Shelter still not registered

The Bethany House Trust has sent numerous applications for the registration of the Ikusasa Development Centre, but the Department of Social Development does not respond.

18 April 2012 | Sammi-Jo BothaThe Bethany House Trust Gert Jonker CEO Bethany House Trust

The Bethany House Trust opened the Ikusasa Development Centre situated in Von Brandis Street in November 2010.

This after the Trust responded to a call for proposals from the Department of Social Development for NGO’s to provide services to children living and working on the street in the West Rand region specifically.

The Trust then submitted a proposal to the West Rand regional office of the Department of Social Development (DSD)  on 24  October 2007 which was acknowledged by the Regional Director on 21 November 2007.

On 1 February 2008 the Bethany House Trust submitted a formal business plan using the DSD’s  format to the Department of Social Development.

On 11 August 2008 the West Rand regional office of DSD recommended that the project be registered in the light of the demand for services of this nature.  On 1  November 2010 the  Trust submitted another business plan to this effect. 

On 19  May 2011 the Trust re-submitted the application using an updated application form provided by DSD. 

On 5  September 2011 Bethany House submitted an amended application containing more detailed information regarding the therapeutic interventions at Ikusasa on request from the DSD.

This year, on 27  January, the  Trust submitted the ‘notification of outcome of inquiry by affected person to establish whether his/ hername is included in part of national child protection register to the Department of Social Development as requested.

A number of site visits by officials from the Department of Social Development took place over the years. However, to date the project has not been registered.

Ikusasa commenced service delivery in November 2010 without being registered. That was three years after the  initial proposal/ application was submitted to DSD and two years after registration was recommended by the West Rand DSD.

CEO of the  Trust, Gert Jonker, says, “We had to commence service delivery simply because of the high number of children living and working on the street who had no access to social welfare services. Limited residential care and therapeutic interventions was launched.

Since then the project was expanded into a fully fledged community development centre which, in addition to the services for children living and working on the streets, also provide social welfare and social security services to poor and marginalised inner city residents.

“In 2011 Ikusasa served 45 000 hot meals to beneficiaries for instance.  We receive no financial support from any government department in this endeavour. We can only apply for government funding once registration of Ikusasa in terms of the Children’s Act is completed.

“In the mean time, the Bethany House Trust bears the full the operational cost of R50 000 per   month on average to ensure optimal service delivery to the children and inner city residents we serve.

“The Trust also bought the church building in which Ikusasa is housed. The social investment made by the Bethany House Trust (value of the building and renovations to be compliant in terms of norms and standards and local authority regulations) exceeds R2,5 million.

“We are currently running out of funds to keep this Centre open. We have submitted several registration forms   to the Department of Social Development, but we still have not received any response. We have also  tried to get a response from the President’s and the Premier’s Hotline, but to no avail.”

The NEWS requested comment from the Department of Social Development regarding this matter, but non was forthcoming as yet.

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