The Minister and Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD) presented a progress report for April to August 2011. The Minister noted that most of the vacancies for Directors and Chief Directors had been filled, that more would be filled in September and October but that some of the vacancies would have to be filled in the next financial year, because of budget constraints in the current financial year. The Department placed great emphasis on employing highly skilled people with capacity to write reports, do research and grow the Department. Firm financial controls were now in place, and an Internal Audit Committee had been appointed.
The Department then provided reports on specific progress. In respect of the expenditure, there were instances of underspending across all programmes, attributed to lack of capacity, but it was also noted that approval had been given to get additional funding from rollovers, and the money from this would be ring-fenced for specific programmes. 65 posts were vacant, but the Department would fill these by the next financial year. The Department was in the process of identifying the critical posts. Administration accounted for R7, 636 million, out of an allocation of R16, 614 million. Expenditure was monitored monthly, by means of a report to the management committee and cash flow reports to the programmes and responsibility managers. Transfer payments were made to the Commission on Gender Equality. A summary of the budgets, expenditure and rollovers approved for each unit was given.
Specific reports were given on the achievements of each programme. The Department had facilitated the ratification of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)Protocol, and would popularise it through provincial consultations. A progress report would be compiled on the African Union Heads of States Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in
Members congratulated the Minister on her enthusiasm, asked that staff details be updated, and that Members be made aware of the events that it hosted and give them an opportunity to attend. They questioned the high expenditure in the Administration programme, particularly the high salary bill, and asked if the organogram was properly balanced. The numbers of children not accessing school was requested, and further questions were asked about the audit of vulnerable children, the time frame for introducing the Equality Bill, and the Techno Girls programme. The progress of the investigations into ukuthwala and the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill was also questioned. Members also enquired, but did not receive answers on, the outcome of consultations with the National Youth Development Agency, and when mainstreaming would happen. They noted that two outstanding reports must be sent to the Committee.
Progress Report April to August 2011: Briefings by Minister and Department of Women Children & People with Disabilities
Hon Lulu Xingwana, Minister of Women, Children and Persons with DisabilitiesWomen Children & People with Disabilities (DWCPD or the Department) from April to August 2011.
She firstly dealt with the vacancies, saying that in this area the Department had made progress, and had nearly all the vacant posts, including those of the Deputy Directors General and Chief Directors. There were only a few outstanding, which would be processed shortly. Some posts, however, were scheduled only to be filled in the next financial year, because of budget constraints in this financial year. Interviews and recommendations had been made for the post of Deputy Director General responsible for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality. This was a senior post and it had to be approved by the Minister for the Public Service first, and then finalised by Cabinet. The Department was hopeful that this post would be filled in the next two months. This Department had experienced some challenge in filling the posts in the Disability sector, but had managed to appoint one Chief Director, and was hopeful that the other vacancy would be filled in October. The Department acknowledged that this was still a weak area.
In relation to the finances, the Minister reported that this area had performed well. She had held engagements with the Chief Financial Officer, Directors and Deputy Director. The Department had established an Internal Audit Committee, addressing one of the challenges raised by the Auditor-General. The Department was now confident that control systems were in place.
The Minister then reported on specific activities of the Department. The Department had held a successful National Women’s Month and National Women’s Conference. The Department was finalising the report on the National Women’s Conference, which it would present to the Portfolio Committee at a later date. The Conference was not confined to the Ministry, since other Ministers, Departments, Provinces and Municipalities had also participated. The Department had launched projects which would continue throughout the year. As an adjunct, the Minister of Correctional Services launched the Mother and Child Unit Project that aimed to allow female prisoners with babies to raise their babies in a more conducive environment, in units now established in Pollsmoor,
Children’s Week and Children’s Parliament had also proved successful, and more detailed reports would be provided by the Department to the Committee at a later stage.
In the Disability Sector, the Department had held a successful National Disability Machinery Meeting. It had also met with relevant stakeholders, such as the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) as well as the South African Disability Alliance. A report on the rights of people with disabilities was presented in
Expenditure analysis April to August 2011
Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Director-General, DWCPD, presented the overall expenditure analysis from April to August 2011. She noted that the Department had needed to approach National Treasury for additional funding for the Women’s’ Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) programme. The Children’s’ Rights and Responsibilities’ (CRR) programme had been allocated an amount of R2,55 million, but expenditure here amounted to R1.8 million. The Rights of People with Disabilities (RPD) programme had a budget of R3.55 million and the expenditure amounted to R354 000. The Department had experienced capacity challenges for this programme. Additional funding had been received through roll-over funds.
