Concern over treatment of disabled children

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Portfolio Committee on Social Development has expressed concern over alleged treatment of disabled children and the handling of rape cases involving teachers in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga.

During public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill in Bushbuckridge, the committee heard that it was common for parents in the area to hide disabled children in backrooms and not let them attend school.

It also heard that perpetrators for rape, who are allegedly teachers, are defended by their labour unions.

Acting committee chairperson, Nkhensani Bilankulu, said teacher unions can never be justified in defending alleged rapists in schools, and if there are such cases, these should be reported to the police.

“We also learnt that some educators are protected by management due to the importance of learning areas they teach.  As second homes of our children, schools should be the safest places for our children.

“In cases where rapes have occurred, the educators’ code of conduct need to prevail with proper follow up of such incidents by all stakeholders, the South African Police Service, school management, School Governing Bodies and teacher unions,” Bilankulu said.

The acting chairperson called on community members and all stakeholders not to wait for Parliament to come in order to raise issues or to seek intervention.

“The bill is intended to improve the services for children and ensure that their welfare is taken care of adequately,” Bilankulu said.

She also assured residents that all the issues raised with the committee will be referred to the relevant government departments, in order to be attended to urgently.

Meanwhile, the Department of Home Affairs committed to send a mobile truck to Bushbuckridge to assist learners, particularly Grade 12 learners, to apply for smart card IDs. –