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The National Education and Workers Union (NEHAWU) strike has left many youth and children at the Gauteng Child and Youth Centres (CYCCs) unattended.
The Nehawu is striking over salary increases. This strike is negatively impacting service delivery at the CYCCs in the province and has increased the huge trauma already experienced by these vulnerable children.
The children and youth at these centres have already experienced neglect and suffered huge trauma which has been worsened by this strike.
The intimidation by NEHAWU members has forced employees at the CYCCs to stay locked up inside the facilities since Monday.
To make sure that work does not ground to a halt at these facilities, one or two willing workers have been staying inside with the children so that they can be cared for. The Walter Sisulu Centre is one such facility where one or two staff members have been working selflessly night and day to ensure that all of the children are cared for.
While plans were made to move some of the children, this has been made difficult by the striking workers. In addition, some children are awaiting trial and others have been traumatised and cannot be moved.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has already tried to engage with the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, the Head of the Department and the head of the Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs). However, they were not able to provide a contingency plan. They should be held accountable for the long-term suffering faced by these vulnerable children during this strike.
The DA proposes that childcare and youth workers be registered as essential services to ensure that when they strike, which they are entitled to, at least 30% of the workforce will be forced to remain at work to ensure that the children and youth are properly cared for.
Furthermore, the DA is demanding that the department urgently put contingency plans in place to ensure that our vulnerable children and youth are given the care they need and deserve.
Issued by Brownynn Engelbrecht MPL - DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Social Development
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