Government launches Child Protection Week

Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Department of Social Development has launched the annual Child Protection Week campaign saying that while has much has been achieved in protecting the rights of children, challenges remain.

“We have come a long way and achieved much as a nation in protecting and promoting the rights of our children, although we still have a number of serious challenges that confront us,” said the department on Sunday.

This as Minister Lindiwe Zulu launched the campaign in Kimberley in the Northern Cape on Sunday.

This year’s Child Protection Week is being observed under the theme: “Protecting South African Children, 30 years on.”

“South Africa had to go through deliberate transformation and one of the key priorities for government was to ensure the protection and upholding of human rights including the rights of children,” the department said.

WATCH | Protecting children

Government has invested in children through various services like education, health, access to clean water, health, and electricity as well as the biggest social assistance programme aimed at protecting children.

“As Government, our vision is to make South Africa a place where all children and young people are loved, confident, happy and healthy, and are empowered to reach their full potential,” said the department on Sunday.

Speaking at the launch Minister Zulu said that the “one thing parents said they really want is for their children to take education seriously and that their children remain in school to improve their chance to build a brighter future for themselves and their country."

The Minister bemoaned the high levels of violence against children.

“One of the major concerns for me is the unacceptably high levels of violence against children in our country. We have all heard of the tragic story of the 6-year-old Joslin Smith who went missing from Saldanha Bay on 19 February and to this day has not been found. Hers is a sad story of many children in our country whose rights are violated and robbed of their childhood,” said the Minister.

READ | Cabinet concerned about safety of children

READ | Safeguarding the future

Teenage pregnancy was also another issue raised by the Minister.

“We are also deeply concerned about the alarming number of teenage pregnancies across the country, including here in the Northern Cape, with John Taolo Gaetsewe and Frances Baard as leading districts.

“We must act now to stop this! While we encourage teenage mothers and fathers to remain in school and complete their studies, we must work together to stop teenage pregnancy in the first place,” she said.

The department further stressed the importance of family as the “best first line of defence and support in the protection of children.”

“That is the reason why over the years we have taken deliberate and decisive action to implement  child-and family-oriented programmes,” it