Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund calls for immediate ousting of Western Cape municipal mayor and his deputy
The appointment of the Western Cape’s newly elected municipal mayor and convicted child rapist, Jeffrey Donson, further points at the gaps in the South African legislation and sends a scathing message of our country’s complicity in perpetuating violence against children and women.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) therefore joins the calls for the immediate removal of Donson and his deputy, Werner Meshoa.
Donson was reportedly convicted of statutory rape while he was mayor of Kannaland in 2008, while Meshoa, a convicted fraudster, lost his job as a teacher after being found guilty of sexual misconduct with a pupil.
The Fund calls for the re-listing of Donson and Meshoa on the Sex Offenders list and for the strengthening of legislation to protect children from sexual predators holding public office.
The CEO of the Fund, Konehali Gugushe, says that it is perturbing that Donson and Meshoa were even allowed to stand for public office again. “This shows a loophole in our country’s legislation and promotes the protection of convicted perpetrators over that of children and women at the receiving end of the sexual assault.”
Gugushe continues, “As a country known as the rape capital of the world and where cases of rape, abuse and sexual assault, among others, remain underreported, South Africa should stand firm against perpetuating fears that the justice system favours perpetrators. Donson and Meshoa both demonstrate that these fears are valid. We cannot afford to send this message to vulnerable women and children.”
On Thursday, 18 November 2021, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) hosted a webinar to discuss gaps related to the Children’s Amendment Bill.
The discussion revealed gaps in the legislation informed by the Fund’s oral and written submissions to parliament last year.
The Chief Programmes Officer at the Fund, Dr Stanley Maphosa says that in its submission, the Fund had called for measures to improve the efficacy of the National Child Protection register. “This is a significant step in ensuring that child abuse perpetrators will be precluded from assuming positions in public office or environments where children are potentially exposed to their presence. Furthermore, it will ensure that names of child sex offenders are never removed from the list, to ensure proper screening of individuals to promote the safety of children,” says Maphosa.
Maphosa adds, “There is also a need to ensure that legislation is not far removed from implementation on the ground which is often the case and an issue that was raised by children the Fund had engaged on matters related to gaps in the Children’s Amendment Bill.”
In addition, the Fund strongly condemns the comments of provincial chairperson, David Kamfer, from the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa)’s, the party of the two convicts, who was quoted in the media defending Donson by stating that he had no knowledge of the minor’s age and assumed that she was of legal age at the time.
In response, Maphosa says, “This argument is highly dangerous, legally indefensible and as such, individuals should refrain from using it as justification.”
Gugushe says that inaction in the removal of Donson and Meshoa would be an indictment on South African society. “Abuse against children does not occur in isolation. It occurs when communities do nothing, when perpetrators are allowed to take advantage of the justice system and when we all act as spectators. As media coverage around this issue dwindles, and as the justice system goes unchallenged, we should all be aware of the hand we play in retaining the violent status of our country.”
Understanding 16 Days of Activism: the Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: moving from Awareness to Accountability
Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation. – Nelson Mandela (22 November 1997)
Founded by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, the Global 16 Days Campaign celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. 16 Days of Activism annually kicks off on the 25th of November. The campaign will run up until the 10th of December. Throughout the years, the campaign has had various themes to focus on. In 2020, the main focus stemmed from amplifying the voices of women workers in the informal economy. This year, the global theme emphases advocacy against gender-based violence (GBV) against women and violence against children.. In South Africa, the theme is the Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: moving from awareness to accountability. This is a step forward in dealing with violence against women and children.
Combatting Violence against Women and ChildrenIt goes without saying that society needs to take accountability for these heinous crimes against humanity. When South Africa became a part of the 16 Days of Activism in 1998, the key reason was to bring awareness to some of the brutal issues we face.
There are ways we can combat violence against women and children, namely:
Child Safety and ProtectionOur Child Safety and Protection (CSP) Programme was created to ensure a safer and securer environment for the youth particularly in schools and their communities. CSP is currently running in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and Western Cape. The aims of the programme are to dismantle corporal punishment and bullying in schools and putting an end to gender-based violence against women and girls.
