The Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (the Department), in the presence of the Minister, presented the 1st quarter 2010 Performance Report. The Department had participated in a global, regional and national “Unite to End Violence” campaign. The Department was also working with the United Nations Fund for Population Advancement, had assisted women to participate in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Fair for Women in
In respect of children, the Department had identified critical children’s rights to be mainstreamed into key government departments, as well as preparing a draft on Child Protection and development of a framework. The second and third country reports on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child were to be presented at Cluster meetings, then approved by Cabinet. The Department was collaborating with other departments on child-friendly and clean cities projects, and planned a National Children’s day. The 1-Goal education campaign and indabas were also planned. The Department described the various campaigns and commemorative days that it organised were set out. Prior to the World Cup, it launched awareness of protection of children, and the Department claimed that there were no major incidents regarding children reported during the World Cup. Awareness was also raised on ritual killings and early and forced marriages. In regard to people with disabilities, the Department had discussed the draft report on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with the Disability Alliance, and this report would be submitted to the UN in November, after approval by the Committee and Cabinet. The Department gave input into three draft policies on disability mainstreaming and had published disability specific indicators on health, education, employment and social security, in the government Report on Development Indicators. Other input was made into other conferences or departmental initiatives. Various campaigns and special projects were outlined, including publication of a book by writers with disabilities, funded by a Flemish donor. A National Conference on Disability was scheduled for 2 and 3 December 2010. A review of the National Integrated Disability Strategy, in line with the UN Convention, was to be undertaken.
The Department outlined its plans for building institutional capacity, noted its new communications strategy and the Department’s website, and said it was appointing a new Director General and 34 other staff, who would fill 30% of the Department’s posts in this financial year. Financial systems had been put in place. It had a total budget of R97.7 million, of which R51.94 million was intended for the Commission on Gender Equality. As at 31 August, the Department itself had spent 47% of its own appropriated amount and had transferred 44.88% to the Commission on Gender Equality. It had requested additional funding of R44.4 million. It was to make use of the Presidential policy frameworks until all structures had been set up.
Some Members felt that the report was too general, and that nothing substantial seemed to have been achieved over the past two years, particularly in regard to rural women. They also asked where the reports were that had been promised to the Committee in March, and asked for the resolutions from indabas. Members asked when the posts would be filled, commenting that the Department could not succeed when it was understaffed. They asked how much was spent on the website, on the publication of the book, whether the Department had contributed to Ilitha Labantu, and what it was doing about the over spending. Members also asked about the progress on ukuthwala and human trafficking, asked why the Department had not consulted with communities on traditional practices, and what was planned. A Member challenged the assertion that there were no major incidents involving human trafficking and asked the Department to consult with the Hawks.
1st quarter 2010 performance report by the Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (DWCPD)
Mr Ken Terry, Acting Director General, Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, gave the 1st quarter performance report for 2010, and updated the Committee on issues around progress in mainstreaming, the international obligations, progress on disability and its plans for campaigns and commemorative days.
Mr Terry quoted President Zuma’s speech on Women’s Day 2009, which had said that the Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (the Department or DWCPD) would “monitor other government departments to ensure the mainstreaming of gender, children’s rights, and disability considerations into all programmes of government, to respond to issues of these targeted groups in an integrated and coherent manner.” He had further referred to the need “to integrate gender equity measures into the government’s programme of action and to ensure that women, children and persons with disabilities can access developmental opportunities”.
He described the core functions of the Department, which were to promote the realisation and protection of the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities, and to co-ordinate and partner with government entities, civil society and private sector to ensure that gender, disability and children were considerations that were integrated into all government programmes and broader society. The Department must also monitor and evaluate performance of government departments, publicly funded institutions, organs of civil society and the private sector. He highlighted the need also to accelerate implementation of international obligations, to which South Africa was a signatory, relating to the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities. It must further advance international cooperation and partnerships for the promotion and protection of gender equality, equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities and children’s rights. The last of the core functions related to research, by developing and using disaggregated data. The key roles were linked to these core functions.
