It was when Limpopo's regional health minister Phophi Ramathuba visited the equivalent of a high school recently that she stepped onto a stage and had the girls present repeat her words:

- Open your books and keep your legs together!

"Time to speak plain language"

On television and on social media, the Minister of Health now has to respond to criticism that she seemed to fall over the entire blame for unwanted teenage pregnancies on the girls.

Phophi Ramathuba herself says that she must have turned to boys, but she also says: 

- I want you to show me a single boy who has lost his education and future because they have made a girl pregnant. 

Organizations call the statement disgusting, but Health Minister Phophi Ramathuba defends himself and says it is time to speak clearly about the big problem of unwanted pregnancies at a young age. 

Nearly 34,000 births to mothers aged 17 and younger were registered in South Africa in 2020.