Feedback on Child Bill

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

The parliamentary committee on justice & constitutional development will this week receive feedback from over 15 organisations on the draft of the Child Justice Bill.

The bill aims to respond to child offenders through a separate procedural justice system for children - and hold them accountable for their actions, while contributing to a safe South Africa for all.

The bill was first tabled in 2002 and for the next three months it will be debated again in Parliament.

It is set to come into practice in a country where at present the most obvious response to crime and violence is a punitive response, a process which has failed not only here, but also in other countries where it has been adopted.

The Child Justice Alliance, an organisation that is made up of child organisations, said they welcomed the introduction of the new legislation.

The Alliance has vast collective experience and expertise in child law, safety and security, in children's rights and development.

The organisation has actively taken part in the previous parliamentary processes.

"We believe that the Child Justice Bill will close up the revolving door of criminality.

"Our system at present increases the risk of children in conflict, . and them becoming adult offenders.

"We should reduce efforts to deal with convicted criminals and instead give children an opportunity to play a part in shaping a positive future," said Jacqueline Gallinetti from the Community Law Project of the University of the Western Cape.

Parliamentary feedback continues today.