SELEBI-PHIKWE: Information on children’s laws must reach the public to ensure that children are protected, the deputy district commissioner, Orapeleng Modimoopelo, said.
Speaking during stakeholders’ workshop on child laws held here on Wednesday, Modimoopelo said stakeholders should ensure that people were aware of child laws and follow them. He said by doing so, it would ensure that people had relevant information concerning child laws and would therefore help protect children.
Modimoopelo also said there was concern that many children were given different surnames without following procedure, and this often created problems for such children once they were grown-ups.
“We have cases of children who require affidavits because they have used different surnames in their certificates,” he said. “This gives them hard times when they apply for services especially when the right procedure was not followed.”
He said it was important for parents to follow procedure when they changed a child’s surname.
He also said it was worrisome that some people failed to protect the interest of a child concerning inheritance. Stakeholders should ensure that they handle inheritance issues in a proper way to avoid disadvantaging a child. A married man whose wife dies must give his children the inheritance before he takes another wife. Principal Social Welfare Officer, Moeng Lesetedi, said social welfare officers encountered challenges when implementing child laws. One of the challenges was conflict between customary law and common law, especially on adoption issues. He also stated that customary adoption might lead to children being denied privileges such as insurance and medical aid.
He also said Selebi-Phikwe had many cases of biological fathers who wanted to adopt their own children, leading to many cases of adoption being recorded in the town, and it took long to resolve them. Another challenge was that some biological fathers did not cooperate when consulted for their child’s adoption.
Chief social and community development officer, Mogorosi Kokoro, said that the main objectives of the workshop were to sensitise stakeholders on child laws and their impact on the child. The workshop was also meant to advocate for the rights of children.
Kokoro said the social welfare department has observed that some stakeholders failed to apply child laws as expected.