The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Petronella Kagonye, has said the country’s current legislation is sufficient for curbing child marriages.
“The current legislation is sufficient for persecuting those that breach children’s rights. We are currently reviewing the Child Act and the Marriage Act and we cannot not rush the process. The aim is to have a quality product that we can stand by and take pride in,” said Minister Kagonye.
NANGO reported that Minister Kagonye made these assertions at the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children’s 50TH anniversary celebrations in response to journalists that had asked what the ministry is doing with regards to rampant child marriages, child trafficking and child labour.
The minister added that her office realises that poverty is the major driver of child marriages and child labour therefore efforts are being made to help parents keep children in school.
“Poverty is the major driver of various forms of abuse. To reduce child labour we encourage parents to keep children in school and we ensure this through the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM),” added Minister Kagonye.
Regarding child trafficking the minister said stern measures are being taken towards ensuring that no unaccompanied children leave the country.
“We are working with our South African counterparts to reduce such cases. Last month eight children were brought back and on 19 April we expect six more children. These are children who go to South Africa to visit their parents but do not have proper documentation some are unaccompanied because their parents cannot make time or their guardians cannot afford to”, asserted Kagonye.
Children with disabilities are also on the radar of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. There is the Disability Fund funded by the treasury to assist people with disabilities and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has five million dollars for people with disabilities. The challenge is that there are limitations to accessing money in the RBZ coffers. There are certain banks and conditions that people with disabilities have to comply to in order to access the money. Due to this, the ministry is making attempts for the money to be transferred to the ministry as it already has mechanisms in place to guarantee that supposed beneficiaries can access funds.