Thursday, 16 April 2020

Pretoria: The Social Development Acting Director-General, Mzolisi Toni, says the department has not contracted or partnered with any organisation to conduct door-to-door sanitisation for COVID-19.

This follows a letter circulating on social media platforms, which authorises Scientology Volunteer Ministries, a non-profit organisation (NPO), to render sanitising services to the National Department of Social Development and Social Development’s provincial facilities during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Toni said the letter, dated 2 April 2020, which is on the Department of Social Development’s official letterhead and bears his signature, is legitimate.

However, Toni said the only agreement that existed between the department and Scientology Volunteer Ministries was a once-off agreement that involved the fumigation of its premises and facilities.

To date, Toni said, the NPO has rendered free fumigation services at the department’s head office in Pretoria, the Gauteng Social Development head office in Johannesburg and a number of department facilities in the Gauteng region.

“Unfortunately, due to the fact that there are currently people going door-to-door claiming to represent the Scientology Volunteer Ministries and carrying out “COVID-19 sanitisation” on behalf of the department, the department and the Scientology Volunteer Ministries have agreed to terminate the fumigation agreement.

“The department acknowledges the good work of the church but cannot be drawn into misrepresentation when the prime focus of the department is on rolling out interventions to mitigate against COVID-19,” Toni said.

Toni warned members of the public that the department has not contracted or partnered with any organisation to conduct door-t- door sanitisation for COVID-19.

He advised members of the public to remain vigilant of opportunists and criminals, who want to take advantage of them during the lockdown period.

Toni said that under no circumstances would he direct an Accounting Officer of another public entity or organisation, or a household to use an NPO for unsolicited services, “more so when the services in question do not relate to the core mandate of the department”.

“The Department of Social Development is committed to playing a role in offering services and relief to vulnerable groups during the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.” Toni said.