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Mokonyane denies giving Grade R pupils sanitary pads

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba had criticised the minister and assumed she handed sanitary pads to grade R pupils, saying they were too young.

FILE: Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Environmental Affairs has clarified the circumstances around a photo which surfaced on social media showing Minister Nomvula Mokonyane handing out sanitary pads to pupils.

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba had criticised the minister and assumed she handed sanitary pads to grade R pupils, saying they were too young.

He then received further backlash after he suggested that distributing sanitary pads makes girls focus on sex rather than education.

The Department of Environmental Affairs says Mokonyane visited the Mandosi Combined School in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday to donate 700 desks to pupils and to distribute sanitary pads only to girls of the appropriate age.

The minister’s spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase said: “The intention of the visit was to donate 700 desks. On top of that, the China-South Africa Women’s Association donated sanitary pads for those learners who have already commenced with the menstrual cycle given the poverty conditions.”

The department says girls miss school because they have no access to sanitary pads.

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