South Africa Government

11/02/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/02/2023 07:23

Minister Lindiwe Zulu: Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund National Children’s Day Dialogue

Keynote Address by the Minister of Social of Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, MP on the occasion of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund National Children's Day Dialogue, Johannesburg Stock Exchange Auditorium, Sandton

Programme Director,
Former Deputy President of South Africa and former UN Women Executive Director, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka;
Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu;
CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Dr Linda Ncube-Nkomo;
Group Chief Risk Officer for JSE, Ms Qiniso Mthembu;
African Union Director for Women, Gender and Youth Directorate, Ms Prudence Ngwenya;
Acting Director Tiger Brands Foundation, Mr Karl Muller;
Editor of Daily Maverick Citizen, Mr Mark Heywood;
Chief Programmes Officer for Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Dr Stanley Maphosa;
Dr Joan Van Niekerk and all distinguished panelliest here present;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Fellow South Africans
Good morning, Sanibonani, Dumelang

Thank you very much for the kind introduction. I would like to begin by thanking the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange for hosting this year's National Children's Day Dialogue.

I also wish to acknowledge the presence of child rights advocates who have and continue to be in the forefront of making a business case for investment in our children. We look forward to hearing your expert views on this important national dialogue.

The choice of venue for this occasion could not have been more appropriate because it is here at the JSE where key investment decisions that affect the life outcomes of our children are taken by the captains of the industry.

Let us never forget the words of our own Tata Madiba and founder of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund: "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children". Every parent sees endless possibilities and great hope in the eyes of every child. As a nation, when we look at today's children, we see tomorrow's leaders - scientists, teachers, doctors and diplomats. But for our children to thrive and South Africa to stay competitive in the 21st-century global economy, we must support their development, their families and the public policies that work for both.

Working together, there is far more we can do to confront the scourge of violence against our children. Violence undermines social and economic development; it reinforces intergenerational cycles of poverty and inequalities hence the efforts to prevent violence cannot be seen in isolation from prevention of violence against women as there are intersections between violence against women and children.

Our approach to violence prevention is comprehensive and intersectoral as interventions are at various levels of prevention by multi role players. The department has put various measures to protect children; broadening the social protection measures aimed at (i) investing in children, (ii) protecting them against vulnerabilities and (iii) providing care and support to vulnerable children.

These measures include the broad range of prevention and early intervention programmes implemented by various government departments and NGOs preventing and addressing risk factors that put children's lives in danger, building and strengthening resilience of parents to care and protect children whilst building resilience of children, moving them from vulnerabilities. Where children are violated, statutory services are provided, with reunification, reintegration and after care services.

As the lead Department in child protection, we work with various partner organisations including Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and UNICEF in implementing communitybased interventions. South Africa, being a Pathfinder country implementing the seven INSPIRE strategies which are evidence-based strategies in violence prevention (Implementation and enforcement of laws, Norms and values, safe environment, parental and caregiver support, income and economic strengthening, response and support services, education and life skills.

As much as the country has progressive pieces of legislation, strategies and guidelines to protect children from violence, we acknowledge the importance of moving away from reactionary services to more proactive and preventative services that prioritise prevention and early intervention services at community level.

Violence prevention takes a life cycle approach commencing from gestation to ensure expecting mothers are taken care of through our comprehensive social security (maternal benefit, social grants) as part of South Africa' social protection measure. We
have adopted the First 1000 Days Campaign of early childhood development.

Key at this important stage is intervention with parents (both men and women) of young children at ECD level has the potential to disrupt cycles of violence, minimising the risk for young children and their caregivers. This include RISIHA, a communitybased prevention and early identification programme to deal with child abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Through 365 days campaign, the Department intensifies social mobilisation through continuous engagements with communities; educating communities, instilling positive societal norms and values that will change the landscape on norms and values that
perpetuate violence. Through initiatives such as the annual Nelson Mandela Children's Parliament, children across South Africa have called for the inclusion of Pillar 7 in the NSP-GBV.

As I conclude, I would like to thank you for your continued efforts in advocating for safer families and communities in which we can raise and support our children to reach their full potential. Thank you very much.