The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

Sea Point

Heartbreaking Ordeal: Family on Sea Point Streets Alleges Social Services Unjustly Removed Their Son

Michael Hawthorne

In a recent interview with Homeless in Cape Town, Aaron Engelbrecht, a 29-year-old motorcycle mechanic originally from Johannesburg, shared the heartbreaking story of how social services removed his year-old son from their custody without a valid reason. The Cape Navigator is committed to investigating the story to bring answers to the parents who claim that the Western Cape Department of Social Development is avoiding the real issues.

Engelbrecht, along with his 32-year-old pregnant wife, spoke candidly about their struggles after losing their jobs in Johannesburg. Facing financial hardships, the couple decided to move to Cape Town in search of a fresh start. Unfortunately, their journey took a devastating turn when they found themselves homeless, sleeping on Milton Beach in Sea Point.

In an emotional interview, Engelbrecht detailed the challenges they faced, including theft, eviction, and a lack of support from family members. Despite their hardships, the couple expressed a strong desire to get back on their feet, with Engelbrecht actively seeking employment as a specialized motorbike mechanic.

The most distressing revelation came when social services allegedly removed their one-year-old son without proper documentation or explanation. The couple claims they were promised that their son would be returned to them once suitable accommodation was found, but a recent phone call shattered their hopes.

Engelbrecht disclosed that the application for shelter was unexpectedly declined, with social workers providing vague reasons and changing their stance on the matter. Frustrated and desperate for answers, the family is now left grappling with the fear of losing their second unborn child, a fear that social services will separate them in the future too.

The Cape Navigator will be closely monitoring the situation, seeking clarification from social services on the reasons behind the removal of the child. The family’s plea for assistance, not in the form of handouts but in the opportunity to work and regain stability, echoes the struggles faced by many in similar circumstances.

As Engelbrecht emphasizes, the situation underscores the challenges faced by those living on the streets, with discrimination and judgment compounding their already difficult circumstances. The Cape Navigator encourages the community to come together in #CapeTownKindness, offering support, understanding, and potential employment opportunities to help the Engelbrecht family rebuild their lives.

The Cape Navigator has prepared and scheduled an email with questions seeking clarity from Dr. Robert Macdonald, HOD of the Western Cape Department of Social Development, regarding the handling of the Engelbrecht family’s case.

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