Mama Esther’s Safe Haven in Msholozi, Mpumalanga, failed to cease operations by February 28, as instructed by the Gauteng High Court division, seated in Mbombela, on January 29, Lowvelder reports.
Social development spokesperson Petunia Lessing said late on Wednesday they still had to remove 13 children remaining at the centre.
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“The department, through its social workers, visited the centre to assess and remove the children to alternative centres, but was prevented from doing so by Nkosi and some community members who expressed concerns about the fact that the centre is closing down.”
Lessing said only one child out of 14 was removed.
On February 22, a petition allegedly signed by concerned community members of Msholozi was delivered to the department challenging the closure of the centre, she added.
“The department is arranging with SAPS to be able to remove the children from the centre. Details cannot be divulged to avoid interfering with the planned operation.
“The Department of Social Development has informed the department of public works about the pending closure of the centre and they will have to take responsibility as soon as the last children have been removed.
“The department has arranged with other registered centres to take the children.”