The Minister of the Department of Social Development, Ms Susan Shabangu, led the launch of the National Child Protection Week (CPW) campaign on Sunday 27 May 2018 in Pretoria, Gauteng. This year’s theme for the week-long campaign is: “Let Us All Protect Children to Move South Africa Forward.”
It is of great importance that every person takes up the responsibility daily to protect children and play their part in contributing to a South Africa where all its citizens can live in safety, peace and harmony. Children need special protection because they are among the most vulnerable members of society. They are dependent on others – their parents and families – for care and protection.
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together, therefore, each person can participate in the CPW campaign by educating themselves and sharing with others The Bill of Rights in the Constitution Section 28 which states the rights that every child has;
- Every child has the right –
a) to a name and a nationality from birth;
b) to family care or parental care, or to appropriate alternative 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;
e) to be protected from exploitative labour practices;
f) not to be required or permitted to perform work or provide services that –
i) are inappropriate for a person of that child’s age; or
ii) place at risk the child’s well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development;
g) not to be detained except as a measure of last resort, in which case, in addition to the rights a child enjoys under sections 12 and 35, the child may be detained only for the shortest appropriate period of time, and has the right to be –
i) kept separately from detained persons over the age of 18 years; and
ii) treated in a manner, and kept in conditions, that take account of the child’s age;
h) to have a legal practitioner assigned to the child by the state, and at state expense, in civil proceedings affecting the child, if substantial injustice would otherwise result; and
i) not to be used directly in armed conflict, and to be protected in times of armed conflict.
2. A child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.
3. In this section, “child” means a person under the age of 18 years.
The CPW campaign was initiated in 1997 to raise awareness about the need for communities to protect children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence and ill-treatment.
Let us be reminded by the words of Nelson Mandela, in his speech at the dedication of Qunu and Nkalane Schools in June 1995 when he said; “our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth who care for and protect our people”.
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