South African ‘good Samaritan’ dismisses anger over crowd fund

Nkosikho Mbele at the petrol stationImage copyright
Buyile Kwenyela

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Nkosikho Mbele said he was overwhelmed by the kindness of those donating funds to his family

A petrol attendant who came to the aid of a forgetful motorist in South Africa has told the BBC he does have access to the crowd-funding cash raised for him.

Nkosikho Mbele paid $6.90 (£5.40) last week for a woman to fill her tank after she had left her wallet at home, saying she could pay him back another time.

Monet van Deventer was so grateful she set up the campaign to thank him.

But donors were angered to hear he would not receive the money directly into his account for the kind deed.

In four days, $32,000 (£25,000) has been raised for Mr Mbele and his family on the fundraising platform BackaBuddy, which faced a backlash for saying it would be administering the funds.

Mr Mbele, who lives in the township of Khayelitsha near Cape Town, dismissed suggestions on social media that he was being taken advantage of and said it had been his idea.

“Imagine what happens when everybody knows I have money – they know me, they know where I stay. So it’s for my safety,” he told the BBC.

He added that he understood why people were concerned but said they should not worry about him.

There are high levels of crime in South Africa, especially in some of the townships around Cape Town.

‘This is too much for my head’

Mr Mbele, who said he was overwhelmed by the response of those who had paid into the fund set by Ms Van Deventer, said he would use the money to pay for the education of his two children and for his accommodation.

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He said that people had also been driving out to the petrol station on a motorway outside Cape Town to personally thank him.

“This is too much for my head. People show me love, they come to see me. Everything is going great.”

The 28-year-old also brushed aside criticism of his employer, Shell, which said it would match the public’s donation to be given to a charity of his choosing and would send to him to the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar in July for the company’s regional awards ceremony where he would be honoured.

Some critics suggested the oil firm should have provided him with further training and a promotion instead.

“I wasn’t expecting any of this, I didn’t ask any of this to happen. Everything is a bonus, I appreciate it all,” Mr Mbele said, adding that he had not yet made a decision about his choice of charity.

“People have helped open my eyes to the goodness around us. Everything is going great.”

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