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Anger over teen's marriage

GOVERNMENT has reacted angrily to the marriage of a 13-year-old girl and a traditional healer.

Yesterday, Sowetan reported about the marriage of a 57-year-old sangoma to the teenager at a village near Mahwelereng.

The young girl had allegedly fallen ill with epilepsy and had to abandon school in Grade 6.

As a result, her parents felt it prudent to take her to a local sangoma following advice from fellow villagers.

After "healing" her, the sangoma then decided to marry the girl on the basis that he wanted her closer to him for monitoring purposes.

The sangoma, whose name is known to Sowetan, paid R5000 lobolo and the girl's parents accepted it despite their daughter's age.

Phumla Williams, acting government communication and information services chief executive, said the incident was not only criminal "but immoral" especially due to reports that the girl's parents had played an instrumental role in the marriage between the two.

"This act is directly in defiance of the laws of the country, including the Constitution, the Children's Act, the Marriage Amendment Act and the Bill of Rights," Williams said.

"Such practices cannot go unabated in a country where children are protected and have the right to education, a stable and safe environment. It takes a village to raise a child and therefore it is a collective responsibility to safeguard and protect our children," she added.

She said they were encouraged by the fact that the National Prosecuting Authority was investigating the matter and added they trusted it would receive the necessary attention.

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