SANCO is calling for an urgent national summit to develop new plans to deal with teenage and child pregnancies.

This follows recent reports that more than 40 000 children across the country, some as young as 10, were pregnant while others had given birth.

Sanco spokesman Simon Skhosana said: “We are horrified by the extent to which moral decay has set in and literally robbed our children of their innocence and childhood.

“We are, therefore, calling on our communities to unite against the sugar daddy syndrome to ensure those who are destroying the future of our children face the wrath of the law.”

Skhosana said the adjusted rotation school programme led to many pupils being home alone during the day, which made the situation worse.

“Society cannot afford the long-term implications of losing thousands of pupils.”

Skhosana said vulnerable young people from child-headed households were at greater risk of being targeted for sexual grooming.

He urged the government, traditional healers, businesses, churches, faith-based organisations and NGOs to increase efforts to fight poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“A new partnership is required to ensure that special courts are urgently established and that crime prevention structures are reactivated with renewed vigour,” he said.

Skhosana also appealed to the government to make sure the sexual offences register was regularly updated and was accessible.

“The relaunch of Khuluma Mhlali – Citizens Speak Out campaign will ensure that Sanco fulfils its mission of being the voice of the voiceless,” he said.

Basic education spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said 30% of teenage girls had fallen pregnant.

“Almost 33% of girls do not return to school after falling pregnant and are likely to experience multiple pregnancies.

“Rape, child abuse and gender-based violence contribute to the issue,” he said.