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#SAElections2019: What the children want

Tuesday 7 May 2019
South Africans go to the polls on Wednesday, 08 May. The past few months politicians have been criss-crossing the country, hearing from prospective voters and making promises.
But what about the views of those who cannot vote, because they are still too young to do so?
Children will be affected by the results of the general election, so their input matters.
The following is a list of concerns and demands contained in the “South African Children’s Manifesto 2019”, which was drafted by children:
Violence against children
As children we are abused physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically and verbally by those who are supposed to protect us. We demand programmes that will be aimed at training parents/ guardians on positive discipline. We also demand free counselling for abused children and their abusive parents.
Poor quality education
We receive poor quality education, which leaves us unprepared for the world when we finish high school. There is also a shortage of textbooks and sometimes we are forced to share one text book with up to 10 to 15 learners. We demand quality education now.
Corporal punishment
Corporal punishment contributes to learner drop out. In some cases it has pushed learners to substance abuse and others have even committed suicide.  Corporal punishment in our schools was banned back in 1996, however this is still being practiced at our schools. Ensure that all in South Africa respect the laws that are aimed at protecting us. 
Under-resourced early learning centres
There is poor quality education and lack of infrastructure in early learning centres especially in rural areas. Not enough schools are available for learners with special needs. Also many teachers are not qualified to deal with children with disabilities. Lack of resources for visually impaired learners, i.e. there are not enough Braille machines in provinces and municipalities.
Learner transport
Learners need reliable and safe transport to access education, particularly children with disability. Most of the available vehicles are not roadworthy, which leads to deadly accidents. In some cases we walk long distances to school crossing railways, rivers, and climbing mountains. This makes us vulnerable to victimisation and violence. Sometimes leaners are killed, raped, assaulted, and harassed while on their way to school.
Violent protest in communities
Protests in communities are disturbing learners and interfering with teaching and learning. Every year there are a number of violent protests that block roads and prevent learners from getting to school and encourage them to protest. We want proper action to be taken to address this situation.
Care and support for children with living disability
There is a lack of basic services for children living with disability. Children living with disability are isolated because of stigma. Some parents even hide them and they are deprived opportunities and access to basic services. We demand better care for children with living with disability.
Lack of water and sanitation facilities in rural areas
Children die in pit latrines and others are even raped when going to relieve ourselves far from school buildings. This is a long-standing problem, which we have raised for many years. We demand immediate attention to this problem across the country. We also demand safe drinking water in schools especially in rural areas.
Disclaimer: The above was not drafted by Save the Children South Africa (SCSA), but by children who participate in SCSA programmes. However, as SCSA we support these demands and we believe that children should be at the centre of everything we do.

About: Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.
Note to the Editor: If children are affected, we’ve got something to say. Our team of experts are available for comments, interviews and information.
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