28 May 2013
Protecting South Africa’s children is a shared national responsibility, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said at the launch of National Child Protection Week in Durban on Monday.
“Our elders have taught us that it takes a village to raise a child. That is why we say ‘umntwana wakho, ngumntwana wam’ – your child is my child and my child is your child.”
This year’s Child Protection Week will focus on sensitising communities and families about children’s rights, including the rights of the children with disabilities.
“As we launch this campaign, we recall that many children in our country are growing up without the care of a protective and permanent family,” Dlamini said. “We therefore pledge to work with all South Africans to provide care and support to orphans and vulnerable children.”
Ending violence against children
Dlamini called on all South Africans to spread the message that it was time to end violence against children, by reporting cases of child abuse, neglect and exploitation to social workers and police officers, and by wearing a green ribbon to show support for the campaign.
“Today we pledge to work to identify more child victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation, and to help and protect them. We will undertake efforts to enhance investigations and prosecute offenders.”
The public were urged to brandish whistles and umbrellas in support of Child Protection Week – the whistles to symbolise the sounding of an alarm, the umbrellas to symbolise protection.
Addressing the role of the internet in spreading child abuse, Dlamini said: “We commit ourselves to make children aware of online risks, so that they can enjoy their online lives without fear. And we pledge to reduce the availability of online child sexual abuse material.”
Dlamini said the government would take proactive action to end the abuse, neglect and exploitation of children. “We pledge our political will and our common and national commitment to protect our children and to reducing the high levels of violence against women and children.”
Following the launch of Child Protection Week, the Orphans, Vulnerable Children and Youth Conference was launched at the International Convention Centre by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize.
A review on the national action plan for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/Aids since 2006 will be delivered at the conference, and delegates will discuss how South Africa is doing on child protection issues.
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