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Key Note Remarks by the Deputy Minister of Police, Hon Ms Makhotso Maggie Sotyu (MP) at the 1st Extraordinary Session of the Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) & The 6th Session Of The African Union Ministers For Drug Control (CAMDC6).
09 October 2014

Ministers & Deputy Ministers,
All AU Member-States Representatives,
All Civil Society,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government of South Africa, led by His Excellency, our President Jacob Zuma, we are present here to deliver our compliments to the African Union Commission.

We are also here with the honour to attend and participate in the Sixth Session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Drug Control (CAMDC6), as well as the First Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC).

The Government of South Africa also avails itself today to renew to the Commission of the African Union the assurances of its highest consideration.

In this immediate instance, we take full cognizance of all the concerns raised by the ACERWC relating to the issue of the high rate of violence against children in South Africa.

For instance, the ACERWC wants to know the extent of prevention strategies that may be in place to address violence in schools, recidivism of child offenders, and child pornography, amongst many issues raised at the South African Civil Society Session with the ACERWC in April 2014.

Chairperson, we have a democratic government that continues to formulate and establish progressive legal frameworks, policies and programmes that are aimed to protect children and guarantee their rights to dignity and social services.

Yes, we have a President who continuously call on all inhabitants of South Africa to unite behind the noble goal of protecting our children, the nation’s most important resource, and to invest in the future of South Africa.

And, that is why under this same President, the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units were re-established in 2010 across all nine Provinces. Currently there are a total of 176 of these units spread across the country.

Under this President, the Special Sexual Offences Courts were re-introduced, to ensure a dedicated and quick quality justice for the young victims of rape and violent abuse.

This means, ladies and gentlemen, the SAPS FCS Units and the Department of Justice’s Special Sexual Offences Courts are yielding to a strong working relationship, so as to ensure for an effective investigation and successful convictions of these heinous criminals.

Yes, the Civil Society is critical of Government, claiming that these specialized policing and court services lack both expertise and experience. They are also unfairly criticizing Government, alleging that Government is not committed and not dedicating resources to this greatest cause.
Chairperson, yes we do have challenges, but Government is not only committed to secure its children, Government has also prioritized its resources to guarantee adequate quality service to our children.

For instance, it is a fact that since the re-establishment of these specialized policing and court services, more perpetrators have been successfully convicted and handed maximum sentences, that of life behind bars.

Also, a state of the art SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory was opened in 2012 to ensure that our technology and science will have social reprieve against those hardened rapists, murderers and other violent criminals.

In addition, as Government, we realized that communities, parents, families and teachers are unwittingly “front-line officers” in identifying children who could potentially pose a risk to the peace and order of our society.

That is why we have established a SAPS Community Outreach Master Plan, where we have prioritized Schools Safety as an intervention and prevention programme against crimes. This Community Outreach Master Plan calls on parents and communities to play an important role to prevent crimes committed by and against children.

This Plan also seeks to prevent gangs and other criminal elements and drug dealing syndicates in taking advantage of our children. These gangs are brutal bullies to our school children, often providing them with a false sense of “family” and “acceptance”.

The South African Police Service continues to develop and rollout programmes that are channeled at prevention measures.

That is why the Department of Police currently sits and actively participate in two critical Inter-Ministerial Committees (IMCs): the IMC on Substance Abuse, and IMC on Gender-Based Violence, both led by the Department of Social Development.

Both these IMCs work on the fact that, crime is a concern that has become more complex and dynamic, considering the diverse factors that are impacting on our communities today, consequently posing greater challenges to law enforcement.

It is then with this reason that this Government can never undermine the invaluable inputs made by our Civil Society organizations.

As a democratic state, we will continue enhancing and encouraging for a participatory democracy so that all progressive NGOs, CBOs, and NPOs, continue to provide meaningful contributions to Government’s mission of realizing a better quality life for all the children and youth of South Africa.

In conclusion Chairperson, on behalf of our Government, I would like to affirm in advance that we will commit to all progressive resolutions to be taken here, in the quest to assist our children and youth to acquire quality life-skills.

It is our mission as South Africa to ensure that our country must one-day be counted as one of the best places in the world for a child to enjoy his/her childhood, and a young person to enjoy being youth.

I thank you all.

Ms. Nomsa Hani
Head of Office & Spokesperson
Office of the Deputy Minister of Police

Tel: +27 12 3934469 / 21 4677023
Fax: +27 12 3934614 / 21 4614174
Cell: +27 (0) 82 772 2053

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