Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has closed Child Protection Week calling for communities to be more vigilant for possible perpetrators at an event at the Manzini Community Hall in Mpumalanga.
The annual Child Protection Week campaign, which was launched on 28 May 2023 in Hout Bay, Cape Town, seeks to mobilise all sectors and communities towards embracing the holistic development, care, and protection of children under the five-year theme: “Let us Protect Children during COVID-19 and Beyond”.
Speaking to the children gathered at the event, the Minister said she was deeply concerned at the recent cases of abuse and crimes against children in the country.
She said that in Mpumalanga, the areas of KaNyamazane, Matsulu, KaBokweni, Mnganduzweni, Chochocho, Nkomazi and Bushbuckridge have been identified by police as hotspot areas for child killings after numerous children went missing and were later found murdered.
Minister Zulu told the children to be aware of possible perpetrators in their communities.
“When we talk about abuse, rape and violence we talk about any perpetrator that might be in your schools, communities, streets and homes. Beware of these kinds of people and never allow them to touch you where they are not supposed to.
“Today we are closing the campaign but we do not stop the work, the campaign to protect children continues for 365 days.
“The brutal killing of children cannot be a normal thing. If you notice anything wrong with your peers, do not laugh at them. It is important that you as children protect each other. The protection of children must not be the responsibility of adults only, you must also protect each other when you walk together,” the Minister said.
She thanked the department and its partners for their contribution towards making the Child Protection Week campaign a success.
She said the Social Development Department will be launching its own TV channel, which will communicate the department’s services and get information to the people without it being distorted.
This year, the department aimed to raise awareness about its community-based prevention and early intervention programme RISIHA. As the name, which is XiTsonga meaning Resilience, suggests it is aimed at moving orphaned and vulnerable children from vulnerability to resilience.
To date, the programme has reached 181 569 orphaned and vulnerable children across the country through the provision of a basket of child protection services by 6 052 Child and Youth Care Workers across the country.
Eight hundred and sixteen Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) are implementing the program and 26 of them are in the Western Cape Province. – SAnews.gov.za