File picture: Cindy Waxa African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN -  Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz on Thursday welcomed the announcement that sanitary towels, among other items, will be VAT exempt from April 1, 2019.

During his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) speech in Parliament on Wednesday, newly appointed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced sanitary towels among other items that will be made a zero tax item next year.

Fritz said national government has long provided free contraceptives, including female and male condoms, and birth control. However, it has previously failed to make sanitary items more affordable for women and the girl child.

He said this had a damaging effect, particularly on the girl child’s sense of dignity and her access to education, as she can ill afford the R30 it costs to buy a pack of sanitary pads, without compromising on food or travel.

“It is pleasing that South Africa will finally join the ranks of Canada, Nigeria, Tanzania, Australia, Lebanon, India and Kenya who do not tax sanitary items,” said MEC Fritz.

He further said: “It is time that as men and women, we talk honestly about the impact of menstruation on the girl child. I will be writing to Minister Mboweni to ask whether his Ministry is also considering making tampons a zero tax item.”

African News Agency (ANA)