South Africa kid’s abuse case is disturbing

November 30, 2014

Children have a right to a safe and responsible upbringing. This applies to all children, also those who for whatever reason have to live without their parents. Across South Africa, there are an estimated over 1,000 orphanages that are controlled by the central government, provincial governments and private institutions. However, more than half of those orphanages may be running without proper legal permits under international laws. The recent accusations that a couple running orphanage have abused or neglected dozens of children placed under their care in South Africa point to some serious problems, which become particularly worrying when we take the numbers mentioned above into account. As a society, South Africa must ensure the safety of its children, giving them everything they need to properly prepare for adulthood.

Johannesburg, South Africa's commercial hub.Photo:Duncan Edward
Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial hub.Photo:Duncan Edward

In most cases, parents can take care of this, but when this or alternatives such as the care of family members is not possible, orphanages should provide an environment conducive in nurturing a child. A Cape Town based NGO last week said that more than 15,000 children suffered abuse in 2013 alone, but they added it was likely not limited to orphanages. Having ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, South Africa is legally bound to protect children from abuse and exploitation. The country’s Child Protection Law also states that those to whom children are entrusted should keep them from harm or face punishment. If orphanages cannot provide a safe, clean place for children to receive the care and education they are legally entitled to, it is the job of the South African government led by President Jacob Zuma to step in and find a place that can. To let thousands of institutions operate without official permits in the country and thus without proper oversight is not acceptable.

Contador Harrison