Basic Education, Sports and Recreation departments are placing our children at risk
Mike Waters, Shadow Minister of Social Development
29 May 2012
The ministers of both Basic Education and Sport and Recreation have admitted that their departments have not used the Child Protection Register or Sexual Offences Register to vet people they oversee who work with children.
This information was revealed yesterday in response to Democratic Alliance parliamentary questions. Yesterday also marked the beginning of Child Protection Week- a time when we should reflect on what more can be done to keep our children safe.
Both the Basic Education department and Sports and Recreation department oversee activities that involve work with children.
It is a disgrace that neither department has taken the necessary steps to ensure that relevant employees are screened for any previous conviction or misdemeanour involving minors.
In failing to do so, they have placed the safety of our children in jeopardy.
In his reply, Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula says that his department is considering using vetting as a criterion for national sporting federations when they apply for funding.
Considering this as an option is not enough. The Minister must ensure that this is made a requirement for all those entities his department oversees that work with children.
The DA yesterday held a press conference outlining our proposals to combat the growing incidence of child rape and sexual offences committed against South Africa’s children.
We used this opportunity to highlight our serious concerns about the way in which this government is failing children - for example through the poor management of the Child Protection and Sexual Offences registers.
We will continue to push for the development of effective mechanisms that will enable us to keep our children safe, and will continue to scrutinise whether government departments are doing all that they can to protect them.