The EFF condemns the uThukela Municipality’s Maiden Bursary Program as anti-women, reactionary, patriarchal and a violation of women rights. The ANC Municipal mayor Dudu Mazibuko has decided to award post-secondary bursary funding for 16 women on the basis that they are virgins and that they must remain virgins throughout their student life. The ANC Mayor demands that these students produce virginity test certificates in order to qualify. In addition, her scheme prescribes that each year the women must to go for testing and prove that they are still virgins in order to access funding.
There is no worse form of gender oppression and violence than what has come from the ANC run municipality through this Maiden Bursary Awards. The scheme promotes the sexual policing of women and created an unrelated link between women virginity and performance at school.
The Uthukela municipality is quoted as saying “the scholarship for virgins is a way to encourage “girls to keep themselves pure and inactive from sexual activity and focus on their studies.” Yet, there is no proof, whatsoever that because you are a virgin, it means you will perform better in school. The scheme also entrenches gender inequality by promoting different sexual standard for females.
In a country with high levels of sexual violence, many girl children become sexually violated and disarmed of their virginity by force. The scheme creates an impression that all who are not virgins have become so because of their choosing, yet many women are violated by men at early stages of their lives. It is also the case that rape occurs within relationships, thus there is no proof that the girl-child that falls pregnant in high school is doing so by consent.
The scheme makes pregnancy the sole responsibility of the girl-child, creating an impression that girls make themselves pregnant, whilst totally neglecting rape and the participation of boys and men in general.
Nothing demonstrated better that the ANC has fully turned its back against the objectives of the Freedom Charter, the Maiden Bursary Scheme. The Freedom Charter states that “Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children; Higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit”. Yet, in the ANC run uThukela Municipality it is not about merit, but the virginity of the girl-child.
The EFF calls on the scheme to be cancelled with immediate effect and that funding to the 16 girls must be based on merit. It must not be based on sexually invading them, testing them and requiring proof of “purity” to access education funding. To become a virgin and participate in virginity testing must be a choice of women and those who choose to be sexually active must not be condemned and denied funding. All of us must as and when we engage in sexual activities do so responsibly, but access to education funding, which is already scarce, must never be based on our sexual decisions.
ISSUED BY THE ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS