ATC080305: Report Oversight Visit to Pretoria to consult national Departments on the Children’s Amendment Bill
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the oversight visit to Pretoria to consult national Departments on the Children’s Amendment Bill, dated 5 March 2008.
The Portfolio Committee on Social Development having undertaken an oversight visit to Pretoria from 31 July to 3 August 2007 reports as follows:
The Children’s Amendment Bill was passed by the National Council of Provinces and transmitted to the National Assembly for concurrence on the 29th May 2007. The portfolio committee took a decision to visit national Departments especially those mostly affected by the bill. The Department of Social Development was the host Department for the visit and the Committee requested that the Department allocate staff to accompany the Committee for the week, and to confirm and coordinate with the identified Departments and organisations.
The following Departments were visited:
1) Department of Social Development
2) Department of Education
3) Department of Correctional Services
4) Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
The following municipalities were visited
1) City of Tshwane
2) City of Johannesburg
The following organisations or facility centres were also visited:
1) Abba house (Adoption agency)
2) Tshwane place of safety (Foster care)
3) Leamogetswe Centre (Orphanage)
4) Prinshof School ( Blind and partially sighted children)
5) South African Congress for Early Childhood Development
6) Pretoria Secondary School (Children in need)
7) Tshwane Home of Hope (Shelter for street children)
8) Nulock prison
9) Tutela place of safety (Juvenile Centre)
2.1 The purpose of the visits was threefold:
1) To raise awareness on the bill.
2) To evaluate the state of readiness of the Departments to implement the bill.
3) To interact with a sample of organisations or centres affected by the bill.
3.1 The multi-party delegation led by the Chairperson, Ms T J Tshivhase, MP (ANC) comprised the following members:
§ Adv T Masutha, MP (ANC)
§ Ms H I Bogopane-Zulu, MP (ANC)
§ Ms I W Direko, MP (ANC)
§ Ms M M Gumede, MP (ANC)
§ Mr K W Morwamoche, MP (ANC)
§ Mr L P M Nzimande, MP (ANC)
§ Mr B M Solo, MP (ANC)
§ Mr J B Sibanyoni, MP (ANC)
§ Ms J Semple, MP (DA)
§ Ms H Weber, MP (DA)
§ Mr B Skosana, MP (IFP)
3.2 At the Department of Social Development the delegation was welcomed by the Deputy Minister, Ms Swanson-Jacobs and the Deputy Director General Ms Vuyelwa Nhlapo.
3.3 At the Department of Education the delegation was welcomed by the Director-General, Mr Duncan Hindle.
3.4 At the Department of Correctional Services the delegation was welcomed by the Chief Deputy Commissioner, Ms Sishuba.
3.5 At the Department of Justice the delegation was welcomed by Deputy Director-General, Advocate Jiyane.
3.6 The following staff members accompanied the Committee:
1. Ms Z Vice , Committee Secretary,
2. Ms B Madikane, Committee Assistant,
3. Ms Y Nogenga, Committee Researcher.
4. APPROACH OF THE VISIT
Each day started with a briefing by the Department and followed by an outreach visit to the identified organisations.
The Departments briefed the committee on the following;
1) The interDepartmental committee responsible for the implementation of the bill.
2) The readiness of the Department to implement the promulgated sections of the bill.
3) The challenges the Departments have and how to address such challenges.
5. VISIT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
5.1 Welcoming by the Deputy Minister, Ms Swanson-Jacobs
5.2 Briefing by the Chief Director, Dr Mabetoa
5.1 Welcoming speech by the Deputy Minister
1) The Deputy Minister welcomed the Members of the Portfolio Committee. She indicated that, as that was the first visit of the Committee to the Department, they would ensure that the Department would do everything to make the visit pleasant.
2) She commended the Committee for taking the initiative to visit the Department of Social Development and the Gauteng province with the aim to maintain oversight and to establish whether the government and civil society have adequate services and readiness of strategies to implement the new child care legislation.
5.2 Briefing by the Chief Director, Dr Mabetoa
Dr Mabetoa briefly gave an overview on the following:
5.2.1 InterDepartmental Steering Committee
1) The Committee comprises of members from the Department of Social Development, which is the leading Department; Department of Justice and Constitutional Development; South African Police Services; South African Law Reform Commission; Department of Education; Department of Housing; Department of Home Affairs; UNICEF; Office on Right of the Child in the Presidency; Department of Labour; Department of Correctional Services; National Treasury; Department of Provincial and Local government and Foreign Affairs.
