Girls who remain virgins throughout the course of the university studies in Uthukela, a region near Durban, South Africa, will now get some study grants.
The municipality spokesman Jabulani Mkhonza told AFP:
“The bursaries are for young girls who are still virgins”
“It’s a new category which the mayor has introduced this year. The goal is to encourage young girls to keep themselves pure and inactive from sexual activity and focus on their studies.”
Beneficiaries of the grant will be subjected to regular virginity tests, he added, saying:
“Those children who have been awarded bursaries will be checked whenever they come back for holidays. The bursary will be taken away if they lose their virginity”
However, the programme which is a brainchild of the municipality’s female mayor Dudu Mazibujo, has drawn outrage from rights group
The People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) group, said it was shocked that taxpayers’ money was being used to violate girls’ rights.
“POWA is shocked to hear that young girls are being tested for virginity in order to get bursaries… it’s a violation of their rights,” the group’s executive director Nonhlanhla Mokwena told AFP.
“That is taxpayers’ money that is being used to violate girls… (and) the constitution of this country.”
Many South Africans from poor backgrounds rely on government grants to get through university.
Planned university fee hikes last year provoked sometimes violent protests nationwide.