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KZN MEC concerned the identities of the men who impregnated 5 500 girls as young as 10, are being protected

Picture: Pixabay

Picture: Pixabay

Published Mar 31, 2022

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Durban: KwaZulu-Natal MEC of Social Development Nonhlanhla Khoza says more must be done to prevent the scourge of teenage pregnancy.

Khoza said 5 500 children aged between 10 and 14 gave birth in KwaZulu-Natal according to a report by Statistics South Africa.

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She urged parents to play their role in efforts to prevent the scourge.

“According to Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) report, more than 83 000 children gave birth countrywide, while 18 550 children aged between 10 and 17 were born during the 2019/20 financial year.”

Khoza described this statistics as shocking, adding that it presented a clear indication that parents needed to be fully involved in raising their children.

“This also involves talking to their children on reproductive health matters and the importance of reporting incidences of statutory rape and sexual abuse,” said the MEC.

Adding that some parents were facing a lot of pressure, some related to their work and may not give themselves enough time to be with their children.

“The Department of Social Development has been rolling out prevention and early intervention programmes (PEIP) to strengthen and build the capacity of children and self-resilience to address problems that may occur and to create awareness about violence, child abuse, neglect and exploitation and gender-based violence,” she said.

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She said they were not informed directly of cases, as this was within the Department of Health.

“We got to know about some cases because social workers in hospitals made contacts with the Department of Social Development social workers after a child gave birth and we started working on such cases,” she said.

The department is now working towards signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Department of Health to have access to the database of children who visit health facilities as a result of pregnancy.

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Khoza said in the past, together with her counterpart, Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane, they visited a health facility where they witnessed young children who had given birth.

She said their big concern was that the identities of the fathers of the children was protected.

“We strongly believe that these children are being impregnated by older people, not boys their age.

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“It is for this reason that we are going to intensify our campaign to find out who the fathers of these children are so as to ensure that the police open statutory rape cases against the older men who prey on children and groom them as sex slaves,” she said.

She said the department would intensify rolling out of social behavioural change programmes to sensitise children about the dangers of being sexually active at a young age and ensure that they make informed decisions and avoid getting involved in the use of illicit drugs.

“These programmes also need the full participation of parents.

“Parents need to talk about issues regarded as taboo.

“We know our children watch TVs and are exposed to a lot of things on social media.

“We need to ensure that parents participate fully in children’s daily lives,” she said.

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