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Lone kids, folks to reunite

By Zoë Mahopo | 2017-08-13 14:35:47.0

The governments of Zimbabwe and South Africa are pushing to fast-track the process of reuniting lone minors with their families.

Last week, delegates from both countries held talks in Limpopo aimed at resolving the issue of Zimbabwean children living in SA without their families.

Unaccompanied minors are defined as children below the age of 18 who have been separated from their parents.

According to the Department of Social Development, there are 70 such children living at various centres across Limpopo.

Director for the Vhembe district, Lalumbe Nkhumeleni, said they wanted to give the children the chance to lead normal lives in healthy family environments.

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She said the repatriation process was moving at a snail's pace and needed to be fast-tracked.

Nkhumeleni also said they wanted to wipe out child labour, as some had been employed in the area.

Director of International Relations Edzi Ramaite said the initiative was part of a 2011 memorandum of understanding signed between the two governments to tackle welfare issues and issues of social security.

He said SA's government would send a delegation to Zimbabwe to assess what made children cross the borders in such large numbers.

Social Development spokeswoman Lumka Oliphant said the SA steering committee was formed to improve the lives of such children and also reach those who were not accounted for in the system.

Oliphant said the SA government was committed to protecting and helping the children reunite with their relatives.