Nine in 10 lost children on the beach belong to partying teenage mothers

2013-12-31 00:00

ABOUT 90%of children lost on the Durban beaches belong to teenage mothers, said volunteers who are contracted to care for these children when they are brought to their tents.

The volunteers, who are not allowed to speak to the media, yesterday told The Witness that some of these teenage mothers indulge in alcohol and end up forgetting about their children.

“It becomes difficult for us when these young girls turn up drunk. It would seem they know what they are doing because once they have had enough of the nice time, they come straight to these tents because they know this is where lost children are kept,” said one volunteer.

Another volunteer said in one of the seven tents lining the beaches from Durban North Beach to uShaka, nine children were brought in on Sunday.

“Some of the children, aged between one and six years, are only claimed back by their mothers in the afternoon. On one of the busy days, December 16, we had a one-year-old baby boy who was separated from his mother. The child was brought to us by security at about 10 am and was only fetched by his mother around 4 pm. By that time, we had already taken the child to the crèche at Addington Hospital.

“When the mother arrived here she was drunk. She was young but was so rude to us — and she is not the only one. You don’t get even an explanation as to why they don’t keep watch over their children,” said the volunteer.

Christo Swart, deputy head of eThekwini Parks and Recreation, requested that a detailed e-mail be sent to him. By the time of going to press, and after three phone calls to Swart, he said he was working on the response.

Clinical psychologist Tashika Pillay said children separated from their guardians were exposed to unnecessary trauma and possibly to criminal elements, including child traffickers.

“Teenage mothers are still faced with different life stages to go through, so they still need guidance on proper parenting. In this day and society we live in you can’t take children to public places like beaches if you can’t take care of them.

“Alcohol sometimes play a role in deviating from responsible behaviour. We are all aware of the existing risks in our society, so we need to be responsible,” said Pillay.

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