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Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Two more women have been arrested in the Durban city centre for using their children to beg on street corners and at intersections.

The mothers were using their one-year-old children to beg yesterday.

The arrests bring to nine the number of women who have been nabbed for the same offence in two weeks.

Last week the police arrested seven mothers using their children to beg on street corners - which is in contravention of the Child Care Act.

But the seven women were released on warning and the children taken to places of safety.

The act stipulates that any parent or guardian who ill-treats that child or allows it to be ill-treated is guilty of an offence.

It further stipulates that any person convicted of any offence under the section will be liable to a fine not exceeding R20000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or both.

Yesterday's arrest is part of an ongoing campaign by the police to deal with parents who illegally use their children to beg.

Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said they were working with the Metro Police in this regard since bylaws prohibit such "abuse of young children" by their parents.

"These parents are abusing their children by making them beg and that's is a criminal offence." Mdunge said.

He urged motorists and so-called Good Samaritans to stop giving money or handing out clothes or any item to the beggars. Those trying to do good might be arrested as well.

eThekwini municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe said handing out money to street beggars was a violation of the Road Traffic Act as well as various bylaws and constituted a crime on the part of those caught doing it.

"The bigger issue here is that most of the parents who force their children to beg access state grants," he said.

"The municipality has also tried to help as many mothers as possible to go and register for grants, but we see them back on street corners within days."

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