13 July 2021 - South Africa

South Africa: Save the Children calls for greater protection of children as violence spreads


Save the Children is gravely concerned about the safety of children during the civil unrest in South Africa following the reported killing of a 15-year-old boy in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, among the protesters.

The incident comes after the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday extended Level 4 lockdown measures to try to mitigate the loss of life during the unrest.

Save the Children is concerned children are now at even greater risk of experiencing violence or other damaging consequences because of the violence and the prolonged lockdowns.

Save the Children South Africa’s CEO, Steve Miller said:

“We are deeply saddened at the death of a child during this unrest. The safety of children must be protected under all circumstances and we call on all parties to violence to ensure children do not become innocent victims.

“South Africa is currently experiencing extreme public violence, and everyone is trying to make sense of this. Some blame the jailing of our former President, Jacob Zuma. Others point to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions that have caused high unemployment and food insecurity. Still, others bemoan a lack of law and order.

“But we should be asking ‘what does all of this mean for children, and the future of our country?’

The point is that we can only break the patterns of poverty, exclusion & inequality – and resulting public violence - if our children are able to develop to their full potential. Right now, the way things are in South Africa, that is not happening for most of our children.

“Save the Children is calling on our corporate and government leaders to come together to take action to protect a generation of children and to make a real difference for children and their families by making sure that they continue to have access to health, education, social protection systems and protection from violence, and that their rights are upheld during the pandemic and beyond.”

Since the earliest days of the pandemic, Save the Children in South Africa has been on the front lines working to ensure that children are protected during the crisis. This includes providing cash vouchers for families, learning materials for children out of school, and protecting children from violence.

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