Premier Zille to Convene Specialist NGO Meeting on Child Murders
Premier Helen Zille will convene a meeting of NGOs specialising in child protection, to discuss the way forward regarding the recent spate of child murders in the province.
The Premier announced this in her latest Daily Maverick column published on Tuesday.
The pattern emerging from incidents in the Western Cape – in almost all cases – is that perpetrators are known, and usually trusted, by the victim and their families.
Perpetrators have ranged from neighbours, landlords, lodgers, ex-boyfriends and even the fathers of the victims. Many perpetrators were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they committed their crimes. Some acted out of revenge against a partner (or former partner).
“I will now convene a meeting of stakeholders who are actively involved in child safety issues. I will also seek their response to my proposal for an in-depth expert study into six child murder cases. This study will help us to determine whether a formal commission of inquiry is an appropriate step, or whether there are other, more effective steps the provincial government can take within its constitutional mandate, to help prevent child murders,” said Premier Zille.
The study would document what is known about each case, analyse the details, and use comparable international studies to recommend solutions.
Meanwhile, the Western Cape Government continues to facilitate extensive programmes aimed at child protection and welfare.
The Province’s Social Development department devotes R683 million to addressing the needs of children, families and victims of violence and crime.
The scope of this work includes a network of 420 NGOs operating within a combination of ECD centres, Child & Youth Care Centres, and drop-in centres that provide critical child-protection services.
Our net is cast wide across 36 social development local offices, six district offices, 61 Child & Youth Care Centres, 190 child-protection organisations with service delivery offices across the province, and 16 shelters for victims of abuse.
“The budget for child protection in the Department of Social Development tops R1-billion if the full operational requirements of these services are factored in, including the salaries of 1,510 social workers,” said Premier Zille.
There are 35 000 children under the Department's watch in alternative care placements, and a further 80 000 children in 1 100 ECDs funded by the Department. All of this excludes expenditure on child safety, for example, through the Department of Education, Community Safety and others.
“But one thing I know for sure: no government can substitute for the role of committed families and communities in protecting children. In the end, a culture of active, responsible citizenship is indispensable to building a functional society that cares for its most vulnerable members,” Premier Zille said.