“Things started falling apart when their grandmother died and they had to go and live with their parents.”
THE COMMUNITY of Tsantsabane has committed to erecting a temporary shack for two orphan teenage boys, aged 14 and 17, who have reportedly been sleeping in a toilet for the past two years.
Members of the EFF volunteered to erect the shack with the assistance of community members who offered to donate building materials after the boys’ plight was highlighted in the media.
According to media reports, the two teenage boys have been sleeping in a toilet since their family shack caught alight.
A close family friend, Tselane Gorewang, said the boys had moved into a neighbour’s chicken coop in an attempt to keep dry during the recent heavy downpours.
“I knew them from since they were young as I was friends with their grandmother, who raised them,” said Gorewang. “Things started falling apart when their grandmother died and they had to go and live with their parents.”
Gorewang added that the boys’ parents had also since died. “Now they are beggars and don’t even have blankets.”
The Northern Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) has meanwhile refuted claims that there were no efforts to intervene from its side.
The department stated that the boys, who have refused to go back to school since 2018, had behavioural problems and it was believed that the older one was influencing the younger one.
DSD spokesperson Gamiem Abrahams said the boys, together with their sister, were removed from the care of their parents in March 2016 and placed in foster care.
“The removal was conducted in terms of Section 150(1) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. That placement unfortunately did not work out. The three children were then transferred to the care of another foster mother. Both foster mothers are not related to the children,” said Abrahams.
According to Abrahams, the older brother was admitted to Bright Lights Child and Youth Care Centre when he started to display serious behavioural challenges.
EFF provincial spokesperson Obakeng Lechuti expressed concerns about reports that the “non-conducive environment” was the reason why the children were living in such bad conditions.
Lechuti called for an investigation as to who had been receiving the children’s grants.
He also asked whether the children were registered as indigents before or after their shack had burnt down.
Abrahams responded that the aunt, into whose care the children were placed, has been receiving the grant, and that the social workers were monitoring the process.
“The aunt had to ask for assistance several times to search for the boys whenever they disappeared for days on end,” said Abrahams.
He confirmed that a neighbour, whom the boys tended to go back to, refused to administer the grant due to the ill-discipline of the older boy, especially after smoking drugs.