The country was ranked 123 out of 187 countries on the 2012 Human Development Index. Besides still boasting the largest economy in the region with an estimated GDP of $408.2 billion (2011 est.) the country has held steady in the face of global economic uncertainty and economic growth for 2012 was estimated at 2.8% compared to Sub-Saharan Africa’s 4.8%.

South Africa is a relatively stable democracy with a population of approximately 50 million people according to the Census 2011. Undoubtedly the country has made some remarkable political strides in almost 20 years of democracy. Yet the county is not decisively moving forward towards what can be legitimately expected from it and what it could become.

In economy, labour strikes are fairly common in the mining but not so common in the agriculture because of poor union activity. The 2012 strikes in the platinum industry left at least 44 people dead and 78 wounded during confrontations between striking workers and the police.
The strikes and subsequent wage hikes have raised fears of looming massive retrenchments in these two sectors. Mining and agriculture are two of the biggest employers in the country. However, the two sectors haven’t been doing well in recent years.

The fears need to be understood against the backdrop of an appalling unemployment rate. According to Census 2011, the country’s unemployment rate is nearly 30% (5.6 million) and the majority of the jobless people are young. Statistics reveal that the rate of youth unemployment is 33.7% among those aged 25-29 and 27.4% among those aged 30-34. The problem of youth unemployment have been described as a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. On the social scene, much public political attention in 2012 has been paid to unbinding social services delivery protests. The country has been dubbed the protest capital of the world. Since 2008 more than 2 million people have taken to the streets in protests against poor social services.

Poverty and deprivation have persisted despite the extension of social assistance to more than half of the country’s households. During 2012 approximately 16.1 million South Africans were grant beneficiaries, up from 2.8 million in 1998. World Bank assessments, South Africa Economic Update: Inequality of Opportunity 2012, reveal that the richest 10% of South Africans account for 58% of the nation’s income, while the bottom 10% accounts for 0.5%. The bottom half earns less than 8% of the nation’s income. Census 2011 reveals that white South Africans who make up about 9% of the population earn six times more than black South Africans who makes about 80% of the population.The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency notes that the country has made remarkable progress to accelerate the implementation of the child rights convention citing amongst others the decline in poverty between 2003 and 2010 by about 19 percentage points and the increase in the number of HIV positive pregnant women receiving anti-retroviral from an estimated 32,500 in 2004 to 250,100 in 2010.

According to UNICEF reports during 2012 about 11.9 million South African children out of a child population of 19 million were living in income poverty. The reports also reveal that about 1.7 million of them were living in informal housing such as shacks in backyards and squatter settlements and almost 1.4 million of them were living in households relying on rivers or streams as their main drinking source.

The Department of Health concurs that over 270 maternal and child deaths are reported every day mainly due to HIV/Aids and about 330 000 children and five million adults are infected with HIV/Aids. About 1.9 million children have lost one or both parents due to Aids and one in five children are stunted as a consequence of chronic nutritional deprivation. It has also been revealed that only 43% of the children under five attend early childhood programmes and some 662 000 children are out of primary and secondary schooling.

Crime against children and women remain unacceptably high. According to the South African Police Service 50 688 cases of crime against children were reported of which 25 862 were sexual offences. Fears are that South Africa could soon become official rape capital of the world.
The country’s social challenges need to be seen against the backdrop of an ailing NGO sector. Many civil society organisations that looked after the poor and most vulnerable children and women have collapsed because of poor funding.

Despite this background, it is not all doom and gloom for country’s children and women. Many within the NGO sector are pinning their hopes on the new National Development Plan. The plan seeks to reduce inequality (Gini Coefficient of 0.69 to 0.6) by amongst others increasing employment from 13 million (2010 est.) to 24 million in 2030 and to increase the quality of education so that all children have at least two years of preschool education and all Grade 3 children can read and write by 2030.

To respond to the above mentioned problems, the country office accompanied thirteen projects, across the areas of education and training, including basic education and life-skills education, health and nutrition, including mental health care and protecting children from exploitation.

  • ACTP


Organization Name : A Chance to Play Southern Africa

Objective :
Promoting Child Protection and the Right to Play in Southern Africa

Organizational Background
A Chance to Play Southern Africa is a legally registered coalition of child rights organizations that promote the right to play in Southern Africa. It focuses on the training of play facilitators and play masters, coordinates right to play activities, advocates for safe and sufficient play spaces and provides the children’s holistic development through play within Early childhood development programmes. The organisation has a regional mandate although it operates from South Africa, where it was conceived after the programme was rolled out during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The promotion of the child’s right to play earned a lot of support from VW Works Council, who supported this flagship project from 2007 to date. Terre des hommes also extended its supported through support of the children’s right to play in countries such as Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe through its project partners. Play is now being mainstreamed in projects and the commemoration of World Play Day has become an Annual event in Southern Africa, where tdh supports projects

terre des hommes supported project outline:

Objectives: To enhance the implementation of the child’s right to play in Southern Africa.

The project promotes child participation and child led groupings that advocate and lobby for child friendly programming that involves children’s participation from project design throughout implementation. Children become ambassadors of play and trained play facilitators pass on the knowledge to parents, teachers and guardians who then assimilate the importance of the children’s right to play towards their holistic development.

The programme produced a training Manual , that was authored by Wozobona and the Child Rights Centre. About 100 Play Facilitators were trained within Southern Africa. 4 Working groups were established in Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and Zambia platform. World Play Day was commemorated within southern Africa with more than 10,000 children participating. Key stakeholders and government departments are being conscientized on the importance of this right

The project has equipped orphans and vulnerable children on how to cope with grief as they vent out their pain of bereavement through play therapy. Children’s safety and protection is enhanced as the children play under the close monitoring of trained play facilitators. Play has added excitement to learning, especially to the marginalized SAN communities in Namibia and Angola. Play has contributed to holistic development of children at early childhood centres and improved the parents and guidance involvement throughout their children’s learning experiences.

This programme has a huge multiplier effect by virtue of it being a regional programme. The growth of this programme has been overwhelming as it has already been embraced by Brazil, as a best practice in preparation of the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil . The coalition is participating on the launch of the General Public Comment on the UNCRC Article 31 submitted to the UN as an affiliate to the International Play Association. This involvement at International level broadens our African Scope in the field of play.
Contacts :

Contact Person: Charity Rasmen ( Programmes manager)
Address: First Floor ,13 Joubert Street Extension, Parktown, 2193, Johannesburg
Email: or
Telephone:00 27 11 051 4993