Urgent project launched after 20-plus murders in WC this year

A 20-member steering committee will deliver a report on violence against Western Cape children in three weeks.

The Community Chest fundraising organisation finalised the list of names for the committee on Tuesday‚ after making the decision at a child protection forum held in Cape Town on Friday.

It will hand the report to Western Cape safety and security MEC Dan Plato‚ Premier Helen Zille and social development minister Bathabile Dlamini.

The forum was arranged in response to a spate of child murders in the province which has seen more than 20 children killed so far this year.

More than 150 people from 60 organisations including civil society‚ NGOs and children’s rights organisations gathered to discuss solutions to the high levels of child abuse in the province.

Community Chest CEO Lorenzo Davids said R150 000 had been donated to fund the report‚ and the final list for the steering committee included the SA Police Service.

“Funding of R150 000 has been made available to facilitate whatever is necessary in this initial stage‚ to oil the wheels to get a set of resolutions out that the working group will work on‚” Davids said.

“They highlight a number of things that need to be done urgently to protect children.”

Davids said the report would be compiled using existing data from a number of organisations. “We are seeking collaboration and intelligent response driven by critical information.

“The University of Cape Town’s Children’s Institute‚ the Trauma Centre and a number of other roleplayers are providing us with data so that decisions can be made that will minimise and eliminate the death of children through violence.”

Trauma Centre executive director Valdi van Reenen said her organisation’s call for a commission of inquiry into violence against children was the best way to address the problem.

In May‚ van Reenen met with Zille who she said rejected the request for a commission in favour of a “research project”.

“We are still lobbying for a commission of inquiry‚” said Van Reenen. “We see it as a violence-prevention mechanism. We are looking for a commission of inquiry that will begin to speak to how child rights are implemented and coordinated.

“We want all sections of society to come forward and testify about what is happening in our communities so that we can pull the common threads together.”

On Friday Zille tweeted that she had “reached an agreement with NGOs” and that the “ball is in their court”.

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