Parliament’s multi-party women’s caucus (MPWC), an ardent supporter of a recommendation that sanitary products be exempt from VAT, encouraged all South Africans to submit comments to the national treasury on what items should be included in the VAT-free list before close-of-business on Friday.
In a statement, MPWC member and African Christian Democratic Pary MP Cheryllyn Dudley said the MPWC received a briefing from the national treasury indicating that the closing date for input on what should be included in the list of zero-rated VAT items is August 31.
The committee heard that the panel briefed the Standing Committee on Finance on August 28, and indicated that zero-rated sanitary products would be a blunt instrument, as it would apply to both rich and poor, and therefore have little impact. It recommended that VAT should still apply to these products, but that free sanitary towels should be provided to indigent and poor South Africans.
All South Africans are also encouraged to participate in the public hearings on this matter, which will be held at a later stage.
The MPWC resolved that women must be empowered to manufacture sanitary towels in an effort to develop themselves financially. This could be done in the form of co-operatives.
Earlier this month, Dudley said: “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.” She also called on the government “to find the budget to provide basic sanitary items free of charge where necessary.”