Baby centre hit again

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More gates are stolen from struggling facility

SHAMEFUL THEFT : The Salem Baby Care Centre is without a front and side gate, after these were stolen over the festive season. The main gate had just been replaced after it was stolen in September last year Picture : TANIA DANIELS

SALEM Baby Care Centre did not start the year on a very high note, as their main and side gate were stolen while the staff were on their festive season holiday.

The gate theft it seems is becoming a trend, as a gate motor was stolen from the centre in September last year. The centre bought a replacement then in December, just before closing for the holidays, it was stolen again.

“A colleague ran into someone from the community and was asked why we do not have a gate. She was surprised because the last time she was at work the gate was there.
The main gate was stolen; they also took the side gate. Fortunately they did not get inside to take anything else,” the baby and child care centre’s director, Lereen Naidoo said.
“We are just an NGO, why do people do this to us?” she asked .

All this, while the organisation is busy raising funds to build extra classrooms to assist the
growing number of underprivileged children in their pre-school and mothers who they teach skills to.
“It is sad that people steal from a charity organisation. We ’re taking children off the street and putting them in our crèche, giving them an education; kids whose parents cannot afford to send them to pre-school. They are stealing from these poor people,” Naidoo said.

The centre battled financially as it was, and could not afford the extra expenses, she said.
“The insurance pays out but they don’t cover all the costs, so we have to use some of our
funds,” she said.
“We used to get a lot of donations from the public and churches for example but we hardly get any anymore. We also haven’t had Lotto money since 2015. Lotto used to give us between R400000 and R600000 that sustained us through the year but that has also gone down to about R80 000. We struggled to pay salaries at a point last year, like so many other [charity] organisations, which was a reflection of the tough times out there. We were just blessed that our fundraising carried us through last year,” said Naidoo.

Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala confirmed that a case of theft had been opened with the Fleet Street Police Station and they were doing their best to find the culprits responsible.
“This is the first time that we have heard of people stealing a gate, but gate motors are not a
new thing. We ask the public to protect them. At the shops where they sell these [gates], I usually see some covered with a padlock,” Mqala said.

Naidoo said they had to pay for the first gate but were fortunate that their insurance paid out for the second gate motor, however, the centre was still waiting for a response from their insurers regarding the other gates.
“We have put up an old, temporary gate which is not fixed, because we are getting quotes , ” she said.

“We would like to thank RRN Removals for paying for 24-hour security while we wait to replace the gate.”

She also thanked the community for always keeping an eye on the centre and always being vigilant. Anyone who can assist the Salem Baby Care Centre with their renovations or other
security features can contact their office on (043)742-1176.

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