Effects of COVID-19 on youth in the province

Adhoc Committee on Covid-19 (WCPP)

19 July 2021
Chairperson: Ms M Wenger (DA)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19, 19 July 2021, 09:00

The ad hoc Committee convened virtually to receive four briefings from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the Department of Health’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a non-profit organisation, Jelly Beanz. The first and the second briefings particularly focused on the provincial government’s measures and programmes to tackle unemployment of the youth population, as well as the vaccination initiative driven by the higher education sector. The latter briefings were focused on the impact of COVID-19 on children and adolescents’ mental well-being.

Members asked the Department of Economic Development and Tourism about its mitigating measures to reduce the economic damage caused by the looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the US airline Delta’s cancellation of its Cape Town-Atlanta route, the Department’s strategies to reach out to those that could not physically visit their offices, monthly stipends for skills development programmes, selection criteria for beneficiaries of those programmes, the method to help youth attend training programmes in spite of the social distancingCOVID-19 protocol. Members asked for a report on the current and future skills demand. 

In the question and answer session with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Members asked about its funding mechanism for its vaccination programme, the students’ retention rate in spite of COVID-19, data provision arrangements with major network suppliers for students, methods to detect non-compliance with COVID-19 regulations, and poor students’ behaviour trends. A Member encouraged CPUT to share its vaccination experience with other learning institutions that did not have the capacity.

Members asked the Western Cape Department of Health about the impact of hunger on mental well-being, the availability of tele-psychiatric services in rural areas and informal settlements, the increase in substance and alcohol abuse as a result of COVID-19, and the correlation of hunger on mental well-being and the riots and looting that had taken place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in the past week. Members emphasised the importance of a collaborative approach to address the hunger issue among children.

During the interaction with the non-profit organisation (NPO), Jelly Beanz, Members were interested to know if there was literature that could help and guide parents to play a better parental role, the availability of mental health service in poor and under-serviced areas, the rising amount of adultification for elder siblings as a result of COVID-19, and the NPO sector’s engagement with major publications to monitor viewers’ age with regard to sexual content. A Member also enquired about and emphasised the importance of involving children in the work of Parliament and the amendment of the Children’s Act.

Meeting report

The Chairperson made her opening remarks, and welcomed all participating organisations.

Department of Finance and Economic Opportunities: Briefing

Mr David Maynier, Member of the Executive Council (MEC): Finance & Economic Opportunities in the Western Cape Provincial Government, made his introductory remarks.

He described the dire situation in the job market for young people in the country which had resulted in some young people having given up looking for jobs. The government needed to step in to assist young people and help them to be employed. He said the fundamental element of increasing employment opportunities was to attract investment as well as developing and strengthening the government’s skills development programmes, to help young people to obtain the right skills and experience for employment.

Mr Maynier outlined the three sub-programmes under the skills development programme, which consisted of a working skills programme, an artisan development programme and an information communication technology (ICT) technical skills programme.

He was delighted to announce to the Committee that there were over 4 000 beneficiaries on the work skills programme, of which 60 percent had been absorbed into the workforce. The work skills programme had also partnered with the City of Cape Town, the College of Cape Town, the National Skills Fund and the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry to launch the BPO Academy in order to equip trainees with knowledge of the dynamic nature of the job market.

In the artisan development programme, 423 candidates had received experiential work opportunities at those firms that provided them with the work experience and jobs requiring artisanal and technical skills. 

In the ICT technical skills programme, there were 80 matriculants and graduates that had been absorbed into entry-level jobs.

On Youth Day 2021, Minister Maynier had visited Enable BPO, which was a company in Athlone that provided training and work opportunities to the young people from local communities. The conversations which he had with the young people in the community were reminders of how young people struggled to find work and how some had lost jobs in the hospitality industry as a result of COVID, but they were also reminders of how useful those skills development programmes were in equipping them with technical and soft skills.

He assured the Committee that the provincial Department would continue to work hard to create more opportunities for young people, as well as attract more investment so that more people could be absorbed into the workforce.


Mr Nezaam Joseph, Chief Director of Strategy, Economic Policy & Planning, Economic Research, Monitoring and Evaluation domains at the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), briefed the Committee on the Western Cape Recovery Plan and the DEDAT strategic mandate to support youth, social inclusion and job creation. He also briefed the Committee on the DEDAT programme interventions in 2021/22.

