South Africa News

14-year-old girl among those who gave birth on New Year’s Day

A 14-year-old KwaZulu-Natal girl was among those who welcomed a baby in the first hours of 2024.

In KwaZulu-Natal, as of Monday morning, 84 babies were born, with the youngest mother being 14-years-old.

“This means that the child was probably 13 years old when they fell pregnant. This is unacceptable. We as a society need to take urgent action against teenage pregnancies, because it is a serious issue,” said KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane.

Gauteng reported 112 babies born, Mpumalanga 28, the North West 33, Western Cape 29, Free State 17, and at least 14 in the Northern Cape.

Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathuba told The Citizen, as of Monday morning, Limpopo had welcomed 55 babies. The first was a baby boy born at exactly 00h00, weighing 2.9 kg. The youngest mother was 15-years-old, from Malamulele.

Ramathuba lamented the scourge of teen pregnancies as “depressing” and “sad”.

“This is what is happening daily. The 15-year-old mother has now become a single mother. We are asking a girl to look after a baby when she, herself, needs to be looked after.

“In many instances, these girls fell pregnant at 14. These girls don’t want to breastfeed, they want to play.”

Schools must educate
She said her department had been visiting schools across the province to try to get ahead of the issue.

“We have run campaigns in school to warn about the dangers of teen pregnancies. We have told girls to close their legs and boys to zip up. It cannot be that teachers sit back and wait for the girl to give birth and it then becomes a department of health issue. We need to deal with these issues early.

Once we all start to take statutory rape and teenage pregnancies seriously and work together, we can make a change. For a start, those who are caught must be charged for a long time”.

Parents are also to blame

Ramathuba said the second major hurdle to overcome was unsupportive parents.

“Too often we help these girls open cases, only for parents to go behind our backs and withdraw the case. If children misbehave and do something illegal, they must face the consequences. We can’t say ‘they are both 15 and so we must excuse them.’”

“What’s worse is when it is at the hands of an older man, because the family is just allowing him to walk free and impregnate other teenagers.”

Girls as young as 10 giving birth

The National Health Department said in September, girls as young as 10 were giving birth.

It found 3 497 babies were born to children between the ages of 10 and 14 from April 2022 to March 2023. This is 500 fewer births than the 3 963 recorded a year earlier.

There were 6 600 less births to teenagers between 15 and 19 during the same period, down from 135 398 the year before.

In other news – Continue resting in peace: Mzansi celebs who died in 2023

It’s a new year, and we do not forget the loved ones we lost in the previous year! From musicians and actors to sports stars, chefs, media personalities, and activists, the South African entertainment industry bid farewell to several big names in 2023.

Mzansi Celebs who died in 2023

Here’s a look at some of the celebrities who died in 2023: Rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes and his lifelong friend and celebrity author Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane were shot dead outside a restaurant in Durban on February 10. Their murder is under investigation. Read More