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Johannesburg - The department of social development (DSD) is failing to register child offenders, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Wednesday.
This had emerged in an investigation prompted by a complaint last year, said SAHRC spokesman Isaac Mangena.
The complaint had included a consideration of the accuracy of the Child Protection Register (CPR) over a specific period of time, and whether it reflected all the offenders convicted of committing crimes against or involving children, he said.
“Such persons need to be recorded as being unsuitable to work with or have contact with children.”
Under the Children's Act, the DSD was obliged to maintain and update the CPR.
The SAHRC had found court officials were not properly trained to carry out functions necessary to enable the DSD to fully update the register, said Mangena.
The DSD was also experiencing severe resource constraints which affected its ability to maintain and implement the register.
“(We) found that the failure (of the DSD) to properly implement the CPR weakened the framework for the protection of children and resulted in a violation of section 28 of the Bill of Rights,” said Mangena.
Section 28 states that every child has the right to be protected from neglect, abuse or degradation.
The DSD, the department of women, children and people with disabilities, and the justice department were included in the investigation.
Mangena said the SAHRC had recommended the DSD and justice department provide it with reports detailing their problems implementing the CPR and how these could be improved.
The DSD has denied receiving any report from the SAHRC on the matter.
“The department has not been given the report by the SAHRC and is hearing this for the first time from the media,” said DSD spokeswoman Lumka Oliphant.
“(We are) therefore unable to comment on the findings,” she said.