The new Ministry and Department on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities took the Committee through the Gender, Disability & Children’s Rights (GDC) Annual Report of 2008/09 when these portfolios had still been a chief directorate within the Office of the Presidency. After the 2009 elections, the Office on the Rights of the Child, the Office on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Office on the Status on Women in the Presidency had been elevated to its ministry and department.
Some of the points made in the Annual Report were:
Very few government departments had reached the 2% target of employment of persons with disabilities.
Two delegates from South Africa attended the G8 Summit in Japan and made significant input there.
The Ministry changed the name OSDP (Office on the Status of Disabled Persons) to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. After having signed and ratified the UN Convention, the name was changed to be in line with the rest of the world.
South Africa was one of the first ten countries in the world to sign and ratify the UN Convention.
Through the National Disability Machinery, the issue of disability was being elevated, corporate companies had bought into employing people with disabilities and improving learnerships of people with disabilities.
Funds received from the Danish government were R3 million. The fund was finalised in 2009, successfully delivered with a complete handbook on how to convert a protective/sheltered workshop into a viable entity, and also a handbook that departments and organisations could use and track in terms of developments and how to ensure that the needs of persons with disabilities were taken care of. One of the organisations was the Cape Craft Institute, which worked with the protective workshops and developed where their wares were being sold on the Internet, overseas, as well as exclusive shops in Sandton City and the Western Cape.
The Committee raised serious concern at not being involved in or being informed about activities of the Department; also that figures were not available for comparison and the report did not state whether issues were completed or not.
Ms Dorothy Ramodibe (ANC) was elected to chair the meeting as the chairperson was ill.
Ms Ramodibe welcomed the delegation from the Ministry, who introduced themselves as Ms Ellen Kornegay, Ms Nomatotsho Memani, and Mr Sandy Mbatsha (Special Advisors to the Minister) and Mr Zain Bulbulia (Acting Director: Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities).
Gender, Disability & Children’s Rights Annual Report 2008/09
Ms Nomatotsho Memani (Special Advisor to Minister) explained that this Annual Report dealt with Gender, Disability & Children’s Rights when it was still a chief directorate within the Presidency. She handed over to Mr Zain Bulbulia presented the report.
The mandate of the Office on the Rights of the Child, the Office on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Office on the Status on Women had been to provide support to the President, Deputy President, and the Minister in the Presidency in the execution of their responsibilities on issues pertaining to women, gender equality, disability and children’s rights.
Core functions of the programmes included:
- policy development and management;
- mainstreaming of gender/ children’s rights/ disability considerations into all policies, programmes, practices and projects;
- coordinating and planning function;
- advocacy focused on awareness raising campaigns;
- monitoring and evaluation on progress in protection of human rights and human dignity;
- research on specific issues relating to women, children and people with disabilities;
- compliance to regional and international obligations and commitments – African Union, UN and SADC;
- networking with other stakeholders regionally and globally.
■ Office on the Rights of the Child (ORC): Performance Status Report: 2008/09
Mainstreaming of Child Centred Governance Approach R 400 000
Policy Work: Consolidated database of Children’s rights R 120 924
Capacity Building R 190 999
Advocacy: Day of the African Child, National Children’s Day,
xenophobic attacks in Alexandria R1 200 000
Second situation analysis of children in SA, G8
Summit in Japan, etc R 176 000
Coordination of Children’s Rights Advisory Councils R 200 000
Monitoring and Evaluation: Annual Sectoral Performance
Evaluation and Planning Meetings R 120 000
Quarterly performance tracking meetings with
Provincial Offices on the Rights of the Child,
Study on Child Killings, Report on sexual
exploitation of children and adolescents R 110 000
R2 700 000
■ Office on the Status of Disabled Persons (OSDP) Performance Status Report: 2008/09
Mainstreaming: 2% target; handbook in terms of job accessibility
and reasonable accommodation R 100 000
Ensuring family awareness of government programmes R 10 000
Mainstreaming and capacity building:
Workshops on the UN Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disability and the Policy Framework on
Disability for Local government R 450 000
Awareness campaigns R 300 000
National Disability Summits 2008 R 400 000
Study by SANAC on HIV and AIDS R 20 000
National Disability Machinery to involve Civil Society R 350 000
Policy work: Draft National Disability Policy and Guidelines R 200 000
First State Party Conference on the UN Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities R 300 000
Monitoring & Evaluation: Quarterly Performance Tracking Meetings R 200 000
Visiting government departments to track 2% target,
Research project and work on Fifteen Year Review R 150 000
R2 500 000
Through the National Disability Machinery, disability issues were being elevated, corporate companies bought into employing people with disabilities and a steel company was one of the forerunners embarking on such programme, and the various banks, Total South Africa and other petroleum companies were all looking at permanently employing people with disabilities and improving learnerships of people with disabilities.
It was noted that in government departments, people with disabilities were employed at a lower level.
Donor Funded Danish Economic Empowerment Project
The project’s activities were:
▪ the economic development of four sheltered/protective workshops, two rural and two urban based;
▪ the development of a database of professionals with disabilities;
▪ increase the capacity of the disability movement to place and support persons with disabilities and increase entrepreneurship among young people with disabilities in the workplace.
A website called www.jobaccess.co.za was developed, where people with disabilities could register and corporate companies as well as government departments would advertise vacancies. The website was exclusively for people with disabilities. People were being placed in the corporate sector through employment agencies.
