WMACA: GP teen pregnancy figures mirror rape incidents children subjected to

Organisations against child abuse said that the shocking number of young girls who fell pregnant in Gauteng alone over the past year reflected a devastating reality for children in South Africa.

Picture: Christa Eybers/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Organisations against child abuse said that the shocking number of young girls who fell pregnant in Gauteng alone over the past year reflected a devastating reality for children in South Africa.

The Gauteng Health Department revealed in a written reply to the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the provincial legislature that more than 23,000 children and teenagers - some of them as young as 10-years-old - delivered babies in the province's hospitals.

Children's rights organisations said that the shocking teenage pregnancy figures in Gauteng mirrored the number of sexual offences that had been perpetrated against children.

Women and Men Against Child Abuse's Ngaa Murombedzi: "Because it reflects the number of rape incidents that children have been subjected to."

While Shaheda Omar from the Teddy Bear Clinic said that children as young as 10 were not emotionally or psychologically in a position to give consent, let alone deal with the mammoth task of being a mother.

"That is the reality of the situation where they are definitely stressed and pressed to give consent."

The rights groups are calling for government to put systems in place that will ensure children are protected, adding that officials must work with communities to create awareness and educational programmes to fight the prevalence of teenage pregnancy.

The Gauteng shadow MEC for Social Development, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, said that many children were too scared to ask for contraception.

"When I do oversight at clinics, you'll find that girl children are scared to even walk into clinics and ask for contraceptives. Boy children are scared to take condoms wherever condoms are available for fear of being ridiculed by adults, so there is a reality here that children are having sex but they not being protected. It's such a complex issue of why these things are happening."

Additional reporting by Mia Lindeque.

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