JOHANNESBURG - The Mpumalanga provincial executive on Thursday undertook to provide free sanitary towels to schoolgirls in the province.
The executive council made the announcement after a meeting held in Nelspruit.
''The executive council has approved the roll out plan for the affordable sanitary towels by the provincial Department of Social Department to indigent teenage girls and vulnerable young women from poor impoverished families,'' the executive said in a statement.
''The roll out plan of the sanitary towels will target schoolgirls from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds in their puberty. Priority will also be given to learners in the five boarding schools as they accommodate many learners from disadvantage households.''
The provincial executive said it aimed at distributing at least one million sanitary towels by the year 2020 to curb absenteeism by menstruating girls at schools, and eventually prevent the high dropout rate from schools.
Premier Refilwe Mtsweni will launch the free sanitary towels project in June. This comes after Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini announced in March that girls would soon receive sanitary towels. However she gave no commencement date. Former president Jacob Zuma had first promised that government would provide sanitary towels to women who could not afford them seven years ago at the ANC's 99th birthday bash in Polokwane, Limpopo.
The announcement was welcomed by the Young Communist League SA (YCLSA) and the ANC Youth League at the time.
African News Agency/ANA