Gender activist, Nomboniso Gasa says the Uthukela District Municipal Maidens Bursary Scheme will not pass constitutional master.
The municipality says it has four categories of bursaries given to over 100 students.
The mayor of the KwaZulu-Natal based municipality says 16 of the beneficiaries qualify for the maidens’ bursary. Gasa insists that the conditions are abusive to vulnerable people.
“The fact that a government entity has a category called maidens bursaries is fundamentally problematic, if it is tested against the constitution it will not pass. Poor people have very little choice, if I have no choice and you offer me a job and I work under circumstances that demean me I will take that job, even though I should not. We are taking people that are vulnerable and we are saying to them here is a bursary but these are the conditions for this bursary.”
If it is discovered that they have lost their virginity the bursary is taken away
The bursary requires students to provide the municipality with their virginity certificates, a document they receive from their traditional maiden group when tested. The recipients will be subjected to virginity testing each time they return home.
If it is discovered that they have lost their virginity the bursary is taken away.
The municipality has four categories when considering students for bursaries; the first is a bursary that is open to everyone who wants to further their studies at a tertiary institution from the first year, the second is a bursary to continue with their studies, the third is a category for those who have outstanding fees and the final is the contentious category for virgins.
The mayor of uThukela District Municipality Dudu Mazibuko says the bursary allocated for virgins is to motivate them to keep their virginity until they have completed their studies.
“I would rather call it an incentive to say you have done so well up until matric, now remain de-sexual active for the next three years until you are ready, until you are matured enough, until you are well educated, there is quite a lot of challenges for young girls and young women out there, it is a new bursary for now we are targeting the most vulnerable, we are not saying we would not look for a boy child.”