community boycotts orphanage

"WE WILL not risk the lives of children and caregivers if the community is unwelcoming," says Anjte Hockly, manager of Thokomala Orphanage Care in South Africa.

Hockly's comment came after the community of Esiphezi boycotted the opening of a fifth orphanage at Eshowe on Monday.

The home was to house 30 orphans. The protest has led to a temporary delay in the running of the home as community members argue that the hired caregivers are not from the area.

Hockly said they were assured by the chief in the area that everything was on track and the community's actions had come as a shock.

She said such acts would hamper beneficiary projects in rural areas in the near future as funders would be sceptical about providing funds.

"Many people contributed to this project and I'm disappointed by the way things have turned out.

"It gives the country a bad name to international funders. People must realise that unnecessary behaviour can have negative results in the future," she said.

Hockly said she hoped that the community's grievances would be dealt with since representatives from the premier's office had promised to step in and help resolve the matter.

"Fikile Ndlovu from the HIV-Aids department in the premier's office promised to assign someone to intervene so that the children can move into their new home."

Ndlovu said they had sent an integrated team from the district to liaise with the chief, councillor and the community to address the matter.

"Our officials will be on hand during the meeting between the chief and the community to intervene in order to prevent the same incident from occurring in the future," Ndlovu said.

Local councillor Mbongeni Dludla said a lack of communication with local Chief Lily Mpungose had led to the community's outcry.

He said efforts were being made to address the problem.

Lihle Khuzwayo, a member of the community, said: "We were told that we would be given jobs to look after the children but now they have brought people from outside."