The Al Noor Orphanage Centre in Woodstock which faces serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse is denying that it had any knowledge of such abuse. Several children have been removed from the centre, following a preliminary investigation into complaints by the Western Cape Department of Social Development. Director of the orphanage, Amina Madien says that that the orphanage has no knowledge on the status of the investigation into the alleged abuse, nor on any of the particulars regarding the allegations or charges laid against the orphanage.
“We don’t know of anything regarding this case. We don’t know what to say,” said Madien.
“No arrests have been made, we don’t know any case number [and] we haven’t received anything from the Department [the Western Cape Department of Social Development].”
“These are very strong allegations. As a Muslim, as a normal individual, nobody will allow such abuse of children. This is not the first time allegations have been made. The people who have laid these charges must be able to prove it.”
On Thursday, the Muslim Judicial Council met with the orphanage’s management to discuss the abuse allegations but has yet to reveal the outcome of the meeting.
Madien argues that the children were forcefully removed from the orphanage and that the manner in which the removal took place was traumatic.
“The Department came into the orphanage and forcefully removed the children in our care. We asked them why they were removing the children…they said it was because of the allegations [and] therefore they want to remove the children and interview them.”
“When they arrived in the rooms of the children, they told the children to pack everything. The children cried and asked why they were taking everything with them. Some of the children even refused to pack their things!” she said.
Madien says that anyone found guilty of abuse needs to be arrested.
“Anybody found guilty of these types offences should be arrested. Strong allegations like this are really disgusting.”
The orphanage has also released a statement, saying that contrary to reports, 16 children were removed from the orphanage. The ages of the children removed, according to Madien, range from 7-16.
A full police investigation into the alleged sexual and physical abuse claims is underway. Police spokesperson, FC Van Wyk said the initial cases of sexual abuse were opened in Stellenbosch and have been transferred to Woodstock police for further investigation.
The provincial Department of Social Development said the children have been placed in other child and youth care centres and are receiving the necessary social support, including assessment and counselling. Social workers are attempting to find alternative, longer-term placements for these children.