Talk to community first

Graham Weir, Wynberg

In the article (“Home on tenterhooks,” Bulletin July 7) which announces the imminent closure of Tenterden Home in Wynberg as a place of safety for vulnerable girls and boys and orphans between the ages of six and 13, Ward 62 councillor Liz Brunette is quoted as stating that Social Development MEC Albert Fritz advised that “The home will be closing, as it is not economically viable”.

What a revolting statement: not since the days of Dickensian London, when children were placed on the treadmill to earn a keep, has anyone thought that an orphanage should be economically viable! Shame on you, Mr Fritz – and shame on Ms Brunette for blithely repeating this outrageous statement without question.

Ms Brunette then goes on to state that the province will, “Communicate with the community before a decision regarding the use of the property is taken”. What is the councillor talking about? A decision has clearly already been taken. Why did the province not communicate with the community before taking this high-handed decision?

Why is an absurd notion of “economic viability” – made more absurd considering that this is a government institution paid for by our taxes – put above the obvious need for such a space, especially considering that your article goes on to state that Badisa Wynberg records handling 23 977 cases of abuse/neglect last year alone. Wynberg quite obviously needs such a space.

If Mr Fritz is simply mouthing the official, inconceivable standpoint of the DA provincial government and “economical viability” is indeed the motivating factor behind this appalling decision, then residents of Wynberg need not worry about the rumours that a centre for recovering drug addicts will be set up at this historic home: the current admin-istration of the province sees no profit in giving any form of meaningful care or support to orphans and abused children – it is far more likely that developers will be invited in to carve up the uneconomical lawns in front of the homestead and build high density flats. What a disgrace.

And yet the social contract between ratepayers, taxpayers and the government – including local government – is that part of our rates and taxes be used to support the less fortunate – for example orphans and the destitute, as opposed to merely paying the salaries of local government officials such as Ms Brunette and Mr Fritz.