The Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (DWCPD) briefed the Select Committee on its strategic plan and budget. The presenters gave an overview of the newly formed Department, noting that the reason for its establishment was to create a stand-alone national machinery for the three specific sectors of gender, children and persons with disabilities. The overall mandate, vision and mission of the Department were highlighted, and the core functions were described. The Department must promote and protect the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities, facilitate and coordinate collaboration across these sectors, set rights and development oriented norms and standards for political and socio-economic transformation, monitor and evaluate the delivery on agreed targets in the three sectors, and advance international cooperation and partnerships to promote and protect socio-economic and cultural rights of the three sectors.
The presentation then outlined the strategic objectives, which were derived from the State of the Nation Address and the core functions. It was mentioned that the DWCPD would be setting a gender, national and disability agenda, developing a Green Paper, developing gender, children and persons with disability programmes of action for Government to pursue, mainstreaming women, child and disability issues into key programmes of lead departments, and providing leadership, coordination and monitoring and evaluation skills. The DWCPD’s programmes were outlined. The budget allocation was discussed. The total budget allocation was about a third of what had been requested over the three year period, and it was noted that from this amounts were still to be transferred to the Commission for Gender Equality. The Committee echoed the Department’s concerns that the budget allocation was too little to allow it to deliver fully on the programmes or to appoint the requisite staff. The Department outlined its achievements from May 2009 to date.
Members said that the Committee should be focusing on monitoring and evaluation. A Member was concerned that timeframes and specific outcomes were not always mentioned in the Strategic Plan. Members also enquired what mechanisms the Department had put in place to achieve the programmes set aside for persons with disabilities, the relationship between the previous entities and the new Department, the status of the programmes being taken over, and what the review of the budget would entail. The Department asked that it be specifically recorded that the current budget made it very difficult for the Department to advertise and employ new people in each of the three sectors. The Committee suggested that for the moment the budget be accepted, although it was noted as inadequate, said that it would try to assist the Department to gain an increased allocation in September, and assured the Department of its continuing support.
Department of Women, Children, and Persons with Disabilities: Budget and Strategic Plan briefing 2010/11
Ms Ellen Kornegay, Deputy Director General, Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (DWCPD or the Department), noted that the Committee had asked the Department to address some key priority areas and these would be covered in her presentation.
Ms Kornegay tendered the apologies of the Minister of the DWCPD whose ill health did not permit attendance at this meeting.
Ms Kornegay outlined that the central reason for establishing a stand-alone national machinery to address gender, disability and children’s rights (GDC) was based on the need to address issues of capacity, technical skills and financial resources. It was also intended to expand government’s capacity for mainstreaming GDC rights. The establishment of the DWCPD and other new departments was a critical part of government’s goal to align the electoral mandate, governance structures and developmental challenges that needed to receive immediate and urgent attention.
The overall mandate of the Department was to drive the government’s equity, equality and empowerment agenda of marginalised groups and historically disadvantaged communities, in each of the sectors, through mainstreaming, empowerment and oversight. The vision of the DWCPD was to progress to a non-sexist, non-racial, equitable and quality-oriented inclusive society that cared for, protected and developed the human potential of its women, children and persons with disabilities (wcpd). It aimed to create an enabling environment for translation of Constitutional obligations, policies and legislative frameworks into realisation of all GDC rights.
The core functions of the DWCPD were to promote and protect the rights of the wcpd. It must accelerate the implementation of Constitutional and international obligations through projects in the three sectors, coordinate and facilitate collaboration in the three sectors to ensure mainstreaming of GDC considerations in key governance and programme frameworks, including strengthening the public private partnerships (PPP), and setting norms and standards for political and socio-economic transformation. It must monitor and evaluate the delivery on agreed targets in the three sectors. This would culminate in disaggregated data becoming available, and lead to research findings and national efficiencies for comprehensive reporting. Finally, the Department would ensure the advancement of international cooperation and partnerships to promote and protect socio-economic and cultural rights of wcpd.
The strategic objectives for the next five years included creating an enabling policy environment for translation of Government’s mandate, and to facilitate the mainstreaming of the GDC considerations into government policies, activities and programmes through the establishment of relevant structures, mechanisms and projects. The Department also had to ensure compliance and comprehensive reporting on implementation of national, continental and international commitments, through an effective and efficient Monitoring and Evaluation system. It must facilitate planning, track progress and formulate strategies for continuous improvement in the three sectors. Finally, it must be a leader of all women, children’s rights and disability initiatives at national, continental and international levels.
Ms Kornegay then noted that the State of the Nation Address had emphasised the need “to integrate gender equity measures into the government’s programme of action [and] ensure that women, children and persons with disabilities could access developmental opportunities.” That pronouncement was made within the backdrop of the Key National Government Priorities which included the Government Plan of Action. The key priority for the DWCPD was therefore to set a GDC national agenda that was integral to all national machinery. The Department would be developing a Green Paper that would embody what the national agenda would be, and would also indicate how the national agenda would be implemented, then develop a GDC Programme of Action to mirror the national programme of action and integrate the five priority areas selected by government. It would be working to mainstream women’s empowerment and equality, children’s rights and responsibilities and equality of those with disabilities into the key programmes of relevant lead departments. The Department would lead the development of leadership and transformation of norms and standards as well as integrating all these initiatives into projects. Equity would run through the Government’s Plan of Action as a theme.
