DA calls for public participation on Children’s Amendment Bill to be paused until concerns are addressed
13 March 2021
Note to Editors: Please find attached a soundbite by Bridget Masango MP.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Mondli Gungubele, to request that the public participation process for the Children’s Amendment Bill (CAB) be paused in light of the serious procedural concerns, as well as issues with various clauses in the Bill.
The CAB in its current form is fundamentally flawed and must be rectified before the public participation process continues to ensure that the public has a fair chance to comment on a reasonable Bill.
The DA has raised the following concerns with the Chair:
The public participation process has been chaotic to date with haphazard postponements of hearings without proper notification to stakeholders;
Lack of communication to the committee regarding submissions received from the public and stakeholders and no information regarding access to the submissions. The committee simply cannot wait until 16 March before we see the submissions and the DA refuses to accept the summarized version of the submissions. Each and every submission deserves proper contemplation and scrutiny;
Should it be required that the Committee sit during the constituency period, permission needs to be obtained in a timely manner;
Clarity must be provided on how the changes in the Bill and its impact on them would be communicated to children;
The clauses and chapters to be rejected must be provided in writing, i.e., the rejection of the clauses that provided for early childhood development (ECD);
The DA has in numerous committee meetings requested clarification on which clauses of the CAB pertain to the comprehensive legal solution. To date, however, no clarity has been forthcoming. In order to ascertain for instance how the High Court Order on foster care would impact children, this clarification is urgently needed;
A copy of the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIAS) for ECD provisions must be provided as a matter of urgency; and
Comprehensive details regarding the costing of this Bill.
The CAB is of paramount importance to countless children and simply cannot be rushed through. We owe it to our future generations to ensure that they are properly cared for and protected. The consequences of an ill-thought-through and unconstitutional Bill will haunt our children and open them up to harm if due diligence is not done now.
The DA is willing and able to put in the important work and requires the committee and all stakeholders to work with us in this to protect our children.
Issued by Bridget Masango, DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, 13 March 2021