UNICEF South Africa welcomes the decision by the Gauteng MEC for Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza to close the Carletonville nursery school where allegations of serious abuse have surfaced against young children. The videos which emerged on social media have gone viral and UNICEF is appalled at the content of the video showing the caregiver at the creche physically abusing young children whilst the other caregiver was capturing the horrifying footage.
UNICEF’s core focus in South Africa is on ending violence against children. Statistics show us that one in three children experience violence, often by an adult who is supposed to be taking care of them. UNICEF is encouraged that that the caregiver in question has been arrested and we are assured by the progressive legal framework in this country that justice will be served and that the children and the families affected will receive the necessary support.
Both the Constitution of this country and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which South Africa is a signatory, reminds us that every child in South Africa has the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect in their homes and in their communities. Together with the Children’s Act, these legislative instruments form the foundation of a comprehensive, and globally-admired, child protection framework. We believe that the application of these laws must be upheld in this and all cases so as to ensure justice for all children and their families.
The fact that this incident occurred in a what is considered a ‘safe’ space, namely a nursery school, denies these children their dignity and their right to be secure. UNICEF would like to see the perpetrators of this crime facing the full might of the law so that this acts as a deterrent while encouraging schools to end any and all acts of violence against children in spaces of safety.
UNICEF will continue to work closely with government, civil society, the corporate sector and all our partners, to support prevention and early intervention programmes that promotes care and love to children not only in their homes but in all spaces that children find themselves in. We will also continue to support positive parenting programmes to build the skills of parents and caregivers in creating safe, loving, and caring environments for their children.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Information Centre in Pretoria (UNIC).