The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - The SAHRC's finding that the department of social development (DSD) is failing to register child offenders is a victory for children, the DA said on Wednesday.
“The SA Human Rights Commission's (SAHRC) report is a victory for our children, which now must result in action,” Democratic Alliance spokesman Mike Waters said in a statement.
The DA would write to the chairs of Parliament's social development, justice, constitutional development, and women, children and people with disabilities portfolio committees to request that they discuss the report.
SAHRC spokesman Isaac Mangena said on Wednesday the report followed an investigation prompted by a complaint last year.
The DSD, the department of women, children and people with disabilities, and the justice department were included in the investigation.
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,” he said.
Under the Children's Act, the DSD is obliged to maintain and update the CPR.
The DSD 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.
“ 1/8We are 3/8 therefore unable to comment on the findings,” she said.
Waters said the DA would ask that the departments give Parliament monthly reports on progress made implementing the SAHRC's recommendations.
“Strict sanctions must be imposed if these are not met. It is essential that this report results in decisive action to ensure that the rights of our children are protected,” he said.
Mangena said the SAHRC had found court officials were not properly trained to carry out functions necessary to enable the DSD to fully update the register.
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.
Mangena said the SAHRC had recommended that the DSD and justice department provide it with reports detailing their problems implementing the CPR and how these could be improved.