File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Worcester - A history of teenage behavioural problems and failing discipline led to charges of child abuse against a mother who cared for vulnerable children at her Worcester children’s shelter.

“I did discipline the two,” said Pinelands mother Galinda Nelson, 54, who appeared in the Worcester Magistrate’s Court this week charged with assaulting two teenagers with a riding crop and chaining one to a bed.

“But it came after many, many talkings to, and I detained one child for a short time, more as an object lesson, a desperate measure after many attempts But it was totally appropriate to the offences committed, and to my and the mother’s religious and cultural lifestyle and beliefs.”

Her alleged victims include Neslon’s 15-year-old biological daughter and a 16-year-old girl she has been a mother to for six years.

Nelson’s appearance follows a police raid on her shelter on a farm outside Worcester last Saturday night, from where 12 children in her care, including her biological daughter and adopted 13-year-old son, were removed to places of safety.

Reliable sources say that Nelson’s alleged assault victims were later examined at Worcester Hospital and that no evidence of physical abuse was found.

Nelson runs the NPO Cardinal Halyard International and has been caring for Aids orphans and abused and neglected township children for more than a decade.

Several sources confirmed that the children in Nelson’s care were sent to her by desperate township parents or relatives wanting a better life for their children. They have regular contact with their parents.

Nelson did not want to provide any details that led to the alleged assaults but did reveal that for over a year she had been struggling to discipline her 16-year-old accuser and another teenager for promiscuous behaviour on Facebook. She became particularly alarmed, she said, when she discovered provocative photographs and messages on their Facebook pages.

“Their 5000 friends are mostly boys They incite boys to their inboxes and the talk there (is) dangerous and wrong.”

One of the straws that broke the camel’s back was one of her teenagers continually running off with an older trespassing boyfriend and returning late. “When she ran after the boyfriend again, that’s when I took control and tried to teach her an object lesson.”

Nelson also revealed she had a decade-long relationship with the mother of her teenage accuser. “A lady from Dunoon was begging at my gate, and I invited her in to eat with us. She had a 2-year-old baby girl on her back and one month later she gave birth to another girl. Loveness and I became good friends”

Nelson eventually ended up nursing Loveness’s children and raising them. Then six years ago ,she again stepped into the breach for Loveness by taking her 16-year-old accuser under her wing at the age of 10.

“Loveness had a break-up with her cousin in Gugulethu after fights and wanted her daughter out of the house to grow up with her siblings with me on the farm. She was a wild girl and needed a more structured upbringing.”

Weekend Argus