Focus on families

Chief Family Advocate, Advocate Petunia Seabi-Mathope
Chief Family Advocate, Advocate Petunia Seabi-Mathope

Leoni Kruger
MOKURUANYANE — The department of Justice and Constitutional Development (office of the Family Advocate) together with organisations as Legal Aid, the Department of Social Development, members from Lephalale Municipality, local chiefs and others, attended the commemoration of International Family Day on Friday 13 May from 10:00 at the Mokuruanyane Multi-Purpose Centre.
The International day of Families is usually celebrated on 15 May each year and highlights the importance of families as well as raising awareness about the harmful effects of child abductions and the significance of co-parenting. The event was intended to promote awareness and better understanding of social, economic and demographic processes affecting families around the world.
The purpose of the dialogue was to encourage fathers’ involvement in the upbringing and nurturing of their children and to highlight children’s right to parental care in terms of the Constitution of South Africa and the Children’s Act.
The Head of Department (HOD) from Limpopo Department of Social Development, Ms. Daisy Mafubelu, said that the theme of this year’s International Day of Families, is “families, healthy lives and sustainable future”.
“This theme resonates with the Department of Social Development’s commitment to bringing about social transformation by building a South Africa fit for children as well as to provide opportunities for children to shape public policy on issues affecting them. This objective cannot be fully attained without the valuable contribution of the Office of the Family Advocate.
It’s been said that children are the most vulnerable members of society and as such they require adequate protection at all times.
The Department of Social Development appealed to the community of Lephalale and surroundings to work together with the Office of the Family Advocate in protecting children.
“Children must grow in stable families which can give them love, care and support. We urge you to play your part and install discipline and good morals to children starting from a young age. Parents should also take the initiative to adopt children who are orphaned and neglected as some of these children live in child headed households and their lives are dysfunctional due to lack of parenting” she said.
“The protection of children cannot and is not the responsibility of only the government and the OFA- we must all play our part. It is fact that if we as a society fail to raise our children in the right manner our children will be lost and so will the future of our country” she concluded.
Chief Family Advocate, Petunia Seabi-Mathope, said some of the challenges faced by her office include instances where a parent denies the child the right to see the other parent and when a parent speaks badly of the other parent. “Children normally misbehave when one parent is absent in their lives and they may get involved in drugs and crime. By neglecting the needs of our children and their right to equal parental care, we are inadvertently fuelling the social ills committed by children who feel neglected of inadequately loved”, she said.
Advocate Seabi-Mathope encouraged parents to always be there for their children and to make use of the Family Advocate when necessary.

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