2) The extended committee comprising of steering committee and the Department of Social Development provincial coordinators.
3) One of the functions of the Children’s Bill steering Committee is to oversee the finalisation of the Bill in terms of a uniform approach to policy, strategies, the costing of the Bill and the development of regulations.
5.2.2 Readiness of the Department to implement the promulgated sections
1) The 43 sections of the Children’s Act that were operationalised as of 01 July 2007 do not need regulations and do not have serious financial implications for the state.
2) The new sections do not impose new obligations to the Department of Social Development but special attention should be given to the children’s rights and principles underpinning the Act, Children with disabilities and chronic illnesses, HIV testing and counselling, parental rights and responsibilities and the age of maturity.
3) There are implications for other Departments; for example, the ones for the Department of Health are provision of contraceptives, children’s rights and principles underpinning the Act, children with disabilities and chronic illnesses, information on health care and HIV testing.
4) The implications for the Department of Justice are access to courts, children with disabilities and chronic illnesses, children’s rights and principles underpinning the Act, parental rights and responsibilities (family advocate and counsellors).
5) The Department of Justice indicated that in some areas it does not have enough family counsellors, such as, social workers.
5.2.3 Readiness of the Department to implement the
1) The communication strategy is being planned with the Steering Committee and the Communication Directorate.
2) The costing report was finalised in July 2006.
3) The monitoring and evaluation system is being developed in the Department.
4) The National Treasury provided the Department with funding to create the Chief Directorate Children with three directors and a manager for the Children’s Act.
5.2.4 Implementation plans
1) Government Departments are expected to develop plans on how to implement the Act.
2) The Department of Social Development plan will incorporate the National and all provincial plans.
3) Departments have to indicate their plans pertaining to demand for services vs. existing services, priorities, roll-out of services, roll-out of personnel including new personnel requirements.
5.2.5 Strategy for the retention and recruitment of social workers
The following are the objectives of the strategy:
1) To provide a framework for the recruitment and retention of social workers as learners and professionals that will be committed to render services where they are most needed in the country to reposition the social work profession to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
2) To promote a positive image of social work as a career choice.
3) To address the concerns and conditions of service that impact negatively on service provision.
4) Recruitment of students is imperative.
5) Education, training and development of social workers in practice.
6) Student training.
7) Exchange programme nationally and internationally.
1) Human resources
2) Need for a phased in approach
3) Communication strategy
5.2.7 The following concerns were raised by the Committee:
1) The presentation did not elaborate on the Departments that are on the steering committee.
2) The synergy between Community Development Workers and social workers.
3) The Film and Publication Board should be involved because young children watch x-rated movies without the permission or knowledge of parents.
4) The South African Broadcasting Corporation should be consulted.
5) The Committees comprises of the people from urban areas. Why are the people from rural areas not included?
6) The majority of people were not properly consulted.
7) The implementation of grants differs from province to province although Parliament passes one bill or legislation.
On the basis of the above, the Committee recommends that:
1) It is critical for the Department to convince the Committee that they had done enough about the bill even if the whole process could lead to the sunset clause.
2) The Directorate on Children should speed up its programmes or responsibilities like SASSA has done.
3) The Parliamentary Research Unit together with the Law Commission should come up with a comprehensive report of the background of the bill.
4) The report should clarify all the processes that led to the bill.
5) The Department should provide the committee with the list of the steering committee members.
5.4 The Department also submitted that:
1) The core group of the steering committee that always attends is the South African Police Services, Department of Justice, Department of Health usually sends someone and the Local government does not attend at all.
2) The SAPS indicated that because of lack of resources, it is not always easy for them to produce a document on people who had committed crimes against children.
3) The steering committee comprises of National Departments and only provides workshops at provincial level.
4) Most provinces do not have directorates on children but the Department is putting pressure on them to have Early Childhood Development as a priority.
5) The Department of Education blocked the bill for a long time because of disagreement with a lot of issues and there is still a conflict on what needs to be done, for example, the bill proposes that twelve year old children should be allowed access to contraceptives but the Department of Education does not want condoms to be available on school premises.
6) The issue of refugee children is not accounted for in the bill.
7) Comprehensive information about undocumented minor and refugee children should be compiled.
