Minister wants fines for those who help street kids

Auxilia Katongomara

imagesThe Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services plans to remove displaced children from the streets by arresting or fining people who are found feeding or giving such kids money. Deputy Minister Tapiwa Matangaidze said the public must desist from feeding street kids if the country is to rid its streets of these children.

He was responding to a question by Senator Tapera Machingaita on government policy regarding people who beg for money on the streets in the Senate last week.

“Our Ministry is responsible for administering the law on vulnerable children such as these street kids. It’s our responsibility as drivers and commuters not to feed these people as this encourages them to stay in the streets,” said Dep Minister Matangaidze.

“We now have a situation where a commuter omnibus driver is fined for picking up passengers from undesignated places. The commuters are also fined for boarding or alighting in undesignated places. Hence, we are saying, we need the same approach to street kids.”

Dep Minister Matangaidze said the government has a number of children’s homes and other homes run by voluntary organisations where they encourage street kids to be taken.

He said, unfortunately, such moves to rid the streets of vagabonds were being met with stiff resistance. “However, the problem is that, it’s easier and cheaper for the street children to beg in the streets than to be confined to a home.

‘‘These children find a lot of benefits in staying in the streets as they beg for money which they are given. Commuters give them some left-over food through their vehicles’ windows,” he said. Dep Minister Matangaidze called on the public to desist from assisting street children in cash or kind.

“We should deny these children the kind of assistance we’re giving them and instead, pool our resources and give out to children’s homes so that these kids are assisted,” he said.

Last year, Parliamentarians expressed concern over the increasing number of ‘beggars, street kids, street mothers, fathers and youths’ at road intersections and pavements in urban areas. They said they were disturbed by the wanton abuse of alcohol and other intoxicants by the younger generation.

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