SCI wants apology from MEC for 'open your books and close your legs' comment

Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba visited Gwenane Secondary School in Sekgakgapeng on Wednesday to monitor the first day of the new academic year. During her visit, she told the pupils to focus on their studies and not on sexual activities.

Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba addresses pupils at the Gwenane Secondary School in Sekgakgapeng on 13 January 2022. Picture: Limpopo Department of Health (Bophelong)/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - The Soul City Institute for Social Justice (SCI) is demanding that Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba issue a public apology after a video of her advising schoolgirls to combat teenage pregnancy went viral.

Ramathuba visited Gwenane Secondary School in Sekgakgapeng on Wednesday to monitor the first day of the new academic year.

During her visit, she told the pupils to focus on their studies and not on sexual activities.

"To the girl child, open your books and close your legs. Don't open your legs, open your books. What did I say?" Ramathuba asked pupils, who in turn repeated her slogan back to her.

The organisation's CEO Phinah Kodisang slammed Ramathuba for giving what she called "deeply problematic" advice.

"For them to then shift that responsibility and put it on the young women is something that we are not going to take lightly. I think the MEC must issue an apology," Kodisang said.

Kodisang said that government and society needed to start taking accountability for the surge in teenage pregnancies.

"MECs, ministers don't see themselves as being accountable for what is happening and those comments are a clear indication of how they don't see themselves as people who should be held accountable on what is the right way of dealing with teenage pregnancy, statutory rape and gender-based violence because this is a clear indication that they don't know what they need to do and how to handle it," Kodisang.