More than 5 million children go hungry in South Africa according to the Annual South African Child Gauge on Tuesday, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported.
The report was compiled by the University of Cape Town's Children's Institute, Unicef, the DG Murray Trust, and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
The report also reveals that 40% of children grow up without a father, while one in five children don't live with their parents.
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, who was the keynote speaker at the launch of the report, reportedly said a child's development can be negatively affected by these circumstances. He added that some progress has been made, as 77.7% of children now live in a formal housing environment.
According to TimesLive, the report also reveals that one in three children are victims of sexual violence and physical abuse before they reach the age of 18. About 12% of children live below the international ultra-poverty line, or less than R17.50 a day. This is 43% less than in 2003.
In 2015, 90% of children had access to electricity and 68% had access to adequate water, the report found. But about a third of children live in a home where there is no employed adult.
A senior researcher at the UCT Children's Institute, Lucy Jamieson, told TimesLive that poverty, inequality and violence prevents children's development.
"Development is progressive‚ with each stage building on the one before so young children must be free from harm‚ and have experiences which the brain and other systems need to grow and develop‚ if they do not get that they will struggle at school‚ and a poor education will limit their prospects for employment and their productivity," she reportedly said.
David Harrison, CEO of the DG Murray Trust told IT-Online, "Children's ability to thrive is rooted in their ability to learn, their motivation to succeed, and in healthy relationships that protect them from adversity."
A UN report in September, meanwhile, revealed 38 million more people overall faced hunger globally in 2016 compared with the previous year, bringing the overall number to 815 million or 11 percent of the world population.
The report claimed 155 million children under five are stunted in their physical growth, while 52 million under five suffer from wasting and 41 million under five are overweight.