More than 50 000 South Africans don’t want the government to pass the Children’s Act Amendment Bill, which could spell the end of private adoptions, says a Times Select report.

Cape Town lawyer and children’s rights activist Debbie Wybrow has been fighting against the proposed changes in the Bill since it was submitted to Parliament this year. She started an online petition on change.org calling on South Africans to help stop the Bill from being passed into law.

Close to 54 000 people have backed the campaign so far.

If accepted, the proposed amendments will result in specialist social workers no longer being able to charge professional fees, raise funds, or recoup their costs for facilitating and guiding the adoption process.

‘In our democracy, petitioning is one way to consolidate civil society’s objections to legislation that is being proposed,’ said Wybrow.

‘I was astounded to see that the changes national social development was proposing in the Children’s Amendment Bill would denigrate the rights of parent-less children, and that children with complicated social backgrounds would be the most seriously compromised. This is contrary to our Constitution, which is an international benchmark for human rights, and children’s rights in particular, and SA’s bilateral treaty obligations.’

She believes the Bill should be withdrawn and ‘totally reworked’ before being brought before Parliament.

‘The Bill is fundamentally flawed both in what it includes and what it leaves out. The ball is in the Minister of Social Development’s court.’

Full Times Select report (subscription needed)