Blessers are weakening the fight against the Aids epidemic according to KwaZulu Natal Umzinyathi District Municipality mayor Petros Mthandeni Ngubane.
The mayor is concerned at the high rate of abductions of young girls and teenage pregnancy which according to him complicate the battle against new HIV infections in the Umzinuyathi district.
Blessers, a term used to describe older men targeting younger women, are concerning according to Ngubane, who said girls where being persuaded to leave school and wed at a young age, for the promise of financial freedom.
Ngubane said more than R20 million was set aside by the municipality to fight the scourge of older men targeting younger girls, according to The Sowetan.
He blames the sugar daddy’s phenomenon and blessers for the many social ills plaguing the district.
“Furthermore, in the past years, we’ve seen a high rate of teenage pregnancy and abductions in our district. Criminals are abusing the traditional practice of ukuthwala [bride abduction] to deprive these women of their constitutional rights to education.”
A plan to encourage young girls to remain virgins and pursue education is in the pipeline according to the mayor.
The plan will form part of campaigns with several incentives in the effort to fight the recurring burden of older men who infect young girls with HIV.
Ngubane plans to offer incentives such as educational funding and assisting young girls to obtain a driver’s licenses as part of the campaign.
Ngubane’s statement comes after the National Department of Health confirmed earlier this year, that a higher burden of HIV was noted among adolescent girls
According to reports, young women aged between 15 and 24-years-old where at a higher risk of the HIV pandemic in the country, with nearly all new HIV infections occurring among the 15-24 age group.