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OP-EDS

Reciprocal relationships

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MICHAEL SIEFF

People say that money makes the world go around and in many ways that’s true. But reciprocal relationships are a level above money, the influence of which permeates families, friendships, business dealings and even (or especially) politics. The message, sometimes explicit and oftentimes implied, is: You do this for me and I will do that for you.

Usually, if you are good to someone they, in turn, are good to you. But it doesn’t always work that way for the Chev. In fact, although we provide the financial wherewithal for people in need to pay their rent, buy food and meet other expenses, there are rare (and painful) times when those very beneficiaries feel justified in lashing out at us on public forums or through private lawsuits if they fail to get the treatment they perceive they deserve.

On the one hand, that’s all good and well. It’s the democratic way and everyone has the right to express their opinions and objections. On the other, expectations can often be unrealistic and such behaviour is a serious breach of trust. To bite the hand that feeds you is a betrayal that invites retaliation. 

And that’s where the paradox arises. When the Chev is being maligned and lambasted for unmet expectations, do we have the right, under such conditions, to withhold monthly support from the aggressors?  

Can the Chev, in good conscience, refuse to assist a person or family for such behaviour? Would that be an abuse of our power? In light of the fact that it’s not, technically, our money, but community money we are entrusted to use wisely and responsibly, would we be exploiting an unfair advantage by withholding support? And since it is community money should we listen to the donors who tell us, as they sometimes do, to withhold support in response to vitriolic attacks?

The question is complex and I invite you to share your point of view on feedback@jhbchev.co.za

May our partnership continue to thrive!

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