Parliamentary Question: DoP: Will children found loitering in their uniforms during school hours be arrested

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QUESTION NO 86

Mr M M Swathe (DA) to ask the Minister of Police:

Whether the SA Police Service will enforce the call made by Mpumalanga Safety and Security MEC to arrest children found loitering in their uniforms during school hours; if not, why not; if so, what are the (a) reasons for enforcing this call and (b) further relevant details?

REPLY:

No. The Child Justice Act, 2008 (Act No 75 of 2008) created a separate criminal justice system for children in conflict with the law. The mentioned Act stipulates that if a child is younger than 10 years, he or she may not be arrested, and a child who is 10 years or older should only be arrested as a last resort and, if arrested, should only be detained for the shortest possible time. Loitering is not a Schedule 1 offence and is regarded as a B crime. Loitering is dealt with in accordance with the respective Municipal Bylaws. The SAPS can also act in terms of the Children’s Act and ensure that the child is referred to the social workers or probation officers of the Department of Social Development who must then investigate as to why the child is not in school.
(a) Not applicable.
(b) The Child Justice Act, 2008 (Act No 75 of 2008) and the Children’s Act (Act No 38 of 2005) regulate the manner in which children should be treated. The South African Police Service has National Instructions in place that explicitly and in detail give direction to members on how to treat and deal with children in accordance with the provisions of the mentioned legislation.



Reply to question 86 approved by the Minister