The Department addressed the Committee about the concerns that Members had highlighted during the previous interaction with the Department. The concerns were derived from the Department’s limited budget allocation of R156 million from National Treasury.
Members raised concerns about the Strategic Plan for 2010-2013, Operational Plan and the budget as stipulated in the Estimates of the National Expenditure (ENE) for 2010.
The Committee endorsed the Department’s Operational and Strategic Plan, subject to changes and recommendations made by Members.
Dr Ellen Kornegay, Acting Director-General (DG) of the Department for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, noted that the Committee had raised several concerns during its previous engagement with the Department. The purpose of the meeting was therefore was to address these concerns and to clarify matters.
The Committee had expressed concern about the R156 million Estimates of the National Expenditure (ENE) for 2010.
Dr Kornegay agreed that the Budget allocation of R156 million was a great concern. The initial strategy and operational plan briefing that had been tabled to Parliament on 17 March had illustrated the funding process and the relentless effort made by the Department to motivate to the National Treasury a budget that would cover expenditure. The stipulated expenditure pertained to the physical establishment of the Department, the implementation of the national, international and continental mandates and the recruitment of critical skills and personnel compensation.
Dr Kornegay confirmed that the Department had not developed a budget on the basis of the R156 million as the allocation was still a work in progress given political consultations.
Members had expressed disquiet about the Department’s lack of consultation with other Departments and duplication.
Dr Kornegay said that the Department in alignment with similar structures for gender, disability and children (GDC), had the responsibility of updating, preparing and monitoring the implementation of national GDC plans.
Dr Kornegay identified mainstreaming as a key strategy and transformative tool that recognised that the majority of institutions consciously and unconsciously did not cater for interests of vulnerable groups. She highlighted the Department’s key responsibilities on oversight.
Ms H Malgas (ANC) was concerned about the costing of the programmes not being justified.
Dr Kornegay noted that the Department had conferred a cost breakdown of each activity aligned to a specific budget. The Department had been involved in a rigorous re-prioritising process.
The Committee had expressed concern as to why the annual programme budget had decreased within the Medium Term Expenditure (MTEF) period.
Dr Kornegay said that National Treasury had directed the Department to look at adjusted estimates processes for funding. The Department had informed National Treasury that the allocation did decrease over the MTEF period and that it had an affect on the Department’s ability to execute its mandates.
The Committee was concerned about the Department programmes that needed to be aligned to budgets, with expenditure detail as well as the annual performance plan.
Dr Kornegay referred to the Department’s operational plan for 2010/11. The Department had prepared a critical path for each of its chief directorates for the provision of alignment.
The Committee was concerned that there was no continuity in terms of the Department‘s programmes and the work done by the Office on the Status on Women (OSW).
According to the Department, several reasons had made it impossible for the OSW to fully facilitate, co-ordinate and provide the necessary oversight required so South Africa could meet its obligation to empower women, children and persons with disabilities. One of the reasons provided was the lack of funding and adequate human resources and the rank of officials driving programmes for the three sectors. Also, the level of authority had not been aligned with the responsibility for co-ordination and oversight.
Dr Kornegay said the Department had regarded achievements in the three sectors since 1994 until May 2010 as a critical foundation to entrench women’s empowerment, gender equality and children’s rights, and the development of opportunities for persons with disabilities.
The Committee was concerned that the review and development of policies in relation to women, children and persons with disabilities was not warranted. Many of the policies had been reviewed and required Cabinet approval. The Committee recommended that the focus should be rather placed on the implementation of those policies.
Dr Kornegay confirmed that the current National Policy for Gender Equality, the National Policy for the Advancement of Children’s Rights and the National Disability Strategy were formed with the Presidency through structures like the OSW as central to the national programmes for women empowerment, rights of persons with disabilities and gender equality.
According to documented Committee concerns, the development of the Department‘s Green Paper at such a late stage was questionable. The Committee had recommended that the Department focus on a Green Paper that was set on improving the lives of persons with disabilities, children and women.
Dr Kornegay said that even though there had been slow progress towards the development of the Green Paper, it did not take away its dire importance. The Green Paper would form the basis for an Act that would clarify the legal mandate and authority of the Department. That Act would also govern the work of the new department and its institutional arrangements inside and outside government.
The Committee had expressed concern about the absence of the heads of women, children and disability branches at the initial briefing as they were the leaders in their sectors.
Dr Kornegay said that the absence of the sector specific Deputy Director Generals was due to the fact that sufficient budgets had not been allocated to employ them. The progammes had been managed by leaders of former components, like the OSW for example.
