Premarital sex is bad for the economy. That was the argument that carried Oval North High School pupils to victory at a Cape Flats debating competition organised by the YMCA.
Oval North also hosted the competition on Thursday May 26, which saw three other high schools, Tafelsig High, Beacon Hill and Lentegeur, compete.
Lentegeur argued in favour of premarital sex, while Oval North opposed the motion, with Oval North’s Nabeelah Frans arguing that the economy suffered when the state had to bail out young parents with social grants.
“If a young girl falls pregnant with no job, she will become dependant on the state grant. This money will have to support both the mother and her child,” said Nabeelah. “Thousands of youth live off this grant, money that ordinary citizens pay for through tax. This money could have been spent on other services such as education or youth development.”
Nabeelah added that teenage pregnancy could see girls drop out of school and suffer a blow to their self-esteem.
Lentegeur High pupil Onela Ndaba countered, saying times had changed and premarital sex should not be discouraged.
“In today’s modern society, people and even some churches, are supporting premarital sex. Society makes it seem like it is completely wrong, but we disagree: it is a natural act. With sex comes responsibility, and there are ethical and responsible ways to approach sex.”
Lentegeur’s Rosalia Zacarias quoted the constitution regarding the age limit for sex.
”It is clear that government gives the legal consent for young people to have sex. At the moment, a child aged 12 is allowed to have sex legally, so why the big fuss?”
Oval North’s Wisdom Peru delivered a stern rebuttal: “How can we cheer for young people to engage in premarital sex? Just plain stupidity! Why must the government support your risky behaviour? When teens fall pregnant their urge for learning dies, because of the birth of the child.
“They are then unemployed and will need a job. They then get an unskilled job that doesn’t pay well, and, in the end, they revert to either selling or using drugs. And the cycle of drug abuse starts, that then has a negative impact on the child.”
Wisdom argued there were morals and values young people needed to heed, and the choices they made determined where they would end up.
“It is time we take responsibility for our actions. We cannot watch our young people glide into destruction,” she said.
Cape Flats YMCA director, Ricardo de Reuck, said it was important for young people to talk about sex so they could advocate for abstinence.