The report into teenage pregnancy has revealed that more than 90 000 young girls between the ages of 10 and 19 gave birth during the 2022/23 financial year.
The Department of Social Development’s report stated that out of the 88 122 schoolgirls, between the ages of 15 and 19, who gave birth in hospitals, 25 239 were in KwaZulu-Natal.
KZN was followed by the Eastern Cape, where 12 529 schoolgirls delivered babies. The next province where there was a high number was Limpopo, where 12 238 schoolgirls delivered babies in hospitals.
In Gauteng, there were 11 653 girls who gave birth during the period under review. In Mpumalanga, there were 8 990 schoolgirls who gave birth during this period. In the North West, there were 6 190 schoolgirls who also delivered babies, and it was followed by the Western Cape, where there were 5 744 girls who delivered babies in healthcare facilities.
In the Free State, a total of 3 383 girls gave birth, and in the Northern Cape, there were 2 156 girls who also delivered babies.
But the department said girls between the ages of 10 and 14 were not spared either, as they delivered 2 328 babies.
Again KZN had the most births in this age category – 544, girls, aged between 10 and 14 years, delivered babies in their health facilities.
The report also showed that in Gauteng, there were 383 girls who delivered babies. The next province with the highest rate of delivery of babies by young girls was the Eastern Cape, where 317 girls gave birth.
In Limpopo, there were 309 girls who delivered babies, and it was followed by the Western Cape, with 245 girls giving birth.
In Mpumalanga, there were 221 young girls who gave birth. In the North West, it was 124; in the Free State, it was 105; and in the Northern Cape, it was 80.
The Department of Social Development said it was taking measures to reduce the number of girls who gave birth at a young age.
Deputy director-general in the Department of Basic Education, Simone Geyer, said they were putting measures in place to address the scourge of teenage pregnancy.
“We have tried as a department to go a very long way towards putting in place protocols that help us manage the problems that we are faced with.
We have to make sure everyone in the schooling community understands the protocol that is there, what needs to happen when faced with these difficulties, and what support can be provided, particularly to the learners who may be the ones that are affected, especially around the issue of learner pregnancy,” said Geyer.
Muzi Ndlovu of the Department of Basic Education said they have policies and measures to deal with this problem and was working with other sectors.
He said in the school safety programme, they have a police officer attached to every school. When there is a learner who is pregnant, they report this to social workers. They also have learner support agents who are attached to health and social services.