8) Monitoring and evaluation – the Department indicated that this is a challenge but it is putting a system in place to be ready when the bill is finalised.
6. VISIT TO THE ABBA HOUSE – ADOPTION AGENCY
1) This is a faith based organisation that has a strong spiritual foundation.
2) It provides adoption counselling balanced on the combination of adoption theory and Biblical principles.
3) They have strong partnerships with other role-players in the field such as, SA Cares for Life.
The adoption programme is as follows:
6.1 Birthparent care
1) Birth parents are an equally important part of any adoption programme but are usually rejected and excluded from the adoption process.
2) The facility is of the view that the birth mother should hold the authority to make the final decision.
3) The Abba Adoptions Head Office counsels about 130 birthmothers per year who indicate that they are adoption minded.
4) Birth mothers receive free housing at the SA Cares birth mother home for the last trimester of their pregnancy and also receive assistance with all medical care for themselves and their unborn children.
5) The facility also gives spiritual and emotional care to birth mothers as they direct the adoption process.
6) Birth mothers have input in the future placement and have the opportunity to meet the adoptive parents and also the right to receive letters and photos for a certain period after the adoption has been finalised.
7) Through the network partner the facility has started a skills development and job creation programme.
8) They offer training in catering, beadwork, banking and the establishment of small business.
9) All of the services are rendered free of charge.
10) The facility does not receive any form of subsidy for these services.
11) The only income is received from donations and the official adoption fee charged by the facility.
12) The monthly cost for the running of the project is around R56 000.00 and this includes salaries, rent, medical care, electricity, transport and food.
6.2 Baby Care
1) The facility has 17 Halfway Homes where not more than six children are legally placed with parents pending their permanent placement.
2) The facility also focuses on individualised and family-like care in their baby homes.
3) The vast majority of the babies admitted are either there because they have been abandoned or because they have been relinquished by their birthparents for adoption.
6.2.1 The following concerns were raised by the agency:
1) Section 239(d) of the Child Care Act, Act 38 of 2005, stipulates that in future all adoption applications must be accompanied by a letter from the provincial head of social development recommending the adoption of the child.
2) The agency is of the view that this requirement can lead to further serious delays in an already long and complicated adoption process.
6.3 National adoptions
1) Abba’s belief is that it is in the best interest of a child to be placed with a same-race South African family within South Africa as an adoption placement of first choice.
2) The majority of the children are black and therefore the focus is on finding more black adoptive families in South Africa.
3) Abba has seen in practice that the knowledge of the realities of adoptions is very limited in most black families.
4) In partnership with other role-players, they have started with an awareness and recruitment campaign.
5) They have undertaken various activities like, hosting a national adoption conference, media campaigns, establishing cultural reality groups, focusing on transforming adoption practices and procedures and have done extensive research regarding cultural realities and adoption.
6) This has led to an increase in the number of black same-race adoptions in their programme.
7) The agency also has a comprehensive white same-race adoption programme.
6.4 Inter-country adoptions
1) Although legal inter-country adoptions have been taking place for more than fifty years across the world, it is a relatively new practice in South Africa.
2) The Child Care Act, Act 74 of 1983 did not make provision for foreigners to legally adopt from South Africa.
3) Abba was the first social welfare organisation to start with legal inter-country adoptions through a children’s court in South Africa.
4) The organisation has a working agreement with a couple of contract partners in Europe and Scandinavia.
6.5 It was further provided that:
1) One carer cares for three babies and is assisted by volunteers.
2) They have an agreement with Woolworths who provides free skills development.
3) The primary aim of the agency is to re-unite children with their families or community and adoption is usually the last option.
4) Some embassies are involved in the adoption process.
5) There are no individual arrangements on inter-country adoptions, they work with other agencies.
6) After care (inter-country adoptions) agencies do not ask for feedback because there are requirements that each country needs to comply with.
7) Holland uses video interaction after care and there is a central register for all the inter-country adoptions.
8) The agency has no experience of the children wanting to go or come back to their countries of origin.
9) There are structures in place for feedback purposes; if something happens to a child the state takes the responsibility.
10) It is still difficult for same sex partners to adopt although legally they should be allowed to adopt.
7. VISIT TO TSHWANE PLACE OF SAFETY – FOSTER CARE
1) The facility is 4 years old and focuses on children in crisis, and it is a coordinating body to various welfare organisations so it does not charge adoption fees.
