May 24, 2019

Teenage Sex Bill Revised in South Africa

A controversial bill has been passed in Cape Town, allowing children aged 12 – 15 to engage in sexual activities legally, providing the age difference is not greater than two years, reports the Independent Online.

Image Credit: Flowcomm (Flickr)

Law change in South Africa. Image Credit: Flowcomm (Flickr)

Executive Director of Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Rapcan), Christina Nomdo, explains that that people should understand that the bill does not aim to encourage sex amongst teenagers, but simply decriminalizes it. She says:

“The previous law was asking for criminalization in what we believe is normal behavior […] The law makes it clear it is not the government’s duty to raise children, but the parents’. We would like to support parents so their children make good life choices.”

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Spokesperson for Sonke Gender Justice Mbuyiselo Botha is also pleased with the decision.

“It forces us, as parents and a community, to rethink sexuality. Why do we not educate our children about sex? We choose to criminalize it because it is the easier option.”

This new law has raised more than a few eyebrows. Steve Swart, an ACDP MP and member of the portfolio committee on justice, says there is “still a lot of unhappiness about the decriminalizing of sex even if it is consensual sex between teenagers in view of the high levels of HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancies and abuse”.

The Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister John Jeffrey explains the courts decision:

“Many saw it as a way to promote teenage sex. The bill is not saying that adolescents should experiment sexually. What it is saying is that they should not be criminalized. (We) still promote that they wait until they are mature enough to make choices about sex. It’s just that it can’t be a criminal offense.”

For the full story, see here.