Previously, the Fund had implemented a programme called Sexual Violence in Schools in South Africa (SeVISSA) which empowers girls in schools to deal with and acknowledge issues of sexual violence. It is operational in the four provinces, namely Limpopo, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. However, the call to address several other issues mentioned, encouraged a broader programme, CSP, to encompass the troubles our youth face within spaces that should be considered safe environments for them.
The Fund continues to work with organisations to ensure the rehabilitations for young perpetrators. More so, providing support to children who have fallen victim of sexual abuse, bullying and corporal punishment. Psychosocial support training for children, educators and parents or caregivers is offered by the Fund alongside the organisations. CSP also affords women and girls with entrepreneurial skills and economic strengthening activities to generate independence and income for themselves.
We at the Fund strive to keep Tata Madiba’s dream alive by ensuring that the children of our nation are protected within schools and their communities. Education is key, in that it eradicates the rise of poverty and GBV. They are the future, and we need to safeguard the future of South Africa. With this year’s theme, we must ensure that accountability is considered in order for change to come. This is to ensure that we can live in a society where victims and survivors become safe and preventing any future perpetuators of violence.
What are you actively doing during your 16 Days of Activism for the protection of women and children?
Twin sisters Aimeé Serrão and Candace Bosch are passionate about the youth, their country, and bringing a smile to children's faces. Through a proudly South African children’s book called “Paintbrush’s Colour”, Aimeé and Candace hope to spread positivity while educating the youth in a fun and inspiring way.
“Paintbrush's Colour" has educational questions at the end of the book where children can learn the Big 5, the five national symbols and more!
Aimee and Candace both have two sons. It was their children that inspired them to write this story during the hard lockdown period that South Africa faced.
“We are giving a percentage of the sales to the NMCF. Their dedication to helping children is not only admirable, but it is also inspiring. To be able to contribute to this cause is a dream come true for both of us” - Candace Bosch
“My son was born with Hirschsprung Disease. Dr Andrew Grieve, the Head of General Paediatric Surgery at the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, saved his life. So, giving a percentage of sales to help their cause is a small way to say thank you to him, his team, and the foundation as a whole for all they do for our youth” - Aimeé Serrão
Get your copy of the amazing “Paintbrush’s Colour” here.
On Thursday, 18 November 2021, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) will host a webinar to discuss gaps related to the Children’s Amendment Bill.
Entitled, “The Children’s Amendment Bill: Age and Consent - Important gaps remain unaddressed,” the discussion will be moderated by media personality, Joanne Joseph, and will include the CEO of the Fund, Konehali Gugushe, as well as a range of expert in children’s rights, child law, and implementation partners of the Fund.
Sponsored by Nedbank, the virtual event will run between 17:30 – 19:30 and will be open to the public and media.
The Fund is the first legacy organisation founded by former president Nelson Mandela in 1995 with a vision to change the way society treats its children and youth. A social development agency, the Fund’s work includes lobbying and advocacy to influence policy to improve the lives of children in the country and the region.
The webinar follows submissions made by the Fund last year to parliament on gaps in the Children’s Amendment Bill No 38 of 2005. Gugushe says that the Children’s Act, 2005 and the Children’s Amendment Bill are important pieces of legislation that cut across various children’s rights issues and the event will provide an opportunity to further interrogate these together with partners in the children’s rights sector.
Says Gugushe, “Issues related to consent are quite complex and have to be balanced against full understanding from a child’s perspective, different cultural and social contexts but ultimately ensuring that the rights of children are not compromised in this process. As an organisation, it is our mission to facilitate these discussions and to ensure that civil society’s voice is heard together with the voices of children in informing legislation that governs their lives.”
In its written and oral submissions to parliament, the Fund commended the efforts made by the South African government in reviewing this legislation as an important step in improving children’s rights in the country. “Through this process, we were able to highlight pertinent gaps in legislation, chief among these were inconsistences in the thresholds of age where arguments of age and consent are in direct contradiction to the protection of children’s rights. This suggests that we then need strengthen legislation and coordinate ourselves as civil society in this process,” says Gugushe.
