A Grade 5 pupil was among the 1‚000 schoolgirls who fell pregnant in Ekurhuleni last year.
This was revealed by Mzwandile Masina‚ the mayor of Ekurhuleni‚ during a youth summit in Boksburg on Tuesday‚ the Sowetan newspaper reported on Wednesday. According to the newspaper‚ the mayor blamed “the cult of blessers” for the teenage pregnancies.
While no details were provided about the Grade 5 pupil‚ a typical pupil in that standard would be 11 or 12 years old.
Hlomela Bucwa‚ MP and Democratic Alliance member of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training‚ highlighted social ills and education failures during a youth day address in Parliament last month.
She cited statistics showing that between 2014 and 2016‚ a total of 42‚253 pupils from Grades 3 to 12 fell pregnant – noting that 193 of these pupils were in Grades 3‚ 4 and 5.
The DA commented on the pre-teen and teenager pregnancies in a previous release‚ stating: “This information should shock every South African. Young girls‚ most under the legal age of 16‚ are having their futures undermined‚ likely through being taken advantage of or abused.”
“These young girls cannot be lost to the system and the department must follow up to ensure that they continue to attend school. Keeping children in school should be our major priority if we are to ensure that every person‚ no matter the circumstances of their birth‚ are able to live a life they truly value‚ filled with opportunity‚” said the DA.
Traditionally‚ Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal account for large numbers of school pregnancies.
Radio host Bongani Bingwa spotlighted the issue on his show on Wednesday morning‚ which saw listeners debate issues such as children’s exposure to explicit nudity and overt sexuality through popular music videos and other social media platforms.