Commission on Gender Equality Strategic Plan 2013/14: Content Advisor & Researchers briefing

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

05 June 2013
Chairperson: Ms D Ramodibe (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Commission on Gender Equality presented its 2013/14 Strategic Plan and associated budget which highlighted its activities and budget allocations. They provided the Committee with a comparison of the 2012/13 budget. The Commission emphasised the shortage in its budget.

The Committee raised several concerns. The following were the most common issues raised:
•  Allocating 50% of the budget to strategic Objective Four
•  Lack of detailed information regarding targets achieved
•  Irregular expenditure and lack of clarity on budget allocation
•  Capacity building and implementation of acts such as the Employment Equity Act
•  Monitoring and evaluation processes
•  Collaboration with other departments to improve the work of the Commission
•  Planned versus unplanned activities and achievements.

Members' questions included:
▪ was any collaboration with other departments to avoid duplication?
▪ if consultants would be used to do CGE's work?
▪ asked for a breakdown of the R2,5 million allocated for the Gender Summit
▪ why Objective Four received 50% of the budget?
▪ how did it arrive at its target of 1 620 for number of public complaints in 2013/14?
▪ why the big difference in budget for 2012/13 and 2013/14;
▪ why Objective Four was still in the 'developing and planning stage' and not the finalisation stage.
▪ progress in the turnaround strategy?
▪ R650 000 for training and development yet R4 million was allocated to travel and accommodation?
▪ why the nine provincial provinces received only 31.6% while head office consumed 68.3%?
▪ did CGE have any private donors to gain more financial support?
▪ why were only 25 of 56 of targets achieved when CGE said it had a 75% achievement rate?
▪ was it monitoring the lack of implementation of gender-related legislation?
▪ what was the difference between gender based violence and domestic violence?
▪ where did CGE advertise its work?
▪ why had the Committee stopped receiving monthly reports from CGE?
Due to time constraints, several questions went unanswered and CGE would provide written responses.

Meeting report

Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) 2013/14 Strategic Plan/Budget
Mr Moshabi Putu, CGE Chief Financial Officer, outlined the vision, mission, and role of the CGE and acknowledged the role played by the Committee with much appreciation. Critical issues affecting the Commission were identified as :
•  Implementation of enabling policy
•  Gender responsive budgeting
•  Gender Mainstreaming
•  Establishment of normative and policy framework for gender equality
•  Gender differences in decision making and employment
•  Impact of globalization on gender discrimination
•  Use of social networks as agents of change
•  Bringing gender equality into formal institutions and policies.

He noted that the following critical projects fell outside of the CGE budget and he emphasised the need for a bigger budget:
•  Gender Summit:- projected budget  R 2.5 Million:
•  African Gender and Development Index (AGDI) report, R1,5 Million. Current budget allocated R500 000 (cost include training, advisory board, drafting of report, lay out, design and printing)
•  Assessment of the Country APRM report: R500 000 (drafting of the report, peer review, editing, layout design and printing
•  Development of Training manual for CEDAW programme R500 000 (consulting, drafting, peer review, editing, layout and design).

Following the issues faced by the CGE were briefly outlined with an emphasis on the need for a bigger budget. The issue of staff contracts ending in 2014 and turnaround rates was also briefly mentioned in the introduction.

Ms Keketso Maema, CGE Chief Executive Officer, took over the presentation to present the strategic plan for 2013/14. She noted that the data provided for 2012/13 was currently undergoing an audit and therefore data in the presentation was unaudited. Ms Maema provided a very detailed presentation of the strategic plan; the following were key points that emerged:
•  A new vigorous focus on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
•  Improving the visibility levels of the CGE: 'Visible' was the new word added to this year's strategic plan
•  Issues still faced by women, that is: 50/50 legislation, violence, unemployment, poor service delivery.

Ms Maema highlighted the four strategic objectives and the activities linked to each objective in the Annual Performance Plan (APP). Ms Maema highlighted the four strategic objectives and the activities linked to each objective in the Annual Performance Plan (APP). Governance Oversight Committees led by Commissioners included: Legal and Complaints; Research and Education; Strategic Planning, Annual Report and M&E; Human Resources; Audit; Finance; Information Technology and Communications; and Good Governance.

An overview of the Section 6 Committee was provided stating that since the CGE had transformed from using themes to strategic objectives, they had put in place this committee to maintain focus on original themes and to maintain the interests of stakeholders.

Ms Maema went through some of the key activities in the APP which included:
•  Creating a report to assess gender equality in each government department
•  Gender Development Index – use training received to initiate this tool that would generate a quick and detailed report of gender equality levels
•  Launch a Red Card Campaign to engage with those who have the platform to speak about gender
•  Continuous policy dialogue
•  Legal Clinics and Hotline – strategy to increase complaints
•  Improving gender mainstreaming.

Mr Putu finished the presentation with an overview of the budget (see document for details). He emphasised the fact there were only enough funds available to do what was outlined in the APP and that many activities had to be cut due to lack of funding.

