‘This is a safe haven for children. Now they place someone here who is accused of rape, setting a house alight and stabbing a person.’
Cape Town – A Melkbosstrand couple operating a care centre for abused and problem children are fuming after they were apparently not told that a 14-year-old boy placed in their care was accused of rape, setting a house alight and stabbing a person.
Horatio Huxham, 46, and his wife Cindy, 40, said the Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereeniging (ACVV) branch in Melkbosstrand placed the boy in their care two weeks ago.
Their Melkbosstrand centre is a safe haven for children in need. On Saturday, the couple attended a party in the village in Melkbosstrand and it was there that residents told them of the allegations against the boy.
The wife said: “The ACVV is aware that one of my children was raped and they know that we don’t allow children with such serious crimes at our care centre.
“When we found out on Saturday, I immediately told my husband that the boy poses a threat to our children and other kids in our care.
“We phoned the ACVV in Melkbosstrand and told them that we’ve found out that the 14-year-old boy is an alleged rapist. I asked the social worker, to phone Melkbosstrand police station to find out if it’s true. She never came back to us.”
The husband then took the child to Melkbosstrand police station and informed the police officers about the allegations against the boy placed in their care and said that they did not want the child on their premises.
“The police told me they’re aware of the allegations but they can’t discuss it with me because I’m not the legal guardian of the child. About 10pm on Saturday, I was told by the police that I could be locked up for child abandonment. After discussing the matter with the social worker at the police station, it was decided that I would not be arrested,” he said.
Huxham said every time the ACVV placed a child in their care, the matter would be before court within 48-hours to obtain a temporary order to that effect.
He said this, however, did not happen in the case of the 14-year-old boy and Huxham did not sign any forms from the ACVV when the boy was placed in their care.
“The ACVV social workers are
supposed to give us background on any child placed in our care. In this case they failed to do so and placed the lives of everyone at the care centre in danger.
“The trust that we have built up with the ACVV has been severed
and we are not sure if we are
going to accept further placements from them.”
Nicolette van der Walt, the ACVV national director of child protection, said she had already spoken to
their regional manager, who was responsible for the supervision of
social workers at ACVV Koeberg in Melkbosstrand.
“I’ve requested urgent feedback from her on the situation regarding the placement of the child in temporary safe care of the Huxham couple. I regard the allegations in a very serious light.
“I have heard that the child was moved to another place of safety,” she said.
Meanwhile Social Development spokesperson Esther Lewis on Wednesday said the department had followed up the matter with the ACVV to establish the facts of the case.