STATEMENT ISSUED BY MALIZOLE DIKO
UDM NATIONAL SECRETARY
United Democratic Movement (UDM) is shocked and very concerned about reports of
two girls, under eighteen years of age, who both have had rather nasty
experiences after allegedly stealing, at school, a chocolate and an energy drink
respectively. Of additional concern is that reports indicate that both girls
were pupils of the same primary school in Johannesburg.
UDM does not condone any form of unlawful activity, but both these children did
not deserve the such treatment; one was expelled from school and the other spent
a night in jail; three hours of which she claims was shared with two male adults
who harassed her.
South Africa's children has certain non-derogable rights, one being that they
have the right "to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or
degradation", another that they can "not be detained except as a
measure of last resort" and then, a child must be "kept separately
from detained persons over the age of 18 years".
The UDM is encouraged that Gauteng Education MEC, Ignatius Jacobs, is aware of
the situation and that there is promise of an urgent investigation into the one
girl's seemingly unlawful expulsion. The UDM suggests that Mr Jacobs include
into his investigation, the alleged incidents that followed the second girl's
detention and whether or not parents need to be concerned of the continued
stability and safety of their children's education at the named school.
The UDM urges Mr Jacobs to extent his offer of counselling, by his department,
to all the affected pupils and their classmates, since this experience may have
shamed and traumatised them and they risk derision from fellow learners and
More importantly, the UDM calls on the Gauteng Department of Education and
Gauteng schools to treat the matter of school children involved in petty theft,
with correct- and appropriate measures. It is simply unacceptable that their
rights be abused, such children must be guided and nurtured into being
law-abiding citizens and not treated like hardened criminals who bear malice to
Mr Malizole Diko
UDM National Secretary
18 September 2001