Hon Speaker, the Inkatha Freedom Party has always been in favour of any legislation that seeks to protect our children and therefore we see the amendments that are proposed in this Bill as steps in the right direction to ensure that loop holes that are in the existing legislation are addressed.
We support the provision in Section 176(2)(b) and (3) of the Bill that grants children beyond the age of 18 access to foster care but want to urge National Treasury to ensure that adequate funding is made available to cover the funding pressures that will arise.
We fully agree with Childline South Africa and other organisations that supported the amendments that aligned the Children’s Act with the Sexual Offences Act. This is important as it will serve to ensure that all structures involved with child protection are clear on the legislation and that there is no confusion in interpretation.
The IFP supports the view that children who have been convicted of offences should not be automatically included in the register and that efforts should first be made to ensure that these children receive counselling and rehabilitation services. Placement on the register should only be for serious cases and only done as a last the resort.
We cannot agree with the wording in the Bill that places responsibility on the child to make a submission as to why he or she should not be placed on the register. In many instances minor children are not in a position to make such submission and therefore it places them in a difficult position. We believe that a social worker should be responsible for making such a submission.
Many of the amendments proposed in the Bill will help the National Association of Child Care Workers to function more effectively in protecting children since it uses the national protection register to identify people who it should recommend as suitable to work with children.
Since the abuse of children can take many forms, the IFP is in favour of the inclusion of more offences that have now been included as this will ensure that perpetrators of any sort of abuse do not escape from the law.
The IFP supports the Children’s Second Amendment Bill [B 14B – 2015]