Cape Town orphanage manager granted R5 000 bail

2019-07-23 12:32
Children protest outside court in support of the orphanage manager. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Children protest outside court in support of the orphanage manager. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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The manager of a Cape Town orphanage, who faces fraud and corruption allegations, was granted R5 000 bail on Tuesday after the Cape Town Magistrate's Court deemed that it would not be in the interests of justice to keep her in custody.

Magistrate Reaz Khan countered the State's argument that the 49-year-old was a flight risk. 

He said that the charges, which stemmed from 2003 and 2013 and were withdrawn at one stage, had loomed over her head for a while.

"If she wanted to flee, she had the opportunity to do so," said Khan.

It was clear that she considered South Africa her home as she had children and assets in the country, said Khan. 

The State indicated that it had a strong case but had yet to add fraud and sexual offence charges it had alluded to, he added.

The accused will be named once those charges have been added and she has pleaded.

Khan said he found it difficult to judge the strength of the State's case.

When he announced her release on bail, someone clapped in the public gallery and there were smiles all round.

The social development department removed 17 children from the centre after allegations of physical and sexual abuse surfaced. 

News24 previously reported the department had co-ordinated efforts to reunite the children with their "immediate" families after the centre was shut down.

Last week, a second employee of the orphanage was arrested for sexual assault, the sexual grooming of a child and two charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said.

The 26-year-old was released on bail and would appear in court again on September 27.

He was seen in the court building with a group of people supporting the accused.

The State had opposed the orphanage manager's release on bail. It said it had witnesses who had been told she planned to flee.

"It shows that at the end of the day, and this is the crux of the matter, there is no more orphanage, so no more income, and her lifestyle cannot be maintained... she is selling up," Jansen argued at her last appearance.

Khan said he was convinced that should the accused attempt to sell her assets, it would be brought to the State's attention.

While a whistleblower had made a statement about the accused uttering her intentions to flee, this could have been said years ago and the context was unclear, said Khan.

He set bail conditions, including: reporting to Maitland police station twice a week, not making contact with any witnesses, handing in her passport, and not setting foot in any home affairs or airport.

He postponed the matter for further investigation to November 22.

"It is clear that this matter is nowhere near trial ready."

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