National Children's Day 2015 | Western Cape Government

National Children's Day 2015

Little girl smilingNational Children’s Day aims to celebrate and highlight the progress being made towards the realisation and promotion of rights of children. The day is celebrated on 7 November.

Children’s rights are an important part of our Constitution and have been included in Section 28 of the Bill of Rights.

Children are among the most vulnerable members of society and need special protection. They are dependent on their parents, families and the government for their protection and well-being. The best interests of a child is always the main consideration  when it comes to any matter affecting him or her.

Children’s Rights 

In the Constitution, section 28 of the Bill of Rights deals directly with the rights of children. In this section "child" means a person under the age of 18 years. A child’s best interests are the most important in every matter concerning the child. Section 28 states that every child has the right:

  • to a name and a nationality from birth,
  • to family care or parental care, or to appropriate alternative care when removed from their family environment,
  • to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services,
  • to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation,
  • to be protected from exploitative labour practices,
  • not to be required or permitted to perform work or provide services that,
    • are inappropriate for a person of the child’s age; or
    •  place at risk the child’s well-being, education, physical  or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development,
  • not to be detained except as a measure of last resort, in which case, in addition to the rights a child enjoys under 
  • section 12   and 35 (relating to freedom and security of the person and rights of arrested, detained and accused persons), the child may be detained only for the shortest appropriate period of time, and has the right to be,
    •  kept separately from detained persons over the age of 18 years, and 
    •  treated in a manner, and kept in conditions, that take account of the child’s age.
  •  to have a legal practitioner assigned to the child by the state, and at state expense, in civil proceedings affecting the child, if substantial injustice would otherwise result; and
    •  not to be used directly in armed conflict, and to be protected in times of armed conflict.

Other legislation protecting children:

boy sitting on the grass

Legislation passed in response to a Constitutional Court ruling - in this case, the Fraser Judgment - is the Natural Fathers of Children Born out of Wedlock Act of 1997. It gives natural unmarried fathers - including those whose marriages are not recognised by the state, for example Muslim and Hindu marriages - the statutory right to go to court to ask for access, custody or guardianship of their children. The interests of the children are seen as most important in deciding on custody or access to children.

Please report any abuse or negligence by contacting the Department of Social Development’s (DSD) hotline on 0800 220 250.

Other useful contacts include:

Lifeline Western Cape
Tel: 0861 322 322

Child Welfare South Africa
Tel: 0861 424 453

More information

Mass participation; Opportunity and access; Development and growth (MOD) Programme
A MOD Centre is a hub for sport, recreation, arts and culture activities for learners in a community.

Provincial Youth Development Strategy 

Children's Rights Poster
Children's Rights Pamphlet
Children's Rights in Eleven Languages
Children have rights too

The content on this page was last updated on 16 November 2015