17 children relocated as physical, sexual abuse claims rock Cape Town children's centre

Seventeen children have been removed from a care centre in Woodstock, Cape Town, following allegations of abuse, the Western Cape Social Development department said on Wednesday.

The department took the decision to move children from the Al Noor Child and Youth Care Centre after conducting a preliminary investigation into a number of serious complaints of alleged physical and sexual abuse there.

Department spokesperson Esther Lewis said the children have been placed in other child and youth care centres.

Lewis said the department would, once investigations concluded, find alternative longer term placement for the children.

"Due to the seriousness of the allegations, involving a number of children at the home, the department has deemed it necessary to remove and place the children in temporary alternative accommodation in terms of Section 173 of the Children's Act to ensure their safety while criminal investigations are underway."

"They are receiving the necessary social support, including assessment and counselling, while criminal charges have been laid with the police against the alleged perpetrators," said Lewis.

The department is also in the process of suspending the home's registration pending the final outcome of its investigations into the matter.