Cops to address issue of loitering schoolchildren

2011-03-02 14:28

The police ministry will strengthen its relationship with school-governing bodies and communities to address the issue of children found loitering during school hours, Minister Nathi Mthethwa said today.

Mthethwa pointed out during a parliamentary reply that the Child Justice Act created a separate criminal justice system for children in conflict with the law, hence these youngsters could not be simply arrested.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson Zweli Mnisi, Mthethwa said children who were arrested could only be held for shorter periods and then released.

He said loitering was not a schedule-one offence, but it was regarded as a B-crime, which was dealt with in accordance with municipal by-laws.

He said police could, however, act in terms of the Children’s Act by ensuring that the child was referred to social workers or probation officers, who should then investigate why the child was not in school.

Mthethwa’s reply came after The Sowetan newspaper published a photograph of a group of schoolboys drinking in public while walking to school.

The photo sparked an outcry, with some calling for the arrest of school children found loitering during school hours.

Mthethwa warned that the Child Justice Act and the Children’s Act’s provisions should not be interpreted or viewed as giving a “free-for-all” licence to unscrupulous adults to manipulate children into committing crime.

“The Child Justice Act and the Children’s Act regulate the manner in which children should be treated,” he said.

“For this reason, the SAPS [SA Police Service] has national instructions in place that explicitly and in detail give direction to police members on how to treat and deal with children in accordance with the provisions of the mentioned legislation.”

Mthethwa said his ministry was currently engaging the ministry of basic education to cement a partnership which would drive the objectives, activities and priorities of both ministries to reduce crime and violence in schools and in communities.

The focus would be on the development and support for the implementation of school-based crime prevention programmes, he said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.