Women, Children and People with Disabilities Budget Review and Recommendation Report: briefing by researcher

Women in The Presidency

19 October 2011
Chairperson: Ms D Ramodibe (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee observed that funds were allocated to the Commission for Gender Equality but it was problematic that nothing had been mentioned about the Commission in the annual report.  The relationship between the Commission and the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities was raised in the meeting of 19 October 2011. The Minister had indicated during that meeting that the Commission was not part of the Department as it was a Chapter 9 institution. The Department had explained that the Commission claimed that it did not account to it but to Parliament. The Committee had to get clarity on the exact nature of what was going on. The Committee highlighted the lack of a coordinated approach regarding the sanitary dignity campaign and emphasized that the mandate of the Department was not service delivery but oversight. The coordinated approach should be clearly defined by the Department and reflect what the approach would entail.

The Committee Researchers suggested that the Committee indicate in its overall observations that some of the Department’s targets did not clearly link to indicators and could be misleading, and were not a true reflection on the achievements. The targets set by the Department clearly needed to link with objectives and mandate. It was important to understand the Department’s role of monitoring and evaluation as there was space for it to recommend and monitor various programmes. The Chairperson thought the Department was taking on too many tasks. it needed to focus on specific programmes that would make a positive impact; in order to focus it should reduce its current load. It should take one step at a time to determine what was achievable and what was not. Members believed that the report should give a true reflection of the Department and not a one-sided view. It should highlight the shortcomings and the achievements.


Meeting report

Women, Children and People with Disabilities Budget Review and Recommendation Report: briefing by researcher
Ms M Tlake (ANC) said that funds were allocated to the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) and it was problematic that nothing had been mentioned about the CGE in the annual report (4.1).  The issue of the relation between the CGE and the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD) was raised in the meeting of 19 October 2011 between the Department and the Committee. The Minister had indicated during that meeting that the CGE was not part of the Department as it was a Chapter 9 institution. The Department had explained that the CGE claimed that it did not account to the entity but to Parliament. The Committee had to get clarity on the exact nature of what was going on.

Ms D Robinson (DA) said the issue regarding the CGE had been very problematic in the past and the CGE got away with many things because of the lack of accountability. The CGE received its budget under this Committee and should be closely monitored by the Committee.

The Chairperson agreed that all comments by Members were valid.  

Ms Tlake said that the issue surrounding the CGE was raised under Administration programme performance and she thought it should be highlighted under the Committee’s Observations.

The Chairperson said the Committee should agree that there was a need to mention the CGE under Administration (4.1) and would also elaborate more on the issue under the Committee’s Observation.

Ms K Abrahams, Committee Researcher, said it should be noted that nothing was highlighted in the report about Administration.

The Chairperson noted that some of the target performances were indicated as  “unclear.” She said it should indicate either “achieved” or “not achieved” and followed by an explanation why the target was not achieved.

Ms Robinson said she was not sure if the promotion of the sanitary dignity campaign for indigent women and girls had been achieved and how effective it was (Table 4: Objective 2).

The Chairperson said that although the Department had explained its sanitary dignity campaign, it did not stop the Committee from raising further concerns.

Ms P Lebenya (IFP) said the issue regarding sanitary dignity campaign confused her because the Department of Basic Education also claimed to have a similar programme. It seemed as if there was a lack of coordination regarding the issue.

Ms Robinson noted that too many entities claimed to be doing various programmes on sanitary dignity. She was of the view that the matter should be dealt with in private and that the dignity of the women involved be respected.

Ms Tlake stated that the Department of Correctional Services recently had an “Imbizo” in Soweto where female convicts made sanitary towels and distributed them to schools. There might be a lack of coordination amongst departments and it seemed as if the entities were not talking to each other.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) said that the Department of Basic Education had indicated that its sanitary campaign was in response to a call from the President and she was of the view that anybody/ any entity could distribute sanitary towels but it should be well coordinated. She thought the DWCPD should take the lead in the coordination.

Ms Abrahams noted that the Committee highlighted the lack of a coordinated approach and the mandate of the Department not as service delivery but oversight. The coordinated approach should be clearly defined by the Department and reflect what the approach would entail.

The Chairperson said it was important that the dignity of women and girls should always be observed during the sanitary campaigns. The annual report indicated that over-expenditure was incurred during Women’s Day celebrations that had not been budgeted for as it was previously hosted by the Department of Arts and Culture (4.2.1). She said that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) should be indicated as a co-host of the event.

