News alert

More than 350 Children Murdered in South Africa between October and December 2021

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Feb. 18, 2022)—Violence against children in South Africa surged in late 2021 with a 30 percent jump in attempted murders and 352 children killed, according to new figures released today by South African Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Figures for October until the end of December showed 394 children were victims of attempted murders while the number of children killed dropped 5.6 percent from a year ago.

In total, 6,859 people, including the 352 children, were murdered in South Africa in the last three months of 2021, an increase of almost 9 percent compared to a year earlier, according to the latest police data.

Save the Children South Africa CEO Steve Miller said:

“We are appalled by these figures. They strike to the heart of every parent, every citizen. We are horrified by the senseless killing of children and the increase in attempted murders of children. Each of these children that were killed were robbed of the chance to life and robbed of their futures. They have left grieving family and loved ones. One child murdered is one child too many.

“Violence against children must not, cannot be tolerated. We need to work towards ensuring that no children are murdered in our country in the coming year. A 5.6 percent decline is not good enough.”

Save the Children calls on the government to take drastic measures to create a safe environment for our children. South Africa has committed to the realization of children’s rights, through its Constitution, the National Development Plan 2030, the fourth National Plan of Action for Children that was endorsed by Cabinet on October 21, 2020, the National Child Care and Protection Policy, and other international obligations. It is time to honor these obligations and do whatever it takes for children—every day.

In South Africa, Save the Children implements programs to protect children at risk of violence and abuse. This includes promoting the use of positive discipline and leading lobbying efforts for the banning of corporal punishment in the home; implementing targeted and effective programs to prevent and respond to violence against children; and supporting innovative models for addressing the root causes of violence.

Spokespeople in South Africa are available for further comment. To arrange an interview, contact Claire Garmirian ([email protected]).

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we've been advocating for the rights of children worldwide. In the United States 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 the future we share. Our results, financial statements and charity ratings reaffirm that Save the Children is a charity you can trust. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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