The Department had begun to consult with other departments, including the Department of Communication and the Department of Labour. The DWCPD also had an agreement with the Department of Health to look into the 19 outputs planned as a priority for the next few years. There had also been some preliminary discussions with the Department of Trade and Industry and letters had gone out to all Ministers and all Directors General about the need to reach target indicators in the various sectors.
The key departmental programmes for 2010/2011 were described. The four programmes were Administration, the Women’s Programme, the Children’s Programme and the People with Disabilities Programme. Key priority programmes for 2010/11 under Programme 1 would include sector specific Izimbizos, special consultations, establishment of a special GDC Cabinet committee, consultations with Premiers and Mayors and relevant key organs of civil society. The strategic thrust of the DWCPD would be further refined. There was a need to reach a common understanding of GDC rights and decide how they would be integrated into the overall government’s performance. The Green Paper must be finalised to anchor the work of the Department.
The programmes in respect of the three sectors had been integrated under the branches. Here, critical policies needed to be consolidated, in the sense that there would be determination of what had been achieved, and what was still needed on those policies, and what strategies were required to move forward, and to match implementation to expectations. Secondly, there would be a focus on the critical initiatives to mainstream equity measures in the Government Plan of Action. Thirdly, monitoring and evaluation, and the consolidation of a holistic system to achieve this, was important.
Three areas of the DWCPD structure had been approved, each having a Chief Directorate for policy, a Chief Directorate for mainstreaming and a Chief Directorate for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and research.
The Department would be focusing upon sector specific developments at national, continental and international level. The national level would also include consideration of the Constitutional mandate, whilst the Continental and international levels would involve examination and implementation of agreements to which South Africa was a signatory. The revised national institutional machinery was put in place to allow for better implementation of policies and DWCPD must review that architecture and ensure that it did allow for GDC rights to be implemented meaningfully, with policies aligned to continuous review of strategies.
Ms Kornegay then described the policies that would be developed or reviewed. The South African National Policy Framework for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality, development of the Equality Bill, the review of the National Policy for the Advancement of Children’s Rights’ delivery in South Africa, the review of the National Plan of Action for Children in South Africa, and the review of the National Disability Policy and implementation guidelines were all mentioned.
For the current year, DWCPD would focus on the promotion and advancement of the GDC sensitive planning, programming and budgeting. It would also focus on promoting a common understanding of GDC and its impact against national priorities, mainstreaming of rights, and equity measures in key programmes of Government. DWCPD would also facilitate and lead projects for the advancement and acceleration of delivery on the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities. The programmes on which it had commenced work were listed (see attached presentation) and some of these mirrored international programmes such as Save the Children.
DWCPD would focus on the monitoring and evaluation of sector specific compliance with the Constitutional, continental and international GDC mandates, and on determining the high level sector specific indicators for integration in the Government-Wide M&E framework, and the sector specific equity measures for integration in the National Planning System. It would monitor and implement the 2% disability quota in government, while also conducting research to determine quota implementation barriers, financial implications for government, and remedial strategies. The monitoring and evaluation programme also would look at the development and facilitation of sector specific agreements on targets, indicators and rights-based implementation norms and standards. Finally, sector specific databases would be developed to facilitate rapid and comprehensive reporting at national and international levels.
Ms Kornegay noted that the Committee was interested in hearing about the mechanisms that would be used to undertake this work. The DWCPD had looked carefully at its mandate, and had drawn a distinction between internal transformation in regard to GDC rights, and external transformation. The DWCPD would take a multidisciplinary approach to ensure that it did justice to the cross cutting nature of the issues. The DWCPD would also create collaboration and linkages across sectors in an effort to move towards an integrated and holistic mode of intervention, and it would provide the leadership in advancing an integrated approach to incorporate GDC considerations into Government’s Programme of Action, undertake projects to advance the agenda, ensure efficient GDC coordination systems, and provide oversight, facilitate reporting and conduct GDC analyses of national legislation and policies.
She therefore noted that the GDC thus would comprise overall policy development, policy implementation, collection and dissemination of GDC related data, and the mainstreaming of equity measures in the National Programme of Action.
Mr T Mashamaite (ANC, Limpopo) noted that the DWCPD, having been established in May 2009, was still a new department. He was pleased to note that its operational plan set out targets and budgets, and that it corresponded with the strategic plan. He suggested that the Committee should focus on monitoring and evaluation when doing its oversight, that this oversight should follow the operational plan of the Department and that it must check that all the Strategic Plans were being achieved and that the Department was responding to issues.
