Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has expressed her concern over the alarming teenage pregnancy rate in the country and its impact on the sector.
A written response to questions from the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng, posed to the province’s Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said that 23 226 school girls fell pregnant between April 2020 and March 2021. Another worrying part of that is that 934 of them are between the ages of 10 and 14. The figures also showed that 2 976 girls (in the province alone) between the ages of 10 and 19 chose to terminate their pregnancies while 19 316 babies were delivered by girls between the ages of 15 to 19 years.
This brought focus to teenage pregnancies not only in Gauteng, but across the country.
“Let us be clear that it is not just a problem of Gauteng, it is a national crisis. Most of these teenagers are of school going age. It is a serious indictment on all of us as a society and we really need to reflect deeply on this crisis and take urgent action to arrest the moral decay,” Motshekga said in a media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday, 29 August 2021.
“Early an unwanted pregnancy perpetuates poverty and it disrupts the growth and development of our young people. It also contributes to the worrying drop-out rate that we are fighting so hard to reduce”
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga
Further elaborating on the negative consequences of teenage pregnancies, Angie Motshekga says it threatens the country’s future and needs to be acted on with urgency.
She says the Department of Basic Education and its stakeholders will intensify the implementation of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education which aims to empower young people with age appropriate information.
“We will need once again to mobilise our communities and stakeholders to unite against this scourge. The time has come to bury our differences with the religious sector, the traditional leadership, parents, guardians and all others who opposed the implementation of CSE,” Motshekga added.