Northern Cape Provincial Legislature
Allen Grootboom, Mpl
“When you educate a child, you educate the future” – Allen Grootboom
By child(ren) I refer to human beings aged between 3 and 15 years who are still dependent on parents or guardians. Although the year 2015 is target for achieving the goals, there are still wide ranging factors that infringe on children’s rights such as basic education, HIV, water shortage, mortality, poor sanitation, child labour and a lack of immunization as well as outright poverty. In all these global issues which include conflict of every nature, the children suffer most.
UNICEFF’s report 2009 report on the State of World’s Children notes that “The world has a unique opportunity to reconstruct itself – and dedicate itself afresh to safeguarding and nurturing not only the physical and economic spheres but also its most vulnerable citizens.” All aspects of governance “the challenge is to assess the implication of policies, budgets and programmes on children’s rights and development.
Our laws are not protecting our children against delinquent media. Currently graphic pornography is available on social media networks and internet. There is no law safeguarding the improper use of these by children. We find that children record their sexual exploits on cell phones and distribute it within the school precinct. Although this is a criminal offence, children do not really know the gravity of such exploits in later years.
Sexual exploitation of children
Poverty is the trampoline that is used for sexual abuse and exploitation n of children. Sadly enough children are sexually exploited by the very same teachers who are supposed to teach them to stand up against such exploitation. Family members are said to be the worst offenders. We live in a society where you have to protect your child against your own family members.
Therefore the plight of having a sexual offences register against perpetrators of crimes against children still remain unattented. As a country we are failing our own future. The Western Cape has started with such a register. The MEC for Safety and Liaison can create a lasting legacy by starting such a register in the Northern Cape.
This is an organized crime, practiced by well established syndicates, and commonly found in Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, targeting orphans from HIV pandemic that covers the Continent. Syndicates recruit or kidnap girls at the age band of 8 to 16 for sexual exploitation and boys to be used for forced labor, beggars, drug trafficking or to be used in farm work, without salary or proper food.
The only viable way to minimize human traffic, that slaves over 27 million people worldwide, is to spread the message and to make people aware of false promises for employment, or better living conditions offered as deceiving propaganda to attract innocent ones. Parents should at all times know who their child associates with, where they go and with whom.
The Rights of Children
South Africa is in (the) line with UNICEFF’s Children’s Agenda, on the fore front of legislation concerning the rights of children. This right is enshrined in our Constitution. The Constitution specifically provides certain special rights for children, over and above the other rights available to people of South Africa. However, having this right constitutionalized is one thing, but living and creating an enabling environment for the institutionalization of these rights is something else.
It is here where we as South African’s fail miserably. Take (the) Olifantshoek as a case in point. The police and community know who the perpetrators are who infringed upon the rights of children to education. But up to now, only one arrest of intimidation was reportedly made. Can one person intimidate a community of parents? Surely what were the police and parent community afraid of? The lives of those children are forever scarred. They might not feel it now, but later both children and parents will haunted by the fact that they allowed themselves to be used as political pawns. It was never about a female mayor – the DA beliefs in the empowerment of women and the rights of children to a safe and secure environment.
The Children’s Act values families and tries to ensure that they are protected and supported. Sometimes parents are unable to look after their children properly, then the Act will try and help them through programmes that show them how to become better parents. When parents are not able to look after their children to find another family or adults with which to stay. The Act also provides for rules to ensure proper and safe after-care, crèches, drop in centres, and child and youth care centres; and for children to consent to their adoption. It is therefore a serious indictment against our society when a mother murders five of her own children. We need to ask where was our community when this atrocity happened?
Education remains next to food and nutrition the most basic fundamental right.
It is painful to see what distress education is causing our children. They seem not to have a way forward, unable to challenge life and afraid to venture. Education is the key to free children and place them on a trajectory out of poverty. Education remains the key with which to open the future, create a better life and say farewell to a life of squaller and mediocracy. Education is the only vehicle to carry them out of an environment of mental and physical slavery. This is all that the world, that society asks from us.
Hon Speaker, Hon Members,
Children are the wonderful flowers of humanity. Their presence and activities touch every aspect of everyday life. The life of adults would not be the same without children, in the house, school or street.
Even the elderly blossom in the presence of children. In man’s search / quest for immortality, he only needs to look at his own children and those around him. For in their eyes you see a distant future.
Let us remember: I quote from the Prophet, Kahlil Gabran:
“Your children are not your children, they come through you but not from you. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls belong to the house of tomorrow where you cannot reach, not even in your dreams.”