Durban — The DA has called on provincial Education MEC Mbali Frazer to intervene after a pregnant pupil was allegedly expelled from school.
The Sithengile High School pupil was told she could return to her Clermont school next year after the baby was born.
DA KZN spokesperson on Education Dr Imraan Keeka condemned the “repugnant discrimination”.
“This is a vile response to an already difficult situation, and it is also a horrific violation of this young woman’s rights. It is a criminal act and has the potential to destroy the young girl’s future. The MEC must act,” said Keeka.
He said teenage pregnancies were among the causes for the high number of school drop-outs so they must not be used as a barrier to accessing education.
This comes after Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube’s expression of shock at the latest statistics that revealed that public health facilities recorded more than 8 000 pregnancies between April and December 2022 in the province.
KwaZulu-Natal has always been in the lead when it comes to teenage pregnancies, as stated in an article published in the South African Medical Journal titled “Teenage Births and pregnancies”, which was published in May 2022.
According to this article, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo had high numbers of teenage pregnancies, while urban provinces such as Gauteng and Western Cape recorded fewer numbers.
Speaking at the legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, Dube-Ncube said: “The total number of deliveries by children between the ages of 10 and 14 and between the ages of 15 and 19 years in health facilities in KZN rose to about 8 152. Of this figure 627, which is 8%, are children between the ages of 10 and 14 years old.” She said most of the pregnancies were recorded in the Ugu District.
“The total number of learners in public schools who fell pregnant during the period January to December stood at 825.
“Most of these learner pregnancies came from the district of Ugu. We can also report that the Department of Social Development is working in partnership with the Department of Education to implement an early intervention programme for teenage pregnancy,” said Dube-Ncube.
Keeka also added: “We cannot go on like this. We need more than words, rather than more plans that are unclear when it comes to implementation.
“The Department of Basic Education introduced the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy in Schools Act, which should really drive the Department of Basic Education to implement actions, such as ensuring those charged with statutory rape are prosecuted.”
Lorato Tshenkeng, a spokesperson for Love Life, said the stats showed that more and more girls were placing their own health and that of their unborn babies in jeopardy by falling pregnant too early.
He urged parents, guardians, educators and community leaders to have open and frank conversations with their children about the benefits of abstinence and responsible sexual behaviour.
“Once again, we have to register our concern at the trend of young girls falling pregnant. We call upon law enforcement officers in cases of statutory rape to move swiftly and arrest whomever the offender is.
“Under-age sexual activity remains unlawful and something we should not condone. A strong ethical compass needs to be instilled in teenagers regarding sex,” said Tshenkeng.
A request for comment was sent to the KZN Department of Education, but they had not responded by the time of publication.
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