The Committee considered its report on the Budget Vote of the Department of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability.
The report was adopted with corrections and amendments.
Adoption of Committee Report on Department of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability budget
The Chairperson explained to Members that it was important to adopt the Report without delay. It was not necessary to study the Report in its entirety, but rather to concentrate on observations. She asked members to make additions and recommendations.
Ms D Robinson (DA) asked for clarity on the Department’s catalytic projects. What were they? She asked from where the money would be found to fund them, and if they were included in the Women’s Fund.
The Chairperson assured Ms Robinson that the projects were funded by the Department from its Budget, but she was not sure what they entailed.
Ms S Rwexana (COPE) said that firstly the Committee had to resolve the question of the Department’s mandate because the funds for Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability were placed elsewhere in different departments and it was difficult for the Department to co-ordinate those funds. Its mandate was not clarified and therefore it was important for those funds to be placed under the Department. She further asked the Committee whether they agreed with the allocation to the Department over a three year period.
Ms H Malgas (ANC) stressed that the Department’s mandate was oversight; it was not mandated to implement policy. She further asked the Committee to recommend that the Department should cut certain projects out of the Department’s Budget of the Department and that these projects should be implemented by other Departments in accordance with their budgets.
Ms P Duncan (DA) agreed with Ms Rwexana’s concern. She was disappointed with the Department for not ensuring the handover of reports to the Committee from the Office on the Status of Women (OSW), the Office on the Rights of the Child (ORC), and the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons (OSDP) [known as the Gender, Disability and Children Cluster]. She further asked the researchers to change the bullet numbering of the report so that it might be easier for Members to refer to it. She also stressed that the Committee should encourage the Department and the new Ministry to learn from past mistakes, and not to overlook their mandate, strategic plan and their organizational structure.
The Chairperson concurred with Ms Duncan by emphasising that the Committee should convey its concerns to the Department in writing.
Ms Robinson emphasised that the wording to the effect that the Department was funding the catalytic projects should be changed because these projects were funded by other Departments.
Ms D Ramodibe (ANC) said that, although she agreed with Ms Rwexana, she was concerned that the Committee was unable to make recommendations on other Departments’ mandates.
The Chairperson interjected by stressing that Ms Ramodibe was correct in raising her concerns, but that a political decision was needed on the question of mandate.
Ms Malgas pointed out the recommendations highlighting the catalytic projects which the Department should review in terms of its mandate.
The Chairperson concluded that as far as the question of catalytic projects concerned, the Department should revisit that issue. She asked Members to deliberate on the mandate of the Department as a recommendation.
Ms Rwexana said that she was not sure whether the name of the Department and Ministry would be changed and she recommended a review of the mandate. She was also concerned about conflicts of interests and emphasised that it needed more extensive discussion.
Ms P Lebenya (IFP) suggested that the matter should be discussed further because the problem was not so much the mandate of the Department but about understanding the mandate. She also said that there was not enough time to engage with the Department and asked what expectations the Committee and the women of South Africa had from the Department.
The Chairperson said that she differed with Ms Lebenya in terms of the Committee’s understanding of what the Department was doing. She stressed that the functions were moved from the OSW to the new Ministry because the Ministry was formed for the better functioning of the Department and the OSW was under-resourced and had no capacity. She further stressed that as far as the Committee was concerned it was clear as to what the Department was doing. Maybe it was the Department that was not clear what was expected of it. On the question of the mandate she explained that the Committee would be more relaxed if the mandate was under the Presidency because the Presidency would exercise its authority, whereas at present the mandate was on the same level as the other Departments’ mandates. She further explained that the mandate was correct but the problem was its location; it was not clear where it was.
Ms Lebenya proposed that the Committee should first meet with the Department so as to understand what Members wanted and what they Department expected of Members.
The Chairperson responded that the problem with Ms Lebenya’s proposal was that the Committee had to adopt the report before the debate and that the resources needed for the Department’s work were with the other departments. A way forward for the Department was to ask for a certain percentage from the resources of those departments by means of monitoring that such percentage was applied to address the issues of women.
Mr D Kekana (ANC) proposed that the Committee needed to think strategically and convince the other departments on how to deliver resources to the Department. He emphasized that the Committee should develop strategic plans that would talk to the issues of women so as to convince the other departments of the seriousness of the Department’s mandate.
Ms Ramodibe said that the Department would not achieve its objectives so long it was still on the same level as the other departments. She stressed that the Committee would continue to plead for a new ministry that would have authority as to the functions of the Department.
Mr G Selau (ANC) proposed that the recommendations should be put on record together with the report which had to be adopted. It should be noted that further discussion was needed until there was consensus.
The Chairperson asked, in the light of Members’ amendments, when the Committee would have to adopt the Report. She stressed that it was important to take heed of Mr Kekana’s proposal that there was a need to further discuss the issue.
Ms K Abrahams (Committee Researcher) reassured Members that the Committee would further discuss its concerns with the Department as to whether the current location of the mandate of the Department was appropriate.
The Chairperson interjected that in terms of the visibility of the location it was important for the Committee to have further discussion with the Department
Ms Duncan stressed that the Department should removed from the Presidency and it should have the same legal authority in respect of oversight functions instead of implementation, and it should hold other Departments accountable. She further stressed that the Committee needed to get together again to debate the matter further.
The Chairperson agreed that there was a need to further debate the matter
Mr Selau stressed that it was important for the Committee to hold further debates because there were many pending issues which needed to be discussed and resolved by the Committee.
Ms Lebenya said that she was more confused by the Committee’s apparent view that it did not want the Department to be an implementing Department. If the Department was not to have the responsibility of implementation, why was the Committee objecting that the Budget was so small?
The Chairperson asked Ms Abrahams to explain to the Committee about the Department’s role of monitoring and implementation.
Ms Abrahams explained that the Committee was at a disadvantage when the promulgation happened. She stressed that the Department was not for implementation, but its role was to assess the implementation of the other Departments concerning issues of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability. She stressed that in terms of implementation, the Department was different from other Departments. Its role was to make certain that other departments understood what was required of them and that implementation must not be gender perspective.
The Chairperson explained that implementation by the Department was not literally implementation in practical terms, but implementation in terms of making sure that other departments understood what was required of them.
Ms Rwexana asked the Chairperson for explanation from the Committee Researchers about the Women’s Fund, Children’s Fund and the People with Disability Fund and where they were located.
The Chairperson also asked whether the funds were not within the R156m Budget of the Department.
Ms C Levendale (Committee Researcher) explained that there was a sum of R7 million in the funds that would be coordinated with the other departments.
The Chairperson said that she was not sure whether that was an advantage or disadvantage of the Department.
Mr G Rhode (Committee Researcher) said that he was worried about the duplication of roles between the Committee and the Department. He explained that the Committee’s role was oversight and Department’s role was policy development and Department has to champion gender policy issues affecting Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability. He stressed that the Department should interact with the Department of Labour and other Departments make sure that the issues of gender, children and people with disability were mainstreamed in those Departments.
Mr. Kekana proposed that the researcher should draft a discussion paper so that the Committee would come back and draw definite conclusions. He further stressed that a policy had always but there was no implementation of that policy.
Ms Duncan said that she had requested the Budget analysis - how much spent on woman, how much on youth, how much on children and how much on people with disability. She further stressed that she was very excited about the new Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability. She also said that she disagreed with Mr Rhode on the alleged duplication of roles between the Department and the Committee.
The Chairperson asked for the adoption of the report.
The report was adopted.
Ms Robinson said that the Democratic Alliance could not recommend the proposed budget, but that she accepted the Report.
The meeting was adjourned.
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