“Parents have to know where their children are and make arrangements to have proper supervision during the extended school holidays,” she said, while addressing a gathering of child parliamentarians from various provinces gathered to commemorate International Children’s Day.
She also urged residents to speak out on child abuse and report cases of abuse to authorities – in line with the Children’s Act and emphasised that in terms of the Children’s Act, which came into effect on 1 April, those that neglect to report incidences of abuse can also be held liable for these abuses.
Mayende-Sibiya said her department was working with police who had been trained in providing protection services to children, as well as with the departments of justice, health and social development, municipalities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social workers, to reduce the risks faced by children during the World Cup.
Various workshops would be held with key players across the provinces and social workers would be deployed at public viewing areas in all of the host cities.
Following the launch of Child Protection Week by President Jacob Zuma on 21 May, the department had joined with metros and municipalities to target hotspots.
A memorial would be erected by the Tshwane Metro and the department at the spot in Soshanguve where the girl Masego Kgomo was found mutilated at the beginning of the year.
Kgomo was abducted during the December-January school holidays and Mayende-Sibiya said the country could not afford for similar incidents to happen in the coming June school holidays.
Meanwhile, MPs were also expected in Parliament today to debate the rights of children. Ministers would be given a package of all the recommendations raised by the children.
These recommendations, which included how to tackle problems such as child trafficking, substance abuse, forced marriages, street children, access to technology and information at schools and child labour, were handed to Mayende-Sibiya by child parliamentarians from various provinces.
One child parliamentarian from Gauteng said schools should hold more drug busts and should ensure that there was adequate transport to schools and back.
Another child parliamentarian from the North West said despite there being various programmes in place to sensitise parents and children, including those run by non-profit organisation Molo Songololo, more had to be done to tackle the problem.
“It is easy for people to abduct us, as they (abductors) are people from our own community,” said the child parliamentarian
The child parliamentarians were expected to visit Robben Island this afternoon and the Mayende-Sibiya wished them well, reminding them of the sacrifices made by Nelson Mandela and others who were jailed on the island during apartheid and adding that the World Cup was for all South Africans.
“Let us welcome our visitors and treat them with dignity,” she said, while reminding the child parliamentartians that despite the long school break, they should not forget to return to their school books after the holidays.
The department’s spokesperson Sibani Mngadi said they planned to have several interviews across SABC radio stations on Friday to give parents tips on how to keep their children safe during the world cup. – BuaNews