Johannesburg – The Gauteng provincial government plans to give dignity packs, especially sanitary pads, to one million girls in the next three years, Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said on Monday.
The provincial government wants to budget more than R315 million to reach its one million target. At the moment the figure stands at 25 000.Mayathula-Khoza also revealed a variety of projects to be undertaken during this October, which has been declared as Social Development Month. She also announced that the elderly in the province would be taking part in various competitive national sporting codes in Limpopo as well as ensuring that early childhood development centres in Gauteng were properly accredited.
However, it was the lowest number of girls who have access to the dignity packs that appeared to be of concern to Mayathula-Khoza.
“The current distribution by the Department of Social Development only covers 18 percent of the no-fee schools and only 8 percent of the total girl learner’s ages between 12 and 18 are benefiting. This translates into 25 000 girl learners monthly with an annual budget utilisation of R45 million,” Mayathula-Khoza said.
She said the provincial government was going to work with other agencies to ensure that more girl learners including boys have access to the dignity packs.
“The provincial government is working on the expansion of the programme which will directly address the challenge of poor scholastic performance as well as improve attendance at school. Other in-direct associated benefits are enhanced self-esteem and more comfort.
According to the Gauteng Department of Basic Education database, there are currently 1 377 no fee schools with 312 817 girl learners between the ages of 12 and 18, who might be in need of dignity packs in Gauteng.
“It is our resolve that all boys and girls of no fee schools must receive dignity packs, and for this number to increase one million by 2019,” Mayathula-Khoza said.
She said Premier David Makhura and his executive have tasked her department with the to rolling out of his proposed budget for the expansion of the dignity packs to cover 312 817 learners in 1 377 no fee schools.
“This is estimated at R315 319 536 with a 6% inflation annually. The current budget is R45 million as provided by the Gauteng department of social development.
“A resolution was adopted by the Executive Council within the province, to provide indigent girl learners from target quintile 1 and quintile 2 (now known as no fee schools), farm schools and special schools with dignity pack comprising sanitary towels and basic toiletries within the available resources,” Mayathula-Khoza said.