16 Days: govt to engage with communities

20 November 2013

The government is set to do things differently during this year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign by engaging more with communities, starting with the Diepsloot informal settlement north of Johannesburg.

Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana said earlier this month that her department would be partnering with provincial and local authorities in raise awareness of the importance of responsible parenting in Diepsloot.

The visit to Diepsloot will include a door-to-door visits and meetings with the community.

“We will also go to the schools and early childhood development centres to educate our children not to follow strangers,” Xingwana said. “If they [are touched inappropriately], they must report that immediately to a teacher, parent, pastor or any community member they trust.”

The department will work with local municipalities to look at the needs of children in Diepsloot. The area has no recreational facilities and lacks access to health, educational and sports facilities.

“We believe that our children should have access to services,” Xingwana said. “Our department will continue to facilitate maximum participation of children in matters that affect them and their future. They must be given an opportunity to have a say on where they want to play and what their needs are.”

The 16 days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is a worldwide campaign that raises awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children and encourages people to act against abuse.

The campaign runs worldwide from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

National Action Plan for Children

Xingwana said the government would be working to implement the National Action Plan for Children. The plan, approved by the Cabinet in May, is a comprehensive guide for all government departments and agencies for realising children’s rights.

It takes into account the Constitution‚ international and regional treaties‚ South African legislation‚ the UN Millennium Development Goals and the National Development Plan.

“It is crucial that we invest more time and effort and exercise more vigilance to ensure that all our children are safe and protected,” Xingwana said. “Twenty years into our democracy, our democratic government has done a lot for our children, but we acknowledge that a lot more still needs to be done.

“We must continue to build a South Africa where our children feel safe and secure, and that responsibility falls on us as government and also on families, parents and communities. Our children need support from all of us.”

SAnews.gov.za, with additional reporting by SAinfo