By Nomzamo Ngcobo
The Department of Women has slammed the decision by Uthukela District Municipality mayor Dudu Mazibuko to offer a bursary exclusively to girls who keep their virginity.
Department Spokesperson Charlotte Lobe says this undermines human rights. She notes that according to the South African Constitution, everyone has a right to education. “We are opposed to any societal norm that undermines the dignity of women,” she tells DRUM.
Lobe was speaking to DRUM after the UThukela District Municipality awarded bursaries to 16 girls for remaining virgins. The municipality introduced the new category, the Maiden’s Bursary Award, during its mayoral matric awards on 11 January. The bursary conditions stipulate that the girls should undergo virginity testing every holiday throughout the period of study – or they will lose the funding.
Lobe said the department is engaging with the Commission for Gender Equality, which they believe should be in the centre of the investigation that they want to pursue regarding the maidens’ bursary. The department also wants to talk to the municipality to determine whether this bursary and its terms are contrary to the Constitution before it decides on a course of action, she said.