Mashaba slated for saying Mokonyane is trying to make kids ‘focus on sex’

Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane briefs media in Johannesburg on November 6, 2018. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane briefs media in Johannesburg on November 6, 2018. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The Joburg mayor was reacting to the minister giving out free sanitary pads on the ANC campaign trail.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba found himself caught in the crossfire of the Twitter backlash to a picture that appeared to show Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula giving out free sanitary pads to children far too young to use them.

The Citizen reported yesterday that Mokonyane denied giving a group of Grade Rs feminine hygiene products.

Mashaba accused the minister of “deliberate[ly] destroying the future of our youth”.

“You get kids to focus on sex, instead of education,” he continued.

The tweet was met with a swift backlash after it was pointed out that sanitary pads and sex are seemingly unrelated issues.

The mayor doubled down, responding to one user who asked: “But how do sanitary pads have anything to do with sex?” by saying “a lot”.

This is not the first time the mayor’s medical knowledge has been questioned.

He found himself slammed by the EFF, among others, after sharing his apparent belief that what he saw as an insufficient focus on hygiene on the part of an informal trader selling cow heads could lead to the spread of Ebola.

Mokonyane was reportedly giving out the freebies while campaigning for the ANC and was slated on Twitter for apparently giving out free sanitary pads to Grade Rs at Mandosi Combined School in KwaZulu-Natal.

The picture raised eyebrows, with people including former Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi joining Mashaba in questioning the minister’s decisions.

The minister, however, took to Twitter in a bid to show that the picture had been taken out of context and tried to silence her “armchair critics and passionate haters”.

READ MORE: EFF condemns Joburg mayor’s ‘medically illiterate posture’ on arresting hawker

She clarified the sanitary pads were for “deserving girls” – who were presumably old enough to need them – and that the Grade R and lower primary school children were given a pack of “Vodacom goodies”, not sanitary pads.

She also noted in another tweet, sent earlier, that the school in question had classes going up to Grade 12.

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