MINISTER ZULU URGES SOCIETY TO UNITE IN ADVANCING CHILD PROTECTION

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  • The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development, in collaboration with SANTACO’s school transport division, is actively promoting child protection measures, including awareness campaigns and clearance certificates for drivers.
  • Minister Lindiwe Zulu’s call to action underscores the collective responsibility of society in prioritising the safety and well-being of children, particularly during Child Protection Month.
  • Initiatives like Omalume noMalumekazi highlight the importance of proactive measures to prevent child abuse and neglect, reinforcing the ongoing efforts to safeguard children in South Africa.

The Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, has issued a compelling call to action, urging all citizens to unite in support of child protection efforts. Minister Zulu emphasised society’s collective responsibility to prioritise children’s safety and well-being.

Highlighting that Child Protection Month is more than just an annual event, Minister Zulu emphasised its significance as a continuous call to action for safeguarding children from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

“We must recognise that every child deserves a life free from harm and it is our moral and legal duty to ensure their protection. Despite legislative progress, the prevalence of child abuse remains a pressing concern. Protecting our children demands the collective vigilance and commitment of every member of society,” she said.

Under the theme: “Let us all Protect Children, During Covid-19 and Beyond,” Child Protection Month 2024 focuses on enhancing awareness of children’s mental well-being and expanding psycho-social support services. 

In collaboration with the school transport division of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), known as Omalume noMalumekazi (Uncles and Aunts), the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development is spearheading initiatives to raise awareness and promote proactive child protection measures. The department also handed over clearance certificates to Omalume and Omalumekazi after being checked that they never committed cases of child abuse before.  

“Child Protection Month serves as a critical reminder of our duty to safeguard the rights and welfare of children.  We must recommit ourselves to creating safe environments where children can thrive. Educating ourselves and our communities on the signs of abuse and neglect is essential in combating these injustices,” said Mrs Nelisiwe Vilakazi, Head of the Department of Social Development.

Minister Zulu reaffirmed the government’s commitment to protecting children’s rights, pledging continued collaboration with social partners, civil society and the private sector. 

As Child Protection Month unfolds, stakeholders engage in dialogues aimed at addressing challenges and identifying effective solutions to enhance child protection measures. Expectations are high for fruitful discussions and meaningful outcomes during Child Protection Week.

Mr Mlungisi Ntshangase from Umkhanyakude District, who is one of ‘omalume’ who transport children to and from school in the Uphongolo area, said they are pleased that the department has considered them and equipped them with the important steps to protect the children.  Ntshangase said his commitment was to ensure children were not abused. 

 “As umalume, I have established a relationship with the children that I transport to schools. Now I’m able to notice changes in children’s behaviour or are being abused and ensure that we get immediate help for them.  To be taught about children’s rights means a lot to us as we transport children to schools,” he said.

 

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