Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has emphasised that child protection can only be realised, through cooperation and joint efforts from various sectors of society, which brings along all spheres of government under one roof, with a common objective.
“I am referring to a cooperation whereby we are all able to work side by side, despite the difference in the colour of our skin, race, belief or doctrine and political affiliation in the interest of our children. It is through such a solid partnership, that we can yield for our nation, a South Africa, free of amongst other social ills, child abuse, cyber bullying, abduction, teenage pregnancy, child labour and child killings,” Zulu said.
Speaking at the launch of Child Protection Week campaign, held at James House Community Based Care Centre in Houtbay, Cape Town on Sunday, Zulu said the department is compelled to intensify its efforts in the interest of children.
She said the sectors of society have no choice, but to unite and recommit themselves, as they strive for what is best for the children of South Africa.
She argued that children remain innocent souls who depend largely on us for a better future, warning that if we fold our arms and do nothing to make their future bright by listening, embracing, loving, and keeping them in school, “history will judge us harshly one day”.
“It is in our hands to recommit ourselves to take these children and support NPOs, [including] social workers, teachers and individuals, who out of love and passion for their work, are doing all they can to provide shelter and keep children out of the streets that are full of alcohol, drugs, and rapists and human traffickers, to mention just a few,” Zulu said.
Child Protection Week was launched under the theme, “Let us Protect Children during COVID-19 and Beyond”, a clarion call for South Africans from all walks of life, to play their part, as we provide an unwavering support to children.
Do not shy away from issues raised by children
The Minister urged the society not to shy away from issues raised by children during the campaign’s build-up dialogues, held last week at James House Community Centre.
Amongst the issued raised by children, included a plea that parents must receive counselling and emotional support, and that parents should consider treating them differently, as the current modern times they live in, has changed.
The children also called for more positive parenting rather than resorting into violence, corporal punishment against children.
Zulu reiterated that child protection remains their constitutional rights which holds in high esteem by various pieces of national, and international legislative provisions, including the Children’s Act.
“The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of a Child, which emphasises that, all children have the right to a place to live, and to be raised with love, affection, and security. Children, in terms of the African Charter, should not be abused or work before a certain age, meaning, the Charter is against any form of child labour practices.
“Similar to other areas across the country, the Western Cape Province may also have farmers who illegally employ under aged children. Therefore, such labour practice must be discouraged and reported to the law enforcement agencies for immediate action,” the Minister said.
The Minister commended 6 052 child and youth care workers across the country, who are working hard to protect 181 569 orphaned and vulnerable children, these include 12 307 of them who are in the Western Cape Province.
Zulu also commended 816 Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) nationwide who are also playing part in the implementation of RISIHA programme.
She said this year, the department will raise awareness on its community based prevention and early intervention programme RISIHA (resilience in Xitsonga).
RISIHA is aimed at moving orphaned and vulnerable children from vulnerability to resilience and seeks to build and develop more resilient children who would grow and become responsible citizens capable enough to deal with the country’s social ills, including, the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality.
Offered by the help of Child and Youth Care Workers, RISIHA is implemented in line with the seven domains of Core Package of Services (CPS) to ensure that there is integration and standardisation of services to vulnerable children; and appropriate referrals are made to relevant stakeholders.
Zulu said the seven domains of CPS programme include child care and protection, psychosocial support, HIV and AIDS, health promotion, food and nutrition, economic strengthening, as well as educational support for orphaned and vulnerable children.
“Another advantage about this programme is that it makes provision for children aged between zero and 18 years, and on instances where a child is above 18 years, and still attend school, these services may be extended until a child reaches the age of 21,” Zulu said. – SAnews.gov.za
Source: South African Government News Agency