The Gauteng Department of Social Development will transfer 35 children from Kingdom Life Youth Care Centre following a ruling by the Atteridgeville Children’s Court on 4 November 2020 that the centre was operating illegally and that all the minors be removed and placed at various homes/child and youth care centres in the area.
The children’s court found that Kingdom Life Youth Care Centre was at fault for failing to renew its registration. It also found that children at the centre were being placed without any prescribed registration.
The Department feels very vindicated after years of vilification by the centre on various media platforms accusing the department of interference. The matter has been in the courts for few years now. The department took Kingdom Life Care Centre to court after it failed to register as a Child and Youth Care (CYCC) and for non-compliance.
The Kingdom Life Youth Care Centre was previously registered as a CYCC, but due to non-compliance the facility was de-registered and granted a conditional registration which expired at the end of September 2018. Attempts by the departmental social workers to remove children at centre were unsuccessful as the management and board refused to co-operate and the centre continued to put the lives of the children at risk.
The Department is reiterating its resolve that it will stop at nothing to ensure compliance and that those who violate the rules will not go unpunished, including non-compliant NPOs.
The Children’s Act defines Child and Youth Care Centre (CYCC) as a facility that provides residential care to more than six children outside the child’s family environment in accordance with the residential care programme suited for the children in the facility.
Any organisation that is providing services to children should be registered according to the Children’s Act, guided by specific norms and standards. Kingdom Life was found to be non-compliant, as this NPO contravened the NPO Act and the Children’s Act. This also includes unconstitutional board, mismanagement of funds, conflict of interest and the facility did not meet registration requirements as prescribed by NPO Act and Children’s Act.
HOD of Gauteng Social Development Ms Thembeni Mhlongo has welcomed the court’s decision and said this was in the best interest of children and she further said this will send a strong message that government cannot stand by and watch NPOs contravene the law.
“Bana Pele is one of our flagship programmes in Gauteng and we will not compromise. The department remains committed to supporting the NPO sector, however the sector must also respect the laws of the country and we hope that the judgment will also send a strong message to other NPOs that are not compliant. We are always willing to assist with getting NPOs to be compliant but if all fails, we will close the facilities as they will pose risks to the most vulnerable groups, which our department is mandated to protect”, said Mhlongo.