Zuma: Send teen moms to faraway islands

2015-03-11 07:44

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President Jacob Zuma has repeated controversial comments he made in 2009, saying that teenage mothers should be separated from their babies and sent to faraway places to study.

Zuma said he knew his comments would create controversy as they had done before, but he saw this as a solution to “small kids having children”.

“It’s part of nation-building,” he said.

“I’m sure people are going to protest as I am talking now because people don’t want to face reality. The fact of the matter is you have kids with kids and they don’t know how to raise a child or look after them. They become a burden to grandmothers and a burden to society. Why should we just sit as a nation?” he asked.

He said when he first made these comments six years ago while on the campaign trail, he was “very determined but this is democracy”.

“I said if a child – whether a boy or girl brings a child into this earth – they must be taken and be forced to go to school far away and they must be educated by government until they are empowered and can look after their kids.

“Take them to Robben Island or to any other island, keep them there, study until they are qualified to come back and work to look after their kids.

“The women protested saying I want to take their kids from them blah blah blah … so I kept quiet,” he added.

Zuma was responding yesterday to a debate in the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament. The four-hour debate transcended issues from the national development plan to social cohesion, Zuma’s state of the nation address and his address to the house last Thursday.

During the debate chairperson of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, urged government to “relook” its provision of the child grant to unmarried parents.

He said the grant had led to people being lazy and not working their land to produce their own food and they were now looking to government to provide.

Zuma said government only took a decision to deal with poverty because some of these children had no fathers and in some cases the parents were not working.

“As a government we said we cannot allow people to die. Let us have a system where we could give them something to eat.”

He said he was aware of reports that sometimes the money did not even go to the children, but the mothers would spend it on doing their nails and hair.

“[But] once the matter is raised, I think all of us should be saying: what must we do?”

Zuma revealed that the government has been considering giving out food and or school uniform vouchers instead of giving out hard cash.

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