Dr Kornegay ensured that those members would in future, also attend the Committee meetings.
The Committee was concerned that catalytic projects did not address the mandate of the Department as they replicated the programmes and functions of the other Departments.
Dr Kornegay conferred an example in the children’s rights sector and used it to illustrate how catalytic projects spoke to the Department’s mandate and how it did not duplicate the functions of other Departments. The example she used was the ‘Reclamation, rehabilitation and re-integration of children living on the streets’.
According to the Department, its role in catalytic projects pertained to the identification of women, children or disability rights issues, comprehensive reporting, the provision of rights technical support and the development of a concept paper to protect the rights of persons in the targeted sector.
The Committee was concerned that the Department Strategic Plan should be informed of the key issues identified in the Committee’s Strategic Plan.
According to the Department, it could not absorb the Strategic Plan of the Committee, as the Committee had an oversight function towards the Department, which had been informed by the Government Plan of Action.
Dr Kornegay said the integration of the Committee’s Strategic Plan into the Strategic Plan of the Department would not be easy as the two structures had separate mandates for concurrent implementation.
The Committee was concerned that the Department‘s overall Budget over the MTEF period was decreasing instead of increasing.
The concern needed to be addressed by the National Treasury.
The Chairperson noted that it was important for documentation to be forwarded on time to the Committee to allow for better engagement from members.
The Department was progressing with that regard. It was noted that the Department had worked hard over the Human Rights day long weekend to ensure the presentation on the 24 March.
According to the Committee, the Strategic Plan had not been signed by the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Minister Noluthando Sibiya.
That omission had been rectified already on 24 March 2010, according to the Department.
Ms Malgas asked if Dr Kornegay was the Acting Accounting Officer for the day.
The Minister confirmed that Dr Kornegay was the Acting Accounting Officer for the day.
The Committee was concerned that the appointment of the Department’s Accounting Officer had not been finalised.
According to the Department, the process of appointing the Accounting Officer was in progress. The Department had conducted interviews on 23 March and the appointment was expected to be finalised by the end of April 2010.
The Committee was concerned that about the Department’s absence of time frames to meet requisite goals.
Dr Kornegay said that the time frames should form part of the operational plan and that the critical path would comprise those timeframes.
The Committee was concerned that many of the indicators that the Department had listed were broad objectives that could not be used to determine progress.
Dr Kornegay noted that government had instituted an outcomes based process that required Departments to provide outcomes based indicators.
The Committee was concerned about the R3 million for quality administrative support.
According to the Department, the R3 million was inclusive of travelling expenses, accommodation, subsistence and travelling allowances, general services and catering.
The Committee was concerned about the Minister’s special projects of R400 000 and wanted to know how sustainable they were.
Dr Kornegay said they were ad hoc projects that the Minister undertook for the execution of duties which could not be catered for under the branches of the Department. It was inclusive of Limbizo, the convening Ministerial Advisory Councils and consultation with field experts.
The Committee was concerned about the R500 000 that had been allocated for the Annual Report.
Dr Kornegay noted that the allocation was meant to cover the strategic and operational sessions, report, printing, design, presentation and nationwide distribution.
Ms P Duncan (DA) said that it was not necessary for the Department to produce glossy annual reports as it was more expensive.
Ms D Robinson (DA) echoed her stance on the expense of glossy publications.
Mr G Selau (ANC) asked why the organogram had only reflected the Director-General (DG) and not the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Dr Kornegay said that CFOs were part of the Corporate Services branches in departments and that that would also apply to the Department for Women, Children and people with disabilities.
The CFO would therefore fall under the Corporate Services branch as Head of the Department’s Financial Management.
Minister N Sibiya noted that the Department did not have a CFO as yet.
The National Gender Policy Framework had been reviewed by the previous OSW but had not been presented to Parliament or approved by Cabinet. The Committee felt that it was unacceptable that additional funds be allocated to initiate the process as work had already begun.
According to the Department, the National Policy Framework for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) had not been reviewed as previously planned as a result of insufficient funding. It had been incorporated into the current operational plan to ensure that the policy document was in alignment with the new institutional arrangements.
The Committee had been concerned that the analysis of gaps in the implementation of domestic violence was not warranted. They wanted the Department to clarify the legislation it had proposed to examine.
Dr Kornegay said the amended operational plan took cognisance of the recommendation of the Committee regarding the legislation that had already been analysed.
The Committee was concerned that the money allocated for awareness-raising was inadequate.
