Access to Social Security Campaign
Soul City: IHDC is a co-founder and active member of the Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS). ACESS is an alliance of around 400 organisations working to secure children’s rights to a better life through a comprehensive social security system.
74% of children in South Africa live in extreme poverty. As a result, these children are denied their basic Constitutionally guaranteed rights to health, food, clothing, shelter and access to basic services. For these children, this means a life of extreme hardship and poor health. 21,6% of children between the ages of 0-9 are starving and one out of every four children in South Africa is stunted due to malnutrition. The infant mortality rate is as high as 49/100 (average in SA). Poverty is fuelling the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. The AIDS epidemic is in turn deepening poverty.
Poverty places people at greater risk of acquiring HIV in many ways. Poverty and unemployment, force women into sex work and increase relationships of dependency, making women vulnerable to coercive sex. Single sex hostels, migrant labour, limited health and recreational facilities and lack of access to information all contribute to the spread of AIDS. Someone who is HIV positive and poor may not be able to eat well. This may make the person weak and can contribute to the person becoming sick with AIDS. Poor people usually do not have access to the adequate health care necessary for staying healthier longer. All this makes children vulnerable. It is estimated that by the year 2021 almost 2 million children will have lost one or more parents to AIDS. The infant mortality rate will double by 2010 and households will become poorer as more and more economically active adults become sick or die. Already children are losing out on their childhoods, taking care of sick parents or actually heading up the households themselves. Without an adequate social security safety net, these children are starving, dropping out of school and getting ill.
Social security system for all children is a constitutional right in South Africa and is a theme that cuts across all Soul City IHDC’s work. Without the necessary social security, the health of children is fundamentally compromised.
The ACESS campaign has two aims:
- To ensure a comprehensive social security system for South Africa that is in the best interests of our children.
- To ensure the current system is improved while the comprehensive system is devised.