By Staff Reporter
GOVERNMENT has indicated it has started a process to round up all street-kids and adults for relocation to safer centres in the wake of an increase in cases of their abuse by some Harare motorists.
According to a statement by Harare Provincial Development Coordinator Tafadzwa Muguti, some motorists are picking up male street kids to abuse them in their cars, homes and other secluded places.
Muguti noted some of the street kids set for relocation had resorted to crime for survival including the gang raping of young children and abuse of drugs.
“Many complaints have arisen that people living on the streets including children are engaging in the abuse of substances such as glue and dagga, gang rape of young girls whilst the boys are being sodomised, stealing from parked vehicles, harassing pedestrians and snatching food from people.
“We also express displeasure and concern from reports that are coming through the provincial Social Welfare Officer that there are motorists who are now picking up these street children especially boys and abusing them in their cars, homes and secluded places,” said Muguti.
“As the Provincial Development Directorate for the government in Harare Metropolitan Province, we shall be supporting the efforts of the Provincial department of Social welfare, the Zimbabwe republic Police (ZRP), City of Harare together with all other responsible authorities on relocating all the street children and adults to safer and more decent accommodation.”
Harare has a population of street kids in its hundreds with most surviving on begging and crime.
The population has increased over the years due to an influx of young people coming from war-torn Mozambican.
Efforts to clear the capital of them have hit snags over the past years as some continue to find their way back with more opting for the streets due to family and economic issues.
Muguti noted they were facing a similar challenge:
“Unfortunately, we are experiencing a high rate of absconding children as they seek to go back on to the streets, whilst some have sold their blankets and other supportive materials.”
Muguti said safe accommodation had already been secured across the capital while well-wishers, had donated clothing, blankets and food for their survival.
Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre, Mt. Hampden Youth Training Centre, Northcot Training Institution, Jamaica Inn and Beatrice rehabilitation Centre are some of the institutions identified to host the street kids and adults.
Added Muguti: “We urge the public to be supportive of this exercise and report any children or adults who might need to be relocated to these safe homes.
“It is important to note and inform the public that all the people taken to safe homes are being fed adequately and empowered with vocational skills that they can use in future to sustain themselves and improve their livelihoods.”