31 January 2013

South Africa: Government Dismayed At Reports of Child Marriage

press release

Government is shocked and outraged at recent reports that a 57 year old sangoma has married a 13-year old girl in Modimolle in Limpopo. This incident is not only criminal but immoral especially when it is reported that the parents played an instrumental role in this ordeal.

This act is directly defiant of the laws of the country including the Constitution, the Children's Act, the Marriage Amendment Act and the Bill of Rights.

Acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams said, "Such practices cannot go unabated in a country where children are protected and have a right to education, a stable and safe environment. It takes a village to raise a child, and therefore it is a collective responsibility to safeguard and protect our children."

Even the Traditional Healers Organisation has condemned the incident and stated that the sangoma violated the norms and values of the organisation.

"We are encouraged by the fact that the National Prosecuting Authority is investigating the matter. We trust that it will receive the necessary attention and that this case will be prioritised," said Williams.

Government urges parents and the community to report and vigorously fight against abuse of children including child marriage.

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