Protect our children, asks Zuma

2012-05-27 22:05
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has called on South Africans to unite to protect children.

He was speaking in Kimberley on Sunday at the launch of Child Protection Week, which begins on Monday and continues until next Sunday.

"We have to work together to protect children in distress, children who suffer neglect, abuse or exploitation and children who live in extreme poverty and for whom life still remains a struggle," he said.

Section 28 of the Constitution outlined all rights accorded to children.

The Children's Act came into operation in 2010 to give effect to these rights and it set out the principles relating to care and protection of children and defined parental responsibilities in the interest of the rights of children.

"We must all make an effort to know the Children's Act so that we can educate our children," he said.

Many families grapple with the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

These impacted on children more than adults.

Government was prioritising children through education, health, rural unemployment, the creation of decent work and the fight against crime.

Eight million children attend school without paying fees and more than ten million children benefit from social grants.

However, communities could also help to protect children.

“Firstly, we must strengthen families,” Zuma said.

Policies such as the migrant labour system had created absent fathers and female-headed households.

Government had introduced a green paper on the family through the department of social development.

Secondly, children should be raised with the values of ubuntu and respect.

They should be taught the basics of non-racialism, equality and diversity and know the history of oppression in the country.

He called for the exposure of child abusers.

Suspicious behaviour should be reported and perpetrators should face the full might of the law.

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