Increase in ‘aggressive’ street children in Sea Point

The Sea Point City Improvement District (SPCID) said they noticed an increase in street children in the area. Picture: File

The Sea Point City Improvement District (SPCID) said they noticed an increase in street children in the area. Picture: File

Published Jan 11, 2024


Cape Town - The Sea Point City Improvement District (SPCID) has said they have noticed an increase in street children in the area.

Chairman Jacques Weber said these children were primarily observed along Beach Road.

He added that the youngsters are usually seen around the busy hubs in St Andrews Road, Clarens and Regent roads towards Queens Road, where most of the restaurants are.

“However, it appears they have shifted their presence towards the business district as they perceive better opportunities for handouts such as food and money.

“Regrettably, these children have often exhibited aggressive and abusive behaviour, causing distress, especially among women and elderly individuals walking along Main/Regent Road.

“Over the past few days, there have been reports of criminal incidents involving young individuals.”

Weber said victims choose to share their experiences on social media instead of reporting to the police.

Sea Point CID chairman Jacques Weber. PHOTO: Supplied.

On Monday he spent time with the SPCID security team and witnessed them deal with over 11 youths.

“It’s profoundly frustrating for our team as they operate within strict legal constraints, and the youths are well aware of these limitations.

“We’ve noticed that many of these incidents shared on social media are not being formally reported to the SAPS. While we understand people’s reservations about reporting crimes, it’s crucial to emphasise that failing to report crimes poses challenges as it hampers the collection of reliable statistics and evidence needed to advocate for additional policing resources and other necessary interventions.

“Addressing the issue of street children is a complex matter as it involves minors, and strict guidelines must be followed when dealing with them, even by the SAPS,” Weber added.

“When street children are encountered, it’s essential to contact the Western Cape government through the Department of Social Development (DSD). A social worker should be dispatched to provide the necessary support. However, logistically this can be challenging without a co-ordinated effort from the DSD.”

The SPCID chairperson said he had spoken to local councillor Nicola Jowell regarding this issue.

“We will also engage with the MEC of Social Development in the Western Cape.

“In the meantime, we are implementing several strategies: We have deployed additional security resources to hot spot areas.

“Our security team is closely monitoring the youth to limit their opportunities to intimidate people on the road. Rest assured that the SPCID management team and I are committed to applying as much pressure as possible on all stakeholders to address this situation effectively.

“We urge the public to give responsibly to individuals living on the streets. Donations of food and money should be directed to NGOs and NPOs that facilitate the social development of these individuals, rather than directly to anyone on the street.”

Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said they are aware of the issue.

“Most of the children we have assessed previously are from Kraaifontein and Kalksteenfontein. There is currently inadequate space in DSD Child and Youth Care Centres to place all the children, thus other interventions need to be explored.

“The department will have to conduct another intervention to assess the current situation. We support the CID’s call for people to report criminal actions to the SAPS.

“The Child Justice Act makes provision for the procedures to be followed by SAPS, the NPA and the DSD when children under 18 years of age are charged with criminal offences.

“There’ll need to be a co-ordinated approach to finding a solution, from the department, the SAPS and the municipality.”

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