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Date: 15 May 2012
Title: Green Paper on Families unveiled
Pretoria - The Department of Social Development has released the Green Paper on Families, which emphasises the need for all to build strong families that protect the most vulnerable members of society.
The Green Paper, which was approved by Cabinet last year for public engagement, aims to shift the focus of government services from simply targeting individuals to focusing more on responding to their needs as members of families.
The purpose of the Green Paper is to provide a platform for all South Africans to engage and exchange views on how to build stable families.
It also seeks to address some of the challenges faced by individuals in families, including the abuse of women and children, the elderly as well as people with disabilities.
The paper was unveiled on Tuesday -- a day which coincides with the celebration of the International Day of Families -- by Social Development Minister Maria Ntuli.
Through the Green Paper on Families, the department also seeks to:
Reaffirm the relevance of a family as a critical unit in society.
To maximise the participation and commitment of all sectors in strengthening family life.
To ensure balance between work and family life.
To ensure that families have access to services.
Strengthening families so that they are able to take care of their children.
Ntuli launched the paper during the International Day of Families event held at Siyazenzela Stadium in Perdekop, Mpumalanga. She was accompanied by Mpumalanga MEC for Health and Social Development, Dr Clifford Mkasi
Speaking at the event, held under the theme "Ensuring work-family balance", Ntuli said that families found it increasingly difficult to reconcile the competing necessities of their work and family obligations, adding that the burden of care placed on women limited their access to employment and social participation.
She noted that in instances where both women and men were employed, the domestic workload still remained the responsibility of women for the most part -- a fact that remained largely unaddressed in the context of both legal and policy frameworks.
"We therefore need to establish a comprehensive legal and policy framework [that] balances work and family life to allow for shared responsibility between men and women, other family members, the state, private sector and society as a whole," Ntuli said.
She said society should recognise the equal value of both work and family life.
"In essence, both men and women have a right to paid employment without being forced to neglect their family responsibilities. Fathers must no longer be regarded merely as breadwinners but also as full partners in co-parenting.
"This is even more necessary in a world where, amongst others, there is a rise in women's professional and educational status and the corresponding increase in the importance of their earnings and new demands on their professional careers."
In response to these trends, Ntuli added that new father sensitive policies, such as statutory paternal leave, flexible working provisions and facilitating the increased role of men in care giving, have been adopted in several countries, particularly in Europe. - BuaNews