Tell the new Finance Minister to finally remove VAT from sanitary pads

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Tell the new Finance Minister to finally remove VAT from sanitary pads
Tell the new Finance Minister to finally remove VAT from sanitary pads
12,000 signatures required

Treasury and the Minister of Finance have received a report from the panel of experts they appointed which recommends the removal of VAT from sanitary pads, but their response to this has been silence in public. When VAT was increased in February 2018 with almost no public consultation on how this would affect people, government promised to reduce how hard the VAT hike would hit the majority of people by removing VAT from other essential daily items.

89% of companies have not been paying their taxes properly [1]. The government has now forced the majority to pay for corporate greed by increasing VAT instead of taxing companies more, and making them accountable. We are still waiting for the free sanitary pads for low-income schools which government promised in 2011, while we work to ensure government provides free sanitary pads, to provide some immediate relief, this tax on our periods must be removed. No woman should experience the indignity that comes with the high cost of menstruation.


Dear Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

We call on you to implement the recommendations of the panel of experts looking into expanding zero rating, which was presented to Treasury in August 2018. Money and time went into the panel of experts’ work. We won’t stand by while their recommendations gather dust. Now that the panel has made the recommendation on sanitary pads to be VAT free, as Finance Minister you must make Treasury act urgently.

Research shows that the average person could spend up to almost R40,000 on sanitary pads in their lifetime [2]. This in a country in which over 50% of the population live in poverty. The VAT hike from 14% to 15% has placed the burden of government meeting the annual revenue on the poor majority of this country, which consists of mostly women headed households.

Sanitary pads are not a luxury, they are an essential monthly product we cannot live without. Help us restore dignity through being able to afford our own periods.



[1] Corporates ‘not tax compliant’, Baldwin Ndaba for Pressreader, 2018

[2] Why Treasury won't support a fall in the tampon tax, Pontsho Pilane for Bhekisisa, 2016

Will you sign?

We are closer than ever to removing the tax on sanitary pads, if enough of us demand action, Minister Mboweni will have to listen to panel of experts and make Treasury zero-rate sanitary pads.