A case of fraud is expected to be reported to the local authorities following the distribution of a fake letter stating that the Western Cape Department of Social Development has endorsed the Al Noor Child and Youth Centre. The bogus letter states that former Social Development MEC Albert Fritz has given his full support to the orphanage’s holiday programmes. It’s believed the letter would have been used to garner funding from potential donors.
The controversial orphanage is under investigation by the Hawks, following the arrest of its founder Amina Okpara on charges of fraud and corruption. Authorities are also investigating claims of sexual abuse, which lead to social services removing all the children from the orphanage last month. The City of Cape Town has terminated the organisation’s property lease in Woodstock.
The Western Cape Social Development department said the matter has since been referred to the provincial forensic services, who will lodge a case of fraud with the police. Calls to Al Noor Orphanage went unanswered on Friday.
“I condemn the misuse of my name in this document. Direction was not given from my office, as stated in the document, to support a holiday programme facilitated by Al-Noor Orphanage,” said MEC Albert Fritz, who is now the minister for community safety.
Upon further investigation it was discovered that the letter was missing many important details that should be included when an official document is drafting by the department, said Esther Lewis, head of communications at the department.
“After carefully reading the document, we discovered the letter was signed off by an individual who is not employed by the department and the letterhead specifies a directorate that does not exist in the Department of Social Development,” she explained.
“There are no office managers in the office of the MEC. The only office manager positions in the Department would be in the office of chief directors. The letter is not dated and there are no landline contact numbers on the letter, a requirement on letterheads,” she continued.
The department has since provided tips for the public and potential donors who provide support to Child and Youth Care Centres.
1. Verify whether the CYCC you would like to donate to is registered by the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape. All registered CYCCs are listed on the Department’s website.
2. The Department’s Directorate Facility Management can also be contacted in order to verify if it is a reputable organisation.
3. Do not accept endorsement letters from the Department via the CYCC, but rather request the information directly from the Department.
4. The programmes that a Centre is registered for, as well as the age groups, are indicated on the registration certificate of the Centre.
5. DSD does not audit donor funding, so it is important that financial donors implement monitoring processes.
6. An official outcomes-based agreement with the Centre in terms of the use of donor funding is also advised.
Since the department only partially funds our NPO CYCCs, they are dependent on various sources of donor funding. Donors are encouraged to, after thorough checks, support or partner with NPO CYCCs.