KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele has expressed shock at the unacceptable rate of teenage pregnancies in the province's schools.
Ndebele said every year 5000 pregnancies are reported to the education authorities.
"This is truly tragic. In most cases, the future of the young mother is permanently compromised.
"The 5000 babies born from these pregnancies find themselves in rather unfortunate circumstances," he said.
He challenged parents to rise and fight the phenomenon of teenage pregnancies.
Meanwhile, the department of water in eThekwini announced that 284 schools in the greater Durban region owe the department more than R5million in unpaid water and electricity accounts.
The head of eThekwini water and sanitation, Neil Macleod, said yesterday that none of the schools in question had their water or electricity supply disconnected because of the arrears.
He said although the schools are in arrears, the education department is working with them to attend to the debts.
He acknowledged that this was not for the first time that schools in the eThekwini region had lagged behind in paying their water accounts.
"In 2005, 262 schools faced having their water supply cut off because their water debt totalled more than R10million.
"More than 60 schools in the Msunduzi municipality, covering the Pietermaritzburg area, had a similar problem the same year.
"At the time, the education department confirmed that it had paid R5,2million to the Msunduzi municipality to cover its water debt," said Macleod.
He said that in the past, before no-fee schools received subsidies, the water department had problems receiving money owed to it from those schools.
"There was a problem in the past when money was paid to the school and wasn't used for the purposes it was intended for, such as paying the municipal account.
"But that seems to have changed now with the provincial department getting involved in attending to school debts," Macleod said.