The Committee commented that it was unfortunate that there was controversy surrounding South African athlete, Caster Semenya. The Committee congratulated her on her achievements and wished her well. The Ministry also confirmed that she had been sent a letter of congratulations on her achievement and noted that the Ministry was in the process of issuing a formal statement.
The Ministry for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (the Ministry) then briefed the Committee on its State of
The briefing set out the background, structure of the Ministry, the legislative and policy environment, the current functions of the Gender Disabilities Children and Youth sector of the Presidency, the key functions and key priority areas. A further presentation set out the strategic focus, the context and the Ministry's planned performance model, since it acknowledged that it could not achieve its full mandate on its own. Some of the proposed programmes were outlined.
Members asked when the Ministry's policies would be finalised, how the Ministry would handle donor support, and what it planned to do to create jobs for the youth. The members noted access to justice for the disabled as a serious concern. The Chairperson felt that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) should be prioritised in order to regulate political parties and indicate the need for gender sensitivity. Members queried the recognition of the African Decade of Disabled Persons, what the Ministry’s budget projection was and how this would be managed in the provinces, the sheltered employment fund for demobilised members of the South Africa National Defence Force and the envisaged skills development fund for the disabled. The Ministry's capacity to respond to queries received on the Presidency hotline was questioned. The practice of ukuthwala in the
The Ministry's further briefing on its performance during its first 100 days touched on the interventions on addressing children's issues, the women's sector and women's month. Special reports were made on action taking regarding Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's appointment of an all-male cabinet and what steps had been taken to deal with ukuthwala in the
Media Controversy: Caster Semenya
The Chairperson referred to the controversy surrounding South African athlete, Caster Semenya. She seemed that Ms Semenya was finding herself in a similar situation to that of Sara Baartman. The Committee congratulated Ms Semenya on her achievements and wished her well. She asked if the Ministry had issued a statement or had a position on the matter, and asked also what support was provided to Ms Semenya.
Ms Mbangiseni Dzivhani, Acting Director-General: Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, responded that the Ministry had sent a letter of congratulations to Ms Semenya on her achievement. The Department had instructed its spokesperson to send a strong message that the allegations, which had resulted in humiliation and violation of her status, were against the Constitution. The statement would be issued that afternoon.
State of Readiness 2009/10: Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Briefing
Ms Mbangiseni Dzivhani, Acting Director-General, Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, introduced the Ministry and noted specifically the mandate would not include the youth. Youth issues would fall under the mandate of the Monitoring and Evaluation Department, in the Presidency, headed by Minister Collins Chabane. The structure of the Ministry would include focal persons for the elderly that would cut across all the target groups.
The legislative and policy environment included the mandate according to the Constitution, national policies for women, youth, children and persons with disabilities, relevant acts and international agreements.
The current functions of the Gender Disabilities Children and Youth were presented, as were the key functions and key priority areas of the Ministry (see attached presentation)
Mr H Groenewald (DA; North West) asked if the Ministry's policies were already in place. If they were not yet in place, he asked when this would be finalised and who would handle policy in the Department.
Ms Dzivhani responded that the policy unit in the Presidency gave the Ministry guidance in that regard.
Mr Groenewald asked how the Ministry would handle donor support from
Ms Dzivhani responded that the Ministry had existing capacity to administer donor support. An example of this was support for disabled person received from
Mr Groenewald referred to the pledge, in the State of the Nation Address, to create 500 000 jobs in 2009/10. In view of the current global economic situation it would prove difficult to create jobs. The economy was already shedding about 97 000 jobs per month. He therefore asked what the Ministry planned to do to create jobs for the youth, due to the large percentage of already unemployed youth.
Ms Dzivhani responded that the Ministry had established co-operatives in order to provide access to jobs for target groups. The Ministry and Department would work with other departments, with regards to skills development, learnerships and internships. Many funds were currently sitting with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (dti). The Ministry had started negotiations with the dti to co-ordinate access to target groups.
