2017/03/09 Gopolang Leepile
Gauteng Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza on Thursday called for the review of the manner in which the provincial government regulates child protection with regards to initiation schools.
She said this during a briefing into the investigations of the deaths of initiates in six provinces by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Commission.
Mayathula-Khoza said that in terms of the Children’s Act, the department is the custodian of children and is compromised by the institutional arrangement on their protection.
“I will consult with Premier David Makhura to ensure that an urgent cabinet discussion is taken for a better protection of children within three weeks,” she said.
She also said that in terms of section 30 of the Constitution of South Africa, everyone is guaranteed the right to a cultural practice of their choice and because initiation is contemplated as a traditional matter, it is the competency of the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).
“We have a Cogta task team that works with the police and the municipalities to address matters of initiation in the first instance with the Social Development intervention when required or when children’s rights are violated,” she said.
She added that the Children’s Act (30 of 2005) called upon people to prevent abuse of children, even if it’s cultural. She further said that the department will seek clarity on the role in ensuring that as custodians of children’s rights we are able to fulfil our legal mandate” she added.
The chairperson of CRL, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva welcome MEC Mayathula-Khoza’s call and said that she has a problem with the manner in which the children’s protection Act on initiation is structured.
“Counselling is compulsory but Cogta cannot offer it and we can’t hold them accountable as there is no law that refers to Cogta or even municipalities. The City of Johannesburg, for instance, does not have by laws on initiation schools,” she said.