Table View residents concerned over increase in kids begging on the streets
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Cape Town - Table View residents and local organisations have requested the provincial Department of Social Development to take responsibility for the increasing number of children roaming the streets in the area.
This was reiterated during an engagement with MEC Sharna Fernandez on Monday where the community raised concerns over the increasing number of children that are begging on the street corners.
Colleen Pietersen from TLC said the kids were mostly from Atlantis, begging for their families back home. She said numerous reports to the Department of Social Development went unanswered.
“For many years we haven’t had any people begging on the streets and we have suddenly seen a batch of these kids on every street corner. A lot of them are from 9-11 years old. Their parents are allowing them to sleep in the bushes. Meanwhile, we have a number of gangsters here using these school kids as bait and its not going to get any better.
“If Social Development can assist the NGOs that are working in the community we'll be able to help them come off the streets or get some form of safety, but how do we go about doing that if for nine months I have been trying to get something done about it and not even one has been assisted,” she said.
Residents association chairperson Mandy Da Matta said social services was underfunded and understaffed.
“We used to have a satellite office stationed at the police station and had social workers that would come three times a week to service the community, but because it didn’t have the resources to fund the people it was closed,” she said.
Molo Songololo director Patric Solomons said people used children to beg and that they would go home afterwards. However, there was a significant number of children who had no home to go to.
Solomons said that with the increased levels of poverty, unemployment, joblessness and loss of income, more children seemed to be forced to survive on the streets and they were used for begging.
“We are failing to prevent child homelessness and to address the problem of street children. NGOs like Homestead need better financial support from the City and those providing community support and prevention services must be resourced,” he said.
Solomons said learner support workers could be appointed to prevent children dropping out of schools, and regular home visits to children at risk must be mandatory by social and community workers.