The department of social development (DSD) was yesterday told it could not take R670 000 from the account of an abused women’s shelter in order to force it to pay over monies about which the ownership was disputed.
This was the finding of South Gauteng High Court Justice Brian Spilg, who also ordered A Re Ageng’s account be unfrozen and First National Bank to furnish details of who received R5 million transferred out of A Re Ageng’s account, into which an apparent unauthorised deposit of R10 million had been made by Social Development.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura also distanced himself from the matter yesterday.
“The matter before court is between A Re Ageng and the provincial department of Social Development,” Makhura’s spokesperson, Phumla Sekhonye, said.
“The premier is cited by the first applicant in his capacity as the head of the provincial government. He is not involved in any way.”
In court, advocate Dawie Joubert said the DSD had paid over an amount of R10 181 070, “which was clearly and undisputedly earmarked” to be paid to Life Recovery Centre (Randfontein) Witpoort Treatment Centre in accordance with a written agreement on 22 June 2016.
“A Re Ageng received the said amount in their Absa account, and thereafter all of a sudden raised unnecessary and unsubstantiated demands and suspicions on this payment, causing an amount of R5 million to be paid over/stolen from this account,” Joubert said.
The missing R5 million which was moved into an unknown FNB account is now the subject of Spilg’s interest and the bank has been given until January 13 to furnish details of how the money was transferred and by whom.
In DSD’s replying affidavit, director of legal services Nehemiah Languza said the fact that treasury department protocol was not strictly followed during the interim arrangement, would be be dealt with internally by the department.
Mpule Lenyehelo, director of A Re Agang, said this was just the beginning.
“We have been oppressed by the department of social development for so many years, now I’m very pleased justice has prevailed,” said Lenyehelo.
“The conduct of the officials from the department towards us, just because we receive a subsidy from it, they removed women from our shelter forcefully and took them to another shelter. That money was for stipends for volunteers as well,” said Lehenyaro.
Tracey Lomax, instructing attorney for A Re Ageng, said she wasn’t surprised at yesterday’s outcome.
“We had both the law and the facts on our side,” Lomax said.
“Nothing is more rewarding knowing that my clients staff will be paid and their residents, who are vulnerable, will have a happier new year than they did Christmas.”