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Convener tops list of absentees at flopped teen pregnancy indaba

File photo

File photo

Published Jun 25, 2017


A dialogue intended to find a solution to the growing problem of teenage pregnancies in Ekurhuleni did not go as planned after its convener, Mayor Mzwandile Masina, did not show up.

Only about 50 people showed up of the expected 300 - and even schoolgirls, who are affected, were a no-show.

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Of the 4 446 school girls reported to have been pregnant in Gauteng schools last year, Ekurhuleni was the worst affected with 1 289 pregnant schoolgirls.

Masina called a meeting on Friday to create a platform for parents, teachers and members of school governing bodies from various schools around Ekurhuleni to interact with the municipality to find solutions on how to prevent teenage pregnancies.

However, Masina did not show up as it was claimed that he had to rush to a protest in Vosloorus.

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Senior Education Specialist Beverley Vilakazi, who was in attendance, said he was highly disappointed by the lack of communication and advertising of the indaba and wished that pupils had been invited to be a part of the discussion.

However, the organises from Masina’s office said pupils were not available as they were completing exams.

A parent who asked to remain anonymous said she felt the indaba was a much-needed event as she struggled to discuss sexual matters with her teen.

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“I have a 16-year-old who is very curious about sex. And I worry every day about if he will be smart enough to use protection when engaging in sexual activity.

"We all know that it’s not only the girl’s problem when she falls pregnant,” the concerned parent said.

The woman also said she wished teenagers had been invited to the indaba as issues that concerned them were to be discussed.

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“I am very sad that our children were not invited to this indaba,” she said.

Apart from the low turnout of parents and teachers, Vilakazi was hoping to engage in topics to change the way teenage pregnancy was normalised in society.

“We need to see change. If we are going to intervene, intervene so that there’s change,” she said.

According to Vilakazi, the Ekurhuleni education department had a support unit that offered therapy and an advocacy campaign for girls who were pregnant.

“We could never turn a teen who is already pregnant away,” he said.

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