(Details of the presentation can be found in the presentation slides.)


Ms D Baartman (DA) acknowledged that it was a fact that the economy of the Western Cape was part of a larger value chain. Thus, the dire national economy certainly would have an impact on the economy of the province. She therefore wanted to know how the economic sabotage which all South Africans had witnessed in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng would affect the economy of the Western Cape. She wanted to know if the provincial government had any clear measures to mitigate the damage. She highlighted the importance of this question, as Moodys had just downgraded four metros in South Africa.

She enquired about the USA Delta airline’s restrictions against South Africa, and highlighted the importance of saving every single job when it came to tackling youth unemployment. She wanted to know whether or not the restriction was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the Western Cape economy by the national Department.

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) asked what strategies were in place to increase accessibility of programmes such as the R20 million incubator programme in the presentation by being cognizant of the Covid-19 restrictions on social distance. He wanted to know how the Department planned to reach those that could not physically access their offices and did not have internet access at home.

He understood that experiential learning programmes would require physical attendance. Under the current COVID-19 restrictions, he wanted to know what measures the Department had put in place to ensure that youth still had access to those programmes.

How much did the youth get for their monthly stipends?

The Chairperson asked the Department if an analysis had been undertaken to examine the effect of COVID-19 on employment by per age group and by women vs men. She specifically enquired about youth unemployment data as a direct result of COVID-19.

Ms R Windvogel (ANC) made reference to the booster fund in the presentation, and noted the lack of reference made to how the fund was being used in rural areas. She emphasised that the Western Cape included both metro and rural areas.  

She commented on youth unemployment and the content on slide nine of the presentation. The Department had painted a perfect picture which was incompatible with reality when Members did their constituency work. She therefore requested the Department to give examples of their success in tackling youth unemployment, such as which communities in which geographical location had benefited from those programmes.

She asked the Department to furnish members with a report on the current and future skills demand in the province.

Minister’s response

Minister Maynier agreed that it was incontrovertible that what had taken place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng would have a negative impact on the economic growth outlook of both the province and the country. Usually, the provincial economic growth was slightly higher than the national level, but they remained trailing behind one another. At this stage, the Department did not have sufficient reliable information to indicate the exact magnitude of the impact, but his Department would make further announcements in due course as more data became available.

Responding to Ms Baartman’s question on the provincial government’s mitigation strategy, he said that at the moment, the provincial government’s focus was on its immediate objective, which was to ensure that businesses were safe, open and trading in the province. To achieve that objective, the province had established a response plan which was a joint law enforcement initiative in the Western Cape, including private security companies, community watchers, as well as metro police. The police were focusing on protecting distribution centres, warehouses and business premises and were rapidly responding to any reported incidents. He informed the Committee that there had not been one report of unrest and looting so far in the province.

Minister Maynier assured the Committee that the challenge of taxi violence was being dealt with jointly by the provincial Department and the national government.

He said that the U.S. Delta airline would be resuming flights to South Africa from 1 August, but it would resume only its Atlanta-Johannesburg route, leaving out the Cape Town route. Currently there appeared to be no reasonable explanation on why Delta Airline had decided to drop its triangular Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town route. He assumed that it could have been caused by a breach of certain agreements reached between the South African and US governments. He remarked that the prohibition was mystifying, as the triangular route had been approved by other major airlines. Minister Maynier said he had been in contact with the national Minister of Transport, and was waiting for a response. He made it clear that the Western Cape regarded the role of this route to be vital to economic recovery. Hence, it was escalating this matter robustly. He hoped that he would be given a response by this week, and would keep Members informed once he received the response.

Department’s response

Mr Joseph responded to the issue of people’s accessibility to the presented programmes. He said that those programmes were advertised on social media platforms and on their websites, and the Minister also used various opportunities to engage with communities. In addition, the government also identified the characteristics of unemployed youth, which thus allowed firms to seek out and match them with the programme beneficiaries. The government’s view was that firms were always the best to identify which types of candidates that they needed, because a candidate that worked well within one firm did not mean that they would work well at another firm. He guaranteed that nearly all candidates came from low-income households and from areas that had a high level of unemployment.