Mr D Worth (DA, Free State) said that he was concerned about certain aspects of the Strategic Plan. Some of the specific outcomes were not included for some plans and programmes, and the Strategic Plan did not always specify target dates. Another issue was that of the budget allocation. The Department had requested a budget of R346 million for one year, but had been awarded that amount over three years, with R97 million granted for 2010/2011. The budget allocated for child rights and for persons with disabilities amounted to only R7.1 million each, which he noted was a fraction of what was needed. He was worried that not much could be achieved with such a small budget, and something must be achieved lest the Department be classified as a department that had plans but did not deliver on them.
The Chairperson said that most of Mr Worth’s concerns had been responded to in the operational plan.
The Chairperson said that in respect of policy development, the baseline figures for women and children were readily available. She enquired what mechanisms the Department had put in place to achieve the programmes set aside for persons with disabilities.
Ms Kornegay asked what the protocol was in relation to questions raised, noting that many of the same questions had been raised at Portfolio Committee level, and had been responded to in writing. She agreed that indicators, outputs and timeframes were included. She confirmed that the Department was not satisfied with the budget allocation. The allocation had included amounts for the Commission for Gender Equality, the office of the Minister, the office of the Director-General and Corporate Services, so it would need to cover programmes, not only personnel costs. Of the overall budget allocation of R90 790 million for 2010/11, R51 949 million was for the Gender Commission, and less than this was actually for the Department.
Ms Kornegay noted that the Department was presenting its allocation for the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. However, she would also present the achievements from 2 May 2009 to 31 March 2010. Most of the work between September 2009 and January 2010 was concentrated on setting up the strategic framework, the budget and the structure of that Department, which was approved in November 2009, with budget approval happening in February 2010.
The Department had entered into partnerships with the Department for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and had held consultations around child-killing, for the 16 days of No Violence against Women and Children campaign. Reports were finalised and forwarded to Statistics SA for final editing and endorsements. Situational analyses on the status of children in South Africa had been finalised. A report had been compiled in relation to women’s issues, and the Department had participated in United Nations initiatives around women. All three programmes held national days, which were approved by government. These highlights were in addition to the fundamental work of establishing of the Department and ensuring that there was a basis for its operation.
The Chairperson enquired about the relationship between the DWCPD and other departments and spheres of government, as well as the handover process.
Ms Kornegay said that the new Department had to receive an inventory of the budget, programmes, and human and IT resources from the institutions now being incorporated into the new Department, and this had to be signed off. The previous Director General had to hand over to the new Department’s Director General. Many of the reports still remained with the previous Department. Once the appointment of the new Director General had been approved, the process of handover would occur. Transfers of the Office on the Status of Women, the Office on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and the Office for the Rights of the Child had actually taken place, with their programmes being formally transferred to the new Department and the staff from those offices moving in to the new Department.
The Chairperson asked what the review of budget policy would entail and how the Department was going to measure that.
Ms Kornegay said that R90 790 million was the budget with which the Department must work for 2010/2011. This could only be reconsidered during the September adjustments.
Mr Mashamaite said that the Department had 194 posts in total but had only filled 167 of them. He wanted to know, in light of that budget, how many more people the Department was able to employ without exceeding its budget.
Ms Kornegay said that the Department of Public Service and Administration had concurred with a structure of 194 posts, which was allocated as costing R72 million over a period of three years. There were documents and plans that clearly delineated which staff would be hired in each of those three years. After the National Treasury had awarded the budget allocation, the Department had to revisit the numbers, as it would be impossible, on the current budget, to hire 194 period in those three years, unless National Treasury did augment the budget considerably to deal with this. The Department currently was working with the people transferred from the three offices mentioned earlier. New staff had been hired primarily in the Minister’s office. The Director General would have to make a careful determination of how many people could be hired, on the basis of the budget.
Ms Mabel Rantla, Chief Director, DWCPD, said that the current budget made it very difficult for the Department to advertise and employ new people in each of the three sectors. She believed that this point should be recorded.
The Chairperson wanted to know what the Committee could do to assist the Department.
Ms Kornegay said that the Committee could assist with oversight.
The Chairperson said that the Committee could also politically engage.
Mr Mashamaite amplified that the Committee could engage politically with the Minister. He agreed that it seemed unlikely that the Department could recruit more people with its current budget and that this must stand over. He suggested that the Committee should pass the budget, because nothing could be done to increase it at present, but place emphasis on the concerns raised. The Committee wanted to see the Department performing on its mandate but understood that because of its budget the Department would underperform. He noted that the Committee would readily assist the Department on any urgent matters that needed attention.
The Chairperson thanked the Department and wished it success, also reiterating that this Committee would assist as far as it could to ensure that the Department was able to deliver.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Department for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Estimates of National Expenditure 2010: Vote 7
- DWCPD Operational Plan 2010/2011 Programme 4
- DWCPD Operational Plan 2010/2011 Programme 3
- DWCPD Operational Plan 2010/2011Pogramme 2
- Department for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Constituting Strategy Framework
- DWCPD Strategic Plan
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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