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KZN Health MEC warns ‘sugar daddies’ to leave teenage girls alone

MEC Nomagugu Simelane urged young people to keep themselves healthy. Picture: Supplied

MEC Nomagugu Simelane urged young people to keep themselves healthy. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 20, 2022

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DURBAN: As the country celebrated Youth Day last week, the KZN Health MEC addressed a number of issues plaguing young people including teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

Speaking at a three-day youth conference at Impaphala area in Nkandla on Saturday evening, MEC Nomagugu Simelane urged young people to keep themselves healthy, and ensure that the sacrifices made by young people for freedom – such as the Soweto Uprisings – were not in vain.

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She said from recent statistics, 1 300 girls were getting infected with HIV every week in the country, while there were a reported 18 550 births by girls aged 10 to 17 in KwaZulu-Natal during the 2019/20 financial year alone.

The country also reported a high number of sexually transmitted diseases.

Urging people who are infected with HIV to remain on treatment, the MEC said people should not judge HIV status based on one’s appearance.

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“You can’t look at a person and think, just because they are dark-skinned like me, or have chubby cheeks, or they’re a ‘yellow-bone’ then they are HIV-negative. You must treat everyone you come across as if they’re HIV-positive, which means you must always protect yourself. Always.”

Simelane also admonished older men who prey on young girls, in exchange for material things.

“How does a 40 year-old look at a 16-year-old and think, ‘Yho! She’s hot'. Where are his age-mates? Why is he not looking at them? They don’t do that because they know that their age-mates won’t take nonsense.

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“They know that it’s easy for these children to be submissive because the relationship is uneven. It’s not just a problem for girls. Sugar daddies must leave our children alone. Leave our children alone so that they can grow up. There’s nothing wrong with a 20-year-old growing up with a 20-year-old, because they get to grow up and develop together. Let’s all look inward and change these things.”

Simelane urged parents, guardians and society at large to raise and socialise boys in a way that makes them realise that they, too, are responsible for family planning and avoiding unplanned pregnancy.

“Because of the patriarchal nature of the society in which we live, teenage pregnancy always becomes a girl’s problem, whereas girls do not make themselves pregnant. It’s biologically impossible.”

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She said girls were the ones to bear the burnt and usually get expelled from home, but the boys are not dealt with at home.

“That’s how our society behaves. We need to change that, because teenage or unplanned pregnancy is a problem that we as a society must address and deal with.”

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