Cape Town - Nicola Jowell, the Ward 54 in Sea Point councillor, says she has noted an increase in the number of street children around the Sea Point and Camps Bay promenades.
Jowell’s statement comes just after the provincial Department of Social Development released statistics on child hunger in the province.
The statistics showed that 21% of children in the province were living in households reporting that meals were skipped due to insufficient funds/resources for food, while 74% of the children skipping meals did so for five or more days in the month.
Jowell said in Camps Bay many of the children were from Kalksteenfontein and that a local organisation has been embarking on interventions in the community to address the source.
She said the City and the province were committed to assisting each other in aiding the children who are on the streets. She added that there were various engagements in both areas with police and the provincial Department of Social Development.
“The City is pleased to partner with the community on these projects, which are looking at interventions at the root of the issues rather than dealing with the results,” Jowell said.
PR councillor Paul Jacobson said children from five to seven years were navigating between dangerous cars, begging, while the department made all types of excuses. Jacobson said this was an accident waiting to happen both in Sea Point and Camps Bay.
“It is said that Social Development engaged with 11 000 street dwellers, of which they were only successful in placing 83 people back at home. Is that not the most failed experiment ever?
“They've taken this money that they could have used properly with psychiatric care, top psychologists, social workers, not field workers between 17 and 18 years approaching adults, parents, and children to get them off the street,” he said.
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez’s spokesperson, Joshua Chigome, said any child in need of protection was a serious cause for concern for the department.
Chigome said the department worked closely with municipalities, the police and various child protection agencies to assist and provide care and protection for street children, guided by the Children’s Act.
“When the department receives a report of children begging on the streets, a social worker will go out to assess the child’s circumstances. If the child is unaccompanied by an adult caregiver, the social worker will remove the child to a place of safety.
“If the child is with an adult caregiver, then the social worker will try to arrange for the child and caregiver (to move to) a place of safety or, if the caregiver is placing the child at risk, will seek a court order for the child to be taken from the caregiver into a place of safety,” he said.