Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
18 Aug 2021
6:34 pm

Gauteng records 23,226 teenage pregnancies in one year

Siyanda Ndlovu

The institute said that the pandemic has put a spotlight on issues that have been collectively ignored.

Picture for illustrative purposes. A pregnant pupil poses on July 29, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa at the Pretoria Hospital School, which specialises in teaching pregnant teenagers.

Following a revelation by the Gauteng Democratic Alliance on Tuesday that 934 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth in the province between April 2020 and March 2021, the Soul City Institute has dismissed the news as nothing new but numbers.

On Wednesday, the institute said that it was not shocked because “this is not a new problem,” except that the numbers may have escalated because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The institute said that the pandemic has put a spotlight on issues that had been collectively ignored.

“This is also not a Gauteng problem, but a South African problem. In a country where sexual violence against women is a pandemic on its own, it is only logical that the most vulnerable group–young girls–would be impacted in this manner,” reads the statement.

ALSO READ: More than 20,000 teenage pregnancies reported in Gauteng since April 2020

The institute said that it would like the Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi and his counterparts in Health and Safety and Security to convene and analyse deep underlying roots of the problem extensively.

It said that the responsibility was not just for the government, but also for civil society organisations and communities as well.

“Communities must interrogate what are some of the practices that have been normalised that enable violation of young girls to continue with impunity, and how have religious, cultural institutions that are supposed to ensure a cohesive society also failed young girls. These numbers demand that we all must interrogate how we reinforce the status quo and not just be shocked and move on as we tend to do.”

It said that the recent statistics were a reflection on how the country continues to fail its children.

The DA’s Refiloe Nt’sekhe revealed that 23,226 teenage pregnancies have been reported in the province from April 2020 to March 2021.

The information was extracted from a written response to questions that were directed at health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in the Provincial Legislature.

Nt’sekhe said that teenage pregnancy remained a serious social and health problem in South Africa.

“It poses a health risk to both mother and child, and it also has social consequences such as continuing the cycle of poverty and early school dropout.”

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The DA said that it would demand the departments of education, social development, education and health to intensify their campaigns against teenage pregnancy to 365 days a year and making teenage pregnancy prevention a priority in schools.

According to Mokgethi, 23,000 teenage pregnancies were reported in Gauteng between April 2020 and March 2021.

She revealed that 934 babies were delivered by girls between the ages of 10 and 14, while over 19,000 were delivered by those between the ages of 15- and 19-years-old.

Close to 3,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 chose to terminate their pregnancies

During an interview on 702, Lesufi said this was unacceptable and that he would contact the MECs of Health and Safety and Security to discuss the way forward.