Four officials from the provincial Department of Social Development in Gauteng have been placed on “precautionary suspension” as investigations into grants awarded to two organizations are underway. The grants, totaling over R114 million, were given to the Beauty Hub Academy and Daracorp, both of which offer training in beauty and farming respectively. This revelation has sparked controversy, as these grants were awarded at a time when budgets for grants to other nonprofit organizations were being significantly reduced.
The investigation, which began in October 2023, is focused on the department’s funding of nonprofit organizations. The Gauteng Department of Social Development has stated that more individuals may be identified as possibly involved in questionable funding practices. The probe extends beyond the two organizations in question, but further details about the investigation have not been disclosed. The investigation is expected to conclude in March.
The grants allocated to Beauty Hub Academy and Daracorp have raised eyebrows among other grantees who have received significantly less funding. In the 2023/24 financial year alone, Beauty Hub received R30 million, while Daracorp received over R26 million. These amounts far exceed the average grant of less than R1 million per organization per year from the department. Many have questioned why these two organizations were granted such substantial sums while other vital areas of social support, such as HIV, community care, and poverty relief, faced budget cuts.
In response to the investigation, the Gauteng Department of Social Development has assured the public that it takes the allegations of malpractice seriously. The department is committed to ensuring that funding is allocated correctly and that value for money is achieved. As part of its measures to address these concerns, an independent Non-Profit Organization Evaluation and Adjudication panel has been created. This panel will evaluate funding applications from the nonprofit sector and provide recommendations in line with the department’s priorities and mandates.
The department’s grants to nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in supporting social services in the province. In the current financial year, grants totaling over R2.13 billion have been awarded, making the department one of the largest funders in this sector. The investigation aims to weed out any maladministration and questionable funding practices to ensure that deserving nonprofit organizations receive the support they need.
Overall, the investigation into the grants awarded to the Beauty Hub Academy and Daracorp by the Gauteng Department of Social Development highlights the need for transparency and accountability in funding allocation. The department’s commitment to addressing these concerns and ensuring value for money is commendable, as it seeks to support hardworking nonprofit organizations in the community.