Allegations that social workers were selling vulnerable children to paedophiles and couples who could not conceive have reportedly surfaced.
Pretoria News reports that the claims were made by the Justice and Reconciliation Centre’s Errol Goetsch.
Goetsch reportedly claimed that families that had been vulnerable, those who were usually uneducated, poor, or had children they could not financially maintain were allegedly targeted by social workers.
Goetsch reportedly said that in South Africa the demand was very high for children to be kidnapped and sold.
Those looking to adopt children posed as foster parents and allegedly paid social workers huge amounts of money for a child, Goetsch reportedly said.
Goetsch was quoted as saying that the problem was that social workers knew the system and all the loopholes.
“The Child Court works hand-in-hand with child protection organisation with the same social workers that lie to them to get what they want,” said Goetsch.
Goetsch said social workers could take a child away from their home without the parents consenting.
He reportedly said social workers could do this even in instances where only one of the parents was unsuitable for being a parent.
Goetsch was quoted as saying that in most cases, the children were not old enough to speak for themselves and in instances where they were, they would be left outside of the proceedings when taken to court and social workers would speak on their behalf.
Goetsch reportedly said the social workers alleged to be behind this were usually Afrikaans men affiliated to a Christian organisation or with a similar background.
He reportedly said courts usually trusted a person with a Christian background and would normally not suspect them of illegal behaviour.
He said the social workers implicated in the matter had been assigned to probe the child’s case.
One of the cases Goetsch said he had worked on was in Bloemfontein where an owner of a brothel had allegedly bought teens from a social worker and allegedly used them as sex slaves.
The case was referred to the Children’s Court in July, however, no reply had been forthcoming, Goetsch said.
He was quoted as saying this was one of the biggest cases he had ever worked on and that one of the children had said they had been the victim of rape several times.
The publication reported that the department of social development would now probe these allegations and would thereafter provide clarity on the matter.
A woman who spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity said her daughter had been taken away from her three years ago.
The woman reportedly said a private social worker had taken her daughter.
“When I saw the story about child abductions in the newspaper, I saw how similar it was to mine and I just got scared and thought maybe this was not happening to me alone,” she was quoted as saying.
The woman reportedly said the department had not responded to the complaint she lodged.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu.)