Mr Terry said that in regard to women’s issues, particularly violence against women, there had been a global, regional and national “Unite to End Violence” campaign. The department was developing plans for consultation on this campaign within
Mr Terry then highlighted the Department’s contribution to international obligations. He highlighted the reports on
The Department had successfully co-ordinated the women’s month programme. It had also collaborated with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on the Pan-African Women’s Day on 31 July 2010. A media launch for women’s month was held in
Mr Terry then reported on the progress made children’s issues, and noted that the Department’s effort to mainstream was well under way. The Department had identified critical children’s rights imperatives for mainstreaming with key government departments, a draft on Child Protection and the development of a framework. In so far as the international reporting obligations were concerned, the second and third country reports on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) were to be presented at the Social Protection and Community Development Director-Generals’ Cluster on 15 September 2010. Those reports would be presented to the Cabinet for final approval before the end of the 2010/11 financial year. He noted that planned activities for children’s issues included a child-friendly and clean cities/towns project in partnership with Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). The finalisation of the child protection framework was already under way. The Department had also planned a National Children’s Day, Provincial Ritual Killings Indaba, and the 1 Goal Education Campaign was on the “to do” list of the Department
In regard to the campaigns and commemorative days; the Department had organised celebrations of International Children’s Day and the Day of the African Child in Cape Town. Also, the Rights and Responsibilities campaign had been launched. He also stated that the Department had launched the FIFA World Cup Children’s Rights Programme in order to raise awareness on protection of children, during and beyond the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Mr Terry noted that there were no major incidents reported during the World Cup, as a result of high awareness and better law enforcement. He said that the Department had raised awareness about the challenge of ritual killings by holding a National Indaba attended by traditional practitioners and other relevant stakeholders on the matter. The Department had led an initiative to address the phenomenon of early and forced marriages in
Mr Terry then reported on initiatives relating to people with disabilities. A draft report on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was discussed with the South African Disability Alliance (SADA) and was then presented to the Director Generals’ Clusters involving Justice, Crime Prevention, Security, Governance and Administration. The report was to be submitted to the UN by the end of November 2010, after its approval by this Portfolio Committee and Cabinet. The Department participated in, and served as Vice President of the Third Conference of Parties to the Convention in
In terms of mainstreaming, the Department had input into three draft policies for the Public Service. Those covered reasonable accommodation for the disabled, assistive devices and other measures for employees with disabilities, employment equity compliance and youth development. The Department had developed and published disability specific indicators on health, education, employment and social security, in the government Report on Development Indicators that was published by the Presidency. Input had also been into the Annual Conference of Youth in Farming in
In regards to campaigns and projects, Mr Terry said that his Department had finalised the publication of a book by writers with disabilities, entitled “Tilling the Hard Soil”. This book was to be used for increasing awareness on disability. A final report on the Flemish donor who funded the project was to be submitted to the internal audit of the Presidency. An audit of special schools in the country was to be finalised in November. A committee of experts must still be established to deal with planned activities relating to disabilities. A National Conference on Disability was scheduled for 2 and 3 December 2010. A programme of action was still to be developed. A review of the National Integrated Disability Strategy, in line with the UN Convention, was to be undertaken. The Accessibility Campaign, which was to deal with barriers, also needed extra attention.
Mr Terry then moved on to the Department’s plans for building institutional capacity. Provincial consultative meetings with the three sectors were planned, to discuss programmes of actions locating of the units in provinces, advocacy and awareness campaigns and capacity building programmes.
In terms of the progress made on administration support services, Mr Terry informed the Committee that a community strategy was developed and approved by the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS). The Departmental website was established at www.wcpd.gov.za. An appropriate building had been identified and the Department of Public Works (DPW) was in the process of finalising the contract. The Department would be in a position to move within six weeks after the contract had been signed and the building had been handed over to DPW. The process of appointing a new Director General had started from scratch, as the first appointment did not materialise. The interviews had been concluded and the Department was waiting on the Cabinet decision. He stated that 34 positions, ranging from Deputy Directors to Chief Directors, were advertised. The closing date for application was 27 August 2010 and the selection process was to commence soon. That would constitute a 30% filling of the 195 posts in the Department for the financial year.
In regard to financial matters, the Department had set up its bank account as well as the Paymaster-General account. It had also established and activated the transversal systems and it would be populating the budget, as well as the establishment, in the coming weeks. Once the process was concluded, the Presidency would then be able to submit claims for all the expenditure to be allocated to the approved objectives.
