Nomvula Mokonyane denies giving Grade R pupils sanitary towels

Nomvula Mokonyane briefs media in Johannesburg on November 6 last year. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Nomvula Mokonyane briefs media in Johannesburg on November 6 last year. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The minister says the sanitary towels are for ‘deserving’ girls.

Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane received criticism on social media on Wednesday after pictures of her with Grade R pupils at Mandosi Combined school circulated.

In the pictures, the minister seemed to be talking to the pupils while holding a packet of sanitary towels, as if she was addressing the pupils before giving them pads. The pictures divided social media users, with some questioning how she could give five to eight-year-old kids sanitary towels, while some said some kids start their period at that age.

“What is Minister Nomvula Mokonyane doing here? Is she giving kids under the age of 11 sanitary pads? ANC has done the most in this country but I have never thought of this really. It’s shameless and disgraceful,” said Twitter user @MarcAnd50037214, while @KennyNkwana said: “While others go to the ATM, the Honourable Minister Nomvula Mokonyane welcomes Grade R learners to school with sanitary towel gifts. The reactions: Priceless.”

But the minister defended herself and said the school had older pupils who she gave the sanitary towels to, it just happened that the picture which was circulating on social media was of her with Grade R pupils.

“Lalelani! Mamelani! Reetsang! Listen! We were at a school called Mandosi. It’s a combined school. The sanitary towels are for deserving girls! The Vodacom goodies are for Grade R and lower primary kiddies. Go on armchair critics and passionate haters of Nomvula. Ikhonkotha ehambayo!” she said.

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