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Western Cape Commissioner for Children pleads for funding to help children in despair

Western Cape Commissioner for Children Christina Nomdo has called for more resources in order for the newly formed institution to be fully functional. Picture: File

Western Cape Commissioner for Children Christina Nomdo has called for more resources in order for the newly formed institution to be fully functional. Picture: File

Published Nov 11, 2021

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The Western Cape Commissioner for Children has pleaded for more resources to run her severely under-staffed office.

With a little over a year since the establishment and her appointment, Christina Nomdo has made a call for more money to hire more staff to enable her to execute her office’s mandate.

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The institution needs a staff complement of 12 but only has two permanent staff and a contract worker.

Nomdo was presenting her office’s first annual report at a sitting of the Provincial Legislature’s standing committee on the premier and constitutional matters.

Asked about the challenges her office faced, Nomdo said: “The biggest challenge for the Commissioner for Children is resourcing, there is not enough money, definitely not enough staff to spend the money we need.”

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The commission was allocated R8 million for the 2020/2021 to establish the office and for operational costs.

“On the advice of this parliament, I (approached) the Provincial Treasury to give me the budget for six more staff (because) I believe that is the minimum requirement to achieve minimal resourcing for my office to be able to cover its entire mandate,” she added.

“At this stage we only have one branch of the mandate covered with staff and that is investigation and advice. I cannot do monitoring and awareness, I don’t have any staff. I do it alone.

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“The comments about the decentralisation of staff and mobile offices, that is exactly what I have been doing. We have been going into our cars and creating mobile offices. Establishing decentralized, district-based offices in all the regions in the province, that would take resourcing.”

Nomdo called for a commitment to resource the institution, adding that “there also needed to be a commitment to the independence of her office”.

The ANC’s Pat Lekker called for the provincial government to make funding available for the office in a province where children are impacted by crime.

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According to the report, child murders increased from 163 in 2015 to 190 in 2021 while attempted murder also increased from 273 to 363 during the same period.

“If the provincial government has a political will to address the plight of children in the province, it must start by resourcing the very institution that is its brainchild,” said Lekker.

“Children are killed in gang-infested areas like Manenberg and this office remains under resourced with the commissioner running satellite offices from the boot of their car. We are calling on this DA-led government to do what is just and fund the office of the Commissioner for Children fully. “

Premier Alan Winde, who was present during the meeting said while resources were tight, his department would support efforts for more allocation during budget processes.

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