The Pietermaritzburg High Court has postponed a contempt of court hearing regarding the alleged forced removal of more than 100 children from care facilities to March.
The case involves an organization called KwaZulu-Natal Christian Social Services and the provincial Department of Social Development.
The children were allegedly forcibly removed from three care facilities in Ladysmith and Newcastle following allegations of child abuse and racism.
The court had granted an interim order that the children be returned. However, Christian Social Services alleges they were not returned within the stipulated 36-hour time frame.
“Although the children were eventually brought back Friday afternoon, it was 12 hours and later after the expiry time. The department ignored the court order and that’s why we brought an application for contempt of court today. The court then decided today to postpone the hearing of this application until the 25th of March when the original application is in court again. That was done to give the Department of Social Development time to file opposing affidavits,” says Gerhard Botha, CEO.
The Department Social Development was not available for comment. Botha says while most of the children are happy to be back in familiar surroundings, two children remain in hospital.
“Of course they are all traumatised. Together with the social workers and from the help of the community, we are busy with trauma counselling and that will take a while because it was indeed a very serious experience. There are two children who are still in hospital, they suffer from epilepsy and the epilepsy was triggered again by this traumatic experience,” says Botha.
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