The SANCRC made a Submission to Parliament on the 2020 MTBPS and 2020 Second Adjustments Appropriation Bill. The 2020 mini-budget represented a critical advocacy opportunity to highlight the importance of child-rights budgeting in our rapidly deteriorating national fiscal context. Pre-COVID, South Africa was faced an accumulation of factors, including corruption, looming recessions and weak administration of funds across the different levels of government that adversely affected the availability, allocation, use and accountability for funding of support for children’s nurturing care and development. COVID-19 deepened the deficits alongside a growing need for financial support from families, businesses and communities who experienced severe financial hardships as a result of the protracted lockdown.
Government-wide child-centred, or at the least, deliberate child-sensitive budgeting is a legal and developmental imperative for which government is responsible and must account. It is however one of the weakest areas of our child rights governance system. Almost all concluding observations published by the AU and UN treaty bodies over the past decade have highlighted the inadequacy of South Africa’s budgeting processes. Despite these observations, and even though the ever-increasing funds allocated to social spending have seen ever-reducing returns for children, there has been little, if any, transformation in the national, provincial and local budgeting processes and priorities to ensure government-wide implementation of its responsibilities to enable nurturing care. This is one of the fundamental reasons for the ever-increasing proportion of, especially vulnerable children, at risk of poor development outcomes.
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