Mr Joseph admitted that the physical presence aspect of experiential learning had certainly been affected by the lockdown. Firms found it difficult to train workers whilst adhering to the social distance protocol. He also highlighted the fiscal and physical constraints for firms as a result of COVID-19. Firms were just trying to keep their heads above water, so they had less time and resources to provide training for young, inexperienced workers. He informed the Committee that all the programmes he had mentioned in the presentation were significantly over-subscribed as of May 2021. The Department could easily add another 20 000 places if there was the fiscal space to do so.

Mr Joseph said that the Department did not have data on the impact of Covid-19 on unemployment for women vs men, as it did not do research on that. However, it recognised the hardship that youth must be feeling at the moment, because firms were more likely to employ someone with experience. Furthermore, the disruption in education and private education had made it even harder for youth to develop hard skills.

He responded to Ms Windvogel’s comment on why the feeling among constituents and on the ground was not an example of the success the presentation had portrayed. He explained that the unemployment issue was not a provincial one, but countrywide -- and even a continental issue. Hence, the performance of the Western Cape in tackling unemployment could be compared only against peer provinces. Some of the issues would need a collaborative approach and the support of the national government to enable certain legislation. For instance, the issue of energy was a key constraint towards the expansion and growth of the manufacturing sector, but the performance of the sector was not within the provincial government’s control. Also, investors’ concerns on the amendment of land expropriation without compensation also made it hard for Wesgro and the province to attract investment if such a key piece of legislation still in the air.

Mr Joseph responded to Ms Windvogel’s question on skills demand, and said that the programme had produced a skills intelligence report, which was one of the first of such kind of a report in the country. The Department had approached popular job searching tools such as Career 24 and Career Junctions, and had analysed all the advertised jobs to understand the demand as well as the skills required in the labour market. On the supply side, the Department also had memorandums of agreement (MOAs) with its national counterparts to get a sense of the skills supply. Hence, based on the need and the supply, the Department was able to devise more effective intervention strategies to identify the gaps where the growing job opportunities were.

Mr Joshua Wolmarans, Director: Enterprise Development, DEDAT, responded to the Member's question on the booster fund. He explained that the criteria for the booster fund were stated upfront --that it focused on youth, women and people with disabilities. Social media workshops had been held in communities to get businesses in townships to apply. He assured Ms Windvogel that the funding scheme was for both metro and rural-based businesses. There were indeed rural businesses and businesses in townships that had benefited from the fund.

Mr Joseph said the stipend for the BPO was R2 500 per month, for the working skills programme it was R3 000, and for artisanal training programme it was R7 000. He explained that the figure had to be subject to the existing agreements of bargaining councils, and the Department did not pay the full amount of the R7 000, as firms were also asked to make their contribution towards that figure.

Follow up questions

Mr Mackenzie asked about the Department’s communication strategy and if every community group knew about the programmes in the presentation.

Mr A Van der Westhuizen (DA) asked how the Department selected the right learner for the right learning opportunities. Did they check references from their former teachers to ensure those learners had the right attitude for those programmes.

Ms N Nkondlo (ANC) enquired about the flagship project, and asked how much had been spent, how many had benefited from the programme and how many had been absorbed into full time jobs.

Department's response

Mr Joseph said that the Department understood that most youth were on social media and rarely read newspapers, hence it did not use newspapers to advertise those programmes. Information about these programme was also available on its website. There were also other programmes where the Department had engagements with communities and industry chambers to promote and prioritise the employment of youth.

He said that the Department did not select individuals, but provided a list of criteria from which firms themselves ultimately selected candidates according to their needs and what they looked for in a prospective employee.

The output number of experiential learning could be submitted to the Committee in writing. The Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), which was a division of the National Treasury, had conducted studies over the past nine years to track the beneficiaries and their career trajectories. However, Mr Joseph affirmed that these programmes had provided learners with a more rounded education, thus preparing them for the job market.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology presentation

Prof Mellet Moll, Compliance and Risk Officer: Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), briefed the Committee on the COVID-19 response in the higher education sector.

CPUT’s vaccination programme initiative was the highlight of the presentation. Details can be found in the presentation slides. Prof Moll said that this initiative was one of the first in the Western Cape and CPUT had partnered with other higher learning institutions and assisted them in the roll out of vaccination programme.


