Unregistered child minders to get jail time

GAUTENG. – The Department of Social Development plans to deal harshly with unregistered child minders, saying that some might even face jail time. This follows incidents that occurred recently at Early Child Centres (ECDs)where a 2-year-old, Bohlale Mngomezulu died allegedly under suspicious circumstances in Sharpeville, while Owami Ndlovu drowned in a disused swimming pool while neglected by his minders in Johannesburg.

“Two weeks ago, we learned with shock and horror about the accident of eight-month-old baby Naledi who suffered serious burns when a kettle filled with boiling water fell on her. The child was admitted at the Muelmed Hospital where she was treated for burns on her stomach, legs and hands. Thankfully, she is responding well to treatment and is recovering from home. Worryingly, it appears as though incidents of child neglect at Early Development Centres (ECDs) in our province are on the rise.”

The Department reported that centres are said to be either unregistered or in the process of registration as is the case of the Incredible Minds Nursery School where Naledi attended. At the heart of the problems it appears as though our systems are either too slow in processing applications as well as weak in enforcing compliance.

“We call upon all parents to check with us if the centre they have sent their children to is registered by calling 011 355 7600 or 0860 428 8364 Gauteng Public Hotline. We extend this plea to the community at large, councillors and Community Development Worker (CDWs) to report ECDs or NGOs that are operating illegally in our communities so that they can be assisted to meet the required norms and standards.

“We would like to warn anyone who is still operating illegally that in terms of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, that they will face jail time if anything should happened to children in their care.We will continue to inspect all centres that work with children, and should we find that there are those who continue to ignore the provision of the ECD National Norms and Standards, we will in terms of Children’s Act, revoke Section 100, which empowers us shut downs such centres.”

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