15 December 2020
South Africa has over the years experienced the migration of unaccompanied and undocumented children, especially, from SADC countries such as Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Mozambique who for many reasons crossed the borders to live in the country. South Africa is a signatory to different international Conventions including the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child and the African Charter on the Rights and welfare of the Child which obligates South Africa to accord every child who lives within the borders of the country to receive all basic services including healthcare, education, food and shelter.
It is in this context the Department Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, in partnership with the European Union (EU) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched the “Children on the Move Programme” to assist with the provision of basic needs for unaccompanied and undocumented minors living in South Africa.
The R19 million initiative will improve access to integrated child protection services, from violence prevention to gender specific work, and documentation to alternative care options to avoid the detention of children. It is estimated that there are 642 000 migrant and refugee children in South Africa, making it the country with the largest child migrant population on the continent.
The Unaccompanied Children’s Funding Programme will also go a long way to mitigate some challenges faced by unaccompanied minors as the country is battling with the global Covid-19 pandemic.