We received no money from Rumbu - KZN dept on Gogo's new home
In June this year, Twitter user Themba Rumbu tweeted a picture of the appalling living conditions of Khakho Nxumalo, who soon came to be affectionately known as Gogo Nxumalo.
JOHANNESBURG – A popular tweep has come under fire for starting a Back-A-Buddy campaign and allegedly not giving the money to the intended recipient to help an 89-year-old pensioner.
In June this year, Twitter user Themba Rumbu tweeted a picture of the appalling living conditions of Khakho Nxumalo, who soon came to be affectionately known as Gogo Nxumalo. The user posted images of Nxumalo’s one-bedroom house made out of mud that was dilapidated and falling apart.
The story, initially covered by 1KZN News, caught the attention of many, including newly appointed KZN Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, who visited the elderly woman and promised that government would build her a new house.
Rumbu then started the fundraising campaign, asking the public to donate funds to build Nxumalo a home. By the end of Monday, the account had received close to R90,000 in donations. Rumbu was asked where the house was that he claimed to have built, and he tweeted an image that was first published by the KZN government, saying: “Gogo Nxumalo’s home was built working with the government and delivered on time.”
But the KwaZulu-Natal Human Settlements Department on Monday told Eyewitness News that it had not received any funds from Rumbu.
KZN Human Settlements spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said the house was built but only government funds were used to build the house.
“The furniture to furnish the house was from the uMhlathuze Local Municipality,” Baloyi said. **EWN **then asked if the KZN Human Settlements Department had received any funds from the public to help build the house. Baloyi said they were not aware of any fundraising that was done for Gogo Nxumalo. “We are not aware of a BackAbuddy account,” he said.
Baloyi told EWN that the house was built on 5 July 2019 and was completed by 18 July 2019. “Gogo moved in on 18 July for Mandela Day,” Baloyi said. The official handing over was done on 27 July, but they had asked her to move in as soon as the house was completed.
On 27 August, Nxumalo, together with another elderly woman, were officially handed over the house by Nkonyeni under the auspices of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government War on Poverty Alleviation Operation Sukuma Sakhe Flagship Programme.
uMhlathuze Local Municipality communications spokesperson Mdu Ncalane also said that they never received any money from a person who claimed to be cash for Nxumalo's house.
"We have been liaising with Gogo Nxumalo there hasn't been anyone who said they have been raising funds to build her a house." Ncalane urged anyone who claims to be raising funds for the grandmother to come forward and do the right thing.
EWN tried to contact Rumbu to ask him if he had transferred the funds to the relevant KZN department, but he refused to comment, saying he would provide EWN with his lawyer’s details. He has since not sent them, despite numerous attempts to contact him from different phone numbers.
“Everything will be directed to my lawyer,” he said.