Caregiver from hell: disabled child gets kicked in the head
Shocking video emerges of child at Joburg crèche getting a backpack in the face and being called 'stupid'
“She is just acting stupid!” a caregiver at a Randburg crèche for disabled children snarls, as she hits a young girl in the face with a backpack.
A nurse employed by the Kindecaire crèche in Jukskei Park, north of Johannesburg, and owned by medical doctor Dianne Pansegrauw, told Times Select she filmed the abuse by the caregiver because she could no longer watch the children being hurt.
Pansegrauw has herself expressed horror at the incident that was filmed on September 21, adding that she wished the nurse had told her about it earlier.
The video was leaked to Times Select and shows a physically and intellectually disabled 11-year-old girl lying on the floor. The caregiver, who has since been dismissed and is facing criminal charges, is heard saying in Sotho: “You are stupid. Come here and let me clean you up. I have been telling her to stop moving! I have been telling her to stop moving and to sit still. She is stupid. She understands what I am saying. She is just acting stupid.”
She kicks the girl in the head, hits her with a backpack in the face and smacks her.
The girl does not show any resistance.
“I was shocked. It was horrifying to see something visual as portrayed in video,” Pansegrauw said.
The crèche’s receptionist, who is intellectually disabled, enters the room during the assault and does nothing to stop it.
Pansegrauw said there were three children at the crèche, and that the parents of the 11-year-old girl had employed the caregiver who assaulted her. The father of the girl had opened a case at the Douglasdale police station. Times Select could not track down the caregiver for comment.
The mother of the girl, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I feel bad it happened at the school premises. It is not the school’s fault.”
Pansegrauw said she was disappointed that the nurse who blew the whistle chose to film the incident instead of trying to stop it; and that she had not approached the owner. Pansegrauw is not at the crèche fulltime because she runs a medical practice in Bryanston, Johannesburg.
But the nurse, who did not want to be identified, said she was advised by a friend to capture the abuse on camera, because her previous complaints fell on deaf ears. Asked how long she had been complaining to Pansegrauw about what happened at the crèche, she said: “Long, long ago.”
The nurse said she couldn’t sleep at night because of what she saw and wanted to quit her job. But Pansegrauw and her husband, Bill, said she was vindictive because she had already received three warning letters and was facing a disciplinary hearing. When asked what transgressions she had committed, the Pansegrauw said she did not get on with other staff.
The nurse said she had complained about the treatment of the three disabled children for a year. However, Pansegrauw said she did not complain to her about abuse and she never wrote it in the log book.
The nurse admitted that she did not record incidents in writing, adding that with hindsight she should have done that.
“God helped me filming that video,” she said.
She did not give the video to her boss, because she wanted “someone who would listen”.
“I was scared. I was so scared.”
The nurse who blew the whistle was suspended on October 1. She was accused of locking a child in a bathroom for two hours, which she denies. She said she was potty-training a disabled child at the mother’s request. She added it could not be true that she locked the child into the bathroom because it did not have a door.
But a week before the “lock-up” incident, Pansegrauw sent an SMS to an aquaintance saying she was planning to suspend her. Pansegrauw did not deny this, saying only she was very angry at the time.
Fluxmans Attorneys confirmed to Times Select they are representing her pro bono in the labour matter, since they believe she is being targeted as a “whistle-blower”.
The City of Johannesburg’s health and social development department spokesperson, Dominic Mahlangu, said a team visited the facility on “a fact-finding mission” on Wednesday and wanted to do follow-up assessments.
They have asked the City of Johannesburg’s disability unit and the provincial department of social development to do their own assessments at the crèche.
The Pansegrauws said they would install cameras inside the crèche to prevent further incidents.
They also run an aftercare on the property and a daycare for children too sick to go to school.
Kelly du Plessis, founder of Rare Diseases South Africa, an NGO, said: “There is a severe shortage of residential and daycare facilities to care for disabled children and those that need 24-hour supervision.
“Parents are desperate to have somebody give them 12 hours off a day.”
She said a facility should have a nurse and carers should be trained in looking after children with special needs.
“You can’t just take anyone off the street.”