T he Child Care and Protection Act that was passed by parliament in 2015 is yet to be effected, The Patriot can reveal.
The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) documents that at least 20 different Acts are yet to be enforced ranging from the Criminal Law and Procedure Act 25 of 2004, Intellectual Property Act 1 of 2012, Water Management Act of 2013, National Health Act 2 of 2015, Namibian Investment Promotion Act of 2016, Public Private Partnership Act of 2017, and Whistle Blower Protection Act 10 of 2017 but to mention a few.
Speaking on the delayed enforcement of the Child Care and Protection Act specifically, Emma Theofelus, Deputy Speaker of the Youth Parliament stated that the Act is in good shape after more than 20 plus years of drafting and is ready to be enforced following its passing in 2015.
Theofelus said the Act is the only instrument that protects and aims to uphold children’s rights in the country.
She said implementation challenges hampering the enforcement of the children’s legislation can be navigated through combined efforts by government and external stakeholders.
“We hope the Prime Minister will commission the Minister of Gender and Child Welfare to enforce the Act by collaborating with entities such as UNICEF, UNESCO and so many others to assist them. I understand government has a challenge, but they need to exercise political will and intentionally pursue partnerships to enforce the Act. This is because as children advocates we are challenged with no custodians to look after and protect Namibian children,” she said.
During the opening of Parliament on Tuesday, President Geingob reinforced the importance of passing legislature timeously as central to ensuring that the ‘triune’ functions of government namely judiciary, executive and legislative result in effective governance.
The Director of the LAC, Toni Hancox said delays in enforcing adopted legislation often implies that the legislature is being frustrated by the executive. To avoid delays, Hancox underscored he importance of conceptualizing laws only on a need basis.
“It is very important to thoroughly research the issues and to only consider new legislation after input has been obtained from all quarters. Otherwise you once again sit with legislation that does not serve its purpose”.
Hancox contrastingly shared that “regarding the Child Care and Protection Act of 2004 which was to replace the 1977 Act, there is almost universal agreement by all key stakeholders that this Act is problematic and should not come into force. The way forward would be for parliament to repeal it and start all over again.”
She also lamented the shortage of legal drafters responsible for preparing both bills and regulations in Namibia as a factor that perpetuates legislative delays.