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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

ICYMI: The rebirth of Jacob Zuma’s plan to ‘exile teen parents’ to Robben Island

Former president Jacob Zuma's outlandish plan to exile teen parents resurfaced at a MK party rally in KZN over the weekend.

Jacob Zuma “resuscitated” his controversial proposal to exile teenage parents to Robben Island during a rally of the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party in Maqongqo, near Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday, 25 February.

Zuma promises Robben Island ‘university’ for teen parents

The former president stated in his keynote address that – in the eventuality of the MK Party emerging victorious from the 2024 general elections – a university will be erected on Robben Island for teenage parents to complete their studies.  

Robben island
An arial image of Robben Island. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Outcry against previous proposals

While he served as president in 2009 and 2015, Zuma’s proposal of separating teenage mothers from their babies until they finished their schooling, was met by a widespread outcry from various  civil society organisations.

“Sending young mothers ‘far away’ would be a violation of their human rights. Several sections of the Constitution would not allow this,” Aids Accountability International co-founder and researcher Phillipa Tucker was quoted as saying by Mail & Guardian at the time.

“Everything must be done in the best interests of the child; separating parents and their children has never been in anyone’s best interest.”

MK rally talk: Zuma revisits ‘exile for teen parents’ plan

Zuma’s proposal, however, has now resurfaced in his address at the MK Party rally against the backdrop of the shock statistic that 90,000 underaged girls in the country were reported to have fallen pregnant last year.

“According to the law, a child should not give birth to a child, that’s not life, it’s a disease. We will end it,” he told MK Party supporters. 

The former state capture-accused president spent 10 years in the notorious Robben Island Prison where the late iconic statesman Nelson Mandela was also incarcerated.

According to Zuma, the “Robben Island university” would serve to enable teenage parents to provide for their children, as well as contribute towards the economic growth of the country.

ALSO READ: 14-year-old among those who gave birth on New Year’s Day

Corporal punishment: ‘We were beaten when we were young’ – Zuma

Amid the slew of the MK Party’s election promises of free education and jobs, Zuma also championed for the return of corporal punishment within homes during his speech.

This, according to him, would serve to once again instil discipline and respect for their elders in children.

He slammed children’s right to call on the police these days to report their parents for disciplining them.

“We were beaten when we were young. This law that says children should not be beaten, even though they are out of order, and also calls the police to report. Never,” Zuma said.

ALSO READ: MK ‘a threat to ANC’ as 10% of election vote predicted for Zuma-backed party

Mandatory military training

According to him, the MK Party government would address the alarming rise in the country’s crime rate by implementing one-year mandatory military training for young men on completion of their matric.

Zuma calls for ‘African law’ on same-sex marriages

The former president who has been blazing a campaign trail for the MK Party, also didn’t hold back in expressing his distaste in gay marriages.

He labelled same-sex relationships and marriages “a disgrace”, adding that he favours “African law” instead of “Dutch law” when it comes to this matter.

“Who made the law that a man can date another man? Who will women be left with?” he asked MK Party supporters.

Zuma committed to repeal the country’s legalisation of gay marriages if people support the MK Party at the polls in the upcoming elections which will be held on 29 May.

NOW READ: ANC defiant amid Zuma’s shadow in KZN: ‘Zuma and MK party cannot defeat us’

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