Court orders children back to parents

2014-07-10 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday ordered that the Department of Social Development return children who were removed from the the Sabalalisa Iqiniso Dwah Academy in Wasbank, near Dundee, to their parents if the living conditions were suitable.

They will have to be returned before July 31. However, if conditions were not appropriate, they will be moved to foster care.

This follows an application made by the parents and founder of the school last month.

The department said that there had been a contravention of the Children’s Act, that the facility was not permitted to accommodate children and that the consent forms had been signed by the children themselves.

In total, 11 children had been placed in places of safety. The parents or guardians of nine children brought an application for their return. Two parents decided not to be part of the case.

Ahmed Riaz Bhayla, a trustee of the academy’s trust, said the trust served as a religious educational institution for children of the Islamic faith, housing children from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their quality of life and vocational prospects.

The children were from around the province.

On June 6, officials from the department removed the children.

“The children were extremely upset and traumatised at that point, having been forcibly, crudely and illegally uprooted in such a sudden fashion. While the teachers pleaded with the department’s functionaries to leave the children, their pleas fell on deaf ears,” he said.

When the parents found out they were shocked and traumatised.

Since then, teachers from the school and parents had trouble finding out where the children were.

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