Keep your toys, Gamnca tells Motsepe Foundation

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Thousands of toys from the Motsepe Foundation were offloaded at the East London City Hall on Friday
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Thousands of toys from the Motsepe Foundation were offloaded at the East London City Hall on Friday

Buffalo City councillor Ntombizodwa Gamnca is at the heart of a fresh controversy — this time involving 500 Mdantsane children who went without gifts from billionaire philanthropist Patrice Motsepe.  

Gamnca rejected the gifts on the grounds that she could not agree with the foundation on how the toys should be distributed. More than 32,000 children around the province received toys, ranging from soccer balls to toy cars, from the Motsepe Foundation on Friday.  

Gamnca is currently being investigated for corruption and fraud. It is alleged she defrauded residents of thousands of rand when she sold them houses illegally and failed to deliver the title deeds or the houses.

Speaking to DispatchLIVE on Monday, Gamnca said she told Motsepe Foundation employees to “keep your toys”, claiming they refused to deliver the toys to five preschools in her ward.

Gamnca said the Motsepe staff wanted all 500 children from the schools under one roof at a community hall.

“Their demand was an outrageous deviation from an earlier arrangement and came at the 11th hour during the Friday rains. They wanted me to get buses and fetch the kids from creches in NU6, 7, 8 and 16. That was a logistical nightmare and a potential safety hazard,” said Gamnca.

“I told them they can keep them [the toys],” said Gamnca.

Asked what the disappointed children should do, she said: “I don’t know, really.  I’m open to any ideas if you have a solution.”

Gamnca said she had submitted the names of Zanokhanyo, Songezo, Little Champion, Kamvalethu and Alinza daycare centres to the foundation.

“They refused to go and tried to compromise by suggesting going to one of the creches, but I dismissed that idea.

“Being a councillor is a dangerous job in this country. Had I accepted, I would have dug my own grave. Our lives are threatened every day. My people were not going to accept that only one creche gets donations.”

On Friday, the Motsepe Foundation spread cheer to children in BCM, OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela Bay.

Gamnca confirmed that all BCM councillors submitted a list of beneficiaries to the foundation.  

Alinza daycare principal Xoliswa Ngqame said her children, aged between three and five, were “disappointed” that the toys did not arrive.

“It is heartbreaking. They were looking forward to the toys. Some cried. They waited and waited in vain. The kids had recently graduated and the toy gifts were going to be the cherry on top for them.”

Motsepe Foundation spokesperson  Asanda Mathebula said she had forwarded DispatchLIVE's questions to a “relevant” person at their head office by the name of Nebo [Legoade].

Legoade could not be reached for comment at the time of writing. A switchboard operator said Legoade was “outside” while his desk line rang unanswered.

BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said the metro had been working with the foundation for years. "We are grateful for the support — in particular because the foundation ploughs resources into our city and these touch on the lives of many children.

“We have had a good working system on how the toy distribution must be rolled out and key to that is ensuring that deserving children benefit and that the distribution is uniform across all wards. We are saddened by the fact that we were unable to meet these terms and deliver in that particular ward.”

Foundation support staffer Daniel “Mambush” Mudau told the Dispatch on Friday that 2,500 toys were set to be distributed in different wards in Mdantsane.

Gamnca confirmed that the 500 toys she rejected were for her ward.

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