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World Population Day observed at high level during the Department of Social Development Budget Vote 17 in Parliament

The Budget Vote Speech is a national Parliamentary requisite for all government departments to present departmental plans and budget allocations of the year. 


For the first time ever, the tabling of the budget coincided with this year’s commemoration of the World Population Day under the theme: “25 years of the ICPD: accelerating the promise”. The Minister expressed that the theme for World Population Day resonated with the gains of the 25 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa and the 21 years of the anniversary of the South African population policy. She further praised and acknowledged the leadership of the UNFPA Representative, Ms. Beatrice Mutali, in working with the department to improve the lives of women and young girls in South Africa.


Earlier on in the day the Minister had extended an invitation to UNFPA Representative to join her on her visit to the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Athlone, Western Cape. The centre which was founded in 2004, promotes sustainable livelihoods for women in distress, provides facilities to marginalised groups and ensures the safety of children at risk and people with disabilities. The centre has, in its tenure, assisted 1000 families with skills-development, shelter and safety networks. A number of speakers spoke passionately and positively about the activities that are empowering those that come to the centre.


Ms. Mutali spoke about the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda and how despite progress made during the 25 years since the conference, much more needs to be done.

“For instance, adolescent birth rate remains high at 71 per 1000 despite progressive laws facilitating access to SRH services to adolescents aged <18 years.  As a result, teenage pregnancy remains a development challenge with 16% of adolescent girls 15-19 years recorded as being pregnant.”

She further stated that evidence shows that early sexual debut contributes to increased teenage pregnancy, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV prevalence of 18.9% with prevalence in female population higher at 26.3%.  

“The key message is South Africa, still has unfinished business to achieve the ICPD agenda and putting young people at the centre of development is one opportunity that can enable the country to accelerate its pace.” she suggested.   

She concluded by stating that more targeted policy actions and investments are needed to realize a youthful population that is healthy, educated, and productive with the requisite skills for a 21st century economy the country can accelerate its pace towards closing the gap in addressing the unfinished agenda.