The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) on Tuesday said it welcomed recommendations that sanitary products be exempt from value-added tax.
“This is good news for girls and women, and we urge [Finance] Minister Nhlanhla Nene to act on these recommendations,” ACDP member of parliament Cheryllyn Dudley said.
Nene on Friday released a report from an independent panel reviewing the current list of items zero-rated for VAT, which recommended that sanitary products and nappies be included.
“As millions of girls miss more than a week a month of schooling if they lack the money to purchase sanitary pads, this affects the education and future careers of female learners and ultimately affects us all as the contribution of women to the economy is an important element,” Dudley said in a statement.
The ACDP applauded the work of Project Dignity, which has raised funds to distribute free sanitary pads that are washable, reusable and biodegradable.
Project Dignity’s chief executive Sue Barnes said the organisation had supplied 150 thousand free packs of sanitary pads.
“Whilst this represents a lot of hard work, that’s just a fraction of those required by the four million needy girls in South Africa,” Barnes said.
Dudley said the ACDP was calling on the government to find the budget to provide basic sanitary items free of charge where necessary.
In July, during a visit by hundreds of pupils from schools across the country to parliament for a youth summit, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom told the students he supported the recommendations and submissions that sanitary towels should be exempt from VAT.