PRETORIA – The new Basic Education policy, which is set to fight the scourge of teenage pregnancies in schools, has been hailed by the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) to combat statutory rape in society.
The new policy, which aims to reduce teenage pregnancy, suggests that schools will have to send police reports if the pregnant girl is under the age of 16 and the father of the child is older than 16.
In an interview with eNCA news channel, Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said impregnating school girls was a human rights violation and should be a punishable offence.
Maluleke said as a principal, he always knew that as leaders in schools, they have a duty to report such cases to the child protection services. He added that in 1999, he encountered a situation where someone in his department impregnated a 9-year-old and he reported him immediately.
“The principal has a duty to report such kind of acts to the child protection unit, and what is happening now is that the policy is linked with the law that has always been there to protect children.”
According to the National Council Of Provinces (NCOP) report, more than 200 000 learners did not return to school this year.
In an interview with a national TV broadcast channel, education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga admitted that the introduction could be a bit late. However, the department made a good decision.
“It’s good news, but it’s rather too late because we have thousands of young girls who have fallen pregnant, and the people who have made them pregnant are not known.
“We have hundreds of cases of statutory rape which have not been reported to the police. In fact, the policy has said we have seen the statistics that you’ve published, but we don’t have a record of these types of cases.”
The bill also states that the educator appointed by the school will provide counselling, support, advice, and they will make sure that they arrange catch up classes for them.
The new basic education pregnancy policy will be implemented from January next year.