Nedbank is a long-standing partner of the Fund and has supported the organisation since its inception in advancing its mission. In recent years for instance, the bank has collaborated with the Fund on various initiatives such as the primary healthcare vaccination drive called #VaxtheNation, for children under the age of five, through the Fund’s Child Survival, Development and Thriving programme.
Group Executive at Nedbank, Khensani Nobanda, says, “As a financial services provider that does good in the economy and society at large, Nedbank, through a wide range of impactful projects, is passionate about sowing into the future generations of our country. Through the Nedbank Children’s Affinity Programme we have donated over R110 million by offering our loyal customers a powerful way to invest in the wellbeing of our children. At absolutely no cost to customers, the Programme allows them to support the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund’s strategic programmes, as they go about their normal daily banking and investing with Nedbank. In sponsoring the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund CEO Forum webinar today, Nedbank realises the urgent need to close important gaps that remain unaddressed by The Children’s Amendment Bill.”
Media personality Joanne Joseph says that it is an honour for her to moderate the discussion. “This event will go a long way in bringing together expert views and to interrogate legislation as well as how far our country has come in truly protecting and promoting the rights of children. I am looking forward to the inputs of the panellists as well as the broader participation.”
According to Gugushe, the period for the discussion is also of significance. “In November we celebrated National Children’s Day and will soon celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which will then be followed by the 16 Days of Activism for Violence against Women and Children. We therefore want to advance these discussions during this period while promoting issues of safety through our ongoing programme work and through forums for advocacy.”
The events panellists will include:
The public can register on the following link to participate in the event at no charge: https://nmcfceoforum.liveevent.co.za/
By Zamajozi Sithole, Project Officer for the NMCF Youth Leadership Programme
Established: 2011 – Gauteng Legislature
Established by: Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
The NMCP programme was established to celebrate the values, principles and commitment of Mr Nelson Mandela to the children of South Africa, by giving children meaningful opportunities to participate, direct and influence decisions made on their behalf or in their best interest. Over the past 10 years, the hosting of the NMCP rotated across all provinces to create an opportunity for the children of South Africa to participate equally.
The theme for the upcoming children’s Parliament is: “Accountability to enhance the voices and rights of children during COVID-19 and beyond.” The theme acknowledges that the state is responsible to protect, respect and promote the rights of children and need to account and report to children on progress made in this regard.
The Objectives are:
Here is a short link to the inaugural NMCP that took place 10 years ago at the Gauteng Legislature:
Ten years later, we find ourselves back where it all began, i.e. Gauteng Province
Old Mutual Insure partners with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to donate 135 school desks to bolster literacy amongst young children.
Old Mutual Insure, donated 135 school desks to boost early childhood literacy skills amongst youngsters on World Literacy Day.
The donation is the first of six donations that aims to bring dignity to 400 children from schools in the North West and Eastern Cape identified by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) as part of their Child Survival, Development and Thriving programme.
“As a responsible business, we seek opportunities to deliver cutting-edge Corporate Social Investments that contribute to inclusive, transformative, impactful, and sustainable socio-economic development in the communities where we operate,” said Antonia Oakes, Retail Executive of Customer Experience and Responsible Business at Old Mutual Insure.
“We have a deliberate partnership approach that promotes social legitimacy and shared value, and this year, we partnered with the Fund.”
The Fund’s Child Survival, Development and Thriving programme aims to improve the health and the development of children in their formative years.
“Every year we celebrate Mandela Day, and this year our donation was towards education and literacy - a cause that was close to Nelson Mandela’s heart”, said Oakes.
The donation of 135 MiDesks will go to Grade 1 and Grade 2 children from Nthebe Primary School in Saulspoort in the North West province.
MiDesk Global is a proudly South African Innovation, providing underprivileged children who don’t have desks and attend schools with portable desks. The portable desk and chair can be wheeled to and from school and has a solar light and USB charging portal attached to it to provide light after hours. The portable desk can last for the 12-year duration of schooling.
CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Konehali Gugushe, says that the organisation is grateful for the donation which will benefit children across the country. “This is an honour for our organisation as this advances and promotes education for young people. We would like to thank Old Mutual Insure in leading the way for corporates in answering the call to our current campaign to Serve Like Madiba and Give Like They’re Yours.”
This year’s theme: “Creating Hope through Action”
Every year the 10th of September is commemorated as the World’s commitment to prevent suicide. By encouraging understanding, reaching in and sharing experiences, it is to give people the confidence to take action that can save life.
From working with children and youth facilitating and providing psychosocial support and mental wellness has been part of child safety and protection. In a baseline study conducted with total 453 responses from learners in eight schools from Orlando East, total sample of 232 (52%) were female and 217 (48%) were male. The age of respondents ranged between 12 and 18. 99.7% of respondents indicated that they were in school with the grades ranged between 5 and 11.
To be able to enhance resilience skills, our implementing partners (REPSSI, June 16 Youth Development Foundation) build self-esteem planned camps. Girls Camp hosted from the 28th to 30th May and Boys camp hosted from the 04th to 06th June 2021 saw a total of 92 girls and 78 boys.
The camp focused on facilitating activities on Self-Awareness; Self-Management; Social Awareness; Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making. This was through role plays, sketches, drawings, visual and full-participatory of learners. Through evaluation notes here are some of the writings of what was learned.
The team believe that through the little work we are able to expose our learners, it builds their abilities to less prone to depression; suicide and other mental illness but strive to be well and support others.
Child Line Toll Free: 080 005 5555
SAGDA Suicide Crisis Line: 0800 567 567
SAPS: 08600 10111
World Suicide Prevention Day Toolkit
It has come to our attention that a new call and SMS scam is currently circulating misleading recipients to make a donation towards the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF).
It starts with a call from a number identified as 073 0385 604 that has the background sounds of a call centre. The agent falsely claims that they are: “…Working for MTN and in collaboration with NMCF in celebrating the Nelson Mandela 100 years.” The false agent further claims that the person: “…has won R25000 from Standard Bank and a grocery voucher form Shoprite/Checkers but to claim the prizes they first need to register as a donor to NMCF, choosing and amount between R1400 - R3800. This has to be sent via your banking app send money function” using a pin that the agent supplies.
Another scam has been found from the following number: 073 947 2942 stating:
“Congrats!! MTN user [Name] MTN has rewarded you with a Sumsang GLX S10,Sumsang double door fridge 660L with water&ice despensor and R30,000 in cash for today's day.for more info visit www.mtnmyrewards.co.za TnC's apply”
“Yello MTN user [Name] your #remake2020 rewards is a combo.please settle your RAM COURIER SA delivery payment so that you can receive your complete pin and get all your rewards.for more infor visit www.mtnmyrewards.co.za TnCs apply. 23/08/2021”
The following details are where the account details are deposited:
Nedbank: Account holder: Patrick, Account Number: 5898461106769407, Account type: NEDCARD, Bank name: Nedbank, Branch code: 198765
Please do not answer this call or respond to any request along these lines. NMCF is not running any campaign of this nature at the moment. To verify what fundraising campaigns, both NMCF and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) are running, our supporters are urged to constantly check our websites – NMCF: https://www.nelsonmandelachildrensfund.com/ and NMCH: https://www.nelsonmandelachildrenshospital.org/ or our social media platforms.
Alternatively, you can email Communications@nmcf.co.za for any enquiries.
From our Child Survival, Development and Thriving (CSDT) Programme Team
The role of the buddy:
Who qualifies to be a buddy?
2. Did you know
Quote from a buddy: “I love the work I do, and even though I am not paid, I am happy to see them grow so well, and I also learn so much for when I have a baby, I will raise my child the same way”.
