Minister faces legal action over child grants

THE Centre for Child Law will take Social Development Minister Edna Molewa and an Eastern Cape MEC to court for failing to extend foster grant orders made by the children's court, the Legal Resources Centre said yesterday.

THE Centre for Child Law will take Social Development Minister Edna Molewa and an Eastern Cape MEC to court for failing to extend foster grant orders made by the children's court, the Legal Resources Centre said yesterday.

"On behalf of 93 children from Molteno in Eastern Cape [the Centre for Child Law] is taking the minister and MEC for social development in Eastern Cape to court," the Legal Resources Centre said in a statement.

The minister and the MEC Nonkosi Mvana had failed to decide whether or not a foster grant order should be renewed.

As a result the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), which had been paying grants to the children's foster parents, stopped doing so in July last year.

Foster care orders lapse after two years unless extended by the minister or social development MEC.

"In this matter the foster care orders were not extended and due to the lack of valid foster care orders, there was no legal basis for Sassa to continue paying the foster care grant.

"The majority of these children had lost their mothers to HIV and Aids. Others were abandoned by their parents, and some have lost their foster parents."

The Centre for Child Law wants the Eastern Cape high court in Grahamstown to order that foster care orders be reinstated retrospectively. Alternatively, it wants the court to grant an order directly to the minister to consider whether to extend the foster care orders made by the children's court, or to order the Commissioner of Child Welfare to consider each child's case afresh.

The court is also requested to order that Sassa pays grants to the foster parents, including the arrears from the date the payment was stopped in July 2009. - Sapa

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