Durban – KZN Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza has commended the swift action taken by social workers, health practitioners and police for the rescue of children from a bogus day care centre in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.
Social workers and SAPS’ prompt response led to the removal of 26 children from an illegal day-care centre in Pietermaritzburg.
Khoza emphasised the importance of protecting vulnerable children.
Spokesperson Mhlaba Memela said the department was alerted on Thursday about an unregistered facility posing a threat to the lives of children in the city centre.
Memela said upon encountering resistance from the centre’s owners, who displayed a lack of compassion and co-operation towards the removal process, the social workers requested police assistance to enforce the law.
Memela stated that, guided by the Children’s Act, which outlined the procedures for identifying children in need, determining when they required care, protection and facilitating their removal from harmful environments, social workers prioritised the children’s safety.
The children were swiftly transported to Childline, where they received temporary care and hot meals. Subsequently, the children were transferred to the Joseph Bynes Child and Youth Care Centre, while social workers diligently traced their parents to provide updates on their whereabouts.
All the children were safely reunited with their parents by Friday afternoon.
Khoza expressed deep concern and dismay regarding the incident involving the operation of an illegal and dangerous centre.
She emphasised the urgency of addressing this issue, stating: “The existence of these deceptive centres not only violates the law, but also jeopardises the lives and development of our innocent children.”
Khoza urged parents and guardians to exercise caution when selecting their childcare facilities.
She urged them to thoroughly investigate and ensure the legitimacy and compliance of such establishments with relevant regulations and standards.
Khoza called upon the community to remain vigilant and report any suspicions or concerns regarding unregistered or illegal childcare facilities.
“Collaboration between the Department of Social Development and law-enforcement agencies will continue in order to identify and prosecute those responsible for exploiting children. We are committed to strengthening oversight and monitoring systems to prevent similar incidents in future,” Khoza said.
She stated that parents of the affected children would be offered a parenting programme to guide them in choosing appropriate daycare centres and recognising key indicators of quality care.
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