Mr L Nzimande (ANC;
Ms Dzivhani replied that she had noted Members' advice on policies and strategies. The Department was working on a strategic plan and this would be finalised soon in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). The departmental organogram would also be finalised shortly.
The Department of Justice, Department of Social Services, Department of Education and the Department of Health, among others, had been identified as departments with whom her Department would be working. It realised that it could not carry out the mandate alone.
Mr Nzimande noted that a serious concern was access to justice for the disabled, especially disabled women, and asked the Ministry to comment on this.
Mr Nzimande asked what the envisaged budget was for the Department.
Mr Sandi Mbatsha, Special Advisor to the Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, responded that the Ministry acknowledged the challenges facing the disabled, with regard to justice. The Ministry would engage with the Ministry of Justice. They would also have consultations with the disability sector to identify key challenges to address. Once the organogram was approved there would be more people to effect all policies.
The Chairperson thanked the Ministry for clarifying the fact that its mandate would now exclude the Youth.
Mr G Mokgoro (ANC;
Mr Mbatsha replied that the Youth mandate had been moved to the Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, through the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), and now fell under Minister Collins Chabane. Because it was likely to overlap and cut across the Department's target groups, this Department would still need to deal with Youth issues, wheverever needed, and would also refer relevant matters to the NYDA .
Strategic Focus of the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities
The Strategic Focus of the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities was outlined according to the context and mandate and vision of the Department.(See attached document for full details). Under the heading of Strategic Thrust, this document gave fundamental recognition of the role of the Ministry in relation to other government departments, Chapter 9 Institutions, other organs of civil society and the private sector. This gave rise to the Ministry's partnership model.
The Ministry 's approach, strategic objectives and programmes were also discussed (see document)
The Chairperson asked for the priorities to be outlined in more detail to assist in the Committee's own strategic planning.
The Chairperson commented that in respect of the Chapter 9 institutions, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) should be prioritised in regulating political parties and indicating the need for gender sensitivity.
Mr Nzimande asked if the African Decade of Disabled Persons was part of the Ministry 's planning.
Mr Groenewald asked what the budget projection was for the financial year. He wondered how this would be managed in the provinces and how the Department would ensure that the money was used properly.
Ms Dzivhani responded that capacity in provinces and local government would be elevated. In regard to provinces, the intention was to have the structure managed at the level of General Manager, along with assigning responsibilities to the heads of department in order to enforce accountability. The Heads of Department would be in charge of the budget. In the district municipalities, the office of the mayor would be responsible and the structure here would be at the level of Senior Manager. The Senior Manager would be expected to work closely with the office of the mayor on the implementation of the budget.
Mr Nzimande referred to the sheltered employment fund for demobilised members of the South Africa National Defence Force. This fund had received qualified audits for years and needed serious attention and assistance in the development of persons with disabilities.
Ms Dzivhani replied that this matter would receive attention.
Mr Nzimande asked if the envisaged skills development fund for the disabled was not contained in the mandate of the Department of Labour, and whether this would run parallel to the Skills Levy Fund.
Mr Nzimande referred to the hotline to be launched by the Presidency, and asked if the Ministry had the capacity to respond to queries. The hotline would be flooded by queries from the Ministry 's target groups.
Ms A Qikani (ANC,
Ms Dzivhani replied that the remainder of the questions would be addressed in the discussion on the Ministry 's performance in the first 100 days, and noted that there was a written document, which she then tabled.
Ministry Achievements for the first 100 days
Ms Dzivhani reported on these achievements under the broad headings of addressing children's issues, the women's sector, and Women's Month. In regard to persons with disabilities, she noted that the Ministry had worked on improving disabled persons' access to public buildings, and reaching employment equity and skills development targets. Special issues included responding to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's decision to appoint an all- male cabinet. It also included a response to the practice of ukuthwala in the
Mr Mbatsha then gave some details in respect of ukuthwala, noting that the Minister had visited traditional leaders in Lusikisiki, and they had stated that the way ukuthwala was done was not a cultural or traditional practice. It had not been done correctly, as there was no way that thirteen and fourteen year old girls could be forced to marry older men. Traditional leaders had been part of the discussion, and it was stressed that the traditional leaders should guard against this practice. The Minister would revisit the
The Chairperson responded that all budgets were based on assumptions. Accurate numbers were usually not available.
