South Africa’s newly appointed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has promised additional funds to ensure female students have access to sanitary pads.
There have been growing calls for this amid complaints that girls, especially those in poor, rural communities have been missing out on school because of the high cost of the pads.
In some provinces they are already free for all female students.
To cheers in parliament, he also announced that from next April the 15% tax on sanitary pads would be scrapped.
Mboweni said bread flour and cake flour were also now going to be exempt from VAT
Mr Mboweni, who has only been in his job for two weeks, also gave a frank assessment of South Africa’s economy in the mid-term budget speech.
He said the country could not afford to continue borrowing at its current rate and must reduce its national debt, now expected to reach 60% of GDP in the next five years.
He said that the public sector wage bill exceeded its budget by 30bn rand ($2bn, £1,6bn).
Mboweni repeatedly spoke about the cancer of corruption and said that those who were found guilty “must be locked up” in jail.