300 minors awaiting trial in WC

Social Development MEC Albert Fritz says gang bosses are recruiting children to commit crimes.

Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - More than 300 minors are awaiting trial, while another 22 have been sentenced for various crimes, Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz revealed on Wednesday.

The alleged offenders are aged between 12 and 17.

The children are being held in facilities across the province, including Bonnytoun in Kraaifontein and Outeniqua House in George.

Fritz says gang bosses are recruiting younger children to commit crimes.

"There's a perception that they [children] are going to get a lesser sentence. There's also a perception that the minimum legislation for murder is not applicable to young people."

The MEC says the department will intensify youth programmes in crime-ridden communities.

Officials will work with churches and other bodies to keep children off the streets.

Meanwhile, the parents of a 14-year-old boy accused of shooting two fellow pupils have made arrangements for him to attend another school.

The Oaklands High School learner appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, where he was released into his father's care.

One of the conditions was that he did not return to the school.

He has been in police custody since early February.

The boy apparently shot the pupils in a taxi, while they were on their way home from school.

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Paddy Atwell says, "The mother applied last week to transfer her son from the school. The school has provided her with a transfer certificate as requested."