• Sanitary pads were recommended to be added to the tax-free list in a recent evaluation for the National Treasury.
  • Retail giant Shoprite is now absorbing the tax on one range of pads itself, before the government process even continues.
  • It will "indefinitely" offer Ultrex pads for R10.99, Shoprite says.


Shoprite now offers "tax free" sanitary pads.

Through what it calls a "sanitary pad subsidy", customers can buy a packet of Ultrex pads for R10.99 – what they would have cost were they not subject to value-added tax (VAT) of 15%.

The chain is selling both an Ultra Plus range, which comes in packs of 10 pads, and the Ultra Slim, which comes as 12 pads per pack, for R10.99.

The offer is not a special promotion but will run indefinitely, Shoprite says.

See also: We checked the shelves to see if ‘pink tax’ exists, and found women pay much more than men for the same thing

In a report released by the National Treasury two weeks ago, sanitary pads were among the items recommended to be considered for zero-rating.

A panel, which included experts from the universities of Stellenbosch, the Witwatersrand, and Cape Town, was appointed after a storm of process when the VAT rate increased from 14% to 15% in March.

It considered a list of 66 products to be zero-rated, including mango atchar and medicine.

It concluded, however, that only baby food, bread flour, cake flour, disposable nappies, poultry, sanitary products, school uniforms and white bread are worthy to be further investigated for zero-rated VAT items.

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