CHILDREN'S rights organisations have expressed concern about delays in the placing of kids in protective custody due to a provision in the Sexual Offences Act.
Executive director of Child Welfare South Africa (CWSA) Ashley Theron said provisions in the law, which came into effect on June 30, compelled potential guardians to be checked against a sexual offences register before children were placed in their care.
Theron said though the law had been passed, a functional register was not yet in place, resulting in several children being "left in the lurch".
"Some magistrates in the children's courts refused to place children in care because they could not comply with section 48."
Representing more than 200 organisations, CWSA obtained a court order on December 3 from the Pretoria high court that would allow magistrates to "ignore" the provisions of the law until a fully operational register was in place.
Theron said though the organisations were not against the law, its suspension would help children who could not be placed under care because of the law's limitations.
Justice Department spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the second phase of the implementation of the law had not been completed as it involved compiling records from departments of Correctional Services, Health and the Police.
"Currently records in some departments are not kept in a manner that makes the exercise an easy one. Implementation of changes in the record system are expected to take place soon.
"We have to do what's right even if it takes time," Tlali said.