The Western Cape government said armed men stormed the Vredelus Child and Youth Care Centre in Cape Town on Monday night, 6 September. The facility houses young girls that are awaiting trial. None of the staff was injured in the attack and the girls were moved to a place of safety.
The Western Cape Department of Social Development said it is assessing its short and long-term plans for the Vredelus Child and Youth Care Centre in Elsies River, Cape Town, following the attack by a group of armed men that overwhelmed the security staff and forced their way into the facility.
At approximately 22:00 on Monday, a group of armed men overpowered the security staff and reportedly tried to access the girls in safe care, according to Esther Lewis, a spokesperson for the provincial social development department.
The spokesperson said emergency protocols were immediately activated and all the staff and residents were moved to a secondary location that was safe. “Staff and residents are receiving counselling and parents of the girls are being contacted,” said Lewis.
The Vredelus facility houses girls between the ages of 12 and 18 years old “who are in conflict with the law.” The provincial government said it is not the first time individuals have attempted to gain access to the facility.
In August, this year, the perimeter fences of the facility were cut as a means of gaining entry and there have been “ongoing safety incidents outside the centre”, which is located in Leonsdale, Elsies River. As such, the Department of Social Development is looking at alternative sites to accommodate the girls in the medium and long term.
“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,” said Lewis.
“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.”