Ms Robinson was concerned that there appeared a vast difference in the variance of expenditure reported in the National Treasury’s Section 32 report 2010/11 and the Department’s annual report for 2010/11. National Treasury estimated R2. 5 million more in terms of over expenditure than indicated by the Department and it seemed as if the entity was not fully aware of what was going on in the Department (4.3.1). She said the mandate of the Department was Monitoring and Evaluation and failed to understand how the entity would achieve a comprehensive child protection strategy (Table 4: Objective 1). She was of the view that the Department could not fulfill that function and asked the researchers to remove the section.

Ms T Matthews, Committee Researcher, advised the Committee not to remove the information but to narrow it, and also advised the Committee to make a comment under observations or recommendations. The sanitary dignity target had been achieved because the Department collaborated with other strategic partners. However, it was very difficult to determine whether some targets had been achieved because there was no strategic plan in place.

Ms Lebenya understood what the researchers explained, but she wanted to know what the objectives were and whether they were achieved.

Ms Tlake stated that the Committee could change the target as “not achieved” if it felt that the Department did not achieve the target.

The Chairperson asked the researchers to provide more information on why certain targets had not been achieved, and not just indicate them as “not achieved.”
  
Ms Tlake said the notion of targets “not achieved” followed by an explanation why not achieved should be highlighted under recommendations and observations.

Ms Robinson asked whether a survey had been done (Table 7: Objective 3).

Ms P Petersen-Maduna (ANC) did not understand how the target of poor households targeted for social assistance had been achieved, and asked if a survey had been done (Table 7: Objective 1).

Ms Matthews indicated that the Department achieved what it set out to do regarding poor households and sports facilities. The issue at hand was that there was nothing set out in the beginning that the Committee could use as a yardstick.

Ms Abrahams suggested that the Committee indicate in its overall observations that some of the Department’s targets did not clearly link to indicators, could be misleading, and were not a true reflection of its achievements. The targets set by the Department clearly needed to link with its objectives and mandate. The Committee was therefore concerned that the Department could linger around the achievements of other entities. It was important to understand the Department’s role of monitoring and evaluation as there was space for it to recommend and monitor various programmes.

Ms C Blaai (COPE) was concerned about the misleading information on the Departments achievements and asked the Committee to rectify the issue.

Ms Lebenya asked the Chairperson to consider a Committee visit to head offices of the Department in the beginning of 2012 to experience at first hand what was really going on within the entity. The Department should understand that its mandate was to monitor and evaluate and the entity should also monitor on grass roots level. The focus should not only be on conferences, national events and celebrations, because more awareness was needed on the ground.

Ms Tlake said it was about time the Committee invited the Minister in the Presidency: Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation and maybe the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation could help the Department on how to function better.

The Chairperson thought the Department was taking on too many tasks. It needed to focus on specific programmes that would make a positive impact, but in order for it to focus it should reduce its current load. It should take one step at a time to determine what was achievable and what was not.

Ms Tlake asked why some of the issues raised in the previous meeting (19 October 2010) regarding tax clearance certificates and revenue management were not included in the report. 

Ms Robinson asked for the conclusion to be changed because the Committee did not “welcome” the presentation, but it “congratulated” the Department on a unqualified audit opinion and noted with concern the emphasis of matters as stipulated by the Auditor-General (AG) in the annual report.

The Chairperson said it seemed as if the report only focused on the negatives and asked why some of the positives were not highlighted.

Ms Tlake said the drafters of the report should indicate that the Department had already responded and addressed some the issues raised by the AG.

The Chairperson said the discussion the Committee had with the Department on 19 October 2011 did not appear in the report. She asked why the drafters did not highlight the response from the Department and its achievements.

Ms Abrahams said that the researchers had received specific instructions on how to compile the report and subsequently used that format. She would highlight under observations the mechanisms the Department had in pace to address the matters emphasised.

Ms Tlake understood the recommendations but was not happy with all the observations because they lacked detail and she asked the drafters to add more. The observations should reflect the interaction the Committee had with the Department.

The Chairperson said that the issue regarding the CGE and the Department should not be left out in the recommendations. The issues surrounding Disability had been discussed at length and should reflect in the report.

Ms Robinson said that the report was damming but she was happy to see light at the end of the tunnel.
 
The Chairperson responded that the report should give a true reflection of the Department and not a one-sided view. It should highlight the shortcomings and the achievements.

The Chairperson reminded the Committee that it still had time to reflect on the report the following day because the deadline to adopt the report was the following day (21 October 2011).

The meeting was adjourned
 


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