7 June 2019

South Africa: Minister Lindiwe Zulu Closes Child Protection Week Campaign, 9 June

press release

Minister Zulu closes the child protection week campaign in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga Province

As the 2019 Child Protection Week Campaign draws to a close, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, will on Sunday, 9 June 2019 visit Emalahleni, Mpumalanga Province to engage local communities about child abuse, neglect and exploitation and practical strategies for protecting children.

Emalahleni was chosen for the official closing of the Child Protection Week campaign due to unacceptably high reported cases of child abuse and neglect in the area. This week, a woman from Klarinet in Emalahleni, appeared in court accused of murdering her four children. This follows the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old girl with albinism, Gabisile Shabane, and 15-month-old Nkosinathi Ngwenya in Hlalanikahle also in Emalahleni.

The two incidents highlight the need for a concerted effort to engage with local communities in the area. As a Department, we recognise that the best way to protect children is to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring in the first place. To do this, we need create awareness and to build capacity to strengthen families and communities across South Africa.

All children have the right to be safe and to receive loving care and support. And this is what the Department seeks to achieve by engaging parents and caregivers because they have the primary responsibility for raising their children, and ensuring that these rights are upheld.

As a build-up to Minister Zulu's engagement with local communities, the Department in collaboration with the provincial departments of social development, health and local community-based organisations conducted parent-child dialogues in three local schools, including Klarinet and Hlalanikahle.

A key concern that emerged through the dialogues with children was the importance of parents to communicate with and understand their children. Other concerns raised by children included bullying, the scourge of drug abuse in the area, sexual violence against minor children, physical and verbal abuse by parents, to name a few. The report of the dialogues will be presented to the Minister.

Recognising that the safety and well-being of our children is everybody's responsibility of all in our society, the Department of Social Development has led the development of the 365 days National Action Plan to prevent child abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Issued by: Department of Social Development

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