The Pietermaritzburg High Court is to rule on the best interest of the child principle in a case between the KZN Department of Social development and Morester Children’s home in Newcastle and Ladysmith.
This after the department removed nearly 200 children from the home, citing gross violations of their rights and racism. The home has denied the allegations.
Social development is basing its allegations on a video. A white official is heard yelling at black workers at the home, telling them to work fast and that whites have ensured them better lives than blacks in Zimbabwe.
According to the home, Social Development officials and heavily armed police stormed the centre over the weekend and removed the children. It claims the children were resisting leaving.
Belinda Ellor, from the home, says the children did not understand why they were being taken away.
“They did not understand why are they being taken away. The kids were crying. Some of our kids were taken away here just in the clothes they were in their body. Their baggage was left behind. Some of the children were removed without their chronic medication that they are on. The children’s interests were not taken into consideration.”
KZN HoD for Social Development, Nokuthula Khanyile, says the department acted in the best interest of the children.
“We found that there are serious acts of racism in the facility by one of senior staff member where our children and also the staff members who are African in nature are groomed to white supremacy.”
The home claims relatives of the children were not informed about their removal. It says it does not know where they have been placed.
Chairperson of Christian Social Services, Dr Lourens Schoeman says the matter should be investigated.
“If there are things you know that we don’t know, we want to know about it. Let’s investigate it. Let’s go right to the bone of what is the problem want it solved. We don’t want to cover up anything. We even said to the department that if you have such serious concerns to act in the way that you act now, take over, bring your staff.”
The home blames the department of violating the children’s rights. It applied to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to order the department to return the children.