The Department had an appropriated budget for 2010/11 of R97,79 million, including the transfer to the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) of R51.94 million and capital payments of R6.583 million. The total expenditure as at 31 August 2010 was R18.821 million, or 47% of the appropriated amount of R39.258 which was the Department’s appropriation. As at 31 August, R23.317 million (44.88% of the appropriated amount) had been transferred to the CGE A request for additional funding had been submitted to the National Treasury, for R44.430 million, which would be utilised for, office accommodation, compensation of employees and the commemoration of special days. BAS and PERSAL transversal systems were being implemented. The target date for the BAS system to go live was 01 October 2010.
Mr Terry informed the members that the Paymaster General (PMG) accounts had been opened with National Treasury. The PMG account interfaced with BAS on a daily basis. Commercial bank accounts had been opened with First National Bank, which also interfaced with the BAS daily. He outlined the other administrative steps that had been taken.
With regard to the policy frameworks, an agreement had been reached between the DWCPD and the Presidency that the Department would make use of the Presidency‘s policies until such time that all the structures had been set up and the Department could function autonomously.
The Chairperson asked when the 161 posts would be filled. She wished to know how much had been spent on the website. She also asked who assumed the accountability for the money spent from the Presidency.
Mr Terry replied that the filling of those posts would be done in phases, and that they would all be filled within two years. He said that to give exact details of the money spent he would have to go back to draw the batches of the expenditure from the suspended account. He said that R91 million had been spent on the book.
Ms Sibani Mgadi, Head of Communication, DWCPD, added that R137 000 had been spent on the website and that all was functioning well.
Ms D Robinson (DA) protested that the presentation was too general and that too many abbreviations had been used. She stated that two years had passed since the creation of the DWCPD, and that the Department seemed to be stumbling.
Ms Mbangi Dzivhani, Chief Director: Programmes, DWCPD, apologised on behalf of the Department for the use of too many acronyms in the report, and promised that it would be remedied. She stated that the report on children was late for submission but would be handed in to the Portfolio Committee without further delay.
Ms Robinson wanted to know how much money had been spent on the publication of the book, “Tilling the Hard Soil”.
Mr Benny Palime, Director: Disabilities, DWCPD, answered that the book had not been funded by the government but by a Flemish donor. He warned that the copyright did not belong to the government but belonged to the writers. He announced that there were plans to translate the book in braille so that visually impaired people could have access to it.
Ms P Duncan (DA) asked for some clarity with regards to the Department’s partnership with Ilitha Labantu.
The Chairperson asked about the progress on issues pertaining to human trafficking and the practice of ukuthwala.
Ms S Rwexana (COPE) raised the issue of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, noting that the practice of ukuthwala was to be included in this Bill. She asked why the communities were not consulted about the matter. She wanted to know what the Department’s involvement was in that regard.
Ms Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Deputy Director General, DWCPD, replied that the Department had no involvement in this Bill, but that her Department had met with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to discuss matters with it, and also with the Child Protection Committee.
Minister Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, said that lekgotlas would be held to deal with issues pertaining to human trafficking and ritual killings, to engage with communities across the country. She added that civil society and other governmental departments would also be consulted.
Ms H Malgas (ANC) challenged the Department’s assertion that there were no major incidents regarding human trafficking during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. She stated that there were cases that came to the attention of the Hawks. She encouraged the Department to familiarise themselves with those developments. She asked whether the Department was overseeing the over spending.
Ms Dzivhani said that the Department noted the advice on obtaining information regarding the cases investigated by the Hawks.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) stated that there had been national indabas that had taken place, but asked what resolutions had come from them. She reminded the Department that the Committee was still expecting a report from 24 March 2010, which had not been received as yet.
Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP) thought that problems were inevitable within the Department as it was severely understaffed. She wanted to know what was delaying the filling of the vacancies. She asked what the Department was actually doing, especially for rural woman who were excluded from every facet of government, and what its commitment was for these women in particular.
Ms Duncan wanted to know whether the Department had contributed any funds to the Ilitha Labantu.
Ms Dzivhani responded that there had been no financial contribution from the Department towards Ilitha Labantu.
Ms Duncan asked who the landlord was for the building that the Department would occupy.
Mr Terry replied that the landlord was the Minister of Public Works.
The Chairperson asked the Department to bear in mind the necessity also to ensure that the disadvantaged groups were emancipated financially. She stated that it was not right for only some to be free, while the majority of the South African people were living in poverty. She encouraged the members of the Committee and the Department to commit themselves to making a visible difference to the lives of South Africans, especially those who were marginalised.
The meeting was adjourned.
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