Despite the Gauteng Department of Social Development promising to conditionally register the New Life Centre (NLC) in Midrand, this NPO is still not registered and has not yet received any formal communication and funding from the department since 2017.
This centre which caters mostly for young girls who are victims of human trafficking, orphans, children of sex workers and victims of sexual assault is struggling to provide necessary care due to a lack of funding.
This shocking information was discovered by the GPL Social Development portfolio committee during an oversight inspection at the NLC.
NLC was established in Hillbrow in 2005 to aid and empower young girls who are lured into prostitution. In 2017, NLC moved to President Park in Midrand and applied for registration and funding from the department.
It has not yet received any feedback from the department concerning its’ registration and funding applications.
The DA has since learned that the department came to remove all the girls and called their sex worker parents to come and collect their children. This is unacceptable, as it was done without evaluating the home environment and determining the safety of these girls.
Within a few days of experiencing various forms of abuse, most of the girls called the NLC founder in tears and begged her to come and fetch them from their parents and as they wanted to return to the centre.
Legally, the department may have been correct as the centre is not registered, but it compromised these girls morally and ethically by placing these girls back in the abusive environment from which they originally came. The department should have found an alternative shelter to house these girls.
If the DA was in government in this province we would have communicated with the founder in 2017 and immediately ensured there is funding available for this critical NPO to take these abuse children out of their abusive environment. When the DA is in power, we will not ignore or leave NPO’s in such a state of neglect or return the children to such a negative environment.
The safety and well-being of these young girls is of utmost importance to the DA, and we demand that a proper evaluation be conducted by the department’s social workers.
These young vulnerable girls deserve a conducive environment that caters for them, and the DA will fight to ensure that the NPO gets the needed funding as soon as possible before it is forced to close down and the vulnerable children are forced to be returned to very unfavourable and debilitating circumstances.