Police and advocacy groups working in Mfuleni say they are concerned about the high incidents of child neglect in the area.
On Thursday September 8, the organisations, led by Afrika-Tikkun in partnership with the University of the Western Cape student social workers, conducted a door-to-door campaign, in Burundi informal settlement, distributing pamphlets, asking parents to treat children well and also advising residents where they can direct their different complaints.
Sive Mcunukelwa, student social worker, said after noticing cases of child abuse they decided to partner with various stakeholders to handle the issue. He said research by students showed that Mfuleni, in particular Burundi, had a high number of incidents of child neglect.
He said child neglect, in turn, impacted the children’s behaviour – and sometimes they suffered emotional trauma.
Mr Mcunukelwa said at times children suffered physical harm and emotional distress.
“Parents, need to adopt a certain culture of treating their children. It is no longer that time when assault was viewed as the best way to discipline children. We need to teach children when to come home and when is play time.
“ Communication with children is vital,” he said.
The Department of Social Development’s Nomfezeko Majalamba said the day had been fruitful and that they had decided to launch a forum of stakeholders to tackle social ills around Mfuleni.
“One of the daunting tasks we have is not knowing each other as stakeholders. This is one way to meet, communicate and forge a way forward.
“This campaign will not only help residents but will help us know where to refer people who come with challenges that do not fall within the scope of your work. I guess the purpose has been achieved,” he said.
Burundi resident Phumla Jwambi welcomed the move, saying the groups should protect parents from children’s bad behaviour. “I think children are abusing us. They behave badly. But I hope this will be good for our children because they are involved in gangs and do not want to go to school. Surely this will eliminate our problems,” she said.
Mfuleni SAPS spokesperson Captain Nomathemba Muavha commended the stakeholders for coming together and said such a forum was long overdue. She confirmed that child neglect cases were on the rise in the area. “We are having some serious cases, but we are dealing with them.
“We are also dealing with them by way of campaigns such as this one. Quite recently we were in Bardale tackling these issues. I am happy when non-governmental organisations also intervene,” she said.