Girl, 13, gives birth

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Limpopo's Department of Health and Social Development is worried about the increasing number of teenage mothers in the province.

A 13-year-old girl gave birth in Sekororo Hospital, near Tzaneen, yesterday.

Spokesman Sophy Sekole said the department was worried about the lack of efforts to educate children about the dangers of falling pregnant at an early age.

"Much as we welcome the babies who were born on New Year's Day, we are very disturbed to realise that some of the babies were born to teenage mothers," said Sekole.

She appealed to parents to warn their children against falling pregnant while still in school.

"South Africa needs educated people who will help take the country to another level.

"If our children continue to ignore education and fall pregnant, thinking that they will raise their children on government grants, then we are going nowhere," she said.

Of grave concern, Sekole said, was that under-age mothers often came from destitute families and had unemployed parents.

By late yesterday, Limpopo had recorded at least 53 babies born on New Year's Day - 28 were boys and 25 were girls.

Sekole said six of the mothers were under 18.

She said exact statistics on children born on New Year's Day would be made available today.

"The department continues to emphasise the importance of abstaining from sexual activities and also warns those who engage in them to practice safe sex," Sekole said.

She called on fathers to take responsibility for their children.

On Christmas Day, 253 babies were born.

lSee pages 14, 15 and 16