‘Teenagers Aren’t Having Babies For SASSA’

'Teenagers Aren't Having Babies For SASSA'

Teenagers aren’t having babies for SASSA’

By Daniel Itai

Samantha William, a researcher at the South Africa Medical Research Council (SAMRC), has rubbished some reports that suggest that teenagers are having babies so that they can get access to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant.

The reports have been largely emanating from community dwellers across the country as they are claiming that teenagers within their communities are having not less than five babies whom they don’t look after but dump at their grandparents so that they can be able to get access to the SASSA grant which they in turn misuse by pursuing lavish lifestyles.

However, SAMRC’s researcher has since said research done on such claims suggested that teenagers don’t have babies in order to get access to the SASSA grant.

“We hear the claims but there is no evidence at all they have been a couple of studies done on that issue and they don’t support that claim that teenagers are having babies so as to access SASSA grants. There is absolutely no evidence. Rather what we have witnessed over the years is a steady decline in the number of teenage pregnancies of between 20 and 30 percent which are below the age of 19 and it’s usually amongst the ages of 17, 18 and 19 which are actually young adults so why do we have this antidotal story so it’s just reckless views that young people are immoral,” said Samantha.

The researcher also went on to give an outline of what causes most teenagers to fall pregnant citing gender issues and traditional social perceptions.

“Teenage pregnancy is driven by gender inequality. Females are taught that sex is a taboo whereas males are taught that it’s a sign of masculinity. Moreso, females are told that having a child is a sign of showing fertility and having a child in your late teens or early 20s is acceptable.

Moreover, there is the issue of Gender-Based Violence, the issues of contraceptives, they don’t know how to use them and they are not easily accessible in addition, their male partner doesn’t encourage contraceptive use, and health workers also disparage them by asking them questions like why do you want to use contraceptives? Which in turn makes them shun away from wanting to use the contraceptives also unemployment and failure to finish schools are also contributing factors,” added Samantha.


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