The manager, Nkululeko Mboniswa, said the orphanage was not aware of the allegations; it only learnt about them through the media when the children were removed on Monday.
Spokesperson for the department Esther Lewis said: “The Department of Social Development has removed 17 children from the Al Noor Child and Youth Care Centre in Woodstock after conducting a preliminary investigation into a number of serious complaints of alleged physical and sexual abuse at the centre.”
Lewis said the children were in other centres, before a longer-term placement was found for them. They were receiving support, including counselling. The department also lodged a complaint against the alleged perpetrators, she added.
Mboniswa said in the 20 years of the centre’s existence, it had not received financial support from the department and it did not appreciate the way the situation was being handled.