Children’s home suspends fundraiser

2010-06-17 00:00

THE Natal Children’s Home management board has suspended its fundraiser Debbie Schroeder pending an investigation of insubordination.

This comes after newspaper reports about the board being investigated by the Social Welfare Department on allegations of funds misappropriation and ill-treatment of the children housed at the home.

Yesterday, board chairperson Gert van Vuuren said Schroeder was suspended pending a disciplinary inquiry.

“The board believes that she is behind the investigation of the matters of the home by the department and the current state the home is in.

“Because of the department’s stance people will lose their jobs because we can’t keep everyone without any financial support and children.

“By next week we will give the department feedback on the turnaround strategy they have given us to work on and their response on that will give us a way forward,” Van Vuuren said.

Schroeder said she will challenge the suspension.

The Witness reported early this month that the board had rented out the rooms of the home to Comrades Marathon runners, with the children having to sleep in tents and in the garage.

A research team from the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature went to the home and found the children sleeping in tents.

They were moved to a place of safety and the department said the board would be trained on how to run a children’s home.

Apparently the children refused to go back to the home and were placed in different homes until further notice.

Speaker of the legislature Peggy Nkonyeni said the team of researchers made damning revelations about the home.

“After we had reported the matter to the department we felt that its decision to reinstate and train the board was improper.

“Pictures of the children taken by our researchers show bruises on the children’s bodies, an indication that they were physically abused.

“We want to know how things got this far without the department knowing,” said Nkonyeni.

She said she would personally take the matter up with MEC Meshack Radebe, who was said to be ill at the time.



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