Salary dispute forces Kempton Park child welfare to close

Services at Child Welfare Kempton Park are temporarily suspended.

Services at Child Welfare Kempton Park are temporarily suspended.

Over 2,000 children in the community are affected by the suspension of the services, and the number is exclusive of the families the society assists.

Staff at Child Welfare Kempton Park downed tools on January 28 due to financial challenges. A notice at the society’s premises reads: “Dear clients, kindly note that our services are temporarily suspended indefinitely as from January 28, due to financial challenges faced by the Child Welfare Kempton Park.”

Kempton Express spoke to the society’s board treasurer Nthombisine Mhlambi, who said: “The staff hadn’t been paid three months’ salary because there were no funds.”

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Mhlambi also said the staff were only paid a month’s salary on February 4, but couldn’t confirm when the services would resume.

Staff members said they would not return to work until they were back paid for the other months they were not paid.

Kempton Express sent a number of questions to Mhlambi, but they hadn’t been answered at the time of going to print.

The questions included:
• When will staff return to work?
• Why did the staff only receive one month’s salary?
• Has Child Welfare Kempton Park experienced financial challenges?
• What is the board’s role in allocating funds and ensuring that there are sufficient funds for the operational costs and salaries?

The services that are affected and suspended as a result are foster care, mediation, abused, abandoned and neglected children, learners who have applied for NSFAS can’t get their documents signed, sexual abuse cases reported by schools can’t be investigated, extensions of placement of children in homes, children stand the risk of being chased from these homes without extensions, food parcel outreaches every Tuesday.

Over 2,000 children in the community are affected by the suspension of the services and the number is exclusive of the families the society assists.

Kempton Express has also tried to contact the child welfare head office and the department of social development to get more clarity.

The story will be followed up with various stakeholders.

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