uMfolozi Municipality Holds Ceremony to Close Child Protection Week

uMfolozi Municipality hosted the Department of Social Development led by Honourable Minister Lindiwe Zulu at Nhlabane Sportsfield for a closing ceremony of Child Protection Week.

Local communities and parents were urged to play an active role in the education and protection of children as the Department held community dialogues with community members,
with a strong focus on teenage pregnancy and finding solutions to end the scourge.

According to the Department of Health’s National Adolescent and Youth Health Policy, 269 girls aged between 10 and 14 years in KwaZulu-Natal gave birth in 2011.

During the dialogue, teen mothers opened up and informed the discussion that some of the causes of teenage pregnancy include poverty, cultural and family practices, peer pressure, and lack of respect towards parents.

Minister Zulu said teenage pregnancy has, and remains, a serious developmental challenge as it jeopardises the health and educational outcome of the girl child.

“Early pregnancy is the primary cause of school dropouts, which results in poverty cycles and many young girls being stigmatised by society for being teenage mothers, or even being forced into early marriage; this needs to stop,” said the Minister.

Lack of knowledge as no one in the family gives them enough information on sex, which allows them to learn everything from their friends, empty promises from their partners, absent parents, lack of love from home and behavioural problems were also identified as key challenges facing teen mothers.

His Worship the Mayor Cllr XM Bhengu reminded the community that children are a “gift from God who should always be loved and protected.”

He further urged the parents and guardians to open up the channels of communication between themselves and their children to prevent teen pregnancies.

The Mayor further said the responsibility of raising a child is that of both the mother and father and therefore both parents must take charge in protecting and raining the girl child.