Minister Ramathuba Under Fire Over ‘open your books and close your legs’ Remarks

LIMPOPO - A regional health minister, Phophi Ramathuba, has come under fire in South Africa for telling schoolgirls to "open your books and close your legs".

LIMPOPO – A regional health minister, Phophi Ramathuba, has come under fire in South Africa for telling schoolgirls to “open your books and close your legs”.

Ramathuba made the comment during a visit to a secondary school to encourage abstinence and reduce teenage pregnancy rates.

Social media users slammed the comment and questioned why it was only directed at girls.

Ramathuba defended the message, which she said was also directed at boys.

The Limpopo provincial health minister visited Gwenane Secondary School in Sekgakgapeng Municipality on Wednesday to celebrate the first day of the new school year.

“To the girl I say: open your books and close your legs. Don’t open your legs, open your books. Thank you,” she told the students.

She added that older men are attracted to girls with luxuries like expensive wigs and smartphones.

The comments drew criticism after a video of the speech was shared on social media.

“This is not an appropriate way to talk to children about abuse, sex and consent,” one social media user wrote.

Opposition politician Siviwe Gwarube called the statements “deeply problematic”.

“It was an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about consent with these learners…Instead you become a victim of guilt. Putting undue pressure on the girls,” she said in a post on Twitter.

Ramathuba told South African news outlet TimesLIVE that his statement was taken out of context and was also directed at the boys.

“I told the boys to focus on their education and not sleep with girls,” she said.

Ramathuba added that his Limpopo constituents “appreciated the message”.

“They even said they were afraid to say those things and thanked me for calling things by their name,” Ramathuba said.

Government statistics show that nearly 33,400 girls under the age of 17 gave birth in South Africa in 2020.

According to Save the Children, lack of access to comprehensive sex education and affordable and adequate health services are key factors contributing to teenage pregnancies in South Africa.

In 2013, nearly 100,000 teenage girls became pregnant in South Africa.

RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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