Picture: 123RF/RAZIHUSIN
Picture: 123RF/RAZIHUSIN

No tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products. That is what the Stellenbosch University (SU) Law Clinic has asked for as part of their submissions to the National Treasury on which products should be VAT free.

Treasury recently announced that it is reviewing the current list of VAT-free items and called on public submissions. Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, last month, amended the terms of reference for the independent inquiry into these items.

There are currently 19 basic food items that are VAT-free‚ but there have been calls for non-food items‚ such as paraffin and sanitary products for women‚ to be included.

SU Law Clinic attorney Monja Posthumus-Meyjes; two candidate attorneys‚ Danielle Louw and Erika Wright; Dr Lize Mills; and Silke de Lange researched the impacts of the VAT charged on female hygiene products. They found poor‚ vulnerable and marginalised women and girls often cannot afford them. "They are forced to turn to alternative options that are mostly unhygienic and pose serious health risks."

They found about 30% of female pupils do not attend school when they menstruate. "The fact that many girls and women cannot afford proper sanitary hygiene products has further serious consequences in other aspects of their lives."