Mbabane: Two years later, after his first appearance in court, the Bulembu Ministries orphan caregiver who resigned after he was accused of molesting orphans has not had another day in court.
Nicholas Shabangu of Lamgabhi, Bhunya, made his first appearance at the Pigg’s Peak Magistrate’s court in 2018. He is alleged to have molested boys between the ages of 18-24, most of who were under his care.
There are about 400 orphans at Bulembu Ministries. Shabangu was suspended after the allegations of sexual misconduct. In 2018, Bulembu Ministries took the matter seriously and social workers were roped in to assist with investigations. Residents at the village, as well as the surrounding communities, alleged that they had heard about the allegations but doubted them.
Shabangu was served with a suspension letter titled, ‘Suspension from employment and interdiction from entering Bulembu Campus’. It further stated that Bulembu Ministries had received information which was credible on the matter. The letter advised the employee that he had been implicated in allegations which included, but not limited to sexual misconduct, theft, intimidation, breach of confidentiality and insubordination.
It also advised him that investigations into the matter were being conducted. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, the employee was also informed that he was being suspended from employment with immediate effect. Not only was he suspended from work but also barred from entering Bulembu Ministries or its facilities without written permission to do so.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku told Independent News that he knew about the said case of sexual harassment at Bulembu but was waiting for the courts to decide and that would when he could give a comment. The deputy prime minister’s office has long campaigned against the abuse of children especially those classified as vulnerable and placed under special care like those at orphanages.