Premier Kiviet calls on Minister Mapisa-Nqakula to expand Sanitary Towels Project
11 May 2012
Eastern Cape Premier, Ms Noxolo Kiviet has this morning made a clarion call to Correctional Services Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to explore ways of ensuring that the Sanitary Towels Project that her department launched in East London Prison today, does not only produce sanitary towels for inmates but also caters for girl children and women in poor communities.
The project nicknamed Letshadi Boitumisho (Female Pride) is being piloted in the East London Prison female section and will see female inmates being taught skills on how to produce sanitary towels.
Premier Kiviet said: “It is a sad reality Minister that thousands of girl children in our province lose weeks of learning every term due to their menstrual cycles. These girls refuse to go to school because they do not have sanitary towels. This initiative by your department has come at a critical time and will have a huge impact in restoring the dignity and self-esteem of women and girl children in our province. More than that it has a potential to contribute to job creation, which is a key priority of our government.
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula echoed Premier Kiviet’s sentiments and called on inmates to seize the opportunity they are given through the provision of developmental programmes. She said she requested the department to determine whether it was feasible to start a workshop for the production of sanitary towels in house.
Mapisa-Nqakula said the objectives in her mind were threefold; to provide training opportunities for offenders, to provide for the demand for sanitary towels by female offenders and to provide sanitary towels to women and children in rural areas who have limited resources and lack of access to sanitary towels.
“I am aware that many school going-girls who do not have access to sanitary towels deliberately stay at home during their menstrual period. Imagine the volume of school work that they miss out on. We have a responsibility to make a difference where we can and you (inmates) will go down in history as having made a huge difference in the lives of girl children who will be using these sanitary towels,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.
Busisiwe Cwala who is an inmate at the prison, said as inmates they welcome the initiative and the opportunity they have been offered by the department to acquire skills. “We will be able to use this skill when we are released from this institution and contribute positively to our society,” said Cwala.
Mapisa-Nqakula indicated that the project will be rolled out across the country. “In order to protect the future beneficiaries of this product, we have applied for compliance approval from South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and health inspection authorities. Once these have been obtained, it is my directive to the department that we should move with speed in getting to full production.”
Premier Kiviet also praised the department for the vision, courage and commitment that it has shown to “rehabilitate our brothers and sisters who have found themselves in conflict with the law.”
“Some of us have long made up our minds that offenders will never be rehabilitated; hence we think they should remain in jail for the rest of their lives. We forget that offenders are not the make of correctional services but are a societal product.”
She called on society to accept offenders back into communities once they have served their sentences in correctional service centres.
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Issued by: Eastern Cape Office of the Premier
11 May 2012
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