An amount of R21 201 was allocated for leave gratuity. 65 posts were vacant, but the Department would fill these by the next financial year. The Department was in the process of identifying the critical posts. The figures, for this reason, showed underexpenditure of the budget for compensation for employees. Some employees had just assumed duty on 1 September and others would assume duties on 1 October. The graph would therefore change in the next report to the Committee.
The overall expenditure for Administration was R7, 636 million, out of an allocation of R16, 614 million. Dr Mkhize explained that some of the expenses were recurring expenses from the previous financial year such as domestic air travel. She also explained that the expense for temporary personnel had been necessary, as there had at times been a lack of capacity to accommodate and manage the migration from the Presidency.
Dr Mkhize stressed that financial discipline was taken very seriously in this Department. Expenditure was monitored on a monthly basis, by means of a report to the management committee and cash flow reports to the programmes and responsibility managers. Additional funding of R2,457 million had been received from roll-over funds. This would be reflected on the report, after the adjustment estimates had been done by National Treasury. The total allocation would then be R17 723 million. The additional funding received had been ring-fenced so that it could be used only for the purpose for which it was made.
Dr Mkhize noted that the budget for WEGE was R3.517 million and the expenditure was R529 000. Additional funding had been received, by way of roll-over of R13,935 million for the programmes addressing Violence against Women and Children, Rural Women’s Development, National Women’s Day Event and the African Union (AU) Decade for African Women. This additional funding had been ring fenced. The total amount now allocated for these programmes is R17,442 million.
Dr Mkhize stressed that there were many events and activities during the month of August for the WEGE programme, but the bulk of this expenditure would be reflected in the September 2011 financial report. The National Women’s Day Celebrations in Limpopo cost R2,5 million, printing and publications cost R479 940, rental of audio visual equipment and translations services cost R300 777, and finally electronic media services cost R495 000.
The budget allocated to the Children’s Rights and Responsibilities programme was R2, 55 million, and the expenditure totalled R1,8 million. The cost drivers were communication and awareness costing R1,341 million, and R351 000 was spent on the Children’s Parliament, and National Children’s Rights Machinery meetings. There had been additional rollover approvals of 1 million. The total amount for goods and services in terms of this programme was R3.55 million. During the World Cup there had been an awareness campaign, and the payment for this was made in May 2011.
Dr Mkhize noted that the budget for the Rights of People with Disabilities (RPD) programme was R3,549 million, but expenditure was R354 000. This Unit had capacity challenges, as acknowledged by the Minister, which were the reason for the underspending. Additional funding from roll-over funds of R2,8 million had been received for the Disability Universal Access Campaign, an amount of R800 000 for the Internal Day for Disabled People event, and R1 million for the African Decade for Disabled People Programme.
Dr Mkhize noted that the transfer payment reflected was in relation to the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE). Here, R13,7 million had been transferred out of the budget of R55 million. The R21 000 noted the budget was a gratuity payment to a staff member who was leaving the public service. Machinery and Equipment was purchased for R2 433 715.
Dr Mkhize again outlined that 65 out of the total of 205 posts were currently vacant, but those would be filled in the 2012 financial year. The Minister and Department of Public Service and Administration had agreed on the critical posts. In respect of several of the vacancies, interviews had been done, and the Department was still waiting on security clearances.
Dr Mkhize then reported on more specifics of performance, in each of the programmes. The Department had facilitated the ratification of the protocol with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The Department would domesticate and popularise the Protocol through provincial consultations. A progress report would be compiled on the SADC’s Monitoring Tool for the implementation of the SADC protocol. Consultations with government departments and all relevant stakeholders would take place.
The WEGE Unit would also be compiling a progress report on the African Union Heads of States Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in
A framework document had been developed for the “365 Days of National Action” plan and progress had been made, with the Minister and Provincial Cabinets having been consulted. The statistics for violence against women had increased, and so further responses were needed. Women’s Month 2011 was very successful, with tangible results being shown, as this was not only about hosting events. Pan African Women’s Day celebrations had been held.
The Empowerment of the Girl Child was an important part of the Techno-Girl Programme. More departments as well as the private sector were showing their willingness to take on female staff, especially in areas that were previously male-dominated. The Department was finalising the Mainstream Strategy for Gender and Disability, and this would be achieved through national launch, after coordination and facilitation, of the Techno-Girl Programmes.
Mr Mzolisi Toni, Deputy Director General, DWCPD, presented the progress report on the CRR Unit, noting that Children’s Rights would be mainstreamed into government policies and governance processes. A new draft of the National Plan of Action for Children was being drawn, and in September government departments, civil society and all other relevant stakeholders would be providing input into the document.
