Parliament, Friday, 26 November – The ongoing nationwide public consultations on the Children’s Amendment Bill, organised by the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, continued in Gauteng yesterday.
The committee met with the communities of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality in Soshanguve to solicit their input on the draft Bill, which seeks to introduce improvements to the child care and child protection legal systems. The Bill received overwhelming support from parents and children’s rights activists from non-governmental organisations, as well as the early childhood development sector.
One of the proposals raised in Soshanguve yesterday was the possibility of enacting laws to allow parents of unwanted babies to drop their babies at safe places, such as hospitals, police stations or fire stations without risking prosecution. The backers of this suggestion argued that the move could see a decline in the number of abandoned babies who die after being dumped in dustbins and bushes. The committee also heard that undocumented foreign nationals are unable to give away their babies for adoption.
Committee Chairperson Ms Nonkosi Mvana said it is a “fortunate coincidence that the public hearings happened during the start of the 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children”.
She also used the opportunity to speak against child marriages and to encourage mothers not to condone transactional sexual relationships between their daughters and older men.
Fathers who spoke during the public hearings also welcomed the bill, saying it will bring an end to the unequal treatment of fathers in the law. This bias currently sometimes denies men the right to spend time with their children.
Tomorrow, the committee will conduct public hearings in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality.
Details of the public hearings:
Date: 27 November 2021
Venue: Brixton Recreational Centre
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, MS NONKOSI MVANA.
For media enquiries or interviews with the committee Chairperson, please contact:
Name: Sakhile Mokoena
Cell: 081 705 2130