36 orphans missing

9/22 2020 – 36  orphans from Mpumalanga ‘in-law About four months ago, 36 children from the KwaSizabantu Schulzendal Mission Station in Mpumalanga were notified that they had to leave the station. Where these 36 children find themselves today, neither KwaSizabantu Mission (KSB) nor its sister organization, Doctors for Life can answer.  

The KwaSizabantu Schulzendal Mission Station was established in 2002 and serves as a branch of the main mission station, KSB, in KwaZulu-Natal. Under the leadership of the late John Powys, a mill was built for locals, a primary school established and jobs in the form of farming within the community created.After Powys’ death, his son, Jonathan Powys, took over the leadership. 

Jonathan broke ties with KSB and the Schulzendal Mission in 2018 after suspecting financial irregularities. 

Maroela Media earlier reported that Detective Mike Bolhuis is investigating allegations that some KSB leaders are involved in money laundering of about R136 million. This money was allegedly stolen from the KSB between 2015 and December 2018. Meanwhile, a few main suspects have been identified. 

No mill, school or job opportunities are visible at the mission station today. Neither are children. 

Former KSB employee Conrad Ellis said the children’s home and school at the Schulzendals Mission were also victims of the alleged corruption and poor leadership. Ellis, who was a project manager for five greenhouses at the Schulzendal Mission station for a year and a half, says that the children were notified four months ago that they must leave the mission, which was their home for three years.

“Some of the children are very small. Most of those children come from dire circumstances and families who cannot take good care of them. There is one boy who is almost six years old. His father is an alcoholic. Every child has its own story. “Ellis gets moved when he talks about the kids:” It’s hard for me to talk about this. “ 

About 18 of the 36 children are from the LifeChild orphanage in Malelane. LifeChild is a project run by Doctors for Life (DFL). DFL was created in 1991 by Dr. Albertus van Eeden, an associate and preacher at the main KwaSizabantu mission in KwaZulu-Natal. His wife, Karin van Eeden, heads the LifeChild project.

Since 2016, the number of children has doubled to 36. Ellis says: “Members of the community have brought children there whose parents have died and who can no longer be looked after by the aunt or grandmother.” A community worker in the area, Spefina Ntombi Nyambi, took children to the mission a while ago because she was already caring for other children. Nyambi was asked three months ago to come and fetch the children. “I have no place for the children. They have no birth certificates or identity documents. I can only feed them on Saturdays. ” “Today I don’t know where all the kids are.” According to Ellis, the Schulzendal mission began to fall apart after Powys resigned. “Everyone’s gone.” 

A certain Sabastian Merlo and his wife were appointed to the mission after Powys resigned. Abigail Ndlela was appointed as caregiver for the children, but was also sent away this year. 

“On the morning of August 28, I was told to go with all the children,” Ndlela says. “KwaSizabantu was my home. I lost my house. ” 

Ndlela herself has an orphanage of her own in Schoemansdal. “That day they took the children with a bakkie to where they came from. They dropped me and nine of the kids off at my house. They also gave me a child from the Eastern Cape. They forbade me to visit the mission. “

Former and current employees of Doctors for Life with whom Maroela Media contacted chose not to speak to the media. 

On various occasions, Maroela Media contacted KwaSizabantu as well as Doctors for Life through calls and emails. On one occasion, LifeChild manager Karin van Eeden spoke briefly. She only wanted to confirm that a storm in 2016 destroyed the roof of another orphanage in Schoemansdal.