The Chairperson was concerned with the issue of duplication and asked CGE if there was any collaboration with other departments to avoid duplication? She also asked for a detailed explanation of what was entailed in the professional services budget, did it hire professional services? Did it include the extra activities? She asked how the R1,3 million allocated to report writing and printing materials would be disseminated over the five years?

Mr Mfanozelwe Shozi, Chairperson of the CGE, replied that, yes, the Section 6 Committee did collaborate with other departments and that it acted more as a monitoring and evaluation tool in order to assist and maintain focus rather than implement.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) asked if consultants would be used to do the work? She asked for a breakdown of the R2,5 million allocated for the Gender Summit as it was a large sum of money. What was the intended outcome after the summit? Ms Tseke expressed concerns about the allocation of 50% of the budget towards Objective Four: To build an effective, efficient, visible and sustainable institution that will fulfil its constitutional mandate on gender equality (All of the members shared this same question). She recommended that the CGE launch satellite offices as the provincial offices were out of reach for many people. She asked what was the difference between the Section 6 Committee on gender-based violence and the National Council on Gender Based Violence? Were there duplications in the mandates? If they were different, how could one differentiate between the work of each?

Dr Nondumiso Maphazi, CGE Commissioner, replied that the CGE did not spend too much money on consultants, as they would like to build capacity from within and develop the CGE team within the institution. However, the funding challenge they faced meant there was a challenge in attracting the skills needed to run the organization at high capacity.

Ms Janine Hicks, CGE Commissioner, replied about the Gender Summit that the CGE had been approached by the nation about visibility and backlash regarding gender. The summit was a call from civil society for the convening of a national summit. The summit was not just a three-day conference but instead it was a critical assessment of alignment. A big part of the summit was to start on the ground in the provinces to get answers to pertinent questions and then bring them to the national summit. A breakdown of R2,5 million allocated to the summit could be provided by the CEO in writing.

Ms Hicks briefly touched on the recommendation to open more satellite offices by replying that there was no room in the budget to do so as opening more offices equals more money.

Mr Shozi replied on the 50% allocation of funds to Objective Four by saying that it was high because there were nine provincial office, each of which had an education officer, a legal officer and a research officer. A portion of that assigned budget went towards project money.

Ms Maema, in reference to Objective Four receiving 50% of the budget, said this objective included the compensation of all employees. The difference between the Section 6 Committee on gender based violence and the National Council on Gender Based Violence was that the strategic plan was put in place before the council. The council would be responsible for pushing the process while CGE would be responsible for monitoring.

Ms E More (DA) asked if by addressing only female issues, was one discriminating against the male gender? She asked for more detailed information about the targets achieved because many targets had been repeated. A potential mathematical error was pointed out on slide 22 of the strategic plan presentation: the total for tradition/culture should amount to four not five. Ms More asked if the CGE waited for complaints to be filed to deal with a particular issue or did they seek to solve issues without waiting for a complaint? A question was asked about the APP plan and how CGE derived a target of 1 620 for number of complaints in 2013/14? Some doubt was evident about the plausibility of this target due to lack of alignment between the strategic plan and the budget. Under Strategic Objective Two, Ms More noticed that the budget for 2012/13 was R10,3 million and then R20,3 million for this financial year; from where did this money come? How could it be so different from before? She questioned the fact that Objective Four was still in the 'developing and planning stage' and said that this should have been done by the first day of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and should now be in the finalization stage. Was the turnaround rate for CGE so high that it had developed each year?

Ms Hicks replied that they both followed up on complaints as well as approached issues that were visible within the community. This was done through the collaboration that CGE had set in place with community/traditional leaders. Part of the CGE followed up on complaints and ensured that the prosecutors did actually prosecute the perpetrators. it was not only an issue of dealing with individual cases, but one that had reached a systemic level.

Mr Shozi replied to the question on targets by saying that within the 75% fell unplanned targets that were achieved as some of the work within the CGE was spontaneous. Therefore, only be five or ten of the listed targets might be achieved, but there were many others that were unplanned.

Ms Maema replied on increasing the target to 1 620 for complaints. They had predicted such a high increase in the number of complaints because they intended to push legal officers to go out into the field and engage with local communities in order to investigate and open new cases. In previous years, CGE had set targets based on what was assumed to happen but this year they were setting more of a goal that they would strive to achieve. This was done based on observations made from like-minded organizations.

Ms Maema replied about the change in budgets for Strategic Objective Two moving from R10,3 million to R20,3 million. Originally, the 2013/14 budget had been drafted based on what funds they had, but afterwards, they had received a letter indicating a new amount which meant there were marginal differences in the amounts.

Mr Putu backed up this reply about the new adjustment letter.

Ms Maema said that until National Treasury was able to meet the budgetary needs of the CGE, irregular expenditures would continue to take place. There had been quite an improvement but there still remained work to be done on irregular expenditure.

Ms Maema agreed that CGE was still in the 'planning and developing phase' in the third year instead of finalising. Until National Treasury acknowledged what the CGE needed in terms of funding, they had to keep recreating and planning. Once budget needs were met, then Objective Four could be changed to 'maintaining'.

Ms P Peterson-Maduna (ANC) asked if the focus on Strategic Objective Four was not taking away from the service delivery programme?

Ms C Diemu