Mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – The Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) has been admitted as amicus curiae, or friends of the court, in a legal dispute involving the Masiphumelele Love and Care Daycare Centre’s founders and trustees.

The centre was instructed by the Western Cape High Court to conduct an independent inspection of the crèche, following a hearing last week during which crèche founder Aurelia Kaitesi and the board of governors sought an order to remove mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase and a Noordhoek couple as trustees.

EELC attorney Chandre Stuurman said they welcomed the court admitting them.

Kaitesi’s lawyer, Vernon Seymour, said during the hearing Judge Nathan Erasmus said the matter affected the rights of minor children.

“Judge Erasmus said as the upper guardian, the court has a moral and constitutional duty to consider the matter comprehensively. He also pointed out that the matter has the potential to divide the community given the mistrust, political and social overtones. It was for this reason that the court decided to intervene and appoint EELC as an amicus curiae,” he said.

The board of governors had written to the master of the high court, requesting Purchase and the couple be removed as trustees after the trustees were awarded an interdict barring Kaitesi from the crèche. They argued Purchase and the couple’s holding of office was detrimental to the welfare of the children at the centre.

A memorandum signed by 56 parents of children at the centre was also submitted in court.

The memorandum read: “We condemn the actions of councillor Purchase and her co-applicants because they are acting against the interest of our children and the objectives of the trust.

“We reconfirm our previous decision that councillor Purchase and her two co-applicants be requested to recuse themselves as being part of the nursery (crèche) and trust.”

Approached for comment, Purchase said: “EELC has been appointed to look after interests of children in the process. The order will be sent to us next week. I think that was a good decision.”

The matter was postponed to August 21.

Dominic Adriaanse