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Don’t feed the children

Update May 2022


Let’s end it!

Giving directly to begging children is both a form of child labour whilst also encourages a culture of begging in our community. Let’s end it!

Here’s how you can GIVE RESPONSIBLY:

Drop off food items at CAP Swellendam (CAP); 34 Voortrek St, Swellendam (green building near the parking area behind KFC).

Make a cash deposit to CAP at Nedbank; Cheque Acc #106 083 2126
Use your banking app and scan the QR code below to make a direct deposit into CAP’s bank account (QR Code on poster).
CAP will distribute bulk food donations to local soup kitchens.

• CAP: 028 514 1025; 34 Voortrek St, Swellendam
• Law Enforcement: 079 501 3339
• SAPS: 028 514 8100; 02 Rhenius St, Swellendam

Enquiries: 028 514 8500 /

UPDATE JANUARY 2022 from Gerhard Swanepoel

Na aanleiding van plasing op FB, op Social Media, oor seksuele teistering en wangedrag onder ons straatkinders hier in Swellendam het eke as volg daarop gereageer:

As charity begins at home so does safety too…

This type of behaviour of these children@risk are definitely due to –

1) Lack of parental control and appropriate supervion and care,

2) Abandonment and rejection from those that need to protect them.

3) Authorities, multi-professionals & community members as well as Social Media play the shifting of responsibility game by framing, blaming and shaming all but no one commit to the basics needed to impact properly…

I FULLY agree as Criminologist / Victimologist , that the more SAPS cases , with correct details like names and addresses we get to be presented to a court of law and issue legal From 22 to relevant authorities for appropriate actions and family interventions, the better chances we stand to change the undesired into positive to benefit all…

In the past, working together with DSD & CAP Swellendam , we could place three children through court proceedings in alternative child care to their benefit…help us by keep on doing the right stuff according to law, the Children Act as well as the law on Sexual Offences Act too… children who portray sexual indecent behaviour are often, if not always, are definitely also victims of such and we cannot help them unless properly identified for focussed interventions in support creating a safe space and network for changing behaviour to the betterment of all…

May I also draw the attention to anyone complaining and / or about of such deviant sexual activity and behaviour in minor children, meaning that you witnessed it and / or are aware of it, but didn’t do anything about it, nor bring it to the attention of the relevant authorities, are guilty of transgression & neglect due to the fact of not reporting it to the relevant authorities according to Sexual Offences Act, Act 27 of 2007 , and therefore could be found guilty accordingly and even been imprisoned too…

Therefore, its imperative to act wisely, swiftly and desicively, as actions speak louder than words…

Let us stand together, by becoming an Emotional Intelligent Voice with a Choice, Making each House a Safe Home taking Victims to Victory …

Together we are more than before…if you sincerely want to see a change, be that change you desire to be…

Love is not a feeling but an act of your will …do what is right, act immediately to prevent further damage to those already lost, abandoned and damaged…let us build together…

The good news is that there is now a multi-professional group in Swellendam , looking at this challenge and phenomenon from a professional capacity, including medical doctors , Social Workers, Psychologists, Criminologists, Victimologists, Psychiatric professionals, Law Enforcement and police, CBO’s (Community based Organisations) & FBO’s (Faith based Organizations) as well as caring, devoted and dedicated business and community members….

Therefore I suggest, get involved if you are sincere to instill change to the same level and with the same energy…

To complement it all, a newly established WALK-IN CENTRE for kids@risk had been established by CAP & DSD in Swellendam its own dedicated social worker, all taking hands from an educational and multi-professional perspective with unique human-animal interactions, drama and recreational activities, etc. to benefit and promote the care and safety of these neglected kids at risk…

Let us be the change we want to see please… together the impossible should be possible as each one focus on their role that they can play to ensure and endure change with grace towards mutual beneficial success to all as we touch each other’s hearts and lives irrevocably … together we are more than before every day…

ORIGINAL ARTICLE from August 2021 by A Shackley

Currently in Swellendam there are several groups of children at risk that are causing havoc amongst local businesses, especially in the tourism areas where they target visitors.

In the last eighteen months, in Swellendam, the problem has grown exponentially – unsupervised young children – as young as seven or eight – approaching people and asking for money or food. Being a big softie, I find it extremely hard to ignore their pleas. One afternoon I sat for a couple of hours outside a local restaurant watching them operate. What an organised bunch they were! The entrepreneurial skills they showed – the people skills – the knowledge of their own irresistible charms…

They seemed very self confident – at times persistent and even quite aggressive. But they are neither criminals, nor dangerous individuals, only children at risk, lost in a confused society, especially during these unfortunate, unpredictable and unprecedented times we all face, not only here in Swellendam, but in Overberg, Western Cape, South Africa and the world as a whole too.

On two separate occasions I watched as they were removed by police, and warned off by a local security company. It seemed to me that, to the kids, this actually was part of the adventure – ducking and running and laughing.

I felt a range of emotions…..

Anger (at their parents, the government, society and the kids themselves).

Sadness (for them being exposed and neglected by their parents).

Confusion (why aren’t they at school? Who is responsible for them?).

Frustration (why isn’t anybody DOING anything?)

Helplessness (How can I help? What can I do?)

So, if you are also wondering how best to help – please read on……

One thing is sure – do not respond to their pleas by giving them anything.

Not money, toys, sweets, or even healthy food. Sounds harsh? The only thing you will achieve is to make yourself feel better and them dependent on diverted attention.

