Social workers threatened while probing crèche abuse claims

2017-02-01 20:12


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Cape Town - Social workers investigating child abuse allegations at a Manenberg crèche received a hostile reception and were threatened by its principal and staff, the Western Cape MEC of social development Albert Fritz said on Wednesday.

But officials would revisit Little Jewels Educare with a police escort if necessary, he warned.

The allegations of physical abuse of two children reached the department following a report in Cape Town tabloid the Daily Voice in which parents alleged that their children had come home with injuries.

One mother said her 1-year-old child was "bloodied and bruised" while another said her 4-year-old had allegedly been choked in November last year.

Fritz' spokesperson Sihle Ngobese said the investigation aimed to establish how many children may have been affected as well as the exact nature of the abuse. Officials had been at the centre to establish the facts, he said.

"Our suspicions were raised by the staff's conduct on Monday," he told News24.

The department was mandated by law to probe such incidents and took its responsibility seriously, Ngobese added.

Fritz said the centre, which has apparently been shut down following the claims, was a registered early childhood development (ECD) centre and received funding from the department.

Fritz said the department took its oversight role of the centres seriously and has invested R290m into the sector for the current financial year.
"Registration allows for the department to provide funding and inspections of facilities to ensure compliance on health and safety aspects, as well as the quality of ECD curriculum," he said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  child abuse  |  crime

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