2) It provides abandoned, abused, sick and orphaned babies with spiritual, emotional and physical care.
3) The facility does not do statutory work.
4) The facility does not have a policy on Aids testing of children but if the child arrives at the facility seriously ill, doctors do ask to test the child and the centre has to agree or give consent.
5) A child that needs to have an operation – the facility has a relationship with private hospitals but works more closely with Kalafong hospital.
6) The operation is usually done with affordable fees or free of charge.
7) The facility is a private NGO and prefers to operate or stay like that.
8. VISIT TO LEAMOGETSWE SAFETY HOME
1) The home has been operating since 1994 in Spoornet containers but was only registered in 2004, and did not have any form of financial assistance and depended on donations.
8.1 The Home faces challenges such as:
1) The relationship with the Department of Social Development is not healthy.
2) The Department reduced a number of children in the home from 32 to 23 without discussing the matter with the home.
3) In 2006 the home was given a social worker to monitor its activities, the social worker mentioned that the home was not meeting the standards required but never gave any suggestions on how the home could improve its standards.
4) The social worker does not regularly visit the home.
5) The home has to discharge children who are 18 years old. The problem is the home does not have a place where these children should go because most of them are orphans.
6) The home would like to accommodate these orphans but the lack of funds and infrastructure is a problem.
7) Children are involved in skills development like, life skills, sport, bead work and sewing, gardening and jewellery making.
8.2 Recommendations by the Committee
1) The Home should have been given suggestions on improvement of standards.
2) The community, especially, the mayor should be involved in the project.
3) The Committee suggested that the facility forward the correspondence of the interaction between the home and the Department to the Committee, for further follow ups.
4) The Committee would discuss the issue of reduction on the number of children with the Department of Social Development.
5) The Department officials who were in attendance during the visit promised to help the centre.
9. VISIT TO PRINSHOF SCHOOL FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
1) The school is a multi-cultural, dual-medium (Afrikaans and English) school.
2) The school caters for 320 blind and partially sighted learners from grade R to grade 12, and, approximately 50% of the learners are from previously disadvantaged communities.
3) Learners are drawn from all over the country and hostel accommodation is provided for 180 learners who cannot travel to school on daily basis.
4) School transport is provided for learners who are not able to use public transport or cannot be dropped off at school by parents.
5) The school also has a Department dedicated to the needs of learners with multiple handicaps.
6) There is also a special education section which focuses on practical skills that can contribute towards the placement of learners in the economic sector.
7) The school comprises of 48 educators and 45 non-educator staff.
8) Learners follow the same curriculum as learners at mainstream schools in Gauteng and write the standard senior certificate examinations.
9) The school has a 100% matric pass record for 10 consecutive years.
10) The school has an active sports programme which includes swimming, athletics, soccer, judo and gymnasium.
11) Learners are given an opportunity to participate in the annual SA Championships for the Physically Disabled.
12) Other extra-mural activities include art, different choirs and singing ensembles, ballroom dancing, tap dancing, orchestras and individual music lessons.
13) Learners are encouraged to participate in the school’s own learner council and the Junior City Council of Pretoria.
14) Auxiliary services at the school include two educational psychologists, two occupational therapists, a nursing sister, a general medical clinic and low vision evaluation by an ophthalmologist and optometrist who do voluntary work in the eye-clinic.
9.1 The school also highlighted the following:
1) Arts, Culture and Sport are very important at the school.
2) The school has not experienced the problem of pregnancy among the learners.
3) The school receives funding from the Nordic countries.
9.2 The challenges faced by the school are:
1) Braille printing equipment is only available in the Western Cape.
2) It is difficult to maintain the premises.
3) The school is in need of donations to renovate the buildings, and the fire escape is very old and is crumbling, and there is no fire escape in the hostel and this is a health hazard.
4) The hostel accommodation is provided from grade one as the school does not have enough facilities for ECD.
5) The government does not pay much attention to facilities like this one.
VISIT TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONGRESS FOR EARLY
CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (SACECD)
10.1 The organisation provided the following information to the Committee:
1) The facility has been an active participant in the civil society input toward the Children’s Amendment Bill since inception.
2) Caregivers should know the stages of the children’s development.
3) There are provincial structures in each province.
4) South African Congress for Early Childhood Development empowers the provinces and wants to expand to 52 regions.
