Home Affairs Minister Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize led the proceedings during the launch of Child Protection Week
By Phaladi Seakgwe
The Child Protection Week was launched in the Western Cape Province on May 28 amidst a milieu pigeon-holed by dreadful incidents of violence perpetrated against women and children. The story of three year old Courtney Pieters who was brutally murdered and numerous other incidents have spurred the nation to highlight the plight of vulnerable children across the country over this period and beyond.
Observed under the theme “Let us all Protect Children to Move South Africa Forward”, government is calling upon communities to rally around their own families and ensure that children are protected.
Speaking at the launch of Child Protection Week 2017 in Langa, near Cape Town, home affairs minister professor Hlengiwe Mkhize emphasized that this year’s event comes at the time when the nation witnessed the most horrific acts of violence against children.
The Bill of Rights through section 28 (1) (b) asserts that every child has the right to family care when removed from the family environment; (c) to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services; ( d )to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation amongst other things.
The South African Social Security Agency through the provision of social grants has over the years ensured that children are protected and their needs catered for. To date over 12 million children have access to the child support grant and many more are still expected to be brought into the system.
SASSA CEO Mr. Thokozani Magwaza says the Agency will continue to focus on reaching eligible young children as soon as possible after birth, as research has shown that the sooner these vulnerable children receive income support, the better the long term cognitive and social benefits.
SASSA also provides the Care Dependency Grant which is a social protection mechanism afforded to vulnerable households (Parents/ care-givers) who have children with permanent care needs as a result of severe disabilities that are triggered by certain medical conditions.
Furthermore, the Agency provides the Foster Care Grant to children under the age of 18 years who have been placed under foster care through a court order.
Dianne Dunkerly, Executive manager for grants administration emphasizes that the grant must follow the child - meaning that when care-givers change, the grant should also change, so that the person who actually looks after the child, collects the grant. This will ensure that children are protected and reap the benefits as envisaged by government through the provision of these grants.