The Department spokesperson responded that the operational plan had allocated money for the commemoration of the National Women’s Day and International Women’s Day. The 16 days of activism campaign and the insufficiency of funding for its opening and closing ceremonies was also noted. That financial constraint had been a direct result of the R156 million constraints.
The Committee noted the concern regarding the Women’s Empowerment Fund as well as the Stokvels project.
The Committee was concerned about the Department’s mainstreaming and capacity development.
The Committee, in its previous meeting had been concerned that the establishment of a task team for the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Report for R700 000 had not been justified.
Dr Kornegay said that the R700 000 was an aggregate estimate that costs the CEDAW process that had been based on previous submissions.
The Committee was concerned that the Strategic Plan had been silent regarding the Department’s role of the implementation of recommendations from the human rights bodies.
According to the Department, the operational plan addressed the implementation of the CEDAW Committee recommendations under a measurable objective.
The Committee said children’s rights awareness was based only on commemorative days. They wanted it to be an ongoing process.
The Committee said activities to implement frameworks for mainstreaming in Departments did not suffice as performance measures and targets.
The Committee said the street children catalytic project was not justified as the Department of Social Development (DSD) and several Municipalities had already been doing work in that regard. The Committee was concerned about duplications.
Dr Kornegay noted that the Department was not a service delivery structure and asked members to refer to the catalytic street children project detail.
The Committee was concerned that the R900 000 for the development of quarterly reports and meetings of the Advisory Council. They felt that it was exorbitant.
Dr Kornegay said that the Operational Plan had provided all the reviewed expenditure details.
When asked how the Department was going to undertake the research protocol project without a budget allocation, the Committee was asked to refer to the attached operational plan.
The Committee was concerned about the clarification of the Human Resource (HR) branch.
Dr Kornegay said that the Branch HR and its establishment formed part of the detailed Departmental Structure.
The Committee was concerned about the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) being responsible for the production and dissemination of government material. They asked what was the justification for the R800 000 for the production of Braille material by the Department.
Dr Kornegay responded that the mandate of the Branch was to make those documents produced by the Department accessible for its entire client base.
The Department’s focus on the implementation of the Mental Health Act was noted as a concern by the Committee.
The Committee was concerned about awareness-raising that was solely focused on commemorative days.
The Committee asked what had informed the Department to develop a draft Disability Bill and also how feasible the initiative would be.
Dr Kornegay said that the specific Act was necessary to address non-compliance issues on disability related policies and as well as for the enforcement of compliance.
Mainstreaming and capacity development as well as issues pertaining to monitoring evaluation were read from the documentation presented by the Department.
A concern tabled by the Committee was about the R2, 333 000 that had not been accounted for in the operational plan.
Dr Kornegay said the Department’s resubmitted operational plan had accounted for all the funding and that the amounts were now adding up and were aligned to the ENE allocation.
The Committee had been concerned about the lack of knowledge by the Department pertaining to the Commission for Gender Equality’s (CGE) programmes, roles and fiscal allocation.
According to the Department, a meeting had taken place with CGE Commissioners where a task team had been established to discuss the mandate of the CGE in comparison to the Department’s mandate. Follow-up meetings would be held soon.
The importance of the Department’s consulting with other departments to avoid duplication was emphasised as a Committee concern.
Recommendations by the Committee had been that information needed to be forwarded to Parliament at least 24 hours before.
The Department confirmed that they would relay information on time in future.
The Committee had recommended that the appointment of the DG should be expedited and that strategic and operational plans needed implementation time frames.
The Committee recommended that the Department use the Strategic Plan reporting template as shared by Mr D Kekana (ANC).
Dr Kornegay noted that it would be the style for future strategic plan reporting.
It was also recommended by the Committee that the Department send them a complete record of what was sent to National Treasury in September 2009.
Dr Kornegay said that the document would be sent to Parliament.
The Committee had recommended that the catalytic projects should be informed by overarching national issues affecting women, children and people with disabilities.
Dr Kornegay noted that the Committee needed to refer to the children’s sections as the issue had already been addressed.
The Department was to focus on preventative measures.
The Committee recommended that the domestic violence and abuse of persons with disabilities should be a feature in the Strategic Plan of the Department. It should also be aligned to the Committee’s report as derived from the public hearings.
The Committee recommended that the focus of the Department should be on the implementation of policies.
Dr Kornegay concurred that the Department would be focusing on the implementation of policies.
The Committee endorsed the Department’s Operational and Strategic Plan, subject to changes and recommendations made by Committee members.
The meeting was adjourned.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.