Evacuation of Vredelus Child and Youth Care Centre
The Department of Social Development is assessing its short and long-term plans for the Vredelus Child and Youth Care Centre in Elsies River for girls who are in conflict with the law, after a group of armed men forced their way into the facility.
Last night (Monday, 6 September) at around 22:00 a group of armed men overpowered the security staff and attempted to access the girls in safe care. Emergency protocols were immediately activated, and all staff and the residents, were evacuated to a secondary, secure location. Staff and residents are receiving counselling, and parents of the girls are being contacted.
We would like to thank the staff who acted swiftly to ensure the safety of the residents, none of whom were injured, the Department of Community Safety and the security company personnel for their assistance, and the South African Police Services.
Security measures have been put in place to protect the infrastructure, and the State Security Agency, as well as the Department of Community Safety have been asked to assist with an investigation.
This latest incident follows several prior attempts in August to access the facility by cutting through the perimeter fences, as well as ongoing safety incidents outside the centre. As a result, the Department is assessing possible alternative sites to accommodate girls in conflict with the law in the medium and long term.