Even before Nkandla many pundits were obsessed with “getting at” President Jacob Zuma. Thus whatever the President says is slated even when he has a valid opinion. Recently the President commented on two issues that remain hugely expensive.
His concern with pregnant teens was vital although sending them to Robben Islands was too much. The point is; the President identified a valid social fracture that is an avoidable cost to taxpayers.
In response Phumzile van Damme (DA) said: “As the holder of the highest office in the land, the president has done an embarrassing, and offensive disservice to the country’s teenage pregnancy crisis and his government’s role in addressing the socio-economic problems that underpin it”.
She added: “The president’s comments are devoid of any responsible solutions to curbing teenage pregnancy, which require that we adopt a whole of society approach involving all stakeholders in developing young people with the aim of producing responsible, skilled and well-resourced adults.
That teens are having copious amount of sex is obvious. That the results are a huge expense on suffering taxpayer must be resolved. More than 20 000 teens were pregnant in 2014 which clearly suggests that the infinite research, talk shops and programs are a waste of taxpayer’s time and money. The investment of educating teens about the dangers of pre-marital sex, Aids and the other issues need to be reviewed. Thus parliamentarian van Damme’s (DA) words are costly but useless.
These programs have cost taxpayers billions over two decades and the growing teen pregnancy stats prove the futility of this exercise. The only people who benefit from these programs are sector NGO’s, printing and publicity companies. Taxpayers must be alert and not be emotively hoodwinked by those who have financial interest in these campaigns. According to media reports, taxpayers now have to pay for fruit flavoured edible condoms to ensure teen cooperation. Studies suggest that this fruit flavoured condom will generate interest among teens.
What is required is a more assertive approach which includes sterilization. When immature teen reproduce, they must be barred from adding future financial burdens onto society. Among the reckless, sterilization should not be considered a moral issue but rather a social and financial matter.
When 100 teens get pregnant, it is a problem, when 20 000 get pregnant it is a social and fiscal disaster. The primary concern cannot remain the well-being of the teens but rather how to reduce the impact on taxpayers. While teens are the future, they remain a fiscal burden. They require limited free housing, education and other costly services. Sterilization is a fair trade for the liability to taxpayers.
The second issue raised by the President was the notion of the expectation of endless free housing. This is misleading as a small number of taxpayers pay for everything in any case. Ironically the main political parties often use housing as a marketing strategy to garner votes from the poor masses.
Recently the City of Cape Town radically reduced its housing list simply by deleting applicants. Ironically, while few houses were built, the city claims this artificial reduction as a victory. It is tragic that more and better houses were built for the poor during Apartheid than by the ANC and DA to date.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress