Teenage pregnancy in schools is a major challenge and authorities must treat it as statutory rape. Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa said this during her visit to Makgwareng Primary School in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria.

The visit is part of the school’s health programme and Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Awareness Campaign.

Teenage and pre-teen pregnancy is a fear of many parents, but it’s rife and affects young girls between the ages of 10 to 14.

“It robs the nation of young women who can be part and parcel of the productivity of our economy, but it also deepens the gender disparities that are there in our society and that is why we, as a society, we must be intolerant of teenage pregnancy, particularly childhood pregnancy. Childhood pregnancy is statutory rape and we must treat it as such,” says Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa.

Ramokgopa says those responsible should be made  to account.

“We also need to make sure that our school health programmes works with social workers and the justice system to track down those that are responsible for impregnating our young girls, but also our schools are there to say ‘even if any of our girls fell pregnant, we are still going to support them and we don’t chase them away.'”

According to Statistics, South African teenagers between the age of 10 and 19 contributed a combined
13% to registered child birth in 2016 alone.