File picture: Independent newspapers.

JOHANNESBURG - Women who consume alcohol during pregnancy, causing Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) on unborn babies, should be sent to jail, Deputy Minister of Social Development Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said on Friday.

Bogapane-Zulu is spearheading a national campaign against FAS.

“Consuming alcohol during pregnancy is robbing babies of their future and robbing our communities of even more. Drinking during pregnancy should be a criminal offence. Women who drink during pregnancy should be locked up,” she told the community of Keimoes, outside Upington in the Northern Cape on Friday.

The department said statistics showed that South Africa is currently leading globally with a FAS prevalence. Out of 187 countries, 111 per 1,000 people are born with the condition in South Africa, the departments said.

FAS is caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Children with FAS have growth defects and often experience learning and development difficulties.

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African News Agency (ANA)