Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu has launched Child Protection Week at a children’s home at Tlhabane near Rustenburg, North West, on Saturday.

The Minister visited different children’s homes and centres for children in conflict with the law in the area to ensure they are compliant with lockdown regulations.

According to the Department of Social Development, government spend R7.2 billion annually to fund non-governmental organisations and non-profit organisations that house children through the intervention of the courts.

The children are from different backgrounds, which includes, abuse.

One of the homes funded by the government is SOS Rustenburg Children’s Village. It is one of the legacy projects of 2010 FIFA World Cup. It accommodates about 84 children around Rustenburg. Their ages range from one to 21. Some attend school while others attend early childhood development.

Zulu says children’s homes in Rustenburg are adjusting impressively well, with ensuring that children are protected from COVID-19. The minister donated protective equipment to the homes to ensure that children who will be going back to school soon are able to protect themselves from being infected with COVID-19.

“We’ve got programmes that we need to implement. The children have to write matric exams and they would want to make sure that they pass. And I think the teachers, yes there are many worries, many of the teachers are worried that they don’t have enough PPEs. We are hoping that the departments of basic and higher education working with the department of health will be able to assist and make sure that the children go back to school without being exposed.”

The children reminded those who will be going back to school of the basic measures to take in protecting themselves.

“COVID-19 is too dangerous and the masks are helping us to be champions of South Africa and the COVID-19. If you don’t wash your hands and you don’t keep the distance and you hug someone, it’s going to be with you and you will go to the hospital.”

As some of the Grade 7 and 12 are preparing themselves to resume their lessons, the Department of Social Development in the North West MEC Boitumelo Moiloa says they have prepared PPEs for them.

“Those that are supposed to go to school now, the grade 7s and 12s have been counseled. We are telling them that they should be prepared because the environment has changed where they are going to be. They must be safe and there are protective clothing that we have given them.”

The first week of June is used to commemorate the national child protection week with the aim of raising awareness of the children’s rights. It has been commemorated since 1997.

This year’s campaign is being marked under the theme “Let’s all protect children during COVID-19 and beyond”.