The Department of Social Development says it will be forging ahead with its efforts to protect South Africa’s children - despite the closing of the 2019 Child Protection Week Campaign.
“As a department, we recognise that the best way to protect children is to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring in the first place.
“To do this, we need to create awareness and to build capacity to strengthen families and communities across South Africa,” the department said.
The department said it will achieve this by continuing to engage parents and caregivers as they have the primary responsibility for raising their children, and ensuring that these rights are upheld.
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu will end the week in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, today where she will engage the local communities about child abuse, neglect and exploitation and practical strategies for protecting children.
The department said Emalahleni was chosen for the official closing of the Child Protection Week campaign due to unacceptably high reported cases of child abuse and neglect in the area.
Just this week alone, a woman from Klarinet, appeared in court accused of murdering her four children. This follows the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old girl with albinism, Gabisile Shabane, and 15-month-old Nkosinathi Ngwenya in Hlalanikahle also in Emalahleni.
“These incidents highlight the need for a concerted effort to engage with local communities in the area. As a department, we recognise that the best way to protect children is to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring in the first place.”
As a build-up to Zulu’s engagement with local communities, the department in collaboration with the provincial departments of social development, health and local community-based organisations conducted parent-child dialogues in three local schools, including Klarinet and Hlalanikahle.
A key concern that emerged through the dialogues with children was the importance of parents to communicate with and understand their children.
Other concerns raised by children included bullying, the scourge of drug abuse in the area, sexual violence against minor children, physical and verbal abuse by parents, to name a few.
The report of the dialogues will be presented to the Minister - this morning.
Help at hand
Under the 365 days National Action Plan which the department developed to prevent child abuse, neglect and exploitation government has appealed to communities to report any incidents of abuse or violation of children’s right at their nearest police station or by contacting the following hotline numbers:
- Department of Social Development 24-hour Command Centre: 0800 428 428 (toll-free) Callers may also request a Social Worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.
- ChildLine South Africa: 0800 055 555.
- Child Welfare South Africa: 0861 424453 / 011 452-4110
- SAPS Crime Stop: 08600 10 111
- SMS Crime Line: 32211.