Durban denies rounding up street kids
Durban - The eThekwini metro police have denied planning to round up street children ahead of an international climate change conference in Durban.
"We always have operations aimed at removing street kids, but they always return to the streets after 24 hours," spokesperson Eugene Msomi said on Wednesday.
He denied homeless children would be removed because of the United Nations Climate Change conference (COP 17), to be held at Durban's Inkosi Albert Luthuli convention centre from November 28 to December 9.
The New Age newspaper on Wednesday quoted Msomi saying all begging street children and adults would be rounded up before COP 17, because they mugged tourists.
Msomi however told Sapa roundup operations happened all the time. They involved the courts, police and the social welfare department.
"When there is an event we emphasise the point that we need to work together in placing street kids in places of safety."
Msomi said the city had received complaints from motorists saying some street children begged aggressively. Many street children were responsible for pick-pocketing and robbing people, especially on the beachfront, he said.
"We are not ashamed or embarrassed by the street kids, because this happens all over the world. Our concern is the crime they commit," Msomi said.