Mr Mackenzie asked Prof Moll how the university had funded the vaccination programme, as he believed that it must be very costly.

Could the vaccination initiative and the valuable experience learnt at CPUT be shared with less capacitated institutions of learning?

The Chairperson noted with delight that the presentation stated that there had stated there had been no major statistical change to students’ success rate as a result of COVID-19. She wanted to understand if the success rate included the students’ retention rate. She said it was worrying that quite a number of first-year students were dropping out of the system after Year 1. She thus asked if the pandemic had exacerbated that, or if the university had been able to stabilise the retention rate in spite of the pandemic.  

CPUT's response

Prof Moll responded to the funding question raised by Mr MacKenzie. The University had received a request to submit a budget for its COVID-19 response last year just after the lockdown announcement had been made. This request came as a bit of a shock to the university, as society at large had believed that the country would weather the pandemic very quickly. The university had submitted its COVID-19 budget response to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The university had also made provision for certain costs to be reallocated in order to contribute towards the COVID-19 fund, as certain equipment would be used less as teaching was gradually shifting to an online environment.

He assured Members that the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) was audited very regularly. The university was also making sure that it was in contact with DHET, to inform it of the specific COVID-related costs. As the country became more used to the new normal, the COVID-19 budget had also become part of the normal operational budget of the university. Ensuring compliance was also a key issue.

In response to the question around sharing experience, Prof Moll explained that through its vaccination initiative, the university had started to build up a repository of protocols and principles that had been proven to work. It was also aware of the lack of capacity to administer such a mission among the many other higher learning institutions, such as technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges. CPUT was actually managing the vaccination programmes in many TVET colleges. CPUT and many other leading universities had developed a higher national vaccination strategy which was currently being circulated, and had reached the inter-ministerial vaccination committee. He therefore stressed the key role that higher learning institutions also played in the vaccination process.

Prof Moll responded to the retention rate question, and said there were teaching and learning enrolment targets every year to be achieved in the academic sector. The observation was that there was always over-subscription during students’ registration. Although the set targets had still been met, he agreed that there may have been students dropping out the system.

Follow up questions

Mr Mackenzie enquired about the partnership arrangements with social partners and corporates in data provision for university students.

Ms Nkondlo asked Prof Moll to elaborate on the mechanisms that the university used to detect non-compliance. What was the cost of such mechanisms? She further asked if there was any chance that such mechanisms could be replicated outside of campus sphere and be applied in townships and malls.

She wanted to know whether the majority of CPUT students came from poor, working class communities. If so, she wanted to know what some of the behavioural trends were that were driving challenges and pressure at CPUT. She highlighted that hunger remained a prevalent issue among students.

CPUT's response

Prof Moll responded that universities had established partnerships with the private sector for students’ data provision. When Covid-19 had first started last year, some network providers had reached out to universities and were willing to assist them to provide data at a reduced rate or free of charge for a certain period. However, the offer had long expired. Universities had looked well in advance and were regularly injecting more funds to cover data costs. The fund was solicited from alumni etc. Such a fund also had helped in providing laptops to students. The current arrangement with those network providers was just a standard commercial arrangement, with no reduced rate.

He elaborated on the management of non-compliance technology development. For instance, there were cameras installed in various places on campus. If someone was not wearing a mask, it would trigger the alarm and beep. Currently, the technology was being tested and had been developed by the university’s own research units. He had faced two options in ensuring mask compliance on campus. The first was to install the technology, and the second was to employ 50 people patrolling campus. The latter was proven to be an expensive task and the technology seemed to be working well. He would make the information available to Ms Nkondlo.

Prof Moll acknowledged the psycho-social effect on poor working class students. What had been observed was that often those students distanced themselves from academic institutions. The COVID-19 pandemic had only made the distance bigger. In response, the university had to make available a service such as a helpline to support students. Depression and potential suicide had increased among student communities. The University was trying its best to ensure that there were certain activities on campus. Also, it was in regular contact with the Students Representative Council (SRC). A new feeding scheme had been developed to try to help poor students. However, said that the support was never enough for students, as many of the issues students faced remained a national challenge.

Briefing by Department of Health’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr Keith Cloete, Head of Department, briefed the Committee on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of the youth population.

