Presidency defends Zuma's teen moms comments

2015-03-11 14:53
(Sapa)

(Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The presidency on Wednesday defended President Jacob Zuma's comments about teenage mothers, saying he did not single out only girls.

"President Zuma was emphasising the need for teenagers to focus on their studies and said children should not be raising children," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

In his remarks he had referred to boys and girls, he said.

"The statements by commentators that the president singled out girl children only for criticism with regards to teenage pregnancy is incorrect."

During his address to the National House of Traditional Leaders, Zuma said teenage mothers should be separated from their babies until they had completed their schooling.

He reiterated this again on Tuesday during the debate on his address. This comes several years after he first caused outrage with the suggestion.

"They must be educated by government until they are empowered and they can take care of their kids, take them to Robben Island or any other island, sit there, study until they are qualified to come back and work to look after their kids," Zuma said.

Zuma acknowledged that when he first expressed the view during his 2009 election campaign, it stirred controversy and was likely to do so again. He said allowing teenage mothers to leave school was a burden on society and the state's welfare bill.

"The women protested I want to take their kids away from them and blah, blah, blah," he said.

"So I kept quiet, because I was saying in no way can you have young kids being mothers of other kids and young boys being fathers of kids. They know nothing of it."

Read more on:    mac maharaj  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  human rights  |  education

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