What are you doing to protect our children, Minister Dlamini?
Patricia Kopane, DA Deputy Spokesperson on Social Development
16 October 2011
Friday’s Cape Argus lead story, in which a journalist confronted a convicted sex offender who had offered art classes to children, underscores the urgent need for an effective Child Protection Register.
In August, I received a parliamentary reply from the Minister of Social Development which revealed that the Child Protection Register contains only one name. This means that only one person in the entire country is deemed unsuitable to work with children as a result of previous convictions for child abuse.
This cannot be right in a country where 30,000 children a year are victims of sexual abuse. Without an effective Child Protection Register it is impossible for parents and employers to gauge whether a prospective teacher or care-giver has a history of sexual offences against children.
I have already requested that the Minister come before the Social Development Portfolio Committee to explain why the Child Protection Register is effectively dormant.
I will be following up my initial request with the Chairperson of the Social Development Portfolio Committee, and will ask that Minister Bathabile Dlamini appears before the committee as a matter of urgency.
The Minister needs to inform Parliament and the South African people of the steps her department is taking to ensure the Child Protection Register is put to good use. She must take personal responsibility for ensuring that her department does all it can to change the current state of affairs.