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Herman Mashaba responds to R11.1 million NGO funding allegations issued by ANC Joburg

I am disappointed but unsurprised, by the latest baseless accusations made by the ANC this morning against myself with regard to the City’s support of the Field Band Foundation.
The Field Band Foundation is an NGO that has provided over 70 000 children, over the last 20 years, from broken families and child-headed households opportunities of expression through the arts. The success of this NGO is world renown, and information is publically available in this respect.
The fact that the ANC is willing to make a political issue out of my family’s historical personal support for this NGO just demonstrates how low they are willing to stoop. The role played by children finding expression in the arts, as a means to combat drug abuse is well-documented. The City’s strategy to combat substance abuse makes this a central component in its efforts.
In February last year the City held a discussion on its strategy to combat the scourge of drugs, a critical component of which is our support of NGOs who work in affected communities to provide young people a path away from drugs. During this engagement I suggested that Social Development look into the Field Band Foundation.
Social Development engaged with the Field Band Foundation and received a proposal which was assessed and determined to be of value to the City. Through the powers afforded to MMCs, a grant was approved and tabled in the Mayoral Committee.
While the ANC would have our residents believe that this was improper, it was done in the open in forums involving many City officials. It was formally recorded in a report to the Mayoral Committee – hardly the efforts of a government seeking to hide something.
It is worth noting that a number of municipalities and the National Department of Arts and Culture support the Field Band Foundation. My family has donated historically to this organisation, continuing to do so today, and I have chaired the NGO for many years.
I do not seek to hide my involvement in the many worthy causes my family have been involved in supporting over the years. However I do not conflate the two, and the City continues to thoroughly assess any proposal through the correct legal processes.
I derive no benefit from the City supporting the Field Band Foundation, and I have derived no benefit from the NGO over the many years of my support for it. The work performed by this organisation is something which should be celebrated by the residents of our City.
As I have always indicated, the multi-party government operates openly and transparently with nothing to hide. We welcome scrutiny, and have demonstrated this in throughout this term of office. We observe that the ANC offers no evidence to back their claim of undue influence, relying on insinuation and political conjecture.
These tactics by the ANC must be viewed as an effort to disrupt the work of our government, and the efforts to deliver change to the residents of our City. They should be viewed and responded with contempt.
Our efforts to tackle drug abuse in the City represents a clear break from the past where previous administrations took the approach of folding their hands. We have opened the first of 5 drug rehabilitation facilities in City Clinics, launched the K9 Narcotics Unit and developed a comprehensive strategy to tackle this massive challenge.
A more important question may be why it is that the ANC governments of the past did so little to combat the social challenges that leave so many of our youth hopeless, and turning to drugs.

To read the ANC statement click here

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