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Millions of rand wasted on unusable sanitary products for needy schoolgirls in Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga's Department of Social Development must be held accountable for the more than R8,5 million in unusable sanitary products that may no longer be distributed to needy school girls.

The products do not comply with the relevant standards.

A motion by the FF Plus, which was adopted in the Provincial Legislature on 2 September, brought the waste of money to light. The party demands that the girls must be provided with usable sanitary products by no later than the end of September.

The Department launched its Sanitary Dignity programme in February 2021. The programme was meant to supply sanitary products to more than 105 000 needy schoolgirls in the province.

It is impossible for these girls to attend school during their menstrual period seeing as they are unable to afford the necessary sanitary products.

In the 2021/2022 financial year, more than R20 million was earmarked for this programme.

During the briefing for the programme's launch in February 2021, it was made clear that products that do not meet the requirements of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) will not be considered for the tender.

And yet, tender contracts were awarded to three companies, Lethuthandophila, Silvex 622 and Ophinix, whose products do not comply with the prescribed standards.

The Department admits in its fourth quarterly report that R8 524 844,79 worth of products procured from these three companies do not meet the requirements.

The Department has now sent the products for further testing and is awaiting the results.

The FF Plus will request a progress report by the end of September and will hold the Department's MEC for Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, accountable if a workable solution has not been found.

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