Images showing the toddler smoking what appeared to be dagga surfaced on some social media networks. The Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz has told Cape Talk presenter Kieno Kammies that they will be laying criminal charges against the toddler’s parents and that social workers will be investigating a case of child neglect.
Alleged gang links
The 18-year-old male from Grassy Park who allegedly forced his three-year-old sister to smoke dagga is being pursued by authorities and may have links to the Cape Flats gang the 26s, according to Fritz.
Somewhere there was a tattoo of a 26, the social worker also says he gets a strong sense that the man may be linked to gangsterism.
The Department is working with the South African Police Services (SAPS) to locate the toddler’s brother and also plans to complete an assessment on the family to evaluate the welfare of the children. They will also be proceeding with medical and psychological interventions for the three-year old child.
He said that the toddler and her 13-year-old sister will be taken to a safe location in the meantime.
We have removed the toddler and the 13-year-old. The assessment of our social workers is that no parental responsibility is exercised in that particular household.
The dangers of dagga
Psychiatrist in private practice Dr Jan Chabalala says that smoking dagga at a young age has adverse effects on brain development and damage's ones memory.
It's toxic to the brain and, with younger people, it's even worse because their brains are still developing. There is in fact a huge body of evidence that shows that use of dagga in teenagers leads to schizophrenia. The brain doesn't stop growing; when you are learning new things, you are actually gaining new brain cells.
Listen to the full conversation on Breakfast with Kieno Kammies: