The Department on Energy indicated that the objective of its Directorate on Special Programmes and Outreach Projects was to ensure mainstreaming of gender, disability and youth development in policies and programmes of the Department and facilitate economic empowerment, poverty alleviation programmes for targeted groups within the energy sector. The functions of the outreach was to facilitate the development and implementation of strategies, programmes and policies for mainstreaming gender, disability and youth development, and to coordinate the work of the energy sector empowerment vehicles. The Department was currently working on disability recruitment projects for interns and youth interns were recruited to join the Department’s programme to gather the experience needed for their chosen career paths. The Nuclear Bursary was aimed at improving skills and capacity within the nuclear sector. The Malaysian scholarship was aimed at improving scare skills levels and capacity within the energy sector.
The Department of Women, Children and People With Disabilities (DWCPD) explained its core functions of mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation. The Department was an advocacy institution with a huge awareness-raising component. The entity also had coordination as a core function so in its strategic approach it looked at providing guidance and leadership on issues of women, children and people with disabilities by coordinating the government sector, private sector and civil society. In addition, it played a role in facilitating training and capacity development for focal points, for government officials and civil society. The DWCPD had proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to the Department of Energy. This MOU would serve as a Monitoring and Evaluation tool. The proposed MOU with the Department of Energy addressed mainstreaming of women, children and people with disabilities into the Department’s key strategies and programmes. The MOU promoted empowerment of women and people with disabilities through training and skills development in the fields of petroleum and nuclear energy. It saw to the implementation of the pro-poor pricing initiatives for low-income households, and created and promoted equal opportunities for women and people with disabilities by increasing the employment equity plan targets from 30% to 50% for women, and a minimum of 2% for people with disabilities.
The Department of Labour spoke about Employment Equity, Employment Services, and Sheltered Employment Factories. Guided by the Constitution, the purpose of Employment Equity was to achieve equity in the workplace by promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through elimination of unfair discrimination; and implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by designated groups to ensure their equitable representation in the workplace. The Sheltered Employment Factories were established more than 65 years ago to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities who were unable to hold down employment in the open labour market due to the nature of their afflictions. There were 12 of these factories operating in seven provinces, with only Mpumalanga and Limpopo without a facility. Collectively they employed 1 050 people with disabilities supported by 120 administration, management and technical staff. With the current premises, there was the potential to provide meaningful work opportunities for more than 3 000 people.
The Heinrich Boll Stiftung of Southern Africa said women remained unrecognized in energy policy, planning and in the development of new energy technologies. Yet most women were responsible for provision of products, labour and services for their families such as collecting fuel wood, water and food provision. Little time was left for women and girls to engage in more productive activities such as income generating activities, agricultural production and education. Women in Southern Africa were generally defined as ‘energy poor.’ Energy supply was recognised as being essential to economic stability and growth, jobs and improved living standards. Female headed household were at highest levels of poverty. Both income and poverty levels affected affordability of energy services, thus making provision of energy a gender issue. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) did not specifically target energy, but it was an underlying issue in achieving the MDGs. Gender responsive energy policies were major tools that were key to the achievement of sustainable development. Gender Mainstreaming in Energy programmes and policies was important to improve quality of life, by reducing women’s drudgery in activities such as fuelwood collection, water access, agricultural labour, and improving their health. It was crucial to increase women’s productivity and income, by providing them with the energy access needed to work more efficiently or for new opportunities for income generation. It was important to promote gender equality and to empower women to help them participate in activities and decision-making from which they had traditionally been excluded. Most of the energy policies were currently gender blind. A process was needed to realise gender awareness within policies, programmes and projects. Gender mainstreaming was a strategy that could be undertaken through different methods, approaches and use of tools. A gender audit was such a tool. The key aspects in a gender audit of the energy sector was discussed as well as the key messages in engendering energy policies and programmes through gender audits.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committed on Energy said the “Learner Focus Week” had to be reviewed because it only focused on the top five students yet all children needed to be sensitised to energy related issues. He had launched many efforts in the past for Sheltered Employment Factories to be pursued and he was very glad to see that the Department pursuing this. He noted that the DOE was working very hard to address the agenda of women and youth, but was lacking on disability matters. The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Labour asked the DWCPD what role and contribution it expected from other entities, especially at a provincial and local level. He wanted to see the MOUs once signed. He pointed out that people acted as if the 2% target was the maximum, but this was merely the minimum requirement. Members asked the DOE how it ensured that women, youth and people with disabilities were the rightful owners in procurement documents and not just used as “window dressing.” Members commented that they were aware that many women, youth and people with disabilities were exploited for financial gain and they asked who checked compliance regarding employment equity, preferential procurement and the employment of people with disabilities in the public sector. The DOL was asked about the possibility of extracting energy specific statistics.
Department of Energy: Presentation on Gender, Disability and Youth Development Mainstreaming
Ms Nombulelo Msikinya, Director of Special Projects in the Department of Energy, said people had to be constantly reminded that energy was the lifeblood as it impacted on what people did and affected their very existence. It was documented that limited access to energy affected women and girls more, affecting equitable participation, economy and advancement at all levels. Therefore, it was imperative to look through the gender and disability lens and promote youth development as the country strived for clean, safe, affordable and universal access to energy. The objective of the Directorate on Special Programmes and Outreach Projects was to ensure mainstreaming of gender, disability and youth development in policies and programmes of the Department and facilitate economic empowerment and poverty alleviation programmes for targeted groups within the energy sector. It did this by:
▪ coordinating the work of the energy sector empowerment vehicles: Women in Nuclear (WINSA); Women in Gas and Energy (WOESA), Young Nuclear Professionals (SAYNPS), and Youth In Energy.
▪ identifying and implementing rural development energy projects and initiating projects aimed at poverty alleviation and empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities.
▪ promoting the increase of youth taking up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
Youth programmes consisted of a Learners Focus Week (where learners were encouraged to study energy related courses) and “Take-A-Girl-To-Work” was a programme that provided girl learners with insight into the world of work for a day and enhanced their understanding and interest in the energy sector. The intake in 2011 had been 28 girls.
The Women Empowerment programmes included:
- The Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Initiative for Women. The South African chapter was launched in August 2011 by the Minister of Energy as the Clean Energy Ambassador For Africa. Through this initiative, the Department sought to empower women of all ages to participate in the clean energy space through business and professional networking, mentorship, coaching, training, and clean energy ambassadorships.
- In partnership with Sasol, the seventh Integrated Energy Centre (IEC) was constructed at Qunu, Eastern Cape. These centres not only provided rural communities with access to energy services but also included a computer centre with internet facilities, job creation programmes, awareness raising and other social programmes and was located next to a school. A table was provided on the number of jobs created for designated groups by the IECs.
- The Department had a Barefoot Women Engineers programme in partnership with India and South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID). It also was involved with the Nkungumathe Multipurpose Centre in partnership with PetroSA.
The Department’s staff establishment had 1% of people with disabilities with a target of 2% nationally.
The Department was currently working on disability recruitment projects for interns and youth interns were recruited to join the Department’s programme to gather the experience needed for their chosen career paths. The Nuclear Bursary was aimed at improving skills and capacity within the nuclear sector. It also offered a Malaysian scholarship aimed at improving scare skills levels and capacity within the energy sector.
The challenges were identified as:
▪ Mainstreaming across the Department’s programmes and policies was limited.
▪ The limited resources resulted in less focus and support for Disability.
▪ The Special Programmes were not in the Department’s Strategic Plan document for 2011/12 and therefore they had limited budget and capacity.
▪ The budget constraints within the DoE limited options for cross funding.
The DOE had future plans for intensifying its mainstream approach and roll out mainstreaming training for managers. The entity sought to finalise and implement its Draft Youth Strategy, Draft Disability Policy Guidelines, and Draft Gender Mainstreaming Policy. It wanted to strengthen and increase the reach of WOESA and its governance structures and more outreach to rural areas. It should be noted that the DOE was a fairly new entity but it had made strides in ensuring equity and empowerment of women and youth and to a limited extent, people with disabilities, both internally and externally. The challenge ahead was that of mainstreamed and coordinated programmes and policies by the sector.
Department of Women, Children & People with Disabilities on Mainstreaming and the Energy Sector
Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Director General: Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD) said President Zuma had given the Department the mandate to monitor other government departments to ensure the mainstreaming of gender, children's rights, and disability considerations in all programmes of government”. This would help government to respond to issues of those targeted groups in an integrated and coherent manner and ensure that women, children and persons with disabilities could access developmental opportunities. The basic principles of mainstreaming efforts as described by the United Nations (UN) included:
The core functions of the DWCPD were those of mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation. The Department was an advocacy institution with a huge awareness-raising component. The entity also had coordination as a core function so in its strategic approach it looked at providing guidance and leadership on issues of women, children and people with disabilities by coordinating the government and private sectors and civil society. In addition, it played a role in facilitating training and capacity development for focal points, for government officials and civil society.
The commitment made by the Minster of Energy at the 2011 National Women’s Conference was that the Department of Energy was committed to expanding and sustaining education, training and skills development in the clean energy space for women through the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C-3E) Women Initiative.
The Department of Energy was a key partner towards the achievement of the vision and mission of DWCPD. To fulfil the DWCPD’s monitoring and evaluation role, an MOU had been proposed to the Department of Energy. This MOU would serve as a monitoring and evaluation tool. The proposed MOU with the Department of Energy addressed mainstreaming of women, children and people with disabilities into the Department’s key strategies and programmes with specific reference to:
▪ Implementing of the Integrated Resource Plan 2010
▪ Establishment of the South African National Energy Development Institute.
▪ 50% women beneficiaries of the “Working for Energy” Programme (job creation)
▪ Promoting women’s participation in the climate change processes
▪ Ensuring benefits for women, children and people with disabilities resident in areas in and around energy industry operations
▪ Availing diverse energy resources (including renewable energy) in sustainable quantities and at affordable prices in the South African communities, specifically women and people with disabilities
▪ Department must appoint Focal Points (Gender, Children and Disability) at the right level (Senior management) and right location, that is, with line of accountability to DG.
▪ Promoting empowerment through training and skills development in fields of petroleum and nuclear energy; ▪ Implementing pro-poor pricing initiatives for low income households,
▪ Increasing employment equity targets from 30% to 50% for women, and a minimum of 2% for people with disabilities.
In terms of the proposed MOU, DWCPD would monitor and evaluate the effect and impact of the actions of DOE towards achieving the set goals. The MOU was at the negotiation phase between the two departments.
The Department’s 2011/12 planned activities related to the Energy sector included a Mainstreaming Strategy & Implementation Plan; a Monitoring & Evaluation Framework; the Memorandum of Understanding; Gender Equality Bill; Disability Policy; Rural Development: Rural women, children and people with disabilities in renewable energy: Provincial Consultations; African Decade for Women (2010-2020): Theme on employment and poverty alleviation; theme on rural women; African Decade for Disabled People (2009-2019); Climate Change (COP 17) – Energy users.
Department of Labour (DoL) on Mainstreaming Gender, Youth and People with Disabilities:
The presentation from the Department of Labour looked at Employment Equity, Employment Services and Sheltered Employment Factories. Ms Ntsoaki Mamshela, DoL Director for Employment Equity, referred to the imperative of Section (9(2) of the Constitution: “To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons disadvantaged by unfair discrimination, may be taken.”
The purpose of Employment Equity Act (EEA) was to achieve equity in the workplace through elimination of unfair discrimination and implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by designated groups to ensure their equitable representation in the workplace. The relevant Codes of Good Practice, stemming from Chapter 2 of the Act, included:
▪ Code on Key Aspects of HIV & AIDS and Employment (2000) and its Technical Assistance Guidelines provided implementation guidelines on how to ensure that individuals affected by HIV & AIDS were not unfairly discriminated against in the workplace;
▪ Code on Employment of People with Disabilities and its Technical Assistance Guidelines (2002) provided implementation guidelines to ensure that employees with disabilities knew their rights and were able to deal with unfair treatment and discrimination against them in the workplace;
▪ Code on Integration of Employment Equity in Human Resource Policies and Practices (2005) provided implementation guidelines on how to promote equality and fair treatment by amongst other things, mainstreaming gender equality issues in HR policies and practices to eliminate unfair discrimination
▪ Code on Handling of Sexual Harassment Cases in the workplace (2005)provided implementation guidelines on how to promote equality and fair treatment by amongst other things, mainstreaming gender equality issues in HR policies and practices to eliminate unfair discrimination in the workplace.
Chapter 3 of the Act applied to Designated Employers (that is, employers with 50 or more employees).Designated employers had to prepare and implement an Employment Equity Plan after consultation with the work force; and submit Employment Equity progress reports to the Commission on Employment Equity. Monitoring and enforcement mechanisms by DOL consisted of the Commission on Employment Equity, Employment Equity inspections and Director General Reviews.
The presentation providedstatistics on the number of job seekers from each province registered on the Employment Services database as well as the numbers of people from the designated groups that had been referred for training employment opportunities.
Service Product trading at Sheltered Employment Factories
Mr Sam Morotoba, DoL Deputy Director General: Public Employment Services, said the Service Product Factories currently trading as Sheltered Employment Factories (SEFs) were established more than 65 years ago to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities who were unable to hold down employment in the open labour market due to the nature of their affliction. There were 12 SEFs across South Africa operating in seven provinces, with only Mpumalanga and Limpopo without a facility. Factories were located in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Johannesburg, Kimberly, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom and Tshwane. Collectively they employed 1 050 disabled people supported by 120 administration, management and technical staff. With current premises – land, buildings and equipment – there was the potential to provide meaningful work opportunities for more than 3 000 people. The Department of Labour inherited the SEF from the apartheid Government and had in the recent past taken a bold step in embarking on a turnaround strategy, which was aimed at transforming the SEF into entities where people with disabilities could be employed regardless of their race, gender or creed. The attainment of legal status for the SEF would enable the organisation to trade effectively and competitively within the industry. The finalization of the business case would mean the SEF would be established as an entity that could be financed adequately and conduct trade.
The SEF was about to commence with the second phase of the business case that would mean that the SEF would have a legal identity; the SEF could compete competitively in the market; and adequate funding was provided to finance operational costs. The SEF had improved production capacity whereby all the 12 SEF factories utilized at least 95% of their production capacity. With the assistance of a piloted Productivity South Africa project and its Johannesburg textiles factory, the SEF would realign its production standards with industry standards by reengineering factory set-ups and manufacturing to high quality norms. The project had unearthed other related issues that affected production levels and capacity which the entity had undertaken to address immediately where possible. The SEF had developed various business proposals and made submissions to the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&R SETA) and the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing SETA (FP&M SETA) for them to use the SEF capability to create jobs for youth with disabilities.
With the financial support from government and increase in sales of SEF products and services, SEFs had the potential to grow into a national network of factories and factory outlets that contributed to the economic empowerment of people with disabilities (including ex-combatants), that supported metropolitan, rural and local community organizations and enterprises. The SEF was a great platform where disabled people were to contribute to, and be integrated into the nation’s economy.
Incorporating Gender concerns into Energy Policies and Programmes in Southern Africa
Ms Kulthoum Omari, Programme Manager for Sustainable Development Programme at Heinrich Boll Stiftung Southern Africa, referenced important international agreement which committed South Africa and other governments to the advancement of women. She defined Gender and Gender inequality and then asked the question: Why Energy and Gender?
She explained that most women were responsible for provision of products, labour and services for their families. Women and girls spent long hours collecting fuel wood, agricultural residues and dung. However, women remained unrecognized in energy policy, planning and in the development of new energy technologies. Women were compelled to use biomass based sources of energy because of the lack of alternative cleaner, effective and affordable sources of energy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated the resultant indoor air pollution as a major public health issue causing chronic respiratory diseases. The long distances to fetch water averaged 134 minutes a day and there was a lack fuel/electric operated pumps for water. Females were the most affected by HIV/AIDS and bore the brunt of caring for the sick. Little time, if at all, was left for women and girls to engage in more productive activities such as income generating activities, agricultural production and education. Women in Southern Africa were generally defined as ‘energy poor.’
Energy supply was recognised as being essential to economic stability and growth, jobs and improved living standards. Female headed household were at highest levels of poverty. In Botswana 41% female headed households were below the poverty datum line compared to 34% male headed households consequently only 7.7% female headed households compared to 15.2% male headed households were connected to electricity in rural villages. Both income and poverty levels affected affordability of energy services, thus making provision of energy a gender issue. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) did not specifically target energy, but it was an underlying issue in achieving the MDGs. Poverty Reduction Strategies paid little attention to energy, health, education and other social services such as gender. Gender responsive energy policies were major tools that were key to the achievement of sustainable development. Gender Mainstreaming in Energy programmes and policies was important to improve quality of life, by reducing women’s drudgery in activities such as fuelwood collection and processing, water access, agricultural labour etc, and improving their health. It was crucial to increase women’s productivity and income, by providing them with the energy access needed to work more efficiently or for new opportunities for income generation. It was important to promote gender equality and to empower women; to help them participate in activities and decision making from which they had traditionally been excluded.
Most of the energy policies were currently gender blind. The Botswana energy policy had its main focus on electrification, which did not address the primary energy requirements for women. There was more emphasis on providing electricity than any other energy sources in Southern Africa. Energy needs, which were linked to the social roles of women, received less attention and funding than those energy services traditionally associated with men’s roles. A process was needed to realise gender awareness within policies, programmes and projects. Gender mainstreaming was a strategy that could be undertaken through different methods, approaches and use of tools. A gender audit was such a tool.
The key aspects in a gender audit of the energy sector:
▪ Availability of gender-related energy statistics;
▪ Gender organisational management and awareness, and mainstreaming in energy-related programmes;
▪ Gender perspectives in national Energy Policy;
▪ Resource mobilisation for gender and energy related policies and programmes;
▪ The role of gender and energy in achieving the Millennium Development Goals;
▪ Install a gender machinery with sufficient resources and decision-making power.
The Ugandan government chose to formulate a National Gender Policy as a tool for realising gender mainstreaming in their country. However, a single structure for gender mainstreaming was not always preferable because gender ministry could be sidelined or marginalised. It could too easily be seen as the only body, which needed to consider gender issues. Gender was a crosscutting issue and every policy area had a gender angle. Therefore every ministry and governmental department should try to integrate gender into their policies.
South Africa lacked specific attention to gender issues in the energy policy and there was a lack of empirical data on men and women and their energy use and demands. Qualitative household studies with a central focus on gender were undertaken in both urban and rural contexts in South Africa during the early 1990s. The studies confirmed that women were still primarily responsible for managing household energy budgets and the acquisition of fuel and food. The findings indicated that women were not the primary domestic decision makers with regard to energy, due to the relations of power and authority within the households. Unequal gender relations still existed in South Africa. There were however, some developments towards gender-aware policies and a political commitment towards more gender equity.
The potential benefits arising from the use of modern energy technologies had to recognised, and women’s role in the energy provision and use and their energy needs and demands. The participation of women was crucial in the formulation of energy policies that reflected their energy demands and in the design of energy efficient technologies. Gender-disaggregated data on male and female energy use was also required. This could be used as a tool to enlarge the knowledge on women’s energy use and demand.
Key messages in engendering energy policies and programmes - through gender audits
▪ The Ministry of Energy had to be involved and committed to the process of Gender Mainstreaming. Advocacy had to actively take place at the Ministry of Energy plus mobilising the gender machinery in the country to support the Ministry.
▪ The interlinkages between gender, energy and poverty must be understood from a sustainable development perspective
▪ Understand the role of women in the informal sector and their contribution to the local economy. The potential benefits arising from the use of modern energy technologies.
▪ Recognise women’s role in energy provision and use and their energy needs and demands.
▪ Participation of women in the formulation of energy policies that reflects their energy demands.
▪ Participation of women in the design of energy efficient technologies
▪ Gender-disaggregated data on male and female energy use is also required. This can be used as a tool to enlarge the knowledge on women’s energy use and demand.
▪ Include a specific gender goal in the national energy policy. In Botswana, the objective was: To facilitate gender equity was included in the draft energy policy. It recognised different energy needs of men and women; the limited knowledge by energy organisations on the relationship of gender, energy and poverty; no implementing strategy, women lacked participation.
▪ A more balanced approach to energy services: takes women’s needs and traditional roles into account. In SA, increasing access to electricity will not alleviate cooking energy shortages as poor households do not use electricity for cooking
▪ Ensure that the different gender groups are specifically catered for through budgets and expenditure to cultivate, promote and support such policies and programmes at three levels: policy formulation, strategy and operations.
▪ Energy policy had to be aligned to relevant international and national goals and benchmarks on gender equality, and the empowerment on women such as the Beijing Platform for Action.
▪ Development and implementation of the action plan was where Southern Africa was currently. For example, Botswana is engaging in a process to mainstream gender in the national rural electrification programme. In Kenya, gender was being included in the biofuel and rural electrification strategies.
▪ Women's affairs departments and other women's groups had to ask the question as to how gender had been included in the energy policy. Women's affairs departments should be mandated to support the ministry of energy to include gender in the energy policy. For example, Ministry of Gender in Nigeria has two tasks: 1) to support other ministries to mainstream gender, 2) to monitor how other ministries had been mainstreaming gender in their policies.
▪ There should be a lobby for a gender audit by ministry of energy that should involve key stakeholders in the energy sector such as utility, energy research organisations, and women's affairs department.
▪ Gender audits, although not a legal requirement, should be one of the methods used to inform energy policy and strategies.
Ms Beatrice Ngcomo (ANC) asked the DOE to what extent did schools know of the work of the Department and wanted to know what mainstreaming meant to the Department. She asked if the Department spoke to any organisations dealing with disabilities about disabled people that could be recruited into the DOE.
Ms N Msikinya replied that the “Learner Focus Programme” ran for one week annually with the intention of encouraging learners to study energy-related courses. Mainstreaming meant that many women benefited equitably within the energy programmes. Women were also empowered and encouraged to start their own clean energy businesses. The Department had not yet spoken to organisations dealing with disability but was in the process of doing so.
Mr George Mnguni, Director of Special Projects in the DOE, said Ms Msikinya was still new in the Department and was not fully aware of all the developments within the entity. The Department had spoken to organizations dealing with people with disabilities and had successfully recruited two members with disabilities. The recruited members were doing very well and more disabled people would be recruited for internships.
The Energy Portfolio Committee Chairperson said the “Learner Focus Week” had to be reviewed because it seemed as if it only focused on a few individuals. Children needed to be sensitised on energy related issues and focusing only on the top five students was not benefiting all learners. He had launched many efforts in the past for Sheltered Employment Factories to be improved and he was very glad to see that the Department was pursuing this course of action. He noted that the DOE was working very hard to address the agenda of women and youth, but was lacking on disability.
The WCPD Portfolio Committee Chairperson thanked the presenters for their rich input on gender and energy. She asked what the challenges were regarding people with disabilities. She asked if the Department would engage with the gender machinery in finalising the draft Gender Mainstreaming Policy and if there was any reason why the Western Cape and the Northern Cape had not benefited from the Malaysian scholarship. The Labour staff establishment of 56% women was not that important to the Committee. The importance was the positions those women occupied. She asked how DoL was going to expand SEFs into rural areas. She asked the DWPCD when it would conclude its MOUs.
Ms P Petersen-Maduna (ANC) was concerned that the 2% target for people with disabilities had not been met yet by the Department of Energy. She asked for more clarity on the Child Labour programme.
Ms B Tinto (ANC) asked the DOE why 21 males out of 29 candidates had been selected for the Malaysian scholarship when women were supposed to be targeted.
The Labour Portfolio Committee Chairperson asked the DOE how they ensured that women, youth and people with disabilities were the rightful owners in procurement documents and not just used as “window dressing.” He was aware that many women, youth and people with disabilities were exploited for financial gain. He asked who checked compliance regarding employment equity, preferential procurement and people with disabilities in the public sector. It was good to see that the Department employed 56% women but it should be noted that the Minister of Energy wanted the number to increase. The DOE could be used as a benchmark on how it increased women in the workplace. He wanted to now how DOE would ensure that women benefited from the COP17 conference.
The Energy Portfolio Committee Chairperson asked the DOE on the percentage of jobs allocated to disabled people. It would be very helpful in the future to include statistics on the type of jobs occupied in state owned entities like PetroSA. The statistics would help Parliament to monitor how those entities dealt with the vulnerable and previously disadvantaged groups. He asked the DWCPD about the role and contribution it expected from other entities, especially at provincial and local level. He noted that the focus of the Department was on women, children and people with disabilities and asked why youth were excluded. He wanted to see the MOUs once signed and commented that many people thought the 2% target was the maximum, and not the minimum number of employed people with disabilities. He asked the DOL if there was a possibility of extracting energy specific statistics. He asked Ms Omari to what extent did she see her work included in national census activities, especially regarding gender issues.
Mr Sandile Boyi, DOE Director for Human Resources, replied that the Malaysian scholarship started in1999 and they had experienced difficulty with some provinces regarding the advertising of scholarships. It therefore had difficulty recruiting learners in the Northern Cape and the Western Cape.
Mr Mnguni said they were working in partnership with disability associations in helping the Department to recruit people with disabilities. The entity had already been assisted in recruiting two disabled females. Their Employment Equity policy programme had detailed targets across all branches. The Department did ensure that women, youth and people with disabilities were the rightful owners in terms of procurement. The requirements stated that the entity had to look at the directors and owners and make sure that they were contacted to verify the credibility of the information. The Department would request the statistics and asked to make a presentation once those statistics were available.
Mr Sandile Ntamzi, Chief Director in the Director General’s office, said that climate change initiatives were aimed at creating a number of green jobs and the Department therefore invited bidders for renewable energy.
Mr Mnguni stated that the DOE would ensure that it reported on an annual basis to Parliament on the status of Employment Equity.
Dr Mkhize replied that the DWCPD had negotiated a MOU with the DOE and the DOL. The MOU requested the DOE to present desegregated data. The entities would finalise the MOUs on the 15 December 2011 and whatever had been agreed upon would be implemented as part of the Annual Performance Plan (APP) for the 2011/12 financial year. The Gender Equality Bill would enact legislation for women empowerment and gender equality. There were many pieces of legislation in place dealing with gender equality and women empowerment, but the DWCPD wanted to zoom in on issues of enforcement because it was not covered in detail. The Gender Equality Bill would ensure enforcement and sanctions for non-compliance. The current struggle was with the implementation of policies. The DWCPD was currently in discussion with SADC member states to come up with proper legislation on disability policies.
