Parents support strict nuns of New Hanover

2011-11-23 00:00

SOME of the families of 20 children who were removed from the Community of Jesus Compassion Anglican convent in New Hanover said the Social Development Department has overreacted to claims of abuse.

Three nuns, Dumazile Elsie Manqele (64), Thokozile Zondo (38) and Thelma Ngobese (50) were arrested and released on warning after a short appearance in court for hitting children with a pipe in the convent.

The sisters are expected to appear again in court today.

Families, who may not be named to protect the children, said they are really saddened by what is happening to the sisters now because they were helping people out of their own pockets.

“I want my children back as it was my choice to hand them to the nuns.

“The department did not help me when I needed help from them, but now when my children have a home they remove them without consulting us,” said one concerned parent.

Former Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe said at the time that the government has a duty to protect children.

“Even if the child is abused by their parents we have a right to intervene and remove the child from that home and place him in a place of safety” said Radebe.

The Witness has since publishing the story received several letters from supportive people who previously lived at the convent, some of whom still visit the sisters regularly.

Sikhumbuzo Nxumalo, who is studying at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the Eastern Cape, said he is very disappointed at the MEC’s actions in handling the matter and will not “abandon” the nuns.

“No one can afford to look after me like the Sisters did.

“The Lord will answer for them in all their persecution, they will be always in my prayers and I love them a lot.

“I’m not afraid to suffer with them even if it means death, let it be,” said Nxumalo in a letter he sent to the MEC.

The MEC’s office said they did not receive the letter.

There has been mixed reaction from people who were raised by nuns in this convent. Some said they adore the nuns, while others say this was a home of abuse.

A 26-year-old orphan who lived at the convent after her parents died said she was abused there 10 years ago and ended up running away.

Attempts to get a comment from the church failed.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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