DCYCC feels abused by Gauteng Department of Social Development

Kathorus MAIL has received a complaint from the Dzulani Child and Youth Care Center (DCYCC) regarding the attempt by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) to remove children from the orphanage without giving a reason.

According to DCYCC founder and director Nelisiwe Nelikau, DSD social workers visited the center when she was in hospital three weeks ago.

DCYCC social worker Anna Bopape confirmed that DSD social workers visited the center on September 6.

“It was after lunch between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. when a DSD social worker said she was there to ask for a child’s clinical card because she has to ask for her birth certificate,” Bopape said.

“We provided him with the clinic card. As she was about to leave, Nelikau and I walked her to the door where she told us she was removing the child from the DCYCC.

She said that as a social worker herself, she wondered why DSD was firing him.

“The social worker said they were asking too many questions and she was rushing somewhere. She returned the following day, September 7, when Nelikau was away on other engagements. She came back with two of her colleagues,” she explained.

“They said they had come to take the child. I was alone at the center and had recently started working here. I felt that I had no right to hand over the child to them in the absence of the director.

“I told them that by law a child cannot be removed from a place of safety without a court order. I was told that the court order would be issued after they took the child away.

Nelikau told Kathorus MAIL that she refused to hand over the child because they did not provide a reason or a court order.

“They came back on September 13 to remove the child, but I refused and asked them to provide a court order. They left and came back the next day with a court order to remove two more children,” Nelikau said.

“I asked why, because there was no reason to remove the child. I then called my lawyer who told me that I had to allow them to take the children.

“I called the social worker to file the court order and take the kids.”

Nelikau said the DSD had asked child protection to remove the children placed in the DCYCC.

Child protection director Nompumelelo Gigela said she could not comment because she never received formal communication from the DSD to remove the children.

Kathorus MAIL emailed MEC Social Development spokesperson Feziwe Ndwayana on September 9 and followed up on September 14 and 20.

Ndwayana acknowledged receiving the email, but there was no response.

Ndwayana said she was following up with the regional manager because she asked them to send her a report based on the investigation.

Background

DCYCC was formed by Nelisiwe Nelikau in 2012 after losing his son and surviving depression.

When she recovered from depression, Nelikau vowed to stop hurting herself about what had happened to her child and to dedicate her life to helping children and providing them with a home.

Although the center was her heart’s desire, she faced financial challenges along the way. His center has been operational for at least 10 years without DSD funding or support.

She finances the center out of her own pocket with the support of her husband and donors.

Joel C. Hicks