Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas at the International Children’s day event PDF Print E-mail

Children's International Day at Dawid Kruiper Municipality, Upington 3 June 2017

Programme Director
Mayors and Councilors present
Northern Cape Child ambassadors
Government officials present
Our esteemed guests, boys and girls
Ladies and gentlemen

We have come together to conclude what I deem a very important program of Government, which is Child Protection Week but also to celebrate International Children’s day. When I say we conclude the programme, I merely mean close the administrative programme where one week is set aside to highlight the rights and challenges faced by our future leaders. Child Protection is an everyday responsibility. The Almighty God has entrusted the life and wellbeing of each and every child to us as parents and it is our responsibility to do good on that that God has entrusted to us.

The Department of Social Development introduced Child Protection Week in 1997, in order to raise awareness, as well as to mobilise all sectors of society to focus on the development, care and protection of children. The Child Protection Week has become an annual campaign to educate and mobilise communities to put children first. Today as I have stated we are celebrating International Children’s day under the theme, “My protection, my responsibility and your accountability”.

Those of you present here today have had the privilege to form part of your district dialogues and therefore you should not take your role lightly because you are in fact ambassadors for all the other boys and girls that are not present here today. On behalf of Government I take note of the issues that you have raised but we do not just want take note, together with you from your respective towns, villages and homesteads we want to make sure that we implement these resolutions. This will enable us to make sure that we are hard at work developing our future leaders not tomorrow but today because without you this Province has no future.

I just want to talk to you a bit about the Provincial Call to Action that we launched this week in Kimberley. This was done in order to mobilise all sectors of society to jointly fight the violence and abuse that is being meted out against especially our women and children. No longer can we stand by idly and watch the lives of our women and children being destroyed and live in fear of our daily existence. Present at this launch was a learner from Tetlanyo High School in Kimberley, Bonolo Moitsi, who on your behalf read the Children’s Charter.

Now why do I mention this because children in South Africa live in a society under a Constitution that has the highest regard for their rights and for the equality and dignity of all of you. Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse is not only a basic value, but also an obligation clearly set out in the South African Constitution. Despite the best efforts of the South African state and civil society to protect children from child abuse, neglect and exploitation, it is a fact that many children still remain vulnerable due to poverty, unemployment, HIV and AIDS and substance abuse to name a few.

Government believes that protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment is everybody’s responsibility. Through these dialogues we are also saying that Government alone cannot do it and you also need to join hands with us to ensure your own future.

Seuns en dogters, gedurende Kinder Beskermingsweek wat nou ten einde loop, het verskeie aktiwiteite in die Provinsie plaasgevind ter bevordering van die beskerming van kinders. Die Regeringsdepartemente in samewerking met Nie Winsgewende Organisasies was besig met verskeie programme waarby kinders in ECD sentrums, skole, in gemeenskappe en ook ouers van hierdie kinders betrek is.

Soos alreeds genome was julle betrokke by dialoeë waarin julle dalk julle eie ondervindings of die van jul maats en die gemeenskappe waarin julle bly gedeel het. Wat uit hierdie gesprekke gekom het is beide kommerwekkend maar ook verblydend. Ons weet dat ons kinders baie uitdagings in die gesig staar. Maar ek weet dat ook dat ons jongmense wat doelgerig en gefokus is in ons gemeenskappe het en wat ons met trots na kan kyk. Jongmense wat verantwoordelikheid vir hul eie toekoms neem.

Ladies and gentlemen, from previous children’s dialogues reports, we found that child abuse is mainly caused by abuse of alcohol by parents and step fathers. It is for this reason that the department is calling for South Africans to partner with government during Child Protection Week Campaign and beyond. Parents, teachers, caregivers as well as civic and religious organisations must also play their part in the fight against abuse of children.

We are twenty three years into democracy and as South Africans we must therefore unite and protect girl children who for many years have been oppressed, marginalised and undermined based on their gender. Having said this we must also not neglect our boy children and take them along on this journey as we build a society free from any prejudice.

