'She's using our kids to get money'
THREE mothers are fuming after seeing a picture of their children in a local Mpumalanga newspaper describing them as orphans.
The mothers believe that Miemie Mthethwa of Majika Dropping Centre near Hazyview uses children in the area as a front to get donations. In an article published in a local newspaper on June 22, Mthethwa asked the community to help build a kitchen and donate a fridge to the centre, among other things.
A German couple who have donated food and clothes appear in one of the pictures.
Mthethwa also runs a daycare centre but there were no children there last week because parents do not want to take their children there anymore. The centre is not registered with the department of social development either.
"What she has done is hurtful. Why is she using our children to get money, food and clothes? God knows how long she has been doing this. It has to stop," said Thulisile Ngubane*.
Another parent, Zinhle Msibi*, said Mthethwa could not give them a proper explanation when they confronted her.
"We do not dispute that our children go there to eat but they are not orphans. She is abusing people's generosity. She is stealing from the poor," Msibi said.
However, Mthethwa denied using the children to get funds.
"The children had come to eat as they always do. I do not know when their picture was taken. I usually tell the photographer which children to photograph. I do not know how it happened.
"All I do is help the community. I do not keep anything for myself.
"I will not agree or disagree with them [the parents]," Mthethwa said.
Department spokesman Ronnie Masilela said: "The centre in question is not registered . and therefore does not get any funding from the department.
"To be registered as a non-profit organisation, a centre must have a suitable place that is checked and verified by social workers."
Some residents maintained that Mthethwa used the children from the area as a front while o thers said she did give them clothing.
Resident Nandi Shabangu accused Mthethwa of not helping the community at all.
"We do not know what she does with the money and clothes she receives," Shabangu said.
An old woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her grandchildren, said: "She did give me clothes some time last year. I have not received anything else from her since then".
*The mothers' real names have not been used to protect the identities of their children.