Jillian Green, The Star (SA), iol.co.za, Mar. 15
A special investigation into the financial affairs of the Aids Consortium has found gross mismanagement of donor funds to the tune of about R1,1-million.
As a result, the top management of the non-governmental organisation has been suspended and its executive committee is preparing to step down following the findings of the investigation.
The Aids Consortium is a non-profit organisation made up of about 1 000 bodies (mainly community-based organisations) working in the field of HIV and Aids.
The investigation, which began in December, found that:
Donor funds were not being used for the purposes agreed to by the donors but were instead being used to cover costs within the organisation without the authorisation of the donors;
The executive committee lacked key skills and knowledge to deal with all the issues regarding the finances, governance and management of the organisation;
The consortium employed the services of many consultants since 2002, and this “costly exercise” was carried out in spite of the internal resources available;
The executive director, Mapule Khanye, had no previous business or senior management experience, lacked strategic planning and vision, lacked financial management skills, lacked people management skills, lacked necessary leadership to develop staff and build capacity within the organisation, and failed to develop and implement sound policies and procedures;
The financial manager, Susan Ramovha, had no formal training or experience in finance management, which had led to a poor understanding of accounting principles, an inability to develop financial management systems and processes, a lack of financial reporting, a lack of business and managerial skills, and poor management skills.
At a press conference on Sunday, the chairperson of the executive committee of the consortium, Mazibuko Jara, said the committee was taking full responsibility for the problems within the organisation.
He also lambasted a splinter group in the organisation, which is calling itself an interim committee, for causing confusion among members of the consortium.
Jara said the executive committee was prepared to step down because of the financial crisis, but that this would be done at the annual general meeting of the consortium when a new committee with the proper skills would be appointed.
In terms of the executive and financial directors, the committee is sourcing legal advice with regard to what steps need to be taken.