Despite efforts from government and civil society, we are still hearing week in and week out about children who are either hurt, abused, and sadly even killed across the country.
According to the latest crime statistics released in February 2022, 352 children were killed, and 394 children were victims of attempted murders between October and December 2021.
In the same week of Child Protection Week, a Durban mother was arrested for allegedly killing her 3-year-old with rolling pin. Sadly, at the same time police in Cape Town is investigating the rape of a 1-year-old girl in Heideveld, allegedly by her stepfather.
A man was also arrested this week in connection with the murder of a 13-year-old boy, Thobani Khambule, from Mbazwana in KwaZulu-Natal. Police found the head of the boy in an old abandoned house in a pit toilet. Officers also found a bush knife that was used in the murder at the scene. The suspect is to appear in court this week.
Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society suggests that child safety and self-defence should be taught at schools. “Case oversite by organisations like Action Society and others must be supported to ensure that investigations and prosecutions are done according to the book.
“The Department of Social Development must do far more to take hands with Public Benefit Organisations to curb violence against children. If they do not, PBO’s must continue to legally train children and oversee cases without them.”
Earlier this month, schools in Manenberg and Hanover Park were affected by gang violence. At several schools’ pupils have to quickly get onto their knees and hide under desks inside classrooms as gang violence is a common occurrence in this area.
“This should not be normal, schools are places of learning, children shouldn’t be ducking and diving while trying to learn. The provincial education department has indicated that it received 60 reports of gang shootings near schools since the beginning of the year, with a spike occurring in March. The problem, among others including poverty and unemployment is gang violence, which must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” said Action Society Media Liaison Officer Kaylynn Palm.
Palm said more needs to be done to protect children. “We ask, why were 4 800 children victims of abuse in the Western Cape between April and December last year? It’s really worrying. What about those who have not come forward?
“Areas where gang violence is rife needs to be made safer such as adding more police resources. While government deals with resources, policies, and other law matters, it is vital that communities play their part.”