MANGWE District social welfare officer Sicelo Nyathi has expressed concern over the rise in the number of young girls from Mangwe district in Matabeleland South province that are engaging in wild parties and drinking.
His concerns come soon after a visit to Matabeleland by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education last week, which expressed concern over a relatively high number of school girls that fell preg_nant during the COVID-19 lockdown period in Matabeleland.
In an interview with Southern Eye, Nyathi said he had received complaints from concerned locals who asked him to investigate the parties, which they said were putting children at risk of falling preg_nant and contracting COVID-19.
“We have received the reports that there are a lot of parties going on and young girls are drinking and later they are se_xually abused. We have planned that this week we will go on the ground and see what exactly is happening,” Nyathi said.
“We have tried in vain to get the names of the individuals that are organising these wild parties.
“However, we have since received an anonymous tip off about a party which will happen this week so that we go and investigate who is organising these parties,” he said.
One of the concerned parents, who spoke to Southern Eye, said very young girls were no longer sleeping at home.
She said they came the next day drunk after spending the whole night partying, which made them prone to se_xual abuse and risk contracting se_xually transmitted diseases.
“We are facing a serious problem of young girls from the age of 14 years who are now engaging in drinking binges and partying.
“Night parties are now trending in this area and it is a big risk to the girl child.
“Girls are being made to drink and after they get drunk they are lured into the dark where several things are done to them by those men. We are really in a crisis, some of the girls no longer sleep at home.”
She said what pained her most was that many of the girls attending the parties where schoolchildren, especially Form threes and fours.
“As parents we have lost control over these girls because if we try to talk to them they will go and tell those who are buying them alcohol and we end up fearing for our lives because we do not know who they are,” she said.
She added that on December 11, there was another party being organised in the area.