The Guard

The Truth On Board


By Libuseng Nyaka

QWAQWA – Society continues to tip-toe around the root cause of teenage pregnancy, thereby rendering efforts to eliminate the issue an exercise in futility.

This emerged in one of the campaigns against teenage pregnancy campaigns which was  led by the Premier of Free State Premier Sefora Ntombela at Mampoi Secondary School in QwaQwa last Thursday. 

Ntombela was accompanied  by health MEC Montseng Tsiu and her social development counterpart Mamiki Qabathe at the event.

The Premier painted a grim picture of the impact of the social ill which lamented is extremely rampant in society.

“But who are the fathers? These children are not impregnated by fellow learners as they are too young to make babies. People have lost morals. It can’t be correct that a 10-year old child makes a baby. This child did not sleep with a 10-year old boy. She has slept with someone older. It is not acceptable. it’s something that we must fight at all costs.” 

The pregnancy awareness campaign is a follow up on recent statistics that revealed a high rate of teenage pregnancies in schools.

Leading campaign against teen pregnancy in Maluti a Phofung Premier Sefora Ntombela.

According to investigations conducted at Elizabeth Ross Hospital in QwaQwa in the 2020/2021 financial year, 469 babies were delivered by girls aged from 14-19 years old. Between April and June 2021, the same hospital reported 109 children that were delivered by girls aged between 15 and 19 years old.

Ntombela warned that this practice could fuel more poverty and high unemployment as most of the teen girls drop out of school and are rendered unemployable.

“We are in trouble. This is a serious matter. You can’t joke or laugh. This is how the future of these children is being destroyed. These children practice unprotected sex. Some are raped.”  

She noted that the legalisation of abortion, that too has not helped, has seen at least 187 young girls terminating pregnancies.

A health survey conducted in November 2018, revealed that in South Africa pregnancy rates are highest among those living in high poverty.

Premier Sefora Ntombela , MECs Mamiki Qabathe and counterpart Montsheng Tsiu posing for photo with learners in Qwaqwa.

 “Studies also show teen pregnancy rate youth living in poverty to be five times higher than the national average. Socio economic circumstances seem to play a major role in teen pregnancy.”

Speaking in an interview with The Guard, MEC Qabathe said this could change, with a new law that empowers the authorities to intervene and take perpetrators to court.

“As Social Development, we say child protection is a societal issue. We must unite to fight it. Sometimes children are raped and are scared to report it. On the other hand, parents would enter into some kind of deal with those who have impregnated their child to avoid going to prison. This is statuary rape. We will open a case on behalf of such a child.”