Children's homes face closure
Cash-strapped children's homes in KwaZulu-Natal might be closed if the provincial department of social development does not speed up its registration processes.
Three homes - Clouds of Hope, in Underberg, White Cross, in Ashburton, and Isimphiwe, in Richmond - have been struggling for years to get funding from the department and have had to dig deep to feed the children in their care.
Without registration, the homes cannot access government funding.
White Cross director Stuart Knight and his wife Jacqui had to "scrape around and ask friends and donors" to contribute to the R47000 it takes to run the home each month. He said he had been trying since January to get the department to register the home.
It takes care of 20 disabled children.
Clouds of Hope director Trish Crawley said the home had been trying to register since 2002. There was a glimmer of hope last week when officials visited her.
She said the home, which takes care of 60 children, relied on local and international donors but funding was drying up because of the global economic downturn.
"The children we look after have all been abandoned because of Aids. Some do not have relatives with the capacity to look after them. I can't give up on the children," she said.
Isimphiwe Children's Home spokesman Lucky Sitath said the centre had been struggling to register with the department for the past four years.
"When we tried again in February this year we were told by officials that our registration documents had been lost," he said.
The home looks after 24 destitute children.
Social development spokesman Vukani Mbhele said the applications for White Cross and Isimphiwe were under consideration.
He said the department recently held a meeting with Clouds of Hope.
"We're now assisting it with registration. At no stage have we had delays because documents had been lost.
"The process is handled by highly competent people.
"We'll arrange meetings with the centres because we're not aware of any problems," Mbhele said.