NEWS & ANALYSIS

National Register for Sex Offenders: School children not protected – Anton Alberts

FF Plus MP says DoE only now in discussions with SACE with aim of performing vetting for teachers

It’s a shame that children are let down as regards the National Register for Sex Offenders

2 July 2018

It is a shame that school-going children are still not protected against offenders found guilty of sexual offences, despite the great incidence of sexual violence against children as well as the establishment of the National Register for Sex Offenders.

In her response to a written question by the FF Plus, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, admitted that over the years nothing has been done to protect children against sexual offenders. (Question and answer attached herewith). The question is:

Whether her (the Minister’s) Department has taken measures to ensure that all school educators and other personnel who may come into contact with children have been vetted with reference to the National Register for Sex Offenders; if not, why not; if so, what it entails?”

The answer provided to this question is that the Department is currently “in discussion” with the South African Council of Educators (SACE) with the aim ensuring that SACE can access the “two Registers” in order to make sure that those listed in the Registers are barred from registering as educators.

The answer is unacceptable. It is a shame that after years of dragging their feet, the government has done nothing to address the problem.

One cannot believe the Minister when she claims that they are busy with talks. They have been busy with these talks for years now. How much more time do they want to waste on talking while children are exposed to sex offenders?

The second register that the Minister referred to is the National Child Protection Register. With regard to this register, the 2013 findings by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) were damning as the HRC reported that the register was in utter chaos and that the Department of Social Development that is responsible for managing the register has “failed to protect the children of South Africa.”

All abuses by governments are unacceptable, but when the most vulnerable of society – in this case, children – are let down by the government, it is a shame. The abovementioned registers are still useless after all these years due to the relevant department’s incompetence and the government’s callousness.

The FF Plus will engage with SACE to put pressure on the government to take decisive action and get these registers up to date so that they can be used to effectively protect the children in our country.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION 1410

DATE OF PUBLICATION OF INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER: 11/05/2018

INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER: 15/2018

1410.   Adv A de W Alberts (VF Plus) vra die Minister van Basiese Onderwys:

(1) Of haar departement maatreëls getref het om te verseker dat alle skoolopvoeders en ander personeel wat moontlik met kinders in kontak kom aan die hand van die Nasionale Register vir Seksoortreders gekeur is; so nie, waarom nie; so ja, wat dit behels;

(2) of sy ‘n verklaring oor die aangeleentheid sal doen?                                  NW1512A

(Translation):

[Adv A de W Alberts (FF Plus) to ask the Minister of Basic Education:†

(1) Whether her department has taken measures to ensure that all school educators and other personnel who may come into contact with children have been vetted with reference to the National Register for Sex Offenders; if not, why not; if so, what it entails;

(2) whether she will make a statement on the matter? NW1512E]

RESPONSE

(1) The Department is currently in discussion with the South African Council of Educators (SACE) with the aim of working together to ensure that SACE can access the two Registers to vet recruited educators so that those who have been listed on these Registers are barred from registering as educators.

(2) No further statement on the matter is necessary at this stage.

ENDS

Issued by Anton Alberts, FF Plus chairperson and parliamentary spokesperson: Basic Education, 2 June 2018