A new community centre, launched earlier this month, is offering locals in Athlone and surrounding areas the opportunity to make applications for maintenance and protection orders, at their premises, instead of travelling long distances to magistrates’ courts across the Cape Flats.
The Bhorat Centre in Dobson Street, just off Klipfontein Road in Athlone, is registered with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. It opened its doors to the public on Wednesday 2 May and has already received a number of visitors.
“Many of our locals don’t have the transport to travel to Wynberg Court to take out protection orders and so forth. With these services in hand, we are making it easier for them to get the necessary applications,” says a representative of the centre and a domestic violence clerk at Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.
“At the moment, not a lot of people know about the centre’s provisions and we would herewith like the community to know about it. Also keep in mind that the Wynberg’s court deals with over 40 communities which include Manenberg and Hanover Park, among others, and it’s a far journey to travel.”
She says the entire centre is funded by the Department of Justice and has several staff members on hand daily, including officials from Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.
“Maintenance and domestic violence is the main focus at the centre. The same process is done here as done at the courts. The only difference is we are bringing the services of applications closer to the community. This is something done out of our hearts to assist them,” adds the representative.
A local waiting in line at the centre said the services have come as a relief to relatives who often spend their time in court. “All this time, we had to go all the way to another community to take out protection or maintenance applications. We are thankful to these court officials for making the journey easy for us. It is hard putting food on the table and even harder raising money for transport to get the court’s assistance,” added Nana Stevens (43) from Gatesville.