MEC must do more to root out sexual abuse at KZN’s foster homes

Democratic Alliance media statement by Hlanganani Gumbi, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development


MEC must do more to root out sexual abuse at KZN’s foster homes


The Democratic Alliance has called on KZN’s Social Development MEC, Weziwe Thusi, to do everything in her power to root out sexual abuse in foster homes after a report that four young girls, aged between eight and 15, were allegedly raped by a 17 year old boy at the Thokomala Comina Foster Centre.

According to a media report yesterday, staff at the centre were alerted to the situation after some of the girls were found crying. One-on-one interviews with the girls revealed that they had allegedly been sexually abused and that the rapes had been going on for some time.

The DA is extremely disturbed by this claim. Most alarming is that this has allegedly been going on right under the noses of staff for a while. We extend our sincere condolences to these young girls who have been let down by the system and applaud their courage in speaking out against such despicable criminality.

It is shocking that anything like this should happen in what is supposed to be a place of safety for extremely vulnerable children. Foster centres should be a place of healing and yet, it appears, they are anything but this in some instances.

During the course of the next few days, the DA will visit the Phoenix Department of Social Development offices. Amongst the issues we will be on the lookout for are whether there are staff shortages, particularly in the areas of management and social workers.

We will also submit a written parliamentary question to MEC Thusi today in order to establish exactly what has being going on at the Thokomala Comina foster centre. These questions will include:

• Specific measures being taken to address this matter;
• Whether the Department has any plan in place to prevent sexual abuse at KZN’s foster homes;
• Details of those measures; and
• The number of incidents of sexual abuse at foster homes reported to the Department during the last three calendar years.

The DA expects a prompt response from MEC Thusi. We also expect her to launch a full-scale investigation into this matter.

Our province’s young people cannot live in fear at the hands of sexual predators, particularly when they have already suffered so much. The DA is committed to holding MEC Thusi and her Department to account.

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