Row over veg­etable gar­dens money

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ASANDA SOKANYILE

HALF a mil­lion rand ear­marked for veg­etable gar­dens in Khayelit­sha has three years later trans­lated not into rows of nu­tri­tious greens but a ma­jor row over where the money went.

And there are al­le­ga­tions that other funds have also been di­verted from de­vel­op­ment in the area.

The Khayelit­sha De­vel­op­ment Fo­rum un­veiled its blue­print for a house­hold gar­den project at a sum­mit on food se­cu­rity in 2013 and the fol­low­ing year re­ceived R559 770 for the project from the National De­vel­op­ment Agency.

The funds were in­tended to sup­port the Khayelit­sha com­mu­nity in set­ting up veg­etable gar­dens and ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about farm­ing. The gar­dens were to be es­tab­lished in all 13 Khayelit­sha wards and di­rectly ben­e­fit 200 house­holds. That did not hap­pen. This week the KDF’s chair­man, Ndithini Ty­hido, con­firmed the NDA money had not gone into gar­dens. He said more than R270 000 was spent on set­tling a ho­tel bill the fo­rum had in­curred when mem­bers at­tended a con­fer­ence in Citrus­dal.

“The funds were gar­nished by the courts (to set­tle the ho­tel debt),” Ty­hido said.

He said the rest of the NDA grant was used to pay for a ple­nary meet­ing that took place at the Ritz ho­tel in Sea Point.

Dis­sat­is­fied mem­bers of the fo­rum, who’ve scru­ti­nised the fo­rum’s bank state­ments dat­ing back to early 2013, have high­lighted what they claim are il­licit trans­ac­tions. How­ever, Ty­hido has de­nied there was ev­i­dence of graft.

Ty­hido said the fo­rum had of­fered to “for­mu­late a com­mit­tee which would in­ves­ti­gate these al­le­ga­tions based on set terms of ref­er­ence set out by the com­mit­tee”.

Coun­cil­lor Pa­trick Mngx­un­yeni has been tasked by the fo­rum ple­nary, which con­sists of the town­ship’s re­li­gious groups, non- gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions, Sanco and po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the area, to con­duct a probe.

PIC­TURE: JA­SON BOUD

Yel­low bal­loons out­side the church in Edge­mead at the fu­neral of Kyle Grace, 12, who died in an ac­ci­dent at his school.

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