Funds received from the Danish government were R3 million, with remaining funds not yet committed R589,757. The fund was finalised in 2009, and was successfully delivered with a complete handbook on how to convert a protective/sheltered workshop into a viable entity, and also a handbook that departments and organisations could use to track developments and ensure that the needs of persons with disabilities were taken care of. One of the organisations was the Cape Craft Institute, which worked with the protective workshops and developed their wares which were sold on the Internet, overseas, as well as exclusive shops in Sandton City and the Western Cape.
■ Office on the Status on Women (OSW) Performance Status Report: 2008/09
Gender Mainstreaming activities:
The IDC and EDCON sponsored the Coordination and Donor Round Table meeting with the private sector, the UN and the Embassies.
Research: 15 Year Gender Review Report R100 000
Gender Profiling to develop terms of reference with the NGM R750 000
Australian/South Africa Harmful Traditional Practices Project R 32 820
Strategic direction and support to government departments and municipalities
Collaboration with PALAMA – no funding was used because the OSW
in partnership and collaboration with PALAMA sourced
funding for programme and training
Support Gender Mainstreaming and Training Manual R 17 500
Coordinating meetings with NGM, GFP and Provincial OSW R450 312
Collaborating with Department of Arts and Culture – National Women’s
Month activities R 10 000
Hosted celebrations women’s empowerment, National Women’s Month R274 945
16 Days Activism Campaign R 34 200
Men as Partners project -
CEDAW Report launched and submitted to the UN R143 690
IBSA meetings attended by delegates in India R 97 369
The audited financials would be forwarded once made available to the Presidency.
Ms D Robinson (DA) was concerned that the Committee had been totally uninvolved and uninformed about what was happening with Gender, Disability & Children’s Rights activities – this was a the serious shortcoming. There was no report back from the visit to Brazil. She appealed for the Committee to be taken into the confidence of the Minister and officials in order for the Committee to have oversight and to be able to contribute and participate.
Mr Bulbulia responded that there were reports on the international visits and the programmes of action and those would be made available to members. The Department’s approach in taking things forward would bear in mind these cautionary comments.
Ms H Malgas (ANC) noted that the Department was correct in saying that the Annual Report for 2008/09 dealt with Gender, Disability & Children’s Rights when it was still situated within the Presidency, but the Committee should have had the actual report to compare what was done with what was said in this meeting. There were many questions and the Committee could not do justice to it this way. The Department’s appropriation was R14.33 million, and the total of the figures reported was R7,5 million.
Mr Bulbulia clarified that the Presidency came out with a full annual report and these amounts were extracts from that. Once the audited financials were done they would be made available to Parliament as well as to the Portfolio Committee. He agreed that figures put down had to be compared with those presented.
Ms Ramodibe supported Ms Malgas in terms of questioning expenditure not knowing what the budget was and having no comparison.
Mr Sandy Mbatsha clarified that that financial year 2008/09 was before the establishment of the Department and the Ministry.
Ms Malgas said the Department had to hold themselves accountable for the previous year because that was the report being presented.
Ms Memani responded that Ms Malgas’s comments were noted. At the last meeting they were asked to bring this particular report, although the Department had only recently been established. All documentation would be made available for the next meeting.
Ms P Duncan (DA) asked whether the Minister had been invited. It was important for her to attend as there were a lot of outstanding questions.
Ms Memani responded that the Minister had been in hospital and was still not well so had sent the Special Advisors to the meetings. She apologised for not having informed the Committee of the Minister’s state of health.
Ms Ramodibe, on behalf of the Committee, wished the Minister a speedy recovery. The Minister was part of the Department and did not need special invitation.
Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP) appealed to the Department to receive reports prior to the meeting as they dealt with figures that should be studied in advance.
Ms Robinson stated that there were things that happened within the term of office of the new department, such as the 16 Days of Activism Campaign – why did Arts and Culture have to foot so much of the bill? Why was the Committee not aware of activities that were going on and why were members not invited? Departments and Portfolio Committees must not work in isolation of one another. In order to be effective in supporting women, children and people with disabilities, this had to be a closer partnership.
Mr Mbatsha responded that there was a Cabinet decision that all national days fell under the Department of Arts and Culture, so budgets were allocated to Arts and Culture. It was also linked to a of lack of capacity in the Presidency to run those days. He noted the issue of lack of invitations to the Committee for participation.
Ms Malgas was also concerned with the status of the programmes in the report, which did not say whether items were completed or not.
Mr Bulbulia said the question had been noted, it was a different format in terms of reporting.
Ms Duncan said since ORC and machineries were going to exit end of March, had the Department developed a handover report, and whether that report mentioned outstanding and new challenges, and, if so, whether that report could be made available as soon as possible?
Mr Bulbulia replied that when the Ministry was formed, the entire staff and programmes moved to the Ministry so there were reports in terms of what each programme had done. There was not really an exit report in terms of closing; it was more ongoing and improving programmes.
Ms Ramodibe hoped that in the next report there would be improvement in terms of people with disabilities being employed at more senior levels. The Committee wanted to see in practice what was stated on paper, especially with regard to the involvement of civil society.
Ms Duncan asked for an organogram of the new Ministry. It was important to see how many people were employed in each sector and whether it set an example by reaching the 2% target.
Ms Memani said it had been tabled at the last meeting; the information would be provided. No appointments had been made yet, but the post of Director General had been advertised and should be appointed soon.
Ms Ramodibe thanked the Department. She announced that as there was no quorum, the meeting could not continue with the adoption of the Committee Programme.
The meeting was adjourned.
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