- The Gauteng Department of Health confirmed more than 23 000 teenage pregnancies between April 2020 and March 2021
- Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi revealed this in a written response to questions tabled in the Gauteng legislature
- The DA has called on the Gauteng departments of Social Development, Education and Health to intensify their teenage pregnancy prevention campaigns
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The Gauteng province has recorded over 23 000 teenage pregnancy cases between April 2020 and March 2021.
A total of 934 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth in that time, according to an earlier News24 report.
Briefly News understands that from 23 226 pregnancies, 2 976 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 opted to terminate the pregnancies while 20 250 teenagers decided they would keep them.
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Age of consent in South Africa is 16
In South Africa, the age of consent is 16 years, and this has no bearing on the gender or sexual orientation of the persons involved. The law makes the provision that no child under the age of 12 years can consent to sex.
Consequently, any sexual act with a child under 12 years is considered statutory rape or sexual assault. The DA, in a statement, said:
"These numbers are sad and troubling as these young girls still have bright futures ahead of them. Teenage pregnancy is still a serious social and health problem in South Africa.
"[Further] it poses a health risk to both mother and child, and it also has social consequences. These include continued cycles of poverty and early school dropout."
Calls for intensified teenage pregnancy interventions
"Young girls should be taught about the consequences of teenage pregnancy and the preventative measures to curb this. Girls under the age of consent should also be taught their rights in this regard," the party said.
Mokgethi said that the health department had no data on the number of statutory rape or sexual assault cases opened.
"Cases of statutory rape are reported by healthcare social workers at hospitals and clinics to the Department of Social Development and SAPS. There is no statistical information on statutory rape by the department of health.
DA Shadow Health MEC criticises pace of reopening of Charlotte Maxeke Hospital
In recent news, Briefly News reported that DA Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom is critical of the slow pace at which the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) in Johannesburg is reopening.
Bloom made the remarks during a recent exclusive Briefly News interview. The hospital has seen parts of it reopening following the fire that gutted it in April but the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development confirmed that several other parts are only expected to reopen in 2023.
Bloom, who keeps a close eye on all matters surrounding public hospitals in Gauteng, said this is not a reasonable turnaround.
He said he is not satisfied that the process of getting the health facility fully operational – which needs to attend to the primary care requirements of 2 000 patients a day – is being taken seriously.