by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa is failing its children, President Cyril Ramaphosa said this as he lamented the surge in the avoidable deaths of minors around the country in recent times.
The president’s sentiments came days after the drowning of 13-year-old student, Enock Mpianzi, on a school camp a week ago.
The deaths has sparked outrage amid accusations the Johannesburg-based school and hotel where the tragedy took place were complicit.
Ramaphosa bemoaned the lack of responsibility among adults.
“Sadly, Enock is not the only child in recent weeks to lose his life for reasons that were entirely preventable, if only adults had exercised due care and responsibility,” Ramaphosa stated in his weekly letter released on Monday.
He also lamented the death of another 13-year-old, Keamohetswe Shaun Seboko, who recently drowned in the swimming pool of a Magaliesburg junior school, and the two children who died at the Lekgolo Primary School in Limpopo when a truck crashed into a wall that collapsed on them.
Ramaphosa also mourned the death of six-year-old Nathlia Pienaar, killed in the crossfire of gang wars on the notorious Cape Flats.
The president also remembered the tragic deaths of Michael Komape and Lumka Mkethwa, both of whom died after falling into pit latrines.
“All of those young lives, and the lives of many others, need never have been lost,” the president said.
“All these tragedies could have been prevented if measures had been taken to keep these children out of harm’s way. It seems to me that, as a society, we are failing our children.”
Ramaphosa said in addition, many children were targeted by sexual predators, criminal gangs and drug sellers precisely because they are vulnerable.
“This country has witnessed far too many tragedies. Too many young lives have been lost, too many children hurt and traumatised,” he said.
The president meanwhile applauded individuals and organisations that have taken upon themselves responsibility for the well-being of others .
These include Ralph Bouwers and Mark Nicholson.
“These South Africans are showing us the way. Through their example, they are reminding us of what it means to take responsibility for ourselves and for others,” Ramaphosa said.
– CAJ News