MPs were prepared to toyi-toyi to ensure that tax on sanitary towels and tampons was eliminated, Parliament’s multi-party Women’s Caucus said yesterday.
“MPs indicated that they are so serious about the matter, they are prepared to protest if necessary,” the parliamentary committee said.
The committee rejected proposals from National Treasury officials that the rich may benefit more than the poor if sanitary products were exempted from VAT. The officials suggested that government departments should rather budget for sanitary pads and give them to the poor for free.
But MPs insisted South Africa should follow the example of many other countries which have zero-rated VAT on sanitary towels and tampons.
“Several MPs made it clear that menstruation and the need for sanitary products is not a luxury, but rather a necessity,” they said.
“They said women, irrespective of financial standing, should not be punished through taxation when purchasing sanitary products.”