‘Children are having sex publicly in church shelter’
THE BATTLE to justify the need to close down the Central Methodist Church, which shelters thousands of refugees in central Joburg, took a dramatic turn yesterday with a member of the Gauteng provincial legislature claiming she had seen minors having sex there.
Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, chairwoman of the province’s safety and security committee, shocked a meeting held to map a way forward by revealing she had seen “some kids having sex publicly in the church”.
This, she said happened during unannounced and disguised visits where she further claimed she had been asked to pay R5 to gain access.
But Nkosi-Malobane could not tell yesterday whether the incident had been reported to police or not. “There is so much crime that is happening in the church.
“Members of the church are also complaining because they feel unsafe there.”
The meeting held in the provincial legislature was part of a process started by the provincial committee on health and social development a week ago to consider the possible closure of the refugee centre.
NGOs, church representatives, politicians and child welfare organisations bickered about who was to blame for the situation at the church while gasps and mumblings punctuated the proceedings.
The church’s representative Kim Alexander asked whether people thought “God cares more about a building than people” as more questions were raised about the appalling con- ditions children were living in.
“The church is indebted by over a million rand in water and electricity bills. Where has everybody been for the past three years? South Africa has failed these people.”
The church was also trying to get the City of Joburg’s bylaw on loitering declared illegal as the law is used to target refugees sleeping on the pavement outside the church.