Dames en here, seuns en dogters, ons gemeenskappe word ook getuister deur tiener swangerskappe en dwelm gebruik selfs op skoolgronde wat met skok toeneem. ‘n Skool is ‘n instelling waar opvoeding voorsien word en waar toekomstige leiers en gerespekteerde volwassenes gekweek word. Sulke gedrag is total onaanvaarbaar en moet ten sterkste veroordeel en beveg word. En dit is nie net die Regering se verantwoordelikheid nie, maar elkeen van ons s’n. Ons is in ‘n groot mate verantwoordelik vir hierdie toedrag van sake. Dit is ons wat dwelm smouse en misdadigers in ons gemeenskappe toelaat om vrylik handel te dryf en in die proses ons kinders en families te vernietig. En so is dit ons plig om dit teen te staan en stop te sit.

Op hierdie punt wil ek graag met ons seuns en dogters praat en ek vertrou dat wat ek hier sê sal julle ter harte neem. Die gebruik van dwelms is ‘n besluit wat julle neem. Dit is ook ‘n besluit wat julle kan stop. Die dwelmsmouse sal slegs floreer as daar ‘n mark is om van hul euwel verslawende middels ontslae kan raak. En hulle teer op kwesbare kinders. Dink asseblief diep. Julle word ontneem van die mense wat julle bestem is om te wees en ‘n blink toekoms word julle ontneem. Moenie in daardie slaggate trap nie. Julle hele toekoms lê belowend voor julle. Gryp al die positiewe geleenthede aan en ontwikkel julle self en wees die voorbeeld en rolmodelle vir die kinders wat na julle kom.

Boys and girls, Child Protection Week in South Africa coincides with the month of June, specifically dedicated to the Youth. It was during this month 41 years ago when the youth of this country confronted the Apartheid regime and denounced being taught in Afrikaans. This was the turning point of what many called the beginning of a revolution which ultimately led to the total collapse of Apartheid-minority regime, and ushered the new era which culminated to the democracy that we achieved in 1994.

Despite the best efforts of the South African Government and civil society to protect children from child abuse, neglect and exploitation, many children still remain vulnerable. Despite all these challenges; government has done a lot to improve the living conditions of our people, especially children. This we see in the fact that the bulk of government’s budget goes to educations, grants and health to ensure that our children have a better future.

Dames en here, met hierdie inisiatiewe en programme in werking, is dit kommerwekkend dat ons steeds ‘n toename in kinder mishandeling ervaar. Hierdie toedrag van sake vereis daadwerklike aksie van almal van ons as Regering, Nie Regerings Organisasies en van die gemeenskap in geheel om ‘n stop hieraan te sit. Ten einde ‘n gemeenskap op te hef en te laat herleef en ons kinders te beskerm, verg ‘n gesamtlike poging. Die is nou tyd dat ons ons morele waardes moet aanwakker en ernstig besin oor wat die waardes van Ubuntu inhou. Ons moet gemeenskappe en woonbuurte skep waar ons kinders veilig kan speel, woon en leer. Dit moet ‘n gemeenskap wees waar elke kind die beskerming van die gemeenskap geniet.

In conclusion Ladies and gentlemen, communities must also play their part to ensure the safety of our children and teachers in schools. The opportunity to educate a child begins at birth. From the time children enter this world, they listen, they watch, they explore the world around them. Their world starts small, with only the ability to recognize their mother’s face or the smell of the people that take care of them. That world grows quickly, and within a few short years children are able to broaden their educational possibilities to include an understanding of the families and communities that construct their very sense of life on earth. Setting a strong foundation for a lifelong love of learning is critical in the early years to ensure future success.

I call upon you to protect our schools. If you know about thugs in the community, tell the police. Remember that the children are South Africa's future. You make up the great nation we have fought so hard to bring to fruition. We know you'll make us proud. Through our programmes and projects we are clearly demonstrating that children are a responsibility of all of us. Equally it is the duty of each and every child to look after her or himself. On behalf of the Provincial Government of the Northern Cape and its people, I would like to reaffirm our full support to the International Children’s Day.

I thank you