The number of orphans and child-headed households are on the increase in South Africa, the South African Institute of Race
Relations (SAIRR) said.
According to statistics in its latest South Africa Survey, by
2015 32% of all children in the country would have lost one
or both parents due to HIV/Aids.
"As HIV/Aids continues to affect the life-spans of parents, more and more children are going to be orphaned," the SAIRR's Gail Eddy said.
In 2007, the SAIRR noted that some 2 500 000 children in South Africa had lost one or both parents, with more than half of all of these deaths a result of HIV/Aids.
KZN worst affected
Between 2002 and 2007, the number children who had lost both their parents doubled from 352 000 to 701 000.
KwaZulu-Natal, the province with the highest HIV/Aids infection rate, also had the highest number of orphans in 2007 at 229 000, the survey found.
The number of child-headed households had also risen as a result of the HIV/Aids pandemic.
According to the survey, between 2002 and 2007 the number of children living in child-headed households rose by 25% to
148 000 from 118 000.
Not enough social workers
Eddy said there were limited safety nets for orphaned children. "The department of social development has a budget which is geared towards the delivery of social grants, such as child support grants.
"However, vulnerable children need additional support that is
not necessarily monetary in nature as these children have also lost their primary care-giver."
She said that South Africa had a shortage of social workers
responsible for identifying vulnerable children. – (Sapa, November 2009)