Gauteng Social Development MEC, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza says an increasing number of Zimbabwean children are coming into South Africa on their own.
She says in the last three months, about 800 children have crossed the border at Musina into South Africa, while hundreds of other children could have crossed at other points of entry.
Mayathula-Khoza says the plight of children entering the country has reached crisis point and this is alarming.
“With additional 800 plus children who arrived from Zimbabwe assisted through drop-in centres, we have a drop-in centres where children arrive, these children are unaccompanied, and they don’t have documents.”
She was addressing a seminar looking into undocumented children in Gauteng.
The gathering was attended by various government departments including Home Affairs, Justice and Education.
The Department of Education has emphasised that undocumented children are entitled to schooling.
Recently it emerged that some Home Affairs officials were allegedly going to schools demanding that foreign learners produce documentation.
But Gauteng Education’s Inad Smith says while it is preferable for the children to have their documents, their education is paramount.
She says the school should however have proof that the learners are working on getting their papers.
A number of NGOs dealing with children were also present. They expressed concern at the number of abandoned children.
Pam Wilson from the National Adoption Coalition says, there has been an increase in the number of premature and severely disabled abandoned children
because of late abortion.