In celebration of the International Children’s Day, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund launched the South African Children’s Manifesto in Constitution Hill-Women’s Jail yesterday, under the theme: Amplifying children’s voices for a safe and nurturing South Africa.
This launch was a Children’s Parliament initiative that is aimed at addressing issues which affect South African children such as; violence, violence in schools, bullying, early forced child marriages, under-resourced early learning centers and lack of sanitary pads and teenage pregnancy amongst other things.
Speaking on this issue concerning the lack of sanitary pads, Keith Chituni who is a Child Ambassador from Limpopo said, “Menstrual periods happen because of nature and children from poor families are most affected as they stay away from school because they don’t have access to sanitary towels.”
Meanwhile, another Child Ambassador from the Eastern Cape, Azola Ndongeni unpacked the issue of child violence at homes and schools saying, “We are concerned about violence in homes and violence in schools. Many children are being sexually, mentally and emotionally abused by people who are meant to protect them.”
Various organisations participated on this fundamental launch such as, the Department of Social Development, SALGA, REPSSI, South African Human Rights Commission, June 16 Youth Development Foundation and Save the Children organisation. Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Angie Makwetla of the SAHRC also attended the launch.
Advocate Mkhwebane asserted that her office will utilise the Children’s Manifesto. “As the Public Protectors, our remedial actions are binding and that is the decision of the highest court in the land, and that is the constitutional court. We need to need to take proper remedial actions that are implementable, therefore we also redress any prejudice suffered by any member of the public. We write administrative wrongs, we protect a culture of good governance and the culture of ethical leadership.” Explained Advocate Mkhwebane.
She also declared that the issue of ethical leadership is very key that it should be part of the South African education curriculum so that children can be exposed to ethical leardership at an early age which could in turn enable South Africa to not face such prevalent challenges of maladministration and corruption. Some of learners from various high schools in Orlando East, who are also part of the foundation were also in attendance. These learners came from: Job Rathebe Secondary School, and Lofentse Girls School for Girls.