An examination of the implementation of Khulisa Social Solutions' juvenile diversion programmes in KwaZulu-Natal.
The practice of diversion has grown and spread throughout South Africa. The Child Justice Act (75 of 2008) contributed considerably to the formal practice of diversion and has helped diversion service providers to better implement juvenile diversion. This study aimed at examining the implementation of Khulisa‟s juvenile diversion programmes in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The theories framing this study were: the theory of Differential Association by Edwin Sutherland and the labelling theory. The objectives of this study were to examine the implementation of the Positively Cool and the Silence the Violence programmes, and to determine the challenges faced by Khulisa in implementing these programmes. To achieve these objectives, the study adopted a qualitative research paradigm where purposive sampling was used to locate the files of divertees. Data was collected from the database and 32 case files of Khulisa divertees with the age range of 12-17 years. The sample contained divertees from different race groups including; Black (15), Indian (14), Coloured (2) and White (1). Data was analysed using the qualitative content analysis method. The findings of the study revealed that Khulisa implements their programmes in line with the Child Justice Act. Prevalent issues affecting the implementation of these programmes as identified from the case files were; reasons for juvenile offending which included peer pressure, individual factors, economic circumstances, social circumstances, catalysts for offending behaviour, drugs and alcohol use, circumstantial offending and stress and negative labels. Other factors impacting on the programmes were: family support, group work, diversion as a form of restorative justice and programme compliance with the Child Justice Act. Challenges encountered by Khulisa when implementing diversion programmes included issues of having to deal with the harsh socio-economic circumstances of divertees, lack of parental support, recidivism and challenges in facilitating group work. Furthermore, recommendations were made for the practice of diversion programmes, policy and legislation, and future research.