National Child Protection Week (CPW) is observed in South Africa annually to raise awareness of the rights of children as articulated in the Children’s Act of 2005.
South Africa has drafted legislation, based on the United Convention of the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Constitution.
The campaign began in 1997 and it aims to mobilize all sectors of society to ensure that children and cared for and protected. While the initiative is led by the Minister of Social Development, it is every citizen’s duty to a role in protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment for them. Children in South Africa live in a society with a Constitution that has the highest regard for their rights and for the equality and dignity of everyone. Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse is not only a basic value, but also an obligation clearly set out in Article 28 of the South African Constitution.
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;
1. 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”.
Where to get help:
The Department of Social Development has a pilot a 24-hour call centre dedicated to provide support and counselling to victims of gender-based violence:
• The toll-free number to call is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV) to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling.
• Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialing *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.
You can also get help at:
• Childline South Africa: 0800 055 555
• Child Welfare South Africa: 0861 4 CHILD (24453) / 011 452-4110 / e-mail: email@example.com