‘We don’t hold power over redevelopment’

Some residents have objected to a proposed development at the St Francis Childrens Home, which involves the building of 62 flats.

With Realistic Child and Youth Care Centre taking over the running of what used to be known as St Francis Children’s Home in Crawford, it finds itself in the middle of some controversy.

The new management of the home wants to develop a relationship with the surrounding community, as it, just like the former 100-year-old St Francis Children’s Home, is dependent on the community’s support.

On Wednesday September 11, the Athlone News reported on the community’s objection of a proposed development of 60 flats on its premises (“Residents against Crawford development”).

Site manager of Realistic, Jimmy Moribame, said the Department of Social Development asked their organisation to step in, to help keep the doors of this children’s home open.

“At the time we took over the running of the centre, the former was 90% non-compliant. The Department of Social Development asked us to intervene, or else the centre would have closed down” he said.

Mr Moribame explained that the founder of Realistic Child and Youth Care Centre, Solomon Madikane, served on the board of St Francis Children’s Home for many years, and because he was known for his clean audits with Realistic, the department approached him to intervene.

“Realistic is based in Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, and was initially started as a reintegration programme for former prisoners. As time passed, a diversion programme was introduced, as well as a six-month outpatient programme for young substance abusers. We also have early intervention programmes,” Mr Maribame said.

Mr Moribame made it clear that his organisation does not hold any power over the proposed development of the flats, as the former board members of St Francis made that decision as the owners of the property.

“We cannot intervene as Realistic, as it is beyond our control. The agreement we have is to use the facility and its resources, and in a short space of time, we got the compliance up to 76%, from a 10% compliance. We support the community’s objection to the proposed development, but we can’t do anything,” he said.