5) By 2010 the country should have about 33 000 teachers trained on Early Childhood Development, and through ECD each child should have equal access to education, all ECD centres should be registered.
6) About 6000 sites on ECD have been opened and are receiving subsidies.
7) Each ECD facility should receive about R100 000 from the local government.
8) SACECD is trying to ensure that all ECD facilities have a data base for people who had committed crimes against children and discourages the employment of offenders.
9) The organisation works with private and community based sites and backyard crèches.
10) The organisation receives subsidy from the Department of Social Development.
11) SACECD has not done much for children with special needs.
12) The Department of Social Development promised to conduct a research on which Department should provide infrastructure for ECD facilities.
13) The local government should ensure the safety of the facilities.
11. VISIT TO PRETORIA SECONDARY SCHOOL (CHILDREN IN NEED)
11.1 The school presented the following information to the
1) The school started five years ago and will produce their first matriculants this year, and is situated in an area affected by drugs and crime.
2) Because of the high crime rate, the school has partnered with the SAPS to educate learners about the consequences of crime.
3) The school has adopted the “don’t talk to strangers” policy to protect the learners.
4) The school has foreign learners who come from various African countries like Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, etc.
5) These learners came to school through their relatives who had abandoned them in flats, refugee centres and shelters.
6) Most of them live in child headed households without any source of income, and every morning the school provides porridge to learners.
7) Some teachers adopt learners.
8) Teenage pregnancy is growing despite efforts to inform and enlighten girls about the implications of motherhood versus school work.
9) This always puts teachers under a lot of pressure as they sometimes have to assist girls when they give birth on the school premises.
11.2 Further information was also provided to the Committee:
1) The school was started because of the influx of children from surrounding townships coming to the city centre.
2) There were many primary schools but a shortage of secondary schools.
3) The school rarely experience cases of xenophobia.
4) The school uses English as a medium of communication, this poses a challenge to some learners who are fluent in French.
5) A book club has been formed for learners to practise their languages.
6) They are allowed to use a dictionary during lessons.
7) It is difficult to get teachers who are fluent in foreign languages.
8) Some teachers provide lunch to learners.
9) The escalation on teenage pregnancy is influenced by the environment.
10) The school has enrolled 676 learners and there are 32 teachers of 60-65% are women.
11) Teachers sympathise with girls who become pregnant but they strongly feel that sometimes the sympathy is misplaced because girls are informed regularly about the disadvantages of teenage pregnancy.
12. VISIT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
12.1 The Department presented the following Committee:
1) Early Childhood Development is a joint responsibility for national and provincial levels.
2) The Department of Education has trained about 5000 Early Childhood Development practitioners.
3) Early Childhood Development challenges – alignment of responsibilities of the different Departments, access for children in rural areas, lack of adequate capacity at district and provincial level to support implementation.
4) Children with disabilities – there is a need for early development in terms of education.
5) Ordinary schools to open up or provide access to children with disabilities.
6) 2000 educators were orientated to ways of screening, identification and assessment of learners with disabilities.
7) The shortage of psychologists and therapists in rural areas is a challenge.
8) The Department of Social Development should work with the Department of Education in the process of implementation so that each Department would be able to understand its responsibilities.
9) Children in need – the Department of Education is on track compared to 10 years ago.
13. VISIT TO TSHWANE HOME OF HOPE (SHELTER FOR STREET CHILDREN)
13.1 The Home presented the following to the Committee:
1) The centre came into being in 2002 and provides shelter to homeless street girls, particularly, in Sunnyside area in Tshwane.
2) This was through an initiative by the National government after a SABC Special Assignment programme had lifted out the desperate plight of many homeless street girls in the inner city of Tshwane.
3) It provides shelter to about 18 girls in the age group of 12 to 18 years of age.
4) The facility has provided shelter to 112 girls of which 61% have been re-integrated through counselling into the community by re-uniting them with their families.
5) Girls are provided life skills training, cultural activities, family reunification, reconstruction and education.
6) The girls are placed in the home by municipal social services.
7) The intention to transfer the home to the provincial or local Department is affecting the home as potential private donors need clarity on the issue.
8) The Home is supposed to get funding of about R250 000.00 from the DSD but the funds should be transferred through the Independent Development Trust and this has not happen for about a year to date.
