Stellenbosch University (SU) Law Clinic has found that about 30% of girls in South Africa do not attend school when they are menstruating because they cannot afford sanitary products, News24 has reported.
The clinic has called for an end to taxes on tampons and other hygiene products.
Research conducted by the clinic has led to the submission of a list of what products should be VAT-free to the National Treasury, following a call for these submissions as the current list of VAT-free items is being reviewed.
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene last month amended the terms of reference for the independent inquiry into these items.
While previously only food items have been allowed to be included – with 19 basic food items on the currently VAT-free list – the SU Law Clinic is among those calling for essential non-food items such as women’s sanitary products to be included.
Poor‚ vulnerable and marginalised women and girls often cannot afford essential hygeine products, the clinic’s research has found.
“They are forced to turn to alternative options that are mostly unhygienic and pose serious health risks,” said a statement released by the clinic.