Address by Ms Lulu Xingwana Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities National Children’s Day celebration, Rustenburg, North West
6 Nov 2010
Premier of North West
Members of the Executive Council
Mayors and Councillors present
Our special guest- children gathered here
Ladies and gentlemen
I would like to extend warm and special greetings to all the children present here. You all look beautiful. As you all know, we are gathered here today to celebrate the National Children’s Day.
The aim of the National Children’s Day celebration is to highlight progress made towards the realisation of rights of children. It is also an opportunity to express government’s commitment to addressing various challenges still facing children of South Africa. It is a platform to highlight various programmes that are being implemented to protect and promote the rights of children.
In addition, the Ministry for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities is emphasising the need to use this day to communicate directly with you as children. This is aimed at creating a better understanding of children’s views and perspectives on various issues affecting them. The responsibilities of children as members of a family, school and broader community and as future leaders are also emphasised.
This morning, we visited about 150 children in a farming school not far from here in area called Naaupoort. It was an exciting experience to be there to interact with children from the farming community. We promised these children that government with make means to ensure that their needs are taken care of.
One of our political heroes, the late Comrade Oliver Tambo once said that “A country that does not value its children does not deserve a future”.
It is our responsibility as government and the people of South Africa to invest in the future of our children. Since 1994 when we attained democracy, we witnessed many progressive achievements for our children.
As a democratic country, we were able to come up with one of the most human rights based Constitution. Section 28 of the Constitution, the Children’s Act and the Child Justice Act are there to protect the rights of children. These are some of the strides we need to celebrate as a nation.
One of these achievements is the establishment of a Department for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities that focuses on your issues as children, of course, also issues affecting women and persons with disabilities. As we celebrate the National Children’s Day today, we must also celebrate this remarkable step that our government has taken.
This year’s celebration is rallied around a call for the strengthening of efforts in ensuring Child Survival. The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Act for the Survival of all Children”.
The theme encourages all stakeholders to take necessary action to promote survival of all children. This should include addressing challenges of abuse of children continue to be reported. There are reports continue of parents abandoning infants and children, children themselves abusing drugs and alcohol, sexual assault and death of children under various circumstances. Incidents of death include:
- child mortality relating to poor health
- homicide, sometimes committed by parents
- and accidental deaths
In responding to some of these challenges, the Ministry working together with other government departments and stakeholders will launch the 16 Days of Activism Campaign on Violence against Women and Children. This campaign will run from 25 November to 10 December to encourage all of us to stop incidents of abuse of women and children.
As a nation, we have an obligation to ensure that children grow up in safe environment. The family, as the fundamental structure of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community.
We must all recognise that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family/community environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.
Child growth, development, well being, welfare and safety depend largely on the ability of parents or guardians to provide for them.
Our government has set a number of systems to alleviate poverty so as to change the lives of all including children. Over 10 million children are receiving the child support grants targeting children in need. There is also Foster Care Grant for children placed in other families and Care Dependency Grant for children with disabilities.
The majority of schools in historically disadvantaged areas are no-fee schools and they are covered through the primary school nutrition programme to ensure optimal participation in class. Health care remains free for children under five and there are outreach programme to encourage immunisation of children against vaccine preventable diseases.
These are all programmes that government has put in place to improve the well-being of children. Government calls upon all parents, families, and members of civil society to also play their role in ensuring that children are protected and developed. We should all take a responsibility of strengthening families. As we say:
“My child is your child … Your child is my child”
I wish all of you the best in your examinations this and I am sure you will all progress to the next grades. Remember that education is your future. Study hard, respect your teachers and parents and you will become great adults.
Halala abantwana Halala………….
Source: Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities
Issued by: Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
6 Nov 2010
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