Plan to keep children safe during World Cup

The City of Cape Town and the department of social development plan to launch a "child safety" plan to deal with the safety of children during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The child safety plan has identified human trafficking, sexual exploitation and substance abuse as possible dangers that children face during the month-long tournament.

The launch was initially scheduled for March 24 but was postponed. No reasons were given but the organisers hope to make it happen in the next few weeks.

Together with Home Affairs and nongovernmental organisations, the department of social development has established a school holiday programme for local children. It has also set up places of safety for children at stadiums and public places as well as interpreters for children who speak foreign languages.

"We have put everything in place - social workers, interpreters and places of safety," spokesperson for social development MEC in the Western Cape Danny Abrahams said.

Abrahams said they would put "lost children" or "runaways" in places of safety until the World Cup is over. He said they would also work with Home Affairs and International Relations in cases where children are from other countries.

Molo Songololo, an organisation that looks after the rights and safety of children, assisted in drafting the plan.

The organisation's Western Cape director, Patrick Solomons, however, said: "Molo Songololo is concerned that social development does not seem to have enough funds for the child safety plan."

He said that "at a national child protection committee meeting in Johannesburg last year, the Department of Social Development said it did not have money for the child safety plan during the World Cup".

The city's social development manager, Lungelo Nokwaza, said: "Let us not talk about the figures before the mayor makes the official announcement."

Nokwaza could not say when the launch would be "because that is coordinated by the mayor's office organising the 2010 Fifa World Cup".