East London - Eastern Cape Social Development MEC Nonkosi Mvana has urged stakeholders to work closely with her department in protecting and promoting the rights of children.
Speaking during a stakeholder and media breakfast on Thursday, MEC Mvana stressed the importance of promoting children's rights with regard to care, protection and development.
"I'm appealing to you as stakeholders to join hands with the department, we can't do it alone," she told various stakeholders who attended the event.
Some of the stakeholders who attended the event were from the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders, South African Local Government Association, the Moral Regeneration Movement and the University of Fort Hare.
This forms part of Child Protection Week, which is held from 25 to 31 May. It is an annual campaign to promote partnerships between all sectors of society to improve the living conditions of vulnerable children and their families.
MEC Mvana said children were faced with many social challenges like poverty, domestic violence, abuse neglect, living without parents as a result of divorce or death.
In a bid to tackle these challenges, the MEC said her department was planning to strengthen child protection committees and child justice forums at district levels.
She said this exercise will enable communities to work in cooperation with government in exposing social challenges facing communities.
"It will also assist in fast tracking the delivery of our services. We have to be practical and it will not just be a lip service," added MEC Mvana.
Social Development head Denver Webb said the occasion was an appropriate opportunity for his department to strengthen relationships with various stakeholders.
He stressed the importance of good communication and sharing information. "I'm sure together we will be able to help those in need in the province," he said.
Meanwhile, South Africans have been urged to promote children's rights and child protection by wearing a green ribbon during Child Protection Week.
By wearing the ribbon one will be giving a voice to vulnerable, abused and exploited children who may not be able to speak for themselves.
Minister of Social Development Edna Molewa said the week reminded society that it has a collective responsibility to protect children. "The issue of child abuse and the protection of children from all forms of vulnerability are a vital societal concern."