File picture: Pixabay
File picture: Pixabay

State probes Dutch couple’s adoption of KZN girls

By Siboniso Mngadi Time of article published Sep 14, 2020

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Durban - The Department of Social Development has instituted an investigation over an inter-country adoption of two girls from a children’s village in KwaNyuswa, near Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, which took place five years ago.

The investigation comes after a recent report by the Sunday Tribune where the father of the girls complained that they had been adopted without his knowledge.

The girls lived at the Ikhethelo Children’s Village in Botha’s Hill, after their mother died in 2008.

Aged 6 and 8 at the time, they were adopted by a Netherlands couple in 2014 after an order was issued by Camperdown Children’s Court.

The order was issued based on the report by Wandisa Adoption Agency reports which facilitated the process.

The agency said the girls had been neglected for an extended period, living in poor conditions and had not attended school.

It also referred to the father as “unknown” and nobody could take care of the siblings, claims which he has denied.

Mhlaba Memela, spokesperson for the KZN Department of Social Development, said an application has been made to access records of the court case at Camperdown Court to review the adoption process.

“Once we have all the court records, we will then read and analyse the contents of the file to determine a way forward.

“The senior officials of the department including the head are also in plans to meet with the magistrate of the court as part of the process,” Memela said.

The national department also authorised the name of the girls to be placed on the Register on Adoptable Children and Prospective Adoptive Parents for local options. But no one came forward within South Africa, according to the court papers.

Memela said the department has also written to the national department requesting it to retrieve files from its archives.

He said it would be in a better position to determine the way forward in about six weeks and the matter could be referred to the legal department if there were any discrepancies.

A former worker at the children’s village, who asked not to be named, approached the Sunday Tribune to share his experiences during his tenure at the village.

He said there was a huge interest in getting children adopted and placed with mostly international families.

“I suppose that process might have been financially beneficial to whoever is part of it, which made me wonder if there is any integrity to the whole thing. I don’t have proof of anything with this regard but there is a bit of smoke in this area.

“I believe the previous management had plans known to them but their plans centred around their interests not necessarily in helping children become better members of society. The Village has enjoyed successes, which cannot be overlooked but, unfortunately, where there are mishaps, it becomes a tragedy to the children concerned,” he said.

Graeme Wright, Ikhethelo Children’s Village chief executive, had indicated that he could not comment on the matter because he joined the facility after the children had been adopted and most of the staff who had dealt with them had left.

The organisation had changed its name and management over the years.

Sunday Tribune

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