Dr Rene Nassen, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Lentegeur Hospital, explained to Members the types of mental health support that her sector provided to youth. Various recommendations had been made in order to help those youth who were struggling to cope under the pandemic. It was agreed that the pandemic had certainly exacerbated mental health issues among the youth.

For details of the presentation, please refer to the slides.


Mr Mackenzie emphasised the impact of hunger on the mental well-being of the poor students. He therefore asked how the Department translated this point into its food strategy to ensure that people who were struggling did not have to deal with this challenge.

Ms Nkondlo enquired about the working relationship between the Western Cape Department of Health with the provincial Department of Social Development and the Children’s Commission. She emphasised the importance of all these stakeholders working together so that those social problems could be improved. She also wanted the Department to provide details of the responses and examples of these stakeholders’ collaborative work.

She referred to the traumatic experiences such as mass shooting that children living in informal settlement were exposed to on a daily basis. She thus asked if a tele-psychiatry service was available in rural areas and poor areas in the metro.  

Ms Windvogel asked to what extent the pandemic had contributed to an increase of alcohol and drug abuse in the province.  

What was the solution to the pervasive hunger experience that many poor people were facing in the province?  

Mr Van der Westhuizen commented on the psychological effect of hunger, and asked to what extent that hunger among people had shaped the public psyche which had resulted in the unrest last week.

Department's response

Dr Cloete agreed with Members’ concern that hunger had a huge impact on mental well-being, and said that information on that had been made available to all heads of departments (HODs) in the province. Various discussions had been held, and another discussion was due on Monday. The understanding was that all the HODs must work collectively to respond to this issue of hunger and its effect on mental wellness. To deal with issue of access to food, Dr Cloete indicated that his Department was working closely with other departments such as Department of Culture and Sports, the Department of Education, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, and the Department of Agriculture. It was also working with communities in addition to a partnership with the Department of Social Development, to tackle the issue.

He confirmed that there was a very good working relationship between the Department and Commissioner for Children. He looked forward to more inter-sectoral engagements with the Commissioner. The Department also looked forward to more initiatives from the Commissioner so that it could work together inter-sectorally for the well-being of children in the province. 

Dr Cloete responded to Ms Nkondlo that psychiatry was the very tip of the very long iceberg of mental health issues. It dealt with psychiatric conditions, and the province currently had very scarce resources for dealing with child and adolescent psychiatry. What was underneath the tip was the mental health issue. The Department was working with non-profit organisations (NPOs) to pull together all the resources in each geographical area to look at coping mechanisms. For instance, he emphasised the devastating impact of taxi violence on young people living on the Cape Flats.

He told Ms Windvogel that mental health had indeed been stretched by COVID-19 from a coping perspective. If the first cause of mental health was hunger, the secondary outcome would be attempted suicide and drug abuse. Hospitals in areas such as Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain were getting full, not only because of COVID patients but also because of the increasing number of patients suffering from alcohol and substance use. The Department’s response to address the issue was adhering to its framework, which included five principles. These five principles included looking after nutrition, looking out for violence and substance abuse, nurturing and caring for children, improving relationships and basic health, and increasing learning and economic opportunities.

Dr Cloete agreed with Mr Van der Westhuizen that indeed the riots that had taken place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were caused by the hopelessness and helplessness of people not being able to cope with the overwhelming circumstances of poverty and deprivation.

Dr Nassen said that access to mental health services was the key issue, as the private sector relied heavily on technology to do counselling sessions. However, this had become a bit more difficult for her hospital, as they had to rely on socially-distanced face-to-face sessions. She also tried to use telephonic means to provide a mental health service, but the difficulty was that some families did not have a mobile phone, or sufficient data to make calls. Then their contact numbers changed regularly, which made it very hard to maintain contact with the poorest of families. What her hospital had managed was to maintain the regular sessions between psychologist, occupational therapist, child and adolescent psychiatrist, and offered a combination of telephonic and face-to-face sessions.

Dr Nassen said that it was difficult to implement tele-psychiatry programmes due to social-distance protocols, but it was well on its way to provide support to their colleagues at the primary-level of care.

