Kids’ future in limbo

Phumla Nxamleko with some documents of her brother's son who might miss out on schooling.

The aunt of 11 children whose parents she has been unable to make contact with, is worried that they are without parental care – and not attending school.

The siblings, aged between seven and 18 years old, are from Never Never settlement in Philippi, but currently live with different people in different areas.

Some are believed to be in Mandalay, some in Delft, while one lives in Philippi with the aunt, Phumla Nxamleko. .

With the school year having started yesterday, Wednesday January 17, the aunt is concerned that the children will miss another year of schooling if there is no intervention. Of particular concern to her, is the youngest child, who lives with her and is supposed to start Grade 1 this year.

Ms Nxamleko said the children were never enrolled at schools because none of them have birth certificates.

The frustrated aunt turned to Vukani, saying she had been to the courts and the Department of Home Affairs and had tried getting social workers to assist.

Home Affairs, she said, told her to bring the children’s father with her to their offices. But, she said, that was a challenge because the children had different fathers. Two of them were fathered by a man from Nigeria.

“Where would I get him now?” Ms Nxamleko said.

“My worry is that the longer they stay out of school, the greater their risks of being tsotsis, druggies, drunkards and all the bad things you can think of.”

In addition to this, she does not know where the children’s mother is.

“She has apparently been spotted in Samora Machel where it is believed she is married again,” the aunt said.

But for now, her priority is to get the child, who lives with her, into school.

“I have one with me and the others are all over the show. I am told one is in Mandalay, others in Delft and around here. The one that is supposed to start school this year has been saying to me and my husband (that) we do not like him because we do not want to take him to school,” she said.

She said she hoped social workers will be able to get her the documentation she required.

Jessica Shelver, the spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Schafer advised the aunt to apply for the necessary document and enrol the children at school with the assurance that the documents will be forthcoming.

“No children should be outside school. They should tell whatever school they are in that they have applied for the documents. But they should be serious about that. But there is help in the Home Affairs Department,” she said.

Spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs, Thabo Mokgola, advised the family to go through the late registration of birth process and promised to get in touch with them to give them the necessary information