9) The home survives through once off donations from Vodacom and Rotary Club in the Netherlands.
10) Once these funds become exhausted the home may have to close down.
11) The skills retention process of social workers, psychologists and teachers at the centres is in progress.
The following information was also provided to the Committee:
1) The Department is in the process of training more Early Childhood Development trainers or teachers.
2) The Department should implement an integrated approach.
3) The Department of Social Development should register all ECD facilities, and there should be collaboration with external service providers for quality assurance purposes, external bodies e.g. churches, skills training facilities, play a major role in and out of prison.
4) Cleansing rituals that are performed when offenders are released should be part of the integration with community i.e. to uphold culture.
5) Drugs smuggling is still a continuous problem in prisons.
14. VISIT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
14.1 The Department presented the following to the Committee:
1) Mothers incarcerated with children – the old legislation prescribed that children over two years should be removed from the facility.
2) This was changed to five years but after the issue became controversial the two years was reinstituted.
3) Most prison crèches are not child friendly environments.
4) Children are allowed to attend external crèches in centres where there are none.
5) External organisations provide support to children whose mothers are incarcerated.
6) The Department intends to rehabilitate incarcerated mothers to be ECD teachers.
1) Partial care – facilities are not child friendly.
2) The Department has not registered ECD centres within the confines of the correctional centres, and there is a lot of stigmatisation of ex-offenders.
3) Released offenders usually return to prison and this is a phenomenon that has not been researched.
4) There is a shortage of female prisons.
5) There are only eight centres nationally that accommodates about 4 000 female inmates.
6) Foster care – there is a long waiting list and court process.
7) Personnel need to be trained to deal with children centres.
8) There is a shortage of rehabilitation programmes.
15. VISIT TO NULOCK PRISON (PRETORIA LOCAL CORRECTIONAL CENTRE)
The following information was provided to the Committee by the Head of the prison:
1) The normal capacity of the youth section is 2 160 but the section is over populated and currently has 4 300 youth offenders.
2) The section receives approximately 40-80 offenders per day.
3) There is not much entertainment for the youth.
4) There are offenders who had been awaiting trial for ten years but the average waiting period is one year.
5) White offenders are a minority.
6) There is a problem of infrastructure, for example, the kitchen is small and there is no hospital in the premises only a small clinic.
7) Most offenders are from 16 years old.
8) Restorative justice – encourages children in conflict with the law to be sent to secure facilities where rehabilitation programmes are implemented.
9) Those who are older than 35 years are mostly convicted of rape, murder and shoplifting.
10) Women section – there are 88 offenders, seven have babies and there is a psychologist.
16. VISIT TO TUTELA PLACE OF SAFETY – JUVENILE CENTRE
16.1 The centre presented the following to the Committee:
1) The centre was established in 1950 but was situated in Deerness, Pretoria but in 1979 relocated to Florauna, Pretoria North.
2) The institution was predominantly white but from 1992 children of all races were admitted.
3) The centre comprises three sections i.e. boys, girls and junior.
4) It accommodates 90 boys and girls who are in need of care, from birth to 18 years of age and this includes youth in conflict with the law.
5) A legal process is followed during admission.
6) The programme that is run in the centre caters for physical, emotional, psychological, social and medical needs.
7) Children are prepared for reintegration in the community.
8) The following therapeutic programs are also provided, individual and group work, physical and emotional care, medical care, occupational therapy, HIV Aids and substance abuse awareness, crime prevention, life skills, sexuality, sports and culture, and religious activities.
16.2 The Centre was proud to highlight successes as follows:
1) There have been demographic changes in the centre.
2) The centre admits children of all races.
3) The centre has a good relationship with other schools.
4) Has a multi-disciplinary team which is complemented by volunteers from University of Pretoria.
5) Psychology students from the University of Pretoria assist at the centre.
16.3 Challenges faced by the Centre:
1) Children with psychiatric problems.
2) Social workers leaving the centre.
3) Placement of children to industrial schools.
17. VISIT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL
17.1 The Department presented to the Committee as follows:
1) The bill is more comprehensive.
2) The interventions e.g. Child Headed Households are aligned with other processes, therefore, the personnel is needed and needs to be trained.
3) Children programmes and legislation do not reflect a rights-based approach and are not holistic.
4) The previous legislation and judicial system were accusatorial and now it is working towards restorative justice, compassion and kinship.
