South Africa has recorded almost 35 000 teen moms and younger as of 2020, according to Stats SA in a recent report.
The total number of births registered in our country last year as a whole stood at 1 003 307. Of this number, 899 303 births actually took place in 2020.
“Of note were the highest number of teenage mothers in 2020,” express Stats SA.
“A total of 34 587 births were of mothers aged 17 years and younger.”
Of the 34 587 births from teen mothers, 16 042 mothers were aged 17 years, while 688 were 10 years young. As News24 reports, the former grouping also includes 9-year-old girls.
According to the Daily Maverick, if we broaden the spectrum to girls under the age of 19, the number spikes to 136 386 deliveries in 2020.
In referencing another report with data presented by the Department of Basic Education, the numbers presented state that:
- 132 612 deliveries occurred from mothers between 15-19 years old
- 3888 deliveries occurred from mothers between 10-14 years old.
According to the DBE, reasons for the high volume of teen pregnancy were attributed to rape, child abuse and gender-based violence. GBV cases saw a surge during the 2020 hard lockdown – constituting our ‘second’ pandemic as President Ramaphosa noted last year. Additional environmental influences stem from learners not being in school, according to the Daily Maverick.
“Early pregnancy and motherhood in South Africa creates a greater risk in terms of maternal complications resulting in low survival rates of babies and forces many girls to prematurely take on an adult role which they are not emotionally or physically prepared for,” indicates Stats SA.
However, another challenge is information regarding the fathers.
” In 2020, no reliable information on fathers could be provided due to a high proportion of births registered (more than 60%) without details of fathers.
“Section 10 of the births and deaths acts prohibits unmarried fathers to have their information on the birth certificate of a child which contributes to the high number of births with no information on fathers,” Stats SA explains.
“This is expected to change in the coming years as in September 2021 the Constitutional Court ruled that this section of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act is unconstitutional. This means unmarried fathers can now have their information registered in the birth certificate of their children at the Department of Home Affairs,” they note.