North East District is grappling with a surge in child abuse cases.
This was revealed by North East District Council (NEDC) Chairperson Florah Mpetsane on Monday when she was addressing a full council meeting in Masunga which was held virtually.
She emphasized that a high rate of social protection cases especially those that involve children are currently on the rise.
“Statistics for children cases stand as follows; 98 child abuse cases, 25 children in need of protection, 11 children in conflict with the law and three child maintenance cases,” she said.
She also revealed that sexual exploitation and abuse of children remains a burning issue in the district. Mpetsane also said the situation remains worrisome as the number of abuse and neglect of children are not going down. She pleaded with the residents of North East District to join hands with Village Child Protection Committees and child care service providers to fight these ills.
“Currently the district has placed 25 children in various places of safety and foster care,” she added.
Among other important issues, the Chairperson raised concern over a high number of criminal offences which were recorded in 2021. The offences include house breakings, rape, defilement of girls under the age of 18, burglary and theft. She also raised concern over people who continue to ignore Covid-19 protocols. Mpetsane said it is sad note that even after the public education and sensitization about the pandemic around the district, the police continue to register high cases of non compliance.
“Most people do not wear masks in public. I want to urge everyone to continue wearing masks and sanitize in order for us to defeat the virus,” Mpetsane said.
She also revealed that Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases are increasing in an alarming rate at in the district. She said in 2021 the district recorded 143 cases compared to 52 cases in 2021. Mpetsane emphasized that most of GBV cases are a result of alcohol and drug abuse. She added that rape and defilement of girls under the age of 18 years cases have also increased.
“Defilement cases are a result of moral degradation. Efforts have been made to curb the situation by doing house to house campaigns and school outreach targeting minors,” she said.