Free State youngsters say “enough is enough”
The Free State Regional Office with the collaboration of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster had a successful week during their visits to various rural communities in creating awareness during a build up to the Child Protection Week.
The event, which took place on 29 May 2014, commenced with a two kilometer protest to a community hall in Cloetespark, Bethulie with school children holding placards written: “enough is enough” and “we have the right to food and education.” Other communities that were visited were Memel, Reitz, Hopehouse and Brandfort.
Addressing the crowd, Free State Deputy Director for Legal Services, Advocate Maconi Seithleko- Setlogelo said government needs to build a protective environment for children that will help prevent and respond to violence, abuse and exploitation. This involves essential components such as strengthening government commitment and capacity to fulfill children’s rights to protection and encourage open discussion on child protection issues where the media can be involved.
“Our commitment has always been to help child welfare agencies to improve what they do, to serve families and protect children through advancing higher standards for case practice,” remarked Adv Seithleko-Setlogelo.
Justice Voice spoke to Ms Diyepollo Mosamo, who is a victim of rape. When narrating her story she emotionally explained that it was in 2012 when she was gang-raped by four men in Gauteng when visited her sister. “I was on my way home passing a park when I was approached by men from nowhere. First, they took my cellphone and money and raped me. A case was opened and all four accused were arrested, two of them hanged themselves in custody while the other two were sentenced to 28 years respectively,” she sobbed.
Ms Stella Roules, a mother of a three year old girl said she has learnt a lot from the presenters who spoke about child protection. “It is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that our children are protected at all times. Abuse can happen to anyone, so we need to fight this battle as parents to make sure our children are always in good hands,” she appealed.
Teenager Bathini Galawe of Bethulie said as children, they must report any form of violence and abuse happening in their area. “We are protected by law but as children, we must not go to taverns. If I am abused, I can speak to my teacher about it. We need to be focused and we should read more so that we gain knowledge about abuse,” he said.
Children were also taught about maintenance issues, the functioning of the Guardian’s Fund and the responsibility of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster. The regional office team consisted of Legal Services Director Mr David Ramolibe, Maintenance Compliance Manager, Ms Mpho Sephiri, Senior Administration Clerk, Mr John Molwele and Mr Paul Pheephenyane of the Master of the High Court: Bloemfontein. Towards the end of the event there was a lighting of a candle in remembrance of victims of child abuse.
By Mokgethwa Ngoepe
Published: 02 June 2014