Early childbearing in the context of the child support grant : a case study of young women in Mtubatuba.
Ngubane, Nokuthula Philile.
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Teenage pregnancy still remains one of the most heated topics in South Africa. Although teenage pregnancy in South Africa is not high compared to other regions in sub-Saharan Africa, it is still considerably high despite being in decline since the early 1990s. The South African mass media reported that the reason why there is a high rate of teenage pregnancy in this country is because the child support grant (CSG) is encouraging young women to deliberately bear children in order to access the grant. The misconceptions are that young women are having children in order to access the grant while they do not spend the money in the best interest of the child; therefore young women are labelled as misusing the grant while they leave their children with their grandmothers. However, previous research reports that there is no relationship between teenage pregnancy and the CSG. Research has indicated that there are various factors that contribute to early childbearing such as poverty, lack of sex education, coerced sex and lack of reproductive health services. With this background information, the aim of the study is to shed insights into the relationship between the CSG and early childbearing. The study was conducted in Mtubatuba, located in northern KwaZulu-Natal. It draws on in-depth interviews with women who are receipts of the CSG. The majority of women from this study denied that there is a relationship between the CSG and early childbearing. They argued that the money was small; therefore they did not believe that one can have a child in order to access the grant due to the high cost of living in South Africa. Women from the study argue that there are various factors that contribute to early childbearing, especially in the community they live in. For example, lack of health facilities where they can access reproductive health services such as contraceptives, lack of sex education in the community, peer pressure and sugar daddy dependency were some of the factors mentioned in the study. The majority of women believed that if these factors can be taken into consideration then the rate of teenage pregnancy will decline.