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Jan '11

Blog 8 – Buddy and Me – project 3 (11th – 14th November 2010)

Posted by Julia

Categories: Buddy and Me

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The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Buddy and Me’ finished off our week by leaving the trailer at Round Tabler Anton de Vos and his wife Liezl’s house at 11am on Thursday morning and headed out in the rain to the Montrose Protea Hotel where I intended leaving Buddy and taking the Translux bus to Pinetown. The reason for departing from the project was because as I said on my last blog, I have had some issues with the services provided by ‘Child Line’ and these issues have arisen during numerous discussions with parents and teachers in various areas of South Africa over the past 3 – 4 years in particular.

I have had discussions with a few members of Child Line over the past few years but the answers I have received from them have not satisfied reservations or problems I have concerning their services and so when I left a message for Ms. Joan Van Niekerk, one of the senior management team members of Child Line I was really excited. After explaining exactly who I am and what I am involved with, and because she is a very busy lady with a hectic schedule, an appointment was established for Friday the 12th November, hence my decision to bus to Durban.

Unfortunately due to her hectic schedule, when I phoned on Thursday to confirm the time for the meeting I was advised that Ms. Van Niekerk was away and would not be back until Saturday. A new appointment was set up for 10am on Saturday but unfortunately once again due to her hectic and busy schedule she could not make the meeting. She did however provide me with some literature on the services provided by Child Line as well as confirmed that when I get to Durban the week after next she will make every attempt to accommodate me and sit down and discuss the issues I have. So I look forward to that opportunity, but I believe that it’s time for me to air the issues I have with Child Line and these by the way are the problems and issues with Child Line which have been raised by the many parents and teachers I mentioned earlier in this blog.

Nobody can dispute the fact that in the many years that Child Line has been in operation they have done exceptionally good work and they are undoubtedly the champions of the children of South Africa. However, and I believe that this is due to the legislation passed by government/parliament, they have caused unbelievable damage to many parents and teachers lives due to the strict implementation or perhaps interpretation of the law.

The reason I say this, is because I have over the passed few years, been given many incidents where, when a parent or teacher has disciplined a child, by smacking the child on the bum, and the incident has been reported to Child Line, either by the child or a third party, the parent has been charged and convicted for the assault of the child under the child abuse act. In these incidents it was confirmed by the parent that the child was not beaten or physically abused but merely smacked with an open hand on the bum. There is a big difference between disciplining a child and abusing it physically and any parent who does not know the difference does not deserve to be a parent.

When discussing this issue with members of the Child Line staff, I have been told that “The law is the law and the law clearly states that ‘No one can hit a child and any person who does is guilty of child abuse and so when reported, the legal process must be implemented”.

Secondly when having asked a member of staff of Child Line to explain the process which is followed when informed by a child that she or he has been raped or sexually assaulted, and this has been on a few occasions, it has been confirmed that in many instances the matter is not automatically reported to the police.

When asking “why” I have been told that “By doing so would break the child’s confidence with Child Line and so the matter is only reported to the authorities/police if the child agrees to the matter being reported to the police”.  

So now my dilemma is, “How come when a parent is reported for so called ‘abusing a child’ by smacking it on the bum in the form of discipline, the process of the law must be maintained and the matter reported to the police by Child Line, but when a child reports that she or he has been raped or sexually abused, the matter is not always reported to the police in-spite of the fact that the ‘Sexual Offences Act 32’ clearly states that ‘Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused, fails to report the matter to the police that person is guilty of an offence.

So having said all of this I sincerely hope that I get an opportunity to meet with Ms. Van Niekerk when next in Durban and obtain answers to these issues, so that when I am confronted with these questions by parents and teachers while on my journey around South Africa I can answer them with confidence.

While on the bus to Durban I was seated next to a really incredible man by the name of Bongani Zulu who is a lecturer in Theology at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. When he found out what I am doing and what the ‘Buddy and Me’ project is involved with, he was fascinated and we got into a lengthy discussion on the subject of child rape and the abuse of children in general and the topic I have just mentioned concerning Child Line was discussed at length and he confirmed his agreement with the issues I have already mentioned.

The discussion on this subject went further and he confirmed his belief that the complete collapse of social standards and the incredibly high volume of anti-social behaviour being experienced by a vary large portion of the children in South Africa is directly attributed to the fact that legislation has removed the right of parents and teachers to properly and effectively discipline children who require a different form of disciplining. He also believes and I concur entirely, that by the time the State gets involved with a delinquent child who has become that way because of the lack of prompt and proper discipline by a parent, it’s far too late.

So that was my trip to Durban and although I did not achieve quite the results I had hoped for, I did get the opportunity to spend a bit of time with my family and in particular my granddaughter Michaela and grandson Dain, so I was happy.

When I got back to the Montrose Protea Hotel to collect Buddy, the Protea Hotel General Manager, Natalie Fluxman insisted that I spend the night at the hotel and of course who was I to say no, so I am very comfortably settled in the Montrose Protea Hotel and tomorrow (Monday 15th November) ‘Buddy and Me’ will be heading forever South to Estcourt where I will be hosted accommodation with the Round Tablers and then continue South to Howick, Pietermaritzburg, Pinetown and then Durban at the end of the week.

So until next I submit another blog, stay well, stay safe and yep – KEEP ALL CHILDREN SAFE.

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me (Steve Heath)

Please send all comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website are strictly those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the project.

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