Regulations under the Child Care Act: deliberations

Social Development

24 March 1998
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WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
25 March 1998
REGULATIONS UNDER THE CHILD CARE ACT: DELIBERATIONS

As the newly drafted regulations have only just become available and need to be published on the 1 April 1998 when the provisions of the amended Child Care Act come into effect, the committee had little time to deliberate on the regulations.

This did give rise to much concern on the part of the committee members, particularly Mr George (NP), Ms Turok (ANC) and Ms Gandhi (ANC). Although the ethos of the new Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Child were definitely apparent in the newly drafted regulations, it was felt that they needed to be scrutinised and checked. It was finally agreed upon to accept the regulations as the urgency to implement a single Child Care Act over the eleven provinces called for this. However it was passed with the proviso that the department inform the committee of a timetable for concluding the drafting of a new Child Care Act as it did not even appear on this year's programme. The departmental law advisor, Adv Mike Masutha, was instructed to convey the message. If any committee member discovered any anomalies in the regulations, they could call a meeting in the next couple of days but the publishing of the regulations would go ahead.

Prior to agreeing to accept the regulations, Adv Mike Masutha, highlighted certain aspects of the regulations. He pointed out that the insertion of new Regulation 4a (dealing with Legal representation for a child) into the current regulations would not come into effect on 1 April 1998 (likewise Section 2 of the amended Act) as the Justice Department lacked the resources. This would be held in indefinite suspension until alternative arrangements could be made.

He then drew the committee's attention to the definition of canalisation as laid out in Regulation 1 as well as Regulation 2 which sets out the appointment procedures for the canalisation of reports whereby social worker reports are verified as proficient. This has been broadened to include not only the Department but court officials and social workers from welfare organisations so defined by the Act. This concerned Ms Gandhi as she felt that leaving such a responsibility to officials other than the department would result in a loss of control. Adv Masutha pointed out that other alternatives had to be provided where no other possibility existed, for example, the rural areas.

Lastly Adv Masutha referred to the protection measures as provided for by the insertion of 39A and 39B in the Regulations. These regulations clarify the follow-up action and procedures when child abuse and malnutrition have been identified. This involves the notification of the Director-General. It further establishes the National Child Protection Register whereby the Clerk of the Criminal Court must refer names of all convicted in such cases to a national register.

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