Children laid flowers at the site where the body of Courtney Pieters, 3, was found after she was raped and murdered. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - All the NGOs in the province working with children say they want to be more involved in the appointment of a commissioner for children.

Director of Molo Songololo Patric Solomons said: “It’s crucial for NGOs to be involved in this appointment, because this is a historical occasion and it’s vital that we make the right effort to find the right person.”

Two weeks ago an advertisement for a children’s commissioner from the provincial parliament’s standing committee on social development was published in various newspapers. The advert is calling for nominations for the appointment of the Western Cape Commissioner for Children.

Solomons asked the committee what was being done to inform Western Cape children about this call for nominations. “What specific processes have been developed and decided to facilitate for children to make their own nominations? And what was decided to inform children and involve them in the overall appointment process, and how they can participate?

“It’s also vital for NGOs to keep the children informed about the process to find the right, skilled and hard-working individual. Children do have the right to participate, and we’ve asked the standing committee what they are going to do to ensure that children get a say, but they have once again neglected the children,” he said.

The statistics released by the provincial government for child murders in the Western Cape make for horrific reading, with 989 children murdered in the past five years.

According to an analysis of child murders in the province presented by the department of social development between April 1, 2013 and March 31 last year, more than 781 children between the ages of 13 and 17 were killed, as were 76 between the ages of 6 and 12, and 128 between the ages of 0 and 5.

The majority of children murdered were boys (807), and 182 girls. Murders were specifically prevalent over weekends. The latest crime statistics released last month showed the murder rate of children increased from 985 last year to 1014 this year. Sexual offences against children rose from 23488 to 24387, while the rape of children increased from 18336 to 18586.

Tony Lawrence of the Child Protection Collaborative said the public participation process should be done effectively and properly.

“Mobilising communities and NGOs has always been challenging, and we believe the public should have a broader say in this. What we have suggested is that we have a public panel discussion after the top three candidates have been selected, and for the children to engage with them.”

Chairperson of the standing committee on social development Gillion Bosman said: “We urge members of the public who meet the criteria to apply to ensure that we get this office up and running to promote the well-being of all children across the province as a matter of urgency.”

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus