Department rolls out plan to tackle pupil pregnancies in KZN

2013-04-05 00:00

THE high incidence of pupil pregnancies in KwaZulu-Natal schools has prompted the provincial Education Department to roll out a programme to tackle the growing problem.

“Our first target will be the Zululand District because it has the highest number of pregnant learners a year. It is worrying us,” MEC Senzo Mchunu told a business breakfast at Durban’s Sibaya Casino yesterday.

The event, hosted by the New Age and SABC 2, was aimed at giving guests an opportunity to engage directly with Premier Zweli Mkhize, and his executive council, on the government’s plans and initiatives for 2013-14.

Mchunu said pupil pregnancy was a social ill that affected pupils and was reaching alarming proportions.

Previous reports have shown staggering KZN figures of 10 595 pupils falling pregnant in 2011 and 27 631 in 2009-2010.

Mchunu said his department would work with civic bodies to put the brakes on child pregnancy, and substance and drug abuse.

Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said a KZN association on social ills would be formed to tackle these problems.

“We realise and recognise that there are already communities and non-governmental organisations that assist government to fight social ills.

“We will now broaden our approach … the department alone cannot fight pupil pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DA denounced the business breakfast, saying it had been bankrolled by ANC donor and businessman Vivian Reddy and the provincial government.

“The event was hosted by the Sibaya Casino, which Mr Reddy owns, and was intended to give the provincial government a platform to talk about its successes without any alternative views,” DA provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu said.

He said the DA would demand answers on how much the KZN government had spent on the event.

Reddy denied the DA claim that he sponsored the function.

“The DA is a bunch of liars who fabricate stories for their own selfish political game,” he said.

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