Gauteng to review initiation school laws

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Pretoria - The Gauteng Provincial Government will revisit the regulations of traditional initiation schools in terms of section 12 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.

Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said the death of initiates in the traditional initiation schools and the secrecy of those who die in the schools are some of the reasons that made provincial government to revisit the regulations.

“It is also in the spirit of finding solutions to the challenges facing us and the desire to restore dignity, safety and values of cultural initiation practice,” MEC Mayathula-Khoza said.

The MEC was speaking during the child and youth care Non-Profit Organisations (NPO) stakeholder engagement, which is currently underway at Turffontein Racecourse, in Johannesburg.

In February this year, Chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Thoko-Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, asked MEC Mayathula-Khoza to review the regulation because Section 12 of the Children’s Act anticipates the social development to be responsible for children and their entire wellbeing.

MEC Mayathula-Khoza said the department will integrate awareness on initiation into its child protection awareness programs.

In order to deal with all the challenges associated with initiation, the MEC said there is a need for the department to develop innovative and integrative approaches as part of its intervention strategy.

“Our key focus is to provide advocacy programs aimed at preventing Child Abuse; Neglect and Exploitation (CANE), provision of psycho- social support to reported cases of CANE and to raise awareness on children’ rights and responsibilities; as well as social ills inclusive of drug and alcohol abuse,” she said.

She added that the department is working towards building resilient communities that are able to effectively respond to challenges facing traditional initiation.

R34 million allocated to ECDs

Meanwhile, MEC Mayathuka-Khoza announced that in line with the National Integrated Early Childhood Development (ECD) Policy (2015), the department has prioritised ECD which will see R34 million being allocated for ECDs across the province.

She said an amount of R58 million will be allocated for dignity packs, an increase of R10 million from the previous financial year, and more than 144 000 school uniform beneficiaries will be targeted with an allocated budget of R143 million.

Payment of NPOs

She also pointed out that one of the key challenges facing the NPO sector was the late payment of funds, and the department has declared that it will improve in terms of payments to NPOs.

“We will ensure that this does not happen. The payments are affected only when there are system glitches which are beyond the department’s control.”

Pay parity

Representatives of care givers raised their concerns to the MEC about pay parity between their social workers and those working for government.

The representatives cited the growing number of beneficiaries, especially the elderly and destitute children being the biggest challenge hindering their work.

MEC Mayathula-Khoza acknowledged the concerns of the NPOs, saying their feedback was crucial in assisting the department to deliver services effectively in the province. –

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