Thousands of pupils fell pregnant last year

Siyabonga Africa

Siyabonga Africa

The lack of sound communication between the Gauteng education department and schoolgirls might be contributing to the rise in teenage pregnancies.

The Democratic Alliance said yesterday that though 2336 schoolgirls fell pregnant in Gauteng last year, the department had yet to set up a monitoring system to track pregnancies.

DA Gauteng health spokesman Jack Bloom said in a statement that he had written several times to the education department concerning the number of pregnant schoolgirls.

"I am very disappointed that the department has dragged its heels in keeping accurate statistics on schoolgirl pregnancies," he said.

Tseliso Ledimo, Gauteng general secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers Union, said the department says "the education and health departments should work together with parents to solve the problem".

Gauteng education spokesman Panyaza Lesufi said they had statistics that have not been released to the public.

"We compile statistics on pupil pregnancies yearly, it was only last year that we didn't get all the figures," Lesufi said.

Masakheni Magadla, Gauteng secretary of the Congress of South African Students, said the education department was not doing enough to lower the rate of pupil pregnancies.

"The current system they are using through Life Orientation lessons is not effective," he said.

He said girls were victims of poverty, which led them to dating "rich boys and sugar daddies".