The Sanitary Dignity Campaign was driven through the CRR, in conjunction with other departments, such as the Department of Health and the Department of Social Development. The DWCPD was committed to strengthening co-ordination and working relations with other relevant departments in order to better assist beneficiaries.
The Campaign against HIV / AIDS Mother to Child Transmission, as well as campaigns addressing child mortality, were run in conjunction with the Department of Health, World Health Organisation (WHO) and South African National Aids Council. Ongoing discussions between departments would ensure that people with disabilities, children and other vulnerable beneficiaries benefited from these programmes. Advocacy material would be developed in the next planning and reporting period.
The Education for all Children Campaign focused on the most vulnerable children who had only a remote chance of attending school, mostly those from child headed households, disabled children, and those from remote rural villages. This campaign was run in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education. In the next planning period there would be talks and collaboration with all relevant departments. One meeting had been held of the Children’s Rights Management in April and another in September would look to strengthening the work already done.
There had been commemoration of the National and International Children’s Day, as well as observation, commemoration and celebration of Child Protection Week. The Department was looking at establishing partnerships with the Presidency for National Children’s Day on 5 November. It worked in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to empower children on the mandate of the DWCPD.
The report on child murders had been completed, and there would be collaboration with the South African Police Service, and the Department of Social Development (DSD) on this issue.
Mr Toni then reported that there had been incremental growth in the Unit dealing with People with Disabilities. The first National Disability Machinery was held on 14 and 15 July 2011, where it was resolved that a task team would be established, comprising all levels of government, to guide National Disability Awareness Month, International Day of People with Disabilities, and the National Disability Summit. The Department co-ordinated and monitored the distribution of 50 wheelchairs in Eshowe, in collaboration with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). The Minister and Deputy Director General participated in World Summer Games in
Ms D Robinson (DA) noted that the presentation she had received the previous day did not match the presentation now given by the Department. She also noted that the banner headlines were difficult to read.
The Minister apologised for this.
Ms Robinson requested that the staff details be updated, and notified to the Committee Secretary. She asked if the Committee could access the resources contacts of the Department.
Ms Robinson complimented the Minister on the energy she had shown to the Department.
Ms Robinson requested that the Department should inform Members of events that it hosted, to allow them to attend.
The Minister accepted that Members need to be invited to events and the Department would endeavour to do so. She did note, however, that Members were not always available, particularly during recess.
Ms Robinson noted that the expenditure of over 50% on administration was very high, and also noted that the salary bill was very high. She noted that one third of all staff members, or 64 in number, were directors, and wondered if this was a balanced organogram.
The Minister replied that the salary bill had started at R 50 billion, which was low in view of the fact that the Department needed to hire experts. Although lower levels of staff were initially employed, they did not have the ability to compile the complex reports, such as that on child killings. She further explained that in order for the Department to implement its new mandate of evaluation, monitoring and oversight, it would need experts with the necessary capacity. She hoped that the Department would have more money in the next financial year to employ Directors and Chief Directors who could produce.
Ms P Petersen-Maduna (ANC) asked how many children were targeted who were not accessing school. She noted that during a recent oversight visit to the
The Minister replied that the number of severely vulnerable children was still being audited. The Department was working closely with the Human Sciences Research Council on this.
Another Member wanted to know the time frame for the introduction of the Equality Bill. She noted that more information was required about the Techno Girls Programme. She asked what grade and age group the girls in the programme would be when they started.
The Minister replied that the Techno Girls was a pilot project and had only been rolled out in four provinces. It would be launched nationally at a later stage. It would target girls with Matric who were good at Maths and Science.
The Member asked what had happened in relation to the ukuthwala investigations.
The Minister responded that this was being handled by an intersectoral committee.
The Members asked who was monitoring the Bill dealing with human trafficking.
The Minister responded that the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill was being dealt with by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) asked if the Department had incurred any costs in finalising documents.
Ms Tseke referred to slide 68 and asked what the outcomes were of the consultation with the National Youth Development Agency, and what recommendations were made for youth with disabilities.
Ms C Blaai (Cope) asked who formed the machinery for Children’s Rights, and asked for the outcomes of the initial Machinery meetings.
The Minister replied that the Department was working with the relevant departments, national non-governmental oragnisations and UNICEF on this.
The Chairperson asked if the Department could give an indication of when mainstreaming would happen. She asked that Members be informed of events happening in their provinces. Finally she noted that the two outstanding reports mentioned in the presentation must be sent to the Committee.
The Minister confirmed that these reports would be tabled.
The meeting was adjourned.
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