Isak Fritz, MPL
DA Provincial Spokesperson on Social Development:
The Democratic Alliance is dismayed by the high teen pregnancy rate in the Northern Cape. We believe that this problem must be addressed through a joint government effort from the provincial departments of Education and Social Development as well as parents and school communities. We are committed to working with the provincial government to address the root causes of teen pregnancies.
The role of alcohol and substance abuse cannot be underestimated. The Northern Cape is the province with the most learners who use alcohol during school time on school premises and has the second highest proportion of learners who report engaging in sex after consuming alcohol. We also have the most learners who use dagga before the age of 13 and the highest prevalence rate of learners who use cocaine, heroin, tik and other club drugs. We need to investigate if learners are having sex because they are drunk or if they are being made intoxicated by those who want to make them vulnerable.
We also need to look at the issue of intergenerational sex. Are we looking at a high teen pregnancy rate because learners are engaging in sex with sugar daddies?
We are shocked that 8% of the learners who fell pregnant in 2014 still attended primary school. The South African age of consent is 16, which means that sex with a primary school learner is rape.
We call on the department of Education to ensure that all cases of primary school pregnancies must be reported to the department of Social Development. If a primary school learner is pregnant, we must look at the circumstances of the learner’s life and see if social services must intervene.
Ultimately, we need all parents and educators to cultivate open and honest relationships with learners. Educators need to be capacitated to talk to learners about sex and there must be awareness campaigns, especially at primary schools, to empower learners who are being sexually abused to raise their voices.
We believe that this societal problem can only be addressed if we all take responsibility and work together to end this scourge.