Scores join protest as pair charged with child neglect given bail

2013-03-19 00:00

SCORES of people flocked to uMzimkhulu Magistrate’s Court to catch a glimpse of two men who appeared in the dock yesterday after more than 100 children — 62 of them under 18 years old — were removed from their care last week.

None of the protesters was a parent of the children who were taken from the walled institution run by a pastor and a member of the Crusaders Church.

Before the appearance of the pastor, a group of community members picketed outside the court saying they were opposed to the granting of bail to the pair. They waited under a hot sun, chanting struggle songs.

Placards read “Down with Satanism”, “Where is the future of these children?” and “Jesus reveals the secret”.

Community members rushed into the courtroom as the court orderly was preparing to call the accused.

In their haste, some ended up in the wrong courtroom.

Pastor Ndumiso Jali (58) and Siphiwe Mancaba (68) appeared calm under heavy police guard.

They were charged with abuse or neglect of 62 children.

They said they had opted to conduct their own defence.

Jali turned his face away when he noticed there was a photographer in court.

Prosecutor Mathobela Mavana told the court that the state was not opposed to bail provided that the court imposed strict conditions.

He asked for the pair to be remanded while the investigation continued.

Magistrate Mthotywa Nonkonyana released the pair on R1 000 bail after they had spent the weekend in jail.

They were ordered to hand over their passports and report twice a week to uMzimkhulu police.

They were also told that they may not operate a youth centre at their residence.

Jali asked the magistrate what he should do if he didn’t have petrol to get to the police station.

He was told that he could make arrangements with the investigating officer.

The pair are due back in court on May 7.

Vukani Mbele, of the Department of Social Development, could not provide contact details of the parents of the children, saying the department was still investigating. He said the department had taken 67 of the children to places of safety.

“Some of the older ones remained at the establishment,” said Mbele.

“The 67 will be under our care for a maximum of two years.”

When their parents came forward, he said, only arranged visits under the supervision of social workers would be allowed.

The children needed to be re­socialised and they needed intensive counselling.

“For now no parent has made contact with us,” said Mbele.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane could not provide contact details of the parents, either.

He said the docket containing that information was still in court.

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