There were 23,226 teenage pregnancies reported in Gauteng from April 2020 to March 2021.
This was revealed by Gauteng health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to questions tabled by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Gauteng legislature.
According to Mokgethi, 934 babies were delivered by girls between the ages of 10 to 14 years, 19,316 babies were delivered by girls between the ages of 15 to 19 years, while 2,976 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years chose to terminate their pregnancies.
DA MPL and spokesperson on social development, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, on Tuesday called on the provincial departments of social development, education and health to intensify their teenage pregnancy and sex education campaigns to 365 days a year.
She said the numbers of reported teenage pregnancies were sad and incredibly troubling, adding that teenage pregnancy prevention should be a priority in schools.
“Teenage pregnancy impacts negatively on educational opportunities for young girls, especially those without the proper support and help, and are less likely to finish high school and pursue a career to support their families,” Nt’sekhe said in a statement.
“Teenage pregnancy remains 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.”
Nt’sekhe also urged parents and guardians, as well as society at large, to work with government departments to assist in curbing teenage pregnancy.
“Teenage girls should be taught about the consequences of teenage pregnancy and preventative measures to curb this. As for girls who are under the age of consent, they should also be taught their rights in this regard and to know, at no point, is anyone allowed to force themselves onto them.
“The future of our girls can be saved through behaviour change with the correct knowledge and guidance provided by the provincial government.”