Minister takes on the trouble with children and social media

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pretoria - The Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, will on Friday visit the community of Soshanguve in Pretoria to address the problems faced by parents and guardians regarding children and social media.

The Minister’s visit forms part of the sixth National Imbizo Focus Week, which started on Monday, 17 April. Leaders across the three spheres of government are spending the week interacting with citizens countrywide.

The objective of this Imbizo Week for Minister Shabangu is to give impetus to the #365 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, while ensuring the sustainability of the campaign through the work done with partners such as Sonke Gender Justice.

The Minister is pushing for the active involvement of men in this campaign as government fights to break the back of social evils such as “Mavuso” and “blessers”, where young women engage in sexual activity with older men in exchange for material gain.

Minister Shabangu’s department will hold an imbizo at KT Motubatse Hall in Block XX, in partnership with the Film and Publication Board (FPB). The institution has done research on digital streams of media distribution and consumption through social media, which have gained popularity in South Africa. 

Internet access is itself a driver of popularising these trends, which is now accessible through mobile devices including smart phones.  According to data from StatsSA, the City of Tshwane showed that more than 51% of the population has access to the internet, with the majority being the youth. 

Research conducted by the FPB in four provinces shows that the availability of smart phones amongst learners is at 90%, meaning that the youth and children are the biggest consumers of the internet through smart phones.

FPB Research Manager Oupa Makhalemele said data usage has increased tremendously in the City of Tshwane with the free Wi-Fi roll out in township areas. 

“Out of the townships with free Wi-Fi usage, Soshanguve leads with the introduction of Soshanguve homemade porn video sites and Soshanguve local swingers’… porn sites,” said Makhalemele. 

He encouraged parents to protect children. The portrayal of children in pornographic images is illegal, according to South African law.

Makhalemele said the spread of pornographic material on WhatsApp amongst teenagers is growing fast, with Hammanskraal being a hotspot for blessers/Mavuso.

President Jacob Zuma paid an impromptu visit on 28 February 2017 to Block L in Soshanguve‚ an area he mentioned in the State of the Nation Address as requiring special attention due to crime which is making life unbearable for residents‚ including students, at the local Tshwane University of Technology campus.

Minister Shabangu said it was necessary to call an imbizo in Soshanguve to tackle the issue of prepubescent sex, sexuality and child pornography to assist parents, guardians and grandparents, who have to deal with this challenge that is growing fast amongst teenagers. –