It’s not helpful to give children (doesn’t matter how young they are) in the street anything at all – to be precise, you’re only contributing to a more complex and bigger problem as it is. You are keeping the cycle of poverty, co-dependency alive – even worse you could be contributing to one of the main factors that causes devastation in the poorer communities – drug dependency.

By giving to street kids we are keeping them poor for the rest of their lives. Children who actually have the possibility to go to school think it’s better to work on the streets, because they actually get (better) food and they get money. Even their own parents send them on the streets, because they see that their kid is bringing in a lot of cash by begging. This also means that they are more vulnerable to criminal activities and organised crime, By giving money to children on the streets, we are often funding people that are forcing those kids to beg in the first place, from parents to criminals and druggies too.

Many street children at risk exhibit behavioural problems such as, aggression and substance abuse issues, but these are coping mechanisms of children who are in a great deal of psychological pain due to emotional neglect and lack of parental support and supervision.

Many of the kids have been abandoned, orphaned, chronically neglected, physically, sexually and mentally abused, or are exploited by others to beg and borrow for commercial exploitation amongst other things.

How you CAN help
It feels really bad to ignore a child that is asking you to help him or her, especially when they look worn down and hungry. Luckily, however there are other ways you can help than by giving them what they ask for.

In Swellendam, CAP, an NGO, has set up a Street Children programme called the POWER RANGERS. CAP offers educational supportive, life skills mentorship as well as cultural and sports based programs, horse assisted therapy interventions and computer skills development for those kids participating in their programs.

• Build positive relationships with children on the street, they need our support, care, genuine concern and protection.

• Gently encourage such children to return safely home, adhere to traffic and road safety rules and regulations to benefit all.

• Do not ignore them, report such children (under the age of 16) to your nearest police station or to your local Department of Social Development office. By law DSD and SAPS must respond to any children living, working or begging on the street. Follow up, by law anyone may fill out a Form 22 to report a child living, working or begging on the street to DSD. By law churches, religious pastors & ministers, teachers and the like MUST report such children according to the correct protocol. When contacting authorities, the best is always to follow it up with official affidavit at SAPS with place of incidents, types of misdemeanor, names of children and their home address to allow authorities to act decisively and appropriately. Remember, according to the CHILDREN’s ACT and latest POPI ACT it is unlawful to distribute photos of children on any social media platforms or groups.

• Do not move or take these children home or to your home. Only designated social workers and the police may remove a child without parental consent. It is also illegal to transport such children without a valid PDP (Professional Drivers Permit).

• .Support professional and comprehensive intervention services for street children , such as the POWER RANGERS at CAP in Swellendam by either donating your time (as lifestyle mentors, sport coaches) and/or resources and/or financially.

Next time you come across a child on the streets, ignore your instinct and don’t give them anything. You’re only feeding the problem instead of creating a sustainable solution to the problem.

If you feel you can make a positive contribution in whatever way, you can contact Gerhard Swanepoel (Special advisor to the OVERBERG DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY SAFETY FORUM, Tutor at UNISA in Criminology and Victomology as well as multi-professional mentor) working with the POWER RANGERS at CAP in association with SAPS (police), DOSD (Dept of Social Development) and DOE (Depart of Education) at or on WhatsApp at 0685103682.


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Comments - 8

Dave Guy

Dave Guy

The SAPS are ineffectual as are the variuos welfare departments. Have a do not care attitude. Matter of just having to live with the msituation.



My mom worked with Street Children in Cape Town. It is extremely difficult when the public work against it. By giving to children, we help create beggars for life. If you REALLY care about children, please don’t give them money or food on the street.



One cannot jump to conclusions that SAPS or The Welfare Departments fail in their respective duties. Introspection needs to be applied here and it would not be difficult to do this. How would you react if that was your child or a relatives?

These children are forced to approach town since there is where they’ll score a R1 for a packet of chips. Those who give does so with humanity so stop blaming those who give.

Socio-economical issues is an international issue but because we ignore it on our doorstep we wanna comment “do not feed them”.

I oppose this sort of approach and say apply the “your child-my child” methodology… All state organs are bound by legislation and directives and does not ignore this issue believe me I know what I’m saying. Children is the most complex issue to address i.t.o out laws.

Lizza Littlewort

Lizza Littlewort

Those of us who have worked successfully with marginalised kids have insights about this but it seems that “business as usual” is more interested in exacerbating the problem because the solutions require thinking outside the box.



I think it would be a good idea to haave a meeting to let us know what the problems are and how they are addressed.
People tend to complain when an incident happens but it goes no further.
I think it would be important to know what sort of complaint to lay at the Police. Is it a case no. we will get if we do lay a complaint.
What is the name of the complaint and are the police going to be helpful in assisting us in laying it.
What phone numbers can we use to also complain and have follow up.
What are the circumstances with these children each one of them. We need to know the family issues so we can understand and follow the correct procdures.



only do they beg, steal or throw stones, they also swear worse than sailors (esp their leader) who called me a white whore when I took this photograph. The other expletives are beside the point. These kids are “weggooi kinders”, growing up to be no-goods. And there is no way to talk sense to them.
I am a teacher, was born to be one, & this makes me “cry for the beloved country” & the future generations



PS – after having received money at Spar from a kindhearted id10t (!), they split the money & targeted someone else. 20 minutes later I found them smoking behind Carlton Mall – yes, the 7/8 year old too!!

[…] in our neighbourhood, when we can see it in front of our eyes. As referenced in the recent article, Don’t Feed the Children, which sparked heated debate and revealed a huge disparity of […]

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