The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has called on law enforcement agencies to work together to stop the brutality and violation of the rights and dignity of minor children.
The call follows reports of 150 girls between the ages of 10 – 14 having given birth in Free State hospitals in the past five months.
The commission said these statistics call upon society to be on high alert over the growing rape culture of underage children in South Africa.
“The CGE is concerned about the escalating number of girls who lose their future by dropping out of school while those who impregnated them continue with their normal lives. The impregnation of children in the age bracket 10-14 constitutes statutory rape, as they have not reached the legal age of consent.
“The commission calls on the South African Police Service, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and like-minded institutions to work together to stop the brutality and violation of the rights and dignity of minor children,” the commission said.
It also warned the families of affected children not to take these pregnancies lightly or be misled into protecting the perpetrators “even if they are close relatives, family bread winners or other known persons”.
Establishment of 80 sexual offences courts welcomed
The commission added that it is cautiously optimistic after learning that the establishment of 80 sexual offences courts across the country, as part of the fight against gender-based violence is at an advanced stage.
“The commission welcomes this confirmation by Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, and is confident that this will enable the criminal justice system to speedily prosecute rape cases,” it said.