MOSSEL BAY NEWS - From time to time the Mossel Bay Advertiser receives complaints about so-called "charities".
This week the Advertiser was notified of a woman who presents herself as a charity owner, but who uses donations for her own family.
People complain that the "charities" are not being run properly and that there appears to be fraud. Sometimes they claim that monies raised and goods donated do not get to the beneficiaries they are intended for, but are used by the owners of the "charity" and their family members.
Sometimes these "charities" are not registered non-profit organisations and their paperwork is not in order. They may be undertaking activities they are not authorised to do, such as housing needy people.
Before you buy a raffle ticket or give to a charity, do some research about the organisation. Ask the charity owner for personal and professional references that you can contact and speak to. Ask which businesses are supporting the charity. Contact those businesses and find out if they support the charity or if they have done so in the past.
If there is a raffle to win a prize, ask about the prize. Where is the prize? When will the winner be able to take ownership of it? Ask where the raffle ticket money is going. Be sure the raffle money is not being pocketed by a dishonest person.
Find out whether the "charity" uses its resources, such as cars and equipment, solely for its benificiaries or whether the charity owner or staff are using them. Even if it is a soup kitchen, still do your homework.
Most people belong to a number of WhatsApp groups or Facebook groups. There is no harm in posting on the group that you wish to give to a certain charity and asking if people know anything about the charity. Ask them to send a message to you privately. Do not slander or defame the charity.
If there are a number of you who have a complaint about a charity, go together to your nearest police station to lay a formal complaint that the police can investigate.
Consider what charges you wish to lay, such as fraud or taking money under false pretences.
If you wish to find out about charities to support, contact the following organisations in Mossel Bay which could direct you to reputable charities: ACVV (044 691 1039), Child Welfare (044 693 4764), Department of Social Development (044 690 3943).
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