5) The current system allows for integration and child participation.
6) There is a close working relationship between the Master of the Court, legal justice and the NGO’s.
7) The Department is more focussed on protection and care of children in conflict with the law.
8) Many courts are being revamped to allow easy access for people with disabilities.
9) The intention of the Department is to keep children out of prisons.
17.2 The following concerns were raised
1) There should be more interaction between the Department and the Department of Social Development.
2) There is a formal process on annual account of funds but the Department does not focus on social issues of the child.
3) There is a need for child friendly courts.
4) Court orders and reports are usually incomplete and that causes delays in many processes e.g. foster care applications.
5) Pre-trial and pre-sentencing assessments of children are not happening.
6) Offenders with less than R1000 bail can be released on warning.
7) There is a need for regulations on inter-country adoptions and regular reports on adoption fees.
17.3 The Department also submitted that:
1) It is not ready to implement the Children’s Bill and it still needs to establish structures to meet the requirements of the bill.
2) Guardianship is dealt with by the family courts but fragmentation retards the process.
3) Magistrates cannot grant guardianship.
4) The Master of the Court, legal justice and NGO’s work closely on custody issues and access on capital has increased due to the change in the age of maturity, which is now 18 years.
5) The focus is more on protection and care of children in conflict with the law.
17.4 The following children facilities have been renamed as Child
and Youth Care Centres:
1. Secure care centres – a responsibility of the DSD.
2. One-stop centres – a responsibility of the Dept of Justice.
18. VISIT TO THE CITY OF TSHWANE
18.1 City of Tshwane presented to the Committee as follows:
1) The strategic theme of the municipality is Making Tshwane a child-friendly City.
2) Driven by the Office on The Rights of the Child in the Presidency, a National Plan of Action for Children was established.
3) A workshop defining national, provincial and local plans of action for children was conducted.
4) On the same vain the Gauteng Plan of Action on Children was established.
5) This is a vehicle through which all Gauteng based local governments are to align their respective policies and programmes to make their municipalities child friendly cities.
1) Information access: absence of comprehensive, updated directory of services to children.
2) Institutional mechanisms: lack of dedicated structures for children at municipal level i.e. children’s desks to mainstream childhood development.
3) Financial and resource prioritisation: a need for integrated budgeting and allocations to benefit children equitably.
18.3 The following information was also presented by the municipality:
1) After the Committee raised issues surrounding the circumstances in Leamogetswe, the Municipality acknowledged and promised to investigate.
2) They had visited Tshwane Home of Hope last year and did a skills audit of the centre.
3) The property Department found out that there is a lot that needs to be done in the buildings than just renovating and painting.
4) They promised to meet with the board and arrange that the home be registered.
5) ECD programme: support is given to community based or back yard crèches to assist them operate correctly.
6) 80 crèches received R100 000 each.
7) Ten ECD’s are managed by the City of Tshwane.
18.4 Issues with the Children’s Bill
1) Many issues expressed in the presentation shows that the municipality is not up to date with the legislation.
2) Dr Mabetoa had agreed to arrange a briefing to the council on the Bill.
18.5 Challenges facing the municipality
1) Municipality should use progressive strategies to expand capacity.
2) It should collaborate with National and Provincial tiers and share expertise, responsibilities and budgets.
3) It would be very important to have community involvement in projects and programmes.
4) There is community confusion with social workers from provincial and local government as far as services and projects are concerned.
5) South African Local Government Association and the National Department of Social Development should work together to encourage common programmes.
6) There should be an advocacy programme with communities to disperse information and municipalities should be involved in province’s implementation plan.
19. VISIT TO THE CITY OF JOHANNESBURG
19.1 The municipality provided the following information:
1) The council has prioritized Child Headed Households.
2) If food parcels have been dropped the council do a follow up by making house calls to monitor the situation.
3) Vulnerable children – all disabled children have access to sport and recreation and libraries.
4) The accessibility of libraries has not been finalized by the council but is heading towards that.
5) Fire/burn survivors – children are taken to camps.
6) There are four holiday camps per year.
7) Children are given cakes and presents on their birthdays.
8) Registration for ECD’s is a problem.
9) Migrant help desk - the council works in partnership with most NGO’s.
10) The council and South African Police Services are involved in drop in centres.
11) The council has set targets to move people out of being recipients of grants and get some form of employment.
No related documents