The implementation of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 : a case study of the diversion programme (vocational, educational or therapeutic) offered by Khulisa in the Ugu District.
Doncabe, Sithembiso Promise.
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The dawn of democracy in South Africa saw a commitment from the African National Congress (ANC) government to address the ills of apartheid through establishing policies that would acknowledge children in conflict with the law as having agency and a voice that must be listened to. The Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 makes several provisions to deal with children in conflict with the law; diversion is one provision. This approach is not new, but previously there was no legal framework guiding it and programmes were implemented unevenly. The introduction of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 has provided a more structured approach. The study analyses the implementation of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008, by using a case study of the diversion programme (vocational, educational or therapeutic) offered by Khulisa in the Ugu district. In so doing, it explored the service provider‘s concepts and understandings of the Act and diversion programmes within the context of restorative justice. It also looks at the experiences, content and process of implementation/delivery of diversion programmes for children in conflict with the law by service providers. The study explored the nature of partnerships between service providers and the state in implementing diversion programmes of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008. The study employed a qualitative research methodology, relying on interviews that were conducted, as well as secondary written sources of data on the Child Justice System. These sources included journal articles, books, internet sources, government legislation, research and theses. The focus of the study was on Ugu District Municipality, on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The study focused on implementation of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 with specific reference to diversion programmes (vocational, educational or therapeutic) offered by Khulisa. To analyse the data the study used qualitative and data analytical techniques, in particular content analysis. One of the emerging conceptualisations from the findings is that the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 calls for the entrenchment of restorative justice because this paradigm considers crime to be harmful, not only to the victims but to society. Hence strategies should involve the offender, victim and community, collectively, to identify and address the damage caused by the offence. This is so because children in conflict with the law are socio-economic victims who have normalised crime as they are denied care and protection. Furthermore, the political, administrative, economic, technological, cultural and social environments in which implementation take place should be conducive to rehabilitation. Of equal importance is the co-operation between government departments and other organisations and agencies working with children in conflict with the law, to implement the Act.