The DWCPD was less resourced than other entities but had to work with what it had. The mandate of the Department was advocacy and monitoring and evaluating other Departments, and it also worked closely with the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation. The MOUs would help other departments to share the same level of understanding on what to do. The exclusion of Youth was not by the Department’s own will. The Department was established for Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities and later discussion led to the removal of Youth under the entity. Youth were currently under the National Youth Development Agency and were under Minister Chabane in the Presidency. It should be noted by all that the 2% indicated for people with disabilities was the minimum target and not the maximum. The DWCPD would want to come up with a precise percentage in the legislation. Green jobs had been launched by the President through the Jobs Fund, but the challenge was on how the funds/opportunities would be structured. The question that should be asked was whether departments were responsive to the plight of women, youth and people with disabilities. The country only had a national DWCPD currently and was still working through the Premier Offices in provinces. Working through the Offices of the Premiers was very good because it was the centre of provincial governments. However, the Western Cape and the Northern Cape had shifted the programmes to Social Development. This created serious problems as units were non-existing and programmes were all over the show.
The Department of Labour response was that Sheltered Employment Factories had a rural/urban divide, and the composition was due to the apartheid past. The DOL was currently looking at expanding opportunities for people with disabilities by employing more people, but two provinces were non-compliant and struggling.
Ms Silumko Nondwangu, Chief Executive Officer for SEF in the DOL, said it was difficult attracting people with disabilities. They did advertise vacancies in the main newspapers and used various databases from entities dealing with people with disabilities. Some people did not disclose their disability status in the database. The role of the DOL was to create decent green jobs for climate change initiatives. Such opportunities would provide skills and training for moving towards a green economy. The entity was working with the Deportment of Economic Development and had agreed to look at issues of climate change and green technology holistically.
Ms Ntsoaki Mamashela, DOL Director of Employment Equity, said there was a joint interdepartmental venture to eradicate child labour for all children under the age of 15. The DOL worked closely with the police and with entities dealing with children’s rights. The main focus was on rural areas, especially farms. The DOL had gone on a venture to educate people not to make use of child labour for children under the age of 15. In addition, children under the age of 15 who were involved in the performing arts were regulated through child labour law. The Department’s Labour inspectors had the task of inspecting both public and private spheres and nobody was exempt from inspections. Sectoral statistics on equity were available as these were submitted by private and public entities annually. All entities were required to submit Equity reports and the DOE had been reported as being one of the most progressive departments on equity.
Ms Omari said research on gender concerns was crucial in creating gender mainstreaming in government programmes. Botswana had managed to mainstream gender actions plans for the next five years and now all applications had been engendered. Data was collected in South Africa (for example, the national census) and could be used and appropriated into the energy sector.
The Energy Portfolio Committee Chairperson said he had learned a lot on what needed to be done in the mainstreaming of gender, youth and disability development. The DOE had to work with other departments on how to expand the “Learner Focus Week” programme so that more learners could benefit. He thanked the DWCPD for emphasizing issues of mainstreaming and the Committee’s would take note of the issues regarding the Gender Equailty Bill. He was keen to see the MOUs with other departments and asked the DWCPD to present this to all Parliamentary Committee and not just the Portfolio Committee on Energy, Labour, and Women, Youth, and People with Disabilities. The Chairperson asked the DOL to fully disclose its status regarding people with disabilities. The entity could use its SEF programme to influence other departments and make them aware of disability programmes. He noted that the Climate Change conference had not been focused on gender issues.
The Labour Portfolio Committee Chairperson hoped that the DWCPD Director General would ensure that all processes and programmes were driven forward and all the relevant stakeholders were on board, and that proper coordination took place. He thanked all the presenters for the enriching information.
- Department of Labour presentation
- Department of Women, Children, Youth & People with Disabilities presentation
- Sheltered Employment Factories (SEF): Department of Labour presentation
- Kulthoum Omari on Bridging the Gap: Incorporating Gender Concerns into Energy Policies & Programmes in Southern Africa
- Department on Energy on Gender, Disability & Youth Development Mainstreaming
- Employment Equity Act presentation by Department of Labour
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting