'Mom is abusing social grants and neglects kids'

Sibongile Mashaba and Elisha Molefe

Sibongile Mashaba and Elisha Molefe

The mother of an 11-year-old girl who it is claimed is entangled in a sordid life of prostitution so she can fend for her young siblings - has been accused of "never being there" for her kids.

The woman has six children aged between four and 22 years.

The woman's seven-year-old son is epileptic and receives R940 a month because of his condition while the other young ones receive R210.

The family lives at Kgomola village near Itsoseng township in North West.

The mother's uncle said: "I have tried to speak to her and to get her to stop neglecting the children but failed. She never listens to me and tells me I should not interfere."

"I am just worried that something will happen to the children while she is out there having nice time. There is no woman her age who has six children and is still running after men."

But the mother denies her uncles's charge. "Their father left us in January to go and work in Cape Town. His phone gets answered by a woman when I try to call him.

"I've not abandoned my kids and have only been gone for two weeks to visit my boyfriend at his place."

The children's great-grand mother, Lesulubi Ntaudi, 90, whose house is a stone's throw from the child-headed house, told Sowetan she has never paid the children a visit.

"I have been accused of being a witch by the children's father and that is why I do not go to that house anymore."

Yesterday delegates from the national Department of Social Development, accompanied by their North West provincial counterparts, visited the house to assess the children's plight.

Provincial welfare department spokesman Mpumelelo Nhlapo said: "Challenges found were that the mother is indeed abusing social grants and that she neglects her children. The department further found the children did not attend school.

"A social worker has been tasked to manage the situation and to assist the family. The living conditions are not fit for human habitation."

The department was quick to dismiss allegations that the daughter was sleeping with older men to fend for her siblings.

"According to our findings the allegations are baseless and unproven," Nhlapo said.

To which a neighbour responded: "Where was the department when the matter was first reported. Why do they want to take action only now."