Johannesburg – 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 is enraged with the dire circumstances these children, who rely mainly on donations from the isolated community in the west of the province, to eat.
“This is not just a poverty problem, its 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 in general.They don’t even have a fridge so all their food has gone off.”
Pink explained that the children’s 35-year-old mother is unemployed and that their 18-year-old brother also has 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 are also not in school she doubts that they have even attended a single class this whole year.
“Every child has a constitutional right to an education in this country 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 that 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.
A local NPO, has since stepped in and has fed and bathed the youngsters. While Pink welcomes these interventions, she thinks that it is short-term and that the minors require more sustained care.
“Donations can only last so long and what those kids need is Child Welfare to keep an eye on them for the foreseeable future.”
The Child Welfare as well as the police have not responded to The Saturday Star’s queries on the matter.
But reports suggest that the police are aware of the situation and that the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit members conducted a preliminary investigation but no case docket had been opened. It is also believed that the family’s circumstances have now been referred to social services.