The Soul City Institute for Social Justice says it’s not surprised by the figures that close to a thousand young girls in Gauteng gave birth between March this year and April last year. The Institute says although the COVID-19 pandemic might have put the issue in the spotlight, this is not a new problem.

The Gauteng Health Department recorded over 23 000 teenage pregnancies between April 2020 and March 2021, with 934 being girls aged between 10 and 14.

Soul City Institute CEO Phinah Kodisang says this is a reflection of how the country continues to fail children.

“For us as Soul City Institute it’s not a shock. We know this has been an ongoing problem. The numbers have been escalating probably because of COVID-19. But this problem has been a standing problem. And because we do not call it what it is, it’s statutory rape when a 10 or a 14 year old is having sex. Because the age of consent in South Africa is 16 years.”