Internal Affairs

Strand, Mnandi rule the Identikidz roost

With the conclusion of the 2022/23 Identikidz Project, the statistics show that more than 125 000 children were tagged over five weekends at 16 participating beaches – proof that Identikidz grows in stature year after year.

The Identikidz project was first introduced in 2016.

It tagged 138 603 children during the 2019/20 festive season, reuniting 332 children during that period.

The statistics for the following two festive seasons were affected by the national lockdown, but this past festive season saw a definite upswing in the project’s outputs, with a total of 126 669 children tagged and 403 reunited with their caregivers.

‘Overall, child safety at our beaches was truly well managed this past festive season. Our Identikidz project tagged well over a 120 000 children and reunited just more than 400 with their caregivers. And, in terms of water safety, we had no fatal drownings where the victims were children younger than 15.

‘I want to express my appreciation to the staff involved in the Identikidz project, but also the many departments who assist our Social Development and Early Childhood Development department in the execution thereof. The statistics illuminate not only how popular the project is, but also its importance in ensuring the safety of our young beach visitors. I also want to thank the members of the public who took advantage of the service, and encourage others to do the same in future,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia Van der Ross.

A total of 22 children were handed over to the provincial Department of Social Development when their families could not be contacted by nightfall. A number of these children had not been tagged as part of the project.

In such instances, the provisions of the Children’s Act are applicable.

While the children are returned to their parents’ care, the parents have to appear in court to provide reasons for the neglect and/or abandonment.

In addition, they have to attend a statutory parenting programme, and the circumstances at home are investigated, with recommendations made to the court.

‘Given how busy our beaches can get over the peak festive season, children being separated from their families is a big risk, and that is the reason why we introduced the Identikidz project. What we cannot condone is when the beach day turns to night, and children – some of them very young – have to be turned over to social workers, because no one has come looking for them, or relatives are not answering their phones. The City and its partners go the extra mile to ensure the safety of children, but ultimately, it is the responsibility of the primary caregivers. And, where they appear not to be living up to their responsibilities, the law must take its course,’ added Councillor Van der Ross.

Source: City Of Cape Town