‘Protect our children’

2016-06-22 06:00
FROM the left are Judy van Rensburg (teacher of gr. R learners at the HTT Bidi Memorial Primary School), Lin van der Westhuizen (CEO of PMG Mining), Elroy Phete (mayor of the Tsantsabane Municipality) and David Modise with the children. Photos: Supplied

FROM the left are Judy van Rensburg (teacher of gr. R learners at the HTT Bidi Memorial Primary School), Lin van der Westhuizen (CEO of PMG Mining), Elroy Phete (mayor of the Tsantsabane Municipality) and David Modise with the children. Photos: Supplied

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ELROY PHETE, mayor of the Tsantsabane Municipality, has encouraged the members of his community to take care of children, as they are the future of our country.

He urged people to not only be vigilant during Child Protection Week (observed from 29 May to 5 June this year), during which members of the community are encouraged to report any case of child abuse to social workers and the police.

Phete made the call during Child Protection Week celebrations, after the three-year-old Nombulelo Malgas had gone missing.

Fortunately, the child had been found unharmed in Boichoko, Postmasburg, thanks to the help of the community, in collaboration with the police.

A search party was gathered by the community and the group begun looking for the woman who had been seen walking with the little girl.

According to Joseph Kekgopilwe, spokesperson of the Tsantsabane Municipality, the woman, who is described by the community as mentally disabled, was found in Boichoko with the child. Kekgopilwe explained that the child had been playing in the street when the woman had taken her.

The mayor, who spoke in Mountain View, visited the Malgas family, crèches and schools in an effort to create awareness. Treats were also handed out to the children.

The Tsantsabane programme was hosted in partnership with PMG Mining and the Department of Social Development.

“Incidents like this should teach us that it takes a community to bring up a child,” said Phete.

The event also followed remarks made by Gift van Staden, MEC of Social Development, in Grobblers-hoop. He had highlighted the fact that many children remained vulnerable due to factors such as neglect and exploitation, poverty, unemployment, HIV and Aids and substance abuse.

Van Staden was quoted as saying that protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse was not only a basic value, but also an obligation set out clearly in the South African Constitution.

He called on parents, teachers and caregivers, as well as civic and religious organisations, to fight against child abuse.

“We know that some parents are afraid of reporting child abusers to law enforcement authorities.

“Some parents also accept lobola for their girl children who are minors and are not matured enough to take informed decisions,” Van Staden said.

“This is another form of child abuse, to which we normally turn a blind eye, instead of taking immediate action in the interest of our girl children.”

  • According to Lt. Lionel Donald Rooiland, a case of abduction with regards to Nombulelo is being investigated and the accused woman received free bail on her appearance at the Postmasburg Magistrate’s Court on 10 June.

He said the child had been reported missing on 24 May and was found on 26 May.

The woman will be sent for evalution.

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