The debate on any legitimacy of child ‘marriages’ has long been concluded as it subjected children to insurmountable abuse and violence in such circumstances, the Economic Freedom Fighters said on Tuesday.
“Child ‘marriages’ are peculiarly traumatising as they, by nature, encapsulate the atrocious existence of statutory rape in character. As we approach 2024, it is time to reclaim the safety and dignity of our children,” the party said.
However, the EFF said it was committed to protecting all vulnerable children in the society.
It was disturbing but not surprising that the African National Congress decided to agree to register “this illegality and children’s rights violation” with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the EFF said.
The red berets said the move highlighted the criminal characterisation of the ANC government.
“Children in South Africa have been forced to live with an ANC government that has failed to safeguard them, enforce our laws, and ensure that the most devastating scenarios that involve them are responded to effectively and lawfully,” EFF said.
Stats SA director for the education and child department, Dr Seble Worku, revealed that of the 207 children who were married, 188 were brides and 19 were grooms.
She further revealed that 37 of the child marriages were registered as civil marriages and 19 were customary.
The legal age of marriage in South Africa was 18-years-old.
Worku was addressing the Special Rapporteur, Social and health envoy from the AU Commission, Takam Kembo of Cameroon, during an engagement with various organisations, departments, civil society and agencies dealing.
The EFF said the report was alarming and maintained that it will pursue this matter with the DHA and the SAPS.