Call for improved children’s services

The community of Vhembe District in Limpopo has called for the Children’s Amendment Bill to improve child support services and government grants related to child support. 

The children’s parents made the call during public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill, which kick-started in Vhembe District’s Thulamela Local Municipality on Sunday.

The Portfolio Committee on Social Development commenced its public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill in Limpopo’s Vhembe District.

The Bill aims to improve foster care services to children, and also resolve parental responsibilities of unmarried fathers, child marriages, services to children born to foreign parents, and unaccompanied migrant children.

Limpopo and Mpumalanga are the first provinces to be visited by the committee for public hearings on the Bill.

Acting committee chairperson Kate Bilankulu said that during public hearings, parents in Vhembe told the committee that it is important for the Bill to guarantee equal parenting rights to both parents without giving more parenting rights to mothers.

The committee was also informed that in the border towns, cases of children with foreign parents are common.

“The communities pleaded that the matter of documentation for such children should be resolved speedily. Another issue that was raised by parents was birth certificates which are important for grant applications and Early Childhood Development (ECD) registration,” Bilankulu said.

Bilankulu said the committee came to listen from the people and afford them an opportunity to express their views on the Bill so that “they can own the legislation that is going to be delivered in the end”.

“We want to get a better understanding of the views of the people on this Bill and ensure that they are part of making a law that they can own. This legislation seeks to improve the welfare of children,” Bilankulu said.

Bilankulu told the communities that some of the concerns raised will not be attended to by the committee, but assured them that they will be forwarded to the relevant government departments.

The public hearings programme in Limpopo continues on Monday at Lenyenye Community Hall in Greater Tzaneen, Mopani District.

On Tuesday June 8, the hearings will be held at Jakes Botes Hall in Polokwane, Capricon District and ends on Wednesday June 9 at Moses Mabotha Civic Hall in Makhuduthamaga, Sekhukhune District.

All hearings start at 10am. – SAnews.gov.za

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