The Department of Social Development has begun the process of submitting a Cabinet proposal for the declaration of May as Child Protection Month as government intensifies efforts to curb child abuse.
This was revealed by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu during the closing ceremony of the 2019 Child Protection Week in Mpumalanga on Sunday.
During her address, the Minister emphasised that given the unacceptably high levels of child abuse, neglect and exploitation in South Africa, it will take more than just a week to tackle the scourge.
"It is a lifetime commitment because child abuse, neglect and exploitation is a matter of greater national concern. To this end, I have instructed Deputy Director-General, Ms Conny Nxumalo, to start working on a submission to table before Cabinet a proposal to declare the month of May as Child Protection Month," Zulu said.
During the opening of this year's campaign in Orange Farm last week, children from across South Africa submitted the Children's Manifesto under the theme: 'Investing in South African Children'. The objective of the manifesto is to hold political parties, Chapter 9 institutions and all institutions accountable in delivering on the needs of children.
These include the need to build protective and safer environments within which all children can grow without the fear of violence to reach their full potential.
The Children's Manifesto comes on the heels of the recent General Elections in South Africa in which various political parties presented their own election manifestos.
On Sunday, Zulu said she had since handed over the Children's Manifesto to President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy David Mabuza.
"She mentioned that now that the manifesto has been taken to the highest level of decision making in government, she will follow up to ensure that it remains a living reality for children in South Africa during her tenure," the department of Social Development said in a statement.
As part of yesterday's proceedings, children from local schools in Mpumalanga gave feedback on the parents-children dialogues that took place in the area.
"The report shows that problems most commonly associated with the occurrence of child abuse and neglect in this area are domestic violence, parental alcohol and drug abuse and parental mental health issues, poverty and young people that are disconnected from their families," Social Development said.
The department is leading government in the development of the 365 Days National Action Plan to prevent child abuse, neglect and exploitation.