Learners charged for underage sex

2011-08-12 13:21

Seven Giyani school children, including one who is a new mother, were charged for having underage sex at the Giyani Magistrates Court, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

The six boys and one girl were charged with contravention of the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Act, the NPA’s Advocate Mthunzi Mhaga said.

He explained that the charges were based on Section 15 (1)(a) of the act which read: “A person who commits an act of sexual penetration with a child is, despite the consent of the child to the commission of such an act, guilty of the offence of having committed an act of sexual penetration with a child.”

The act stipulated that once the National Director of Public Prosecutions had authorised prosecution both children must be charged with contravening the relevant section, hence one of the girls was charged.

The partners of five of the boys were under 16, and the boys were over 16, so only the boys were charged.

In the sixth and seventh case, the girl and the boy were underage so both were charged.

The prosecution was authorised by NDPP Advocate Menzi Simelane, after the senior public prosecutor in the Giyani Magistrate’s Court received a case docket last year stating that 27 pupils at the Mavalani High School in the region were pregnant.

The directorate is still receiving similar information on other schools, but regarding this investigation, they found that out of the 27 girls, seven were under the age of 16 years, hence the charges were preferred against the six boys.

Evidence indicated that one of the pregnant girls was allegedly raped and that case was already pending in court with one of the boys being the only accused.

All the pregnant girls have given birth.

The pupils would be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Child Justice Act and the intention of the NPA was to have them diverted from the criminal justice system.

Their cases were postponed to September 16 for offender assessment reports and victim impact reports which will guide how the matter is dealt with.

The boy who allegedly raped the girl is in a separate case due back in court on August 26.

They were released on warning, and some into the custody of their parents and guardians.

Mhaga said that the department of social development would also be involved in the case.

“However, we have noted with concern that this problem seems to be continuing unabated as we continue to receive similar cases and the common denominator is alcohol and unprotected sexual intercourse,” he said.

“The NDPP is therefore making a clarion call to all members of the community including parents and teachers to monitor the behavioural trends of learners and children in general as the NPA cannot deal with this scourge alone.”

A girl and two boys from Jules High School in Joburg faced similar charges last year but after completing a diversion programme, charges were withdrawn. 

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