In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
GAUTENG'S health and social development department will implement the recommendations of a curator to assist Zimbabwean children living in the Central Methodist Church in the Johannesburg city centre, the department said yesterday.
MEC Qedani Mahlangu has welcomed the findings, released on Monday, in a report by legal curator Ann Skelton.
In a statement, Mahlangu said the department would work with Unicef and other nongovernmental organisations to implement Skelton's recommendations to address the plight of the children.
Mahlangu said the department would study Skelton's report and make a detailed submission in two weeks. The public also has two weeks to comment on the report.
Skelton was appointed to compile the report by the high court in Johannesburg in December after an application by the Aids Law Project. She said while the report was non-binding, she expected that the recommendations in it would be taken up as a matter of "good faith".
The report found that although the church was an "unsuitable" shelter for the children, it had been their only option amid a lack of government assistance.
It also found that the time the children spent at the church had hindered the ability of the government and NGOs to help them.
"The children have formed strong bonds with one another and certain adults at the church and this has made them resistant to the assistance being offered to them."
Skelton's report found that the allegations of sexual abuse by officials at a school housed in the church "were sufficiently alarming ... to have required a more robust response".
It noted that most of the children had since been moved to a community shelter in Soweto and suggested they remain there.
To avoid a future shelter of children at the church, a reception centre should be opened in Selby "without delay". - Sapa