Cape Town. 180908. Learners at the Saambou Primary School attending sex education lesson. Picture Leon Lestrade

Cape Town - A plan to teach five-year-old about sex has been met with outrage, it has been reported.

The New Age reports that the chairty Save The Children on Sunday said that children up to the age of 18 were tending to be become victims of crime and were exposed to sexual abuse at an early age.

Spokesperson Velephi Riba said South Africa was one of 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with a high crime rate and the initiative to teach five year olds about sex was one way to instill morals and values.

The New Age quoted Riba as saying that the aim was to boost sexual education among children so that when they were older and engaged in sex, they would know what it was about.

The newspaper said that Save The Children’s project was funded by Sweden at an estimated cost of $6m (R50.6m). The project is to run for 36 months and hopes to reach about 340 000 children between 5-18 years,

“Save the Children wants to prepare children to make the right choices before they become sexually active, as far as possible. The organisation’s methodology is to start engaging children in dialogues at an early age,” said Riba.

But Dr Nokuzola Mndende, a traditionalist, diviner and academic, said the idea of teaching children about sex at an early age “was absurd”.

“It is totally un-African and the idea that someone could propose something like this speaks against the value system of our country. This will create child- on-child rape,” she said.

Mndende said if the intention was to fight crime, alternative ways to solving it were needed.

“What does a five year old know about sex? Even an eight year old knows nothing about sex and we’re expected to teach our children about something they know nothing about,” said Mndende.

The report said ANC Women’s League treasurer general Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize said: “I’m extremely opposed to the view that children should be taught about sex at five.

“Kids are meant to be playing and not focusing on sex. We must not create an abnormal culture.

“We need to teach our children according to their developmental stage and come up with language that is child sensitive,” she said.

President of the Baptist Convention of South Africa (BCSA), Rev Vusi Sigudla said the plan was “shocking” and we should not expose children to it.

“As the church we would not encourage such education at an early age. Children are prone to experiment if we bombard them with such information. They know nothing about sex,” he said. - IOL