Minister Fritz: Too Many Children Die at the Hands of Their Mothers
Media Statement by Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development
This week's publication of the MRC's research on child deaths shows that three children are murdered in South Africa every day. Our country has an overall child homicide rate of 5.5/100 000.
This is shocking and totally unacceptable. We have lost our way as a caring society that protects vulnerable citizens, especially children.
The research further reveals clear gender patterns, with more younger-age girls being murdered, while the murder rate increases for adolescent boys. In fact, the teenage male homicide rate is 21.7/100 000.
Most disturbing of all is that nearly half (44.5%) of all child homicides are as a result of abuse or neglect, and 16% of all child homicides are due to abandonment within the first week of life.
Most children are killed by a non-related yet known person. The second most frequent perpetrator group is mothers, with nearly half of all girl homicides being at the hands of their mothers.
If parents are not protecting their children, then who will? As a caring government, we put infrastructure in place to promote social inclusion, support family structures, develop communities and empower people to lead lives they can value.
A government is there to do those things for people that they cannot reasonably be expected to do for themselves. As a parent, you are reasonably expected to care for and protect your child. If you are unable to do so, there are channels at your disposal to seek assistance. Simply abandoning your child and leaving them to fall prey to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against children is as bad as committing those crimes yourself.
This year we invested R406 million on childcare and protection services, funding over 1 000 organisations for this purpose - including ECDs, after-school care, temporary shelters for children and homes for children. In the coming financial year, this will increase to nearly R480 million. An additional R8 million will also be invested in the Isibindi Child and Youth Care programme.
Apart from that, we have regional and local offices all over the province, where support services and assistance is available. We also have a tollfree line (0800 220 250) through which help can be accessed when families are in distress.
I want to encourage, especially distraught mothers in our communities to seek assistance as early as possible. Take the opportunities extended by this government, and let's protect our children better together.
Too many children die at the hands of their mothers.
Tollfree: 0800 220 250