Amazing Grace founder finally reacts to mismanagement allegations

MALALANE – “None of those allegations were true and I have been waiting for them to come to me with facts and to this day nothing has happened,” Ms Grace Mashaba (70) told Corridor Gazette.

The founder of Amazing Grace Children’s Home was accused of mismanaging the home’s finances and mistreating the children three years ago.

She subsequently resigned.

“I was waiting for them to finish with their investigation and yet, still no one is coming to me with evidence,” she said.

READ: Amazing Grace orphanage investigated

Having not addressed the allegations at the time, as she said she was deeply saddened by them, she feels that it was time to come forward with her version of events.

Mashaba started the home in the late 1980s while working at a clothing retail store in town.

“I saw kids in the streets washing taxis and decided to bring them food,” she explained. She would cook the food daily in her home in Matsulu and take it to the children.

“After 10 months I decided that it is not enough to merely feed a person on the streets.”

It was then that she approached the police-station commander at the time and asked for a space.

At first she stored the food that was donated at the police station. Later she found a place that could be converted into a home for the children

READ: Children’s home gets trees, library and computer centre

When it was establishment, the home had 48 children, the majority of whom were boys who came from Mozambique and Swaziland.

She financed the home herself by sewing various items in order to generate an income.

“I don’t understand when they say I mismanaged money, when for the first 10 years of the home I financed it myself with donations from friends and the community.”

The home was finally registered as a non-profit organisation in 1998 so that it could receive funding from the government.

READ: Home is a haven for orphans and abused children

Mashaba prides herself in the fact that during this time, many of the children who passed through her hands, hold various positions in corporate companies after matriculating from Hoërskool Suikerland.

“You can understand why it hurt me when they said that the children were not educated under my care. I was told to never set foot in the home again. That is my legacy, it is my whole reason for living.”

Mr Eddie Bhana, current chairman of Amazing Grace Children’s Home said they have not done any investigations into the allegations against Mashaba.

“After she resigned as chairman, we simply moved on,” he said.

He noted that access to education for the children at the home is currently a problem as many do not have the necessary documentation.

“It was easier for Grace in her time to ensure that the children at the home get an education, but the system at the Department of Education has since changed,” said Bhana.

During last month’s Mandela Day celebrations at the home, the district manager was invited to come and see the children’s plight. He has since written letters to the district and is awaiting a response.

  AUTHOR
Bombi Mavundza

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