Briefing by Jelly Beanz

Ms Edith Kriel, Executive Director, Jelly Beanz, briefed the Committee on the impact COVID-19 on the mental health of youth. Jelly Beanz was a non-profit organisation (NPO) that provided response and preventive child protection services to children and their families in the Western Cape.

She highlighted the vulnerable position that children were in, even before COVID-19. One in three children were sexually abused in South Africa. The pandemic certainly exacerbated that vulnerability. Her organisation had noted that there had been a significant increase in violence during the lockdown, and this had taken a toll on children’s mental development.

She pointed out that it was an issue of grave concern that most child protection services, which should be essential and remain operating, had been closed during the lockdown. Hence, many children were unable to find the help that they needed. She noted the devastating impact of alcohol consumption and its negative impact on children.

Ms Kriel emphasised the need to explain to children the meaning of death and to help them grieve. This was especially important, as some children had lost their parents in this pandemic.

She noted the increase in depression, suicide, lack of motivation and hopelessness among children in this pandemic.

She concluded her presentation with a list of recommendations to promote and prioritise children’s welfare and interest.


The Chairperson asked Ms Kriel whether or not there was literature available for parents to help them in dealing with children of different ages, such as what to do, what not to do and what to watch out for.

Mr G Bosman (DA) asked Ms Kriel what she would recommend to increase the participation of children in terms of how Parliament operates. He raised this issue in relation to the engagement around the Children’s Amendment Act, and asked how society could involve children in the decision-making process.

Ms Nkondlo asked Ms Kriel what the situation was like in poor areas, and if there was the kind of organisation that worked in the space of children to provide mental health support, as Jelly Beanz did.

She drew Members' attention to the rising issue of adultification as a result of COVID-19, where children had lost their parents and elder siblings had had to take over the parental responsibilities. She asked Ms Kriel if she could give some more details on the issue.

Ms Nkondlo raised the issue of child-on-child sexual abuse, which she believed had a direct link to the easy access to pornography these days. She noted that with the convenience of internet, it was much easier for children today to access pornography than before. Hence, she asked if NPOs were working with publications to promote anti-pornography and monitor viewers’ age.

Jelly Beanz response

Ms Kriel confirmed that there was available literature to assist parents on what to do and what not to do for children of different age groups. There was a wealth of such literature which could be found online. However, she highlighted the fact that the majority of people in the country and her clients did not have the luxury of internet access, and were thus unable to have access to the content. She said there was a common pattern among many of those resources which would always say if you were concerned about your child, seek help. The more pertinent question was where parents could get the help from. She described the insufficient capacity in her sector, where mental support services were being absolutely overrun by needs. There were simply too few resources to seek help from. She questioned where to seek help from for the majority who did not have internet access, and many services that provided mental health support had closed their doors as a result of COVID-19. This was a serious concern.

Ms Kriel acknowledged the importance for children to participate in the messaging that was going out. She encouraged more engagement with Commissioner for Children, Early Children Development (ECD) practitioners and other experts that worked on children’s’ issues.  

She said that the presence of organisations such as Jelly Beanz in poorer areas was very scarce. To her knowledge, Jelly Beanz was the only children’s mental health organisation from the Red Cross Children’s hospital on the West Coast. She remarked that the government and society were really failing the children in terms of looking after their mental health. Most of the referrals that Jelly Beanz gave were children who were sexually abused, but that could not be the full picture of mental illnesses among children. What happened with children that needed other mental health interventions?

She confirmed the existence of parentification of elder siblings in poorer communities. It had existed prior to COVID, and the pandemic had only exacerbated the trend. Her organisation was aware of a 13-year old girl in De Noon who was looking after three younger siblings, one of whom was an infant baby.

Ms Kriel said that there had been a significant increase in child-on-child sexual abuse in the past several years. Although pornography was one of the contributing factors, she did not believe that it was the only contributing factor. Some were caused by children’s bonding problem with their care givers. Those children just craved some kind of human contact. They reached out to other children for affection, and then the human contact turns into something sexual. She believed that avoiding talking about sexuality was not the way to go, nor was controlling children’s access to sexual content. She believed that children needed to be taught and told about sexuality. Instead of adults telling children to look away when there was sexual content being displayed on TV, caregivers needed to talk to children and make them understand what happened in such content in a mature way.

The meeting was adjourned.


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