Limpopo had a rocky start to Child Protection Week when a 48-year-old mother allegedly killed her child with her bare hands last weekend.
The incident at Ha-Lambani in Tswinganani was branded by MEC for social development in Limpopo Nkakareng Rakgoale as a disgrace, a shame and an insult to the government’s efforts to keep children safe and protected.
She was speaking at the launch of Child Protection Week at the Holy Family Child and Youth Care Centre in the Maruleng local municipality, outside Hoedspruit.
The centre is one of the 17 in the province and has been housing orphaned, abandoned, neglected and abused children for many years.
Five of these centres are government owned while the rest are run by nonprofit organisations.
“About 876 children across the province are accessing these centres,” the department said yesterday.
According to Rakgoale, since the start of lockdown last year, 1,555 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) had been reported.
In most cases, defenceless mothers and children were found to be the main victims.
“These are children who have been separated from their mothers and fathers due to different family circumstances and reasons that are beyond their control,” said Rakgoale, who has earned the name
“Mother of Limpopo” because of her maternal touch when it comes to issues of gender parity and GBV.
She said it was time every citizen, irrespective of gender, colour or profession played their part in protecting the rights and well-being of the children.
Rakgoale started the programme with a moment of silence, remembering the lives of children who had died at the hands of their mothers or fathers, and the life of the 11 year old, allegedly killed by her mother last weekend.
“Limpopo has started the commemoration of the Child Protection Week in a very sombre mood. We have lost a child during this week and we can not say all is well,” she said.
Rakgoale said her department had deployed social workers to Ha-Lambani.
“This incident has yet again placed the spotlight on the safety of children, but even worse, at the hands of their own parents, who should care for them.
“It is indeed sad to learn of this shocking incident. We are urging parents who are having problems with their children or in their relationships, not to resort to violence, but to approach our social workers who are professionals, for an intervention.
“Even if they no longer want the child. As government we are geared to care for these children.”