Kids are suffering. What do the parties intend to do about it?
We look at their manifestos to find out what they're promising to do for the new generation
Children as young as two are gathered at Nini Lemotle’s makeshift garden creche in Tlhabologang near Coligny.
For some, the food they get here is all that keeps them from starvation.
Seven volunteers cook pap, cabbage, rice and watery soup, and serve it under plastic sheeting attached to wooden poles.
“Some of them don’t eat at home. Their parents are drinking and not looking after them,” says Lemotle.
It’s raining, and the plastic isn’t big enough to protect all the children – who are between one and five – from getting wet.
“It is so painful. Some of these children are dirty. Some don’t have clothes to change into. Others have no birth certificates,” says Lemotle.She also feeds some of the older street kids in the township once a day. Among them are two brothers she discovered after the younger boy, 10 years old, was beaten up for theft. They had been kicked out of their home because their mother’s new boyfriend didn’t like them.Lemotle’s stories are far from unique. One in four children goes to bed hungry, according to the Human Sciences Research Council, and a quarter is stunted and damaged for life.
As South Africans prepare to vote on Wednesday, the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria has started a #ChildrenMatter social media campaign urging people to vote for children who cannot do so themselves.
The centre issued a report compiled by 12 NGOs, which found that:
children under five are at increasing risk of being killed at home;
up to one in five children reports sexual abuse;
children face extreme violence;
there is severe malnutrition, a weak education system and lack of schooling for most disabled children;
many children are without birth certificates, which prevents them from receiving social grants; and
mothers face incredible difficulty accessing birth certificates once their child is one month old.
The document says there is no budget specifically for children and no single department in charge of children; the foster care system is collapsing as more than 1.4 million caregivers who are not biological parents struggle to access grants; and there is a lack of political will to put children at the centre of governance.
So to what extent do the three main political parties highlight the plight of children in their manifestos?
The ANC manifesto..