The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has welcomed the introduction of a new policy mandating schools to report underage pregnancies – and says it will keep an eye on its implementation.
In South Africa, the age of consent for both boys and girls is 16. Schools will now be compelled to inform police when a pupil who falls pregnant is younger than that – and the expectant father is older. In such an instance, this would technically mean the female pupil has been raped.
TEENAGE PREGNANCY” COMMISSION WANTS CASES SCRUTINISED
The Commission for Gender Equality’s (CGE) Chairperson Tamara Mathebula says they are confident that the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will play their part in proactively responding to cases of teenage pregnancy, particularly those under age.
Mathebula says both the NPA and police need to ensure that instances of statutory rape are thoroughly investigated and successfully prosecuted.
“The Commission has repeatedly called for the law to be applied to curb the growing scourge of statutory rape in South Africa, which has seen thousands of under-age girls, some as young as ten years, drop out of school due to early pregnancy,” the commission said in a brief statement.
As per the new teenage pregnancy policy, a school would be mandated to report the rape (under certain conditions – the girl is underage and the father of the unborn child is over 16) to the South African Police Service (SAPS). The policy also states that attention needs to be placed on the father – whether he is a fellow pupil, teacher or someone outside of the education fraternity.
“The Commission is also aware that the issue of teenage pregnancy is multi—sectoral and calls all role players and citizenry to be vigilant and report any relationship between an adult and a minor as part of child protection initiative,”
The Commission for Gender Equality’s (CGE) Chairperson Tamara Mathebula