Mothers who have joined the programme:
“My name is Rose Sibanda. I am 26 years old. I started to attend the session of Thembalethu Community Care Centre from 2020 when l was pregnant. I gave birth to my child on the 18 December 2020. The interesting sessions that I have attended was exclusive breastfeeding. It was interesting to me because my husband was not working permanently. I breastfeed my child exclusively meaning breast milk only, no food or liquids except for medicine prescribed by a health worker. I started to feed my baby after six months. My baby is growing well and healthy. I would like to thank the Care Givers for a good work that they are doing in our community.”
“My name is Lillian Soda. I am 25 years old. My child is one year old and she's a girl. I started to breastfeed my child when she was born and continue to do so. I chose my cousin to be my buddy because she is the one l trust and and we are staying together. She helps me a lot when things becomes difficult. She supported me when l breastfeed my baby especially when the family give us a problem like encouraging me to give my baby a soft porridge. My buddy always plays a good role especially when family contradict message to the one we received from health facility. What l have realized it is important to have buddy during pregnancy with breastfeeding period. It was easy for me to breastfeed even when my husband was not with me for few months.”
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) and its flagship project, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) will be wrapping up Mandela Month Celebrations and resume the dropping-off of physical donations by the public at the institutions on Saturday, 31 July 2021.
In July, the legacy organisations traditionally mark the birth, life and social contribution of their founder, Mr Nelson Mandela. The month has also become synonymous with altruism, with the public often supporting these institutions with various requests including on-site donations to support their work.
Historically, former president, Mr Nelson Mandela, also celebrated his birthday in the presence of children sharing in the celebrations together with staff of the Fund, members of the public, corporates and the philanthropic community. Since his passing in 2013, the Fund has upheld this tradition, honouring Madiba by hosting the Annual Children’s Celebration at its Head Offices in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, and other venues across the country.
However, the Level 4 restrictions together with the recent unrest in the in the country, placed limitations on both the Fund and NMCH’s ability to host events in a similar manner, resulting in an joint announcement on 16 July 2021 to postpone all physical donations.
To end off Mandela Month in a fitting manner, the Fund and NMCH are excited to announce that these activities will now resume under Level 3 Covid-19 protocols. As such, the Fund and Hospital will be hosting donation “drive-throughs” where the public can drop off donations to benefit beneficiaries.
CEO of the Fund, Konehali Gugushe says that the Fund is reaching out to the public to request that they donate essential items that will benefit children across the country. “This year our plan is to put together care packages that will be distributed to our various strategic partners nationally. This includes partners working with the Fund in the health, child survival & development, as well as the child safety and protection space. We are therefore providing another opportunity for our supporters to come forward to make this year memorable for our beneficiaries.”
The organisation has also placed various donation boxes at Menlyn Park where visitors at the mall can drop off their donations.
Furthermore, the Fund is also calling on the public to join its virtual #MandelaDanceChallenge by dancing to media personality, Proverb’s “Legacy” song and posting this online. “This a way for us to still promote child participation and to encourage families, to have fun together in a light-hearted way and in the spirt of celebration,” says Gugushe.
Interim CEO at NMCH, Dr Nonkululeko Boikhutso, also encouraged the public to support the only dedicated children’s hospital in Gauteng. “Our patients and families have a wide variety of needs. We are relieved that we can end off the month in this way to encourage the public to support our institution in the spirit of Madiba and giving.”
From April 2021, NMCH had to accommodate approximately 100 patients together with their families and staff from Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) following a fire at that facility. While some patients have been moved back to CMJAH, others remain at NMCH. “The intervention was absolutey necessary but as you can imagine, this has added strain on our resources,” says Boikhutso.
To drop off donations on Saturday, 31 July 2021, the members of the public are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book a slot and ensure that we have appropriate crowd control provisions.
The public can also make online donations to both organisations through their website portals and support the virtual initatives outlined on these.
For more information on visit on the Fund visit www.nelsonmandelachildrensfund.co.za or visit www.nmch.org.za to learn more about NMCH.
South Africa Main Office
P.O. Box 797 Highlands North 2037
Email : email@example.com
Tel: (+27) 11 274-5600
Fax (+27) 11 486-3914