Activist details ‘horrendous’ case of neglect
FOR weeks or even possibly longer, three minor Gauteng children have had to endure one of the worst cases of child neglect that a child activist has ever seen.
The youngsters, aged seven, nine and 11 from Venterspos in Westonaria, were forced to eat rotten food infested with maggots, had not bathed for some time, had lice and fleas in their hair and on their beds.
“This was one of the most horrendous cases,” said Pixie Pink, whose social media post detailing the horrific case of child neglect has since gone viral.
“They don’t even have toothbrushes, toothpaste or even toilet paper and have to wipe themselves with their hands when they go to the bathroom.”
As South Africa commemorated World Food Day yesterday, Pink told The Saturday Star this week that she was enraged with the dire circumstances of the children, who rely mainly on donations from the isolated community to eat.
“This is not just a poverty problem, it’s child neglect at its best,” she insisted.
Pink is demanding that the youngsters be removed from the house and that long-term intervention from the police and child welfare is desperately needed.
“When I got to the house, the situation was so dire that I had immediate proof for them to be removed from the premises and their mother’s custody.
“I saw the state they were in and also the state of the house. They don’t even have a fridge, so all their food has gone off.”
Pink explained that the children’s 35-year-old mother was unemployed and their 18-year-old brother also had no source of income.
“He left school when he was 14 because he said he had anger issues, and now he also doesn’t work because he can barely read or write.”
Pink added that the three minors were also not in school and doubted they had even attended a single class this whole year.
“Every child has a constitutional right to an education but without one, these children will not even be able to beg one day because they won’t be able to write on a cardboard box.”
Pink, who is an activist against women and child abuse, took to social media last month to detail the family’s horrific living conditions.
In the Facebook post, she added that the mother sold their fridge and all their food is being stored in the cupboard, most of which has gone rotten.
“The dogs had more food than the children and the mother did not try to clean the house.”
The post has since gone viral with scores of food and other household items being donated to the family.
Also cutting into family incomes is the rising cost of electricity and transportation. The research found that women, on average, moved between four and five shops while shopping so as to find the cheapest goods.
Women were also more likely to sacrifice and go without, so they can feed their families. The Covid-19 crisis also meant that money had to be spent on hygiene products.
Manakhe Chiya, a data collector for the PMEJD, said that the lockdown had left people frustrated. “And they are angry, and the problem they say is who is going to listen to them,” she said.
With less money, the concern is that families are not getting enough nutritious food, which could impact their health. “Our social grants that are so critically important are also so inadequate,” said Smith.
On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa told Parliament that the government would be continuing with the special Covid-19 relief grant of R350 a month for three more months.
Further research has shown that the special grant, though considered by many to be inadequate, had been important in stopping hunger.
The programme co-ordinator of the PMEJD, Merwyn Abrahams, said a study by the University of Cape Town had found a drop of 27% of those going hungry in the Western Cape, after the introduction of top-up grants.
“If the top-up grant was taken away, 27% would emerge again in terms of household hunger and food insecurity. And if you take into consideration the R293 increase in the food basket, then over 30% of households will be plunged into household food insecurity,” he explained.
A National Income Dynamics Study-coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey conducted by Stellenbosch University had found that 22% of respondents had reported that someone in their household had gone hungry in May and June. This figure dropped to 16%, with child hunger dropping to 11%.
Ultimately, the researchers hope the Household Affordability Index will be an early warning system that will provide insight into how the economy is doing and its impact.
THE appalling conditions which three children lived in, in Venterspos.