Mr Nzimande replied that there were sample estimates available for budget projections. In respect of disability, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that no less than 10% of every population could be classified as disabled. Taking into consideration that about 52% of
The Chairperson asked Members to concede that statistics were never accurate.
Mr Nzimande replied that there were good indicators of the bottom line and benchmarking was good practice. He said that the plans presented by the Ministry seemed to indicate a careful thought process and a fresh look at some long-standing issues. He hoped that the Ministry had the necessary energy to tackle the complex issues under its mandate.
Mr Nzimande raised the issue of participation of disabled women in Women’s Day celebrations. He felt the Ministry should look at the participation levels of the sub-sectors of the target groups. To target disabled men only did not amount to full representation of the disabled sector.
Mr Nzimande also pointed out that the voices of street children were not heard and therefore, were not considered in planning children's issues. All these matters of representation should be addressed as an ethical concern.
Mr Nzimande asked if the specific projects planned in the programmes could be presented to the Committee in order to assist it in setting up an oversight programme. Specific interventions would be required in these programmes. The Ministry would also need to have legal services capacity to give assistance to people who requested help. He hoped this would be built in, as the work with the vulnerable target groups would require a legal response in some cases.
Ms M Boroto (ANC;
Ms Boroto referred to the all-male cabinet of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. She felt that the fight for women’s issues was one inclusive of all race groups, and she was pleased with attention given to the matter. If it could be corrected, it should be corrected.
The Chairperson responded that this could be addressed by the suggestion she had made earlier on engagement with the IEC.
Mr Mokgoro pointed out that this was a new Ministry and as such, did not have all the necessary information or experience. Research would be done and this research must not focus exclusively on South African issues, but should also extend to other countries with similar problems. He noted that
The Chairperson congratulated the Ministry on the successes it had achieved in the first 100 days but added that there was still much to be done.
She requested that, wherever possible, the Ministry should involve the Committee in its programme. She agreed with Mr Mokgoro that research should be conducted to update statistics and profiles of disabled people in
Mr Mbatsha replied that the Ministry noted the issues raised by Members and would take them forward.
Ms Dzivhani also noted the Members' comments and advice. There was still a lot to do in working on processes. The Ministry was still new and its members were still learning, and needed the support of the Committee. They and would involve the Committee through their programmes and information sharing. The Ministry would also incorporate the comments on best practices of other countries in the research strategy.
The Chairperson thanked the Ministry for the briefing and remarked that the Committee hoped for a good working relationship throughout the term.
The Chairperson noted that the provisional dates for oversight visits were 14 to 18 September 2009.
Ms Qikane responded that the provisional dates were acceptable to her. Since this Committee shared members with the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs, she proposed that the oversight visits should be conducted jointly, and suggested places in the
It was noted that the remainder of the programme, as adopted earlier, would apply.
However, she noted that the Strategic Plan briefing clashed with the NCOP strategic plan briefing. She proposed that 28 August be set as the date for the former, to avoid the clash.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee would have a joint sitting on 27 August 2009 in celebration of Women's Day.
The Chairperson announced that she had been appointed as the NCOP representative to the United Nations.
She further noted that the Committee needed to develop a programme for the Children's Day celebration in November 2009.
The Chairperson finally noted that the Committee had been classified as Group B, which gave it the option of having Wednesday meetings, either from 09:00 to 13:00 or 14:00 to 17:00.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Ministry Briefing on State of Readiness for 2009/10
- Department of Women, Youth, Children and Persons with Disabilities on the state of readiness of the Department for financial yea
- Department of Women, Youth, Children & Persons with Disabilities on the state of readiness of the Department for financial year
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