Children safety under siege as 1339 child abuse cases reported in Gauteng

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is appalled that 1339 cases of child abuse have been reported in the province, yet the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) constantly underspends and underperforms on programmes meant to strengthen families, as well as child and protection services.

The safety and future of our children are under severe threat as the department tasked with the responsibility to ensure their safety has failed as evident from these reported cases.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe, in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Mosupyoe, these 1339 cases of child abuse were reported to the department between January 2020 and April 2021.

Of these cases reported, 656 were sexual abuse, 287 were physical abuse, deliberate neglect cases totaled at 220, 160 were emotional abuse, 13 were abandonment cases, while there was one child labour and one child trafficking case.

These numbers are sad and worrying considering that the department had underspent by R300 million on Programme Three: Children and Families for the 2020/21 financial year.

This money could have been used on child abuse awareness campaigns and conscientizing people across the province on child abuse and its impact on the future of children.

The department had also underperformed and failed to meet its target on Programme Three: Children and Families for the fourth quarter for the 2020/21 financial year. The following targets were not fully achieved; families participating in parenting programmes, reunification programmes, families receiving crisis intervention services, reuniting family members with their families, providing psychosocial support services to children in need of care and protection, and foster care placement.

The DA will write to the GPL’s Social Development Committee Chairperson, Refilwe Kekana to summon the MEC and the Head of Department to account to the committee for these failures.

We will demand that the MEC should explain in detail what happened to the perpetrators of these child abuse cases, and whether they have been arrested or convicted. We will also demand that the names of the perpetrators be entered into the national child protection register and be declared unsuitable to work with children.

Furthermore, the MEC will be requested to explain measures that her department is putting in place to ensure that these numbers are not repeated.

Child abuse can lead to a wide range of adverse consequences for children and the DA will continue the fight to protect children from such evil acts.

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