youth owned businesses which, for tax purposes will be done by a separate company that is associated with the Motsepe Family. Many of the applications received thus far are not commercially sustainable and initiatives are being undertaken to involve and partner with experienced and successful locally based companies.

The Motsepe Foundation is also evaluating applications for funding of projects by locally based NGOs, religious organisations, traditional authorities, community based sports organisations, worker organisations and music and arts organisations.

The Chairman of the Motsepe Foundation, Mr Patrice Motsepe, will during 2015 visit each of the 26 Development Forums throughout South Africa including the Khayelitsha Development Forum to assess the effectiveness and impact of the projects that have been funded as well as to receive feedback from the local residents of the 26 Motsepe Foundation Development Forums in South Africa.

Announcements will be made during the course of the year and during these visits on some of the funding applications that will have been approved.

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Write a letter in response to this article


Dear Editor

I wish to congratulate the Motsepe Family for assisting needy people. They share what they have with very many fellow South Africans. I so wish that many other blessed business people can contribute in trying to help the needy. May our Loving Father God bless the Motsepe family and give them in abundance. Siyababongela Baba labo bantu nabafundi osuke wabasiza. Sengathi kunganda lapho othatha khona! (Father Motsepe we thank you on behalf of those people and students you have assisted. Let it increase where you take! )

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