No UK dispute, says Kagiso

The Kagiso Trust says it is mystified by a report that the British government is unhappy with the way the trust allocates its funds and wishes it to steer funds towards moderate organisations like Inkatha and the Urban Foundation.

The article, which appeared in the British newspaper The Independent and was widely quoted yesterday in South African newspapers, claimed Britain was on a "whispering campaign" against the trust fund - set up by South African churches to channel R70-million allocated by the European Community for victims of apartheid.

The report claimed a member of the British embassy in Pretoria had been detailed to watch the trust and collect information on who it allocates money to and who it refuses.

The Kagiso Trust's executive director, Achmat Dangor, said members of the trust had recently held discussions with British Embassy officials in Pretoria and with senior officials of the British Overseas Development Agency. "At neither occasion did they express any adverse feelings towards the Kagiso Trust or the EC special programme," he said.

He added: "We also find it difficult to believe that their (Britain's) Pretoria embassy would play a 'monitoring' role, since projects we support are made available to their development experts in Brussels."

The Independent claimed that Britain's dissatisfaction came to a head last April when, backed by Holland, it objected to the funding of the United Democratic Front-affiliated South African Youth Congress.

The Kagiso Trust announced it was pulling out of the agreement because of "undue political pressure". But later the trust resumed its ties with the EC when the latter agreed to criteria leaving the control of spending in the trustees' hands.

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.

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