THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has stepped in to inspect the Forest Hill "stinking hellhole” from which a young boy was removed by authorities earlier this week.
Public health executive director Dr Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni said yesterday inspectors would visit the filthy, unkempt Lucerne Avenue house today and decide on what action to take.
"It is definitely a health risk but we are sending inspectors there to do a full assessment,” she said.
"Based on the assessment we will decide on what action should be taken. This does not mean the municipality will remove it [the rubbish] but we will fumigate the house after the removal is complete.”
The Herald reported yesterday how police swooped on the house, which was reeking from animal faeces and vomit on the floor. Rubbish was strewn inside and outside the house, and three cats and a dog were locked inside, where flies and other insects buzzed around.
The resident couple’s seven-year-old child was removed from their care and temporarily placed at the Protea Child Care Centre in Forest Hill.
Police spokesman Captain Stanley Jarvis said the occupants were trying to clean up the mess yesterday.
"They are worried that the child is permanently removed from their custody so they appear to be trying to clean the house up,” Jarvis said.
"On-site inspections will be done over the next few weeks and based on the social workers’ report we will take the needed action. A preliminary investigation will determine if the conditions under which the family live are conducive to raising a young child.
"Based on the outcome of this report and the recommendations of the social workers, we will decide if criminal charges will follow.”
Protea Child Care Centre manager Mbuyiselo Peter said the child was "adjusting very well considering the circumstances”.
The centre temporarily accommodates children of up to 12 years old until investigations are finalised.
Social Development Department district manager Thembile Ngqabayi said the next step once an assessment had been concluded was to involve the justice system.
"We will go to the courts and make recommendations based on what we have determined. If the family then meet the recommendations made by our inspectors, the boy will be returned but still monitored by social workers,” he said.
"The boy looks physically fine but we are still trying to determine if he is mentally stable. Our assessment and investigation is still under way and once this is done we will know more on what action will be taken to move forward.”
Jarvis said the municipality had offered to remove some of the rubbish from the property. Yesterday, the boy’s parents were trying to clean up some of the mess.