20 NOVEMBER 2000


"Boy dies of suspected poisoning", "Boy, 16, held for armed robbery", "Pupil dies after falling from moving bus", "Gymnastics coach in court after boys complain", "100 cases of child abuse being investigated against North West  teacher", "Anger over rape"... and so the list continues.

This reflects some of today's news coverage and accounts for that which  happens, on a daily basis, to our children. The irony is that today is Universal Children's Day, a day for us to reaffirm our commitment to work in the spirit of the South African Constitution, which proclaims the dignity and worth of all children without distinction, and to promote and protect their fundamental rights wherever and whoever they may be.

"...I cannot wait for ever, because I cannot bear to see this child's life destroyed like mine." a South African mother is quoted. Children's rights are so inseparably linked and so closely associated with peace and development that the implementation of their rights can be directly linked with the improvement of the living conditions of all human beings, whatever their age.

One of the single biggest obstacles in preventing the attainment of children's rights is poverty. The UDM commits itself to wage war against the three scourges that result from poverty: Hunger, Disease and Illiteracy.  In addition, we shall pay particular attention to the HIV/AIDS pandemic that  threatens to not only exterminate the economically active population, but also our children and with it, our Country's future.

With regard to HIV/AIDS; UDM preliminary research (See Media Release of  15/11/2000) lead us to believe that the economic impact of HIV/AIDS for South Africa will be enormous and amongst others:

1. School dropouts will increase, as children are expected to attend to sick relatives.

2. Domestic savings will fall, as households spend more time and money to attend to sick relatives. The private sector will also save less due to a drop in productivity and increased pressure on profits.

3. Nearly 20% of all SA children could be orphans within 10 years. According  to the projections undertaken by Metropolitan Life for the NGO LoveLive, HIV/AIDS will have orphaned 2 million children by the year 2010 (infection predictions by the IMF/World Bank indicate that this may be a conservative estimate). The Department of Social Development states as a policy goal that it intends to place 55% of AIDS orphans under foster care by the same year; it is unclear what the future contribution of the Department to foster care will be. The UDM has determined that a foster care home may spend R22 000 per year per orphan. This means that the foster care bill for AIDS orphans in the year 2010 will be R 24 200 million, without taking inflation into account. Ironically the total budget for this year for the Department of Social Development is only R383 million.

It is abundantly clear from these figures that it is especially the children and youth of South Africa who will suffer the most. South Africa simply cannot afford such a disaster.

Reportedly a forensic audit will be done in the North West since,  apparently, only 70% of this provinces grade 8 learners received their textbooks this year. Government keeps repeating this recipe for disaster, year after year, with learners receiving much-needed books late or not at all.

Children are protected by our Constitution, in fact, some of their rights are non-derogable, but in spite of this legal obligation, Government seems to have other priorities, such as semantic bickering about the causes of HIV/AIDS. What preventative steps have Government taken with regard to the protection of our children, or is the Constitution of our Country just a piece of paper with no link to reality?

On this Universal Children's Day the UDM calls on the people of our country to support the children and youth of South Africa in their dreams for a better future. We call on the South African electorate to shun the ANC for their proven bad record regarding children's rights and vote for a party that has a better plan for their children and the future of South Africa. 


Bantu Holomisa, MP
UDM President

Cape Town
20 November 2000