Save the Children South Africa was outraged by the contents of Carte Blanche’s Daycare centre child abuse story aired on Sunday night. The programme featured two separate stories of child rights violations that have taken place at child care centres in Gauteng. One in a private unregistered child care centre in Alexandra, which involved serious allegations of sexual abuse and another of harmful and humiliating corporal punishment at a registered Daycare franchise in Primrose.
Shockingly despite the fact that the owner of the unregistered centre was arrested and charged with crimes related to sexual abuse and creating and distributing pornography the Department of Social Development did not shut down the Daycare centre claiming that private unregistered institutions are outside of their jurisdiction. Sections 85 and 89 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 stipulate that a Provincial Head of Social Development can request the closure of partial care facilities regardless of whether or not they are registered especially if there are allegations of misconduct and abuse. The individual responsible for assaulting children at the registered centre was not dismissed even though corporal punishment is an offence as per the Children’s Act.
According to Gugu Ndebele Save the Children SA’s CEO “the incidents reported in the Carte Blanche programme and the ongoing reports of violence against children call into question the effectiveness of our child protection system. South Africa has a number of laws in place to protect children but if these are not enforced children are not safe. Children attending unregistered centres should not be excluded from protection. Existing legislation allows for action whether a centre is registered or not. When employers fail to act when crimes against children are committed by their staff, and Government officials do not act decisively then we as a society are failing our legal and moral obligation. Our silence and inaction perpetuates the vicious cycle of abuse against children”. Save the Children South Africa is calling for a full investigation into the centres and prosecution of the perpetrators.
Save the Children SA is working in partnership with Government and civil society to strengthen the child protection systems so that perpetrators of crimes against children are brought to book and legislation designed to protect children is upheld. Save the Children South Africa runs programmes to educate children, parents/carers, educators and communities about corporal punishment and positive discipline and the prevention of violence against women and children. We are committed to holistic, quality early childhood care and development for all children and recognise the importance of reaching vulnerable children. Save the Children supports a large number of ECD centres through its Community based ECD Forum Model which provides capacity building and mentoring of ECD practioners. This directly contributes to a safe learning environment for young children. We are in the process of scaling up this innovative community driven early childhood development model.
For interviews and further information, please contact: Karen Allan | Communications Manager | Save the Children South Africa | Tel: 012 430 7775 OR 074 131 4041