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Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Safety of children during Covid-19 lockdown
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane appeals to parents and caregivers to keep children safe during the national state of disaster.

The Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane appeals to the nation, particularly family members, parents and caregivers, to ensure that children are properly cared for and not left unattended during the National State of Disaster Period.

Since the national disaster was declared, government have put in place a range of regulations and directives. These regulations have restricted international travel, prohibited gatherings of more than 100 people, closed schools and other educational institutions and restricted the sale of alcohol after 6pm to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On 23 March 2020, President Ramaphosa announced that the National Coronavirus Command Council decided to enforce a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days with effect from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020. This is a decisive measure to save many South Africans from infection and save the lives of potentially hundreds of thousands of people.

While society at large has heeded the call made by government to minimise socialising and to remain at home, containment of the virus requires parents and caregivers to ensure a safe and healthy environment for their children. It is reported that a 6-year-old girl Sinakhokonke Madiya has died after she was raped and strangled at Ezingolweni, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

Another case reported is that of 11-year-old Tiyiselani Rikhotso from Ndengeza village, about 40km west of Giyani in Limpopo. She was reported missing on Sunday and her body was found on Tuesday in the Klein Letaba Dam with several deep wounds on her body.

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane sends condolences to families and friends of all victims who lost their lives due to GBVF. She urges parents and caregivers to have planned activities that will keep their children meaningfully occupied during this period.

“We would like to see a situation where children are not exposed to violent and harmful content, inappropriate and sexual content and also limit time spent on electronic devices,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane. This is a time which requires all members of society to remain vigilant over the safety of our children, women and persons with disabilities. During this lockdown period, parents and guardians are encouraged to keep children safe at home. Children should not be socialising or playing in groups during this time. This must be done to ensure we slow down the infection rate.

You can also play you part by:

Staying at home and practising social distancing
Reporting abusers
Supporting GBV survivors
Creating awareness about gender-based violence and femicide.
Seeking personal help to change harmful behaviours such as alcohol and substance abuse.
Being vigilant to your surroundings and reporting suspected abuse.
Protecting children from exposure to violence and harmful content on radio, television, websites, and social media.

The department calls on all South Africans to continue to practise social distancing, and adhere to government guidelines on how to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Know and share these contact details:

GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 / *120*7867# from any cell phone
Persons with disabilities, SMS ‘help’ to 31531
Women Abuse Helpline: 0800 150 150
Child line: 0800 055 555
SAPS Crime Stop: 0860 10111 / SMS Crime Line: 32211
GBVF-related service complaints (SAPS): 0800 333 177/EMAIL
National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
National Human Trafficking Helpline: 0800 222 777
Suicide Helpline: 0800 567 567
National Department of Health: HERE
National Institute of Communicable Diseases: HERE
World Health Organisation: HERE
Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999

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