September 21, 2017

News:

Mayor mulls ‘bursaries for virginity’ scheme

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the-weekly-sl7The executive mayor of Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality, Malefu Vilakazi, has hinted at the possibility of students undergoing a mandatory virginity test before being awarded tertiary bursaries.

Vilakazi made this announcement when she delivered her state of the district address at Tshiame last week.

She, however, emphasised this was only a thought that would require consultations with a broader spectrum of society, especially traditional leaders.

Her announcement was inspired by 19 -year old of QwaQwa who was crowned Miss Culture South Africa 2015, for being a virgin. She won herself a car and a R100 000 bursary.

“I will be consulting with traditional leaders who are the custodians of our culture, to assist me on how we can implement this programme. We are going to align ourselves with the laws of the land, to avoid discriminating against anybody. They also seem to like the idea.

“What is important is we want to encourage our girls and boys to abstain from pre-marital sex. This will encourage discipline among our youth. We have budgeted R1.6-million for bursaries but it is too little to cover all our students hence we rely on the generosity of the business community and the National Youth Development Agency,” explained Vilakazi.

A similar ‘bursaries for virginity’ approach was introduced by the uThukela District Municipality in Kwazulu-Natal but the Gender Equality Commission rejected it for being ‘unconstitutional and ridiculous’.

The municipality received widespread criticism when it awarded 16 young women the Maiden Bursary Award for remaining virgins.

The bursaries came with the condition that the young women had to undergo virginity testing every holiday and if it was found that they were no longer virgins, the bursary would be taken away.
The bursaries were handed out on January 11 during the Mayoral Matric Excellence Awards, where 100 matrics, including those who were not virgins, received awards for excelling in their matric exams.

Vilakazi said she was aware of the commission’s ruling hence the decision to engage in wide consultations and thorough debates.

Meanwhile, social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has previously opposed forced virginity testing as a tool to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.

“Virginity testing was not African issue, it is a component of harmful practices aimed at subjugating the bodily integrity of women. It complements other harmful practices such as female genital mutilation which is essentially a practice guided by ideology that sex for women should not be about pleasure, but procreation,” she said.

“In most cases testing is ineffective, unhygienic and a gross violation of a girl’s human rights. Moreover it is not even a reliable measure of virginity.”

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