Most of SA's children in poverty - report

2011-03-24 19:04

Johannesburg - Two thirds of children in South Africa are still living in poverty, a Human Rights Commission workshop on children's rights heard on Thursday.

Poverty was one of the main problems facing children's rights, and government departments need to become more efficient to improve on this, Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Minister Lulama Xingwana said in Johannesburg.

Departments such as education, health and transport had to work together to help children. "We need to look at budgets and make sure a budget is allocated in each department for these issues."

There were disabled children who needed transport, some children did not have access to education because they were too poor, and then there was HIV and Aids.

Xingwana said she and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi had signed an agreement to ensure more women were tested for HIV/Aids before they fell pregnant, to decrease mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Deputy HRC chairperson Pregs Govender said the Children's Act needed funding and the government needed to find the money. The government needed to deal with poverty before it could look at the "whole picture".

Xingwana said problems limiting children's rights needed to be addressed.

"We acknowledge the historical challenges that still limit progress in attainment of these rights. It is therefore important that at various intervals we look at the totality of these rights, review progress and outline measures that have to be taken to address various challenges limiting the realisation of these rights."

Xingwana said poverty tended to affect more women, children and disabled people, especially in rural areas.

Children had the right to an adequate standard of living, basic health, childhood development and education, Xingwana said.

All these areas had been recognised and researched in a report released by the HRC and Unicef on "Equity in the Realisation of Children's Rights in South Africa".

Growing disparity

Programmes to improve children's rights would be developed based on this and other reports.

"South Africa has passed a number of pieces of legislation and policies that protect and promote the rights of children. Our country is also a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which encompasses the package of rights that need to be enjoyed by all children of the world."

A full realisation of rights of children could only succeed through collaboration between the government, civil society, United Nations agencies and other development partners.

Unicef country representative Aida Girma said the reason the report was highlighting equity and child rights was because of the growing disparity between rich and poor.

"We need to make sure that we look at all the data and see where children are being left behind. In the global push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we are leaving behind millions of the world's most disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised children," she said.

The poorest of the poor were not receiving any benefits such as grants. This was either because they were not aware of them, they did not have the correct documentation, or did not have money for transport to get to where they could apply for them.

"We need to make sure they become a priority," Girma said.

Read more on:    aaron motsoaledi

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The new moon is in Aquarius and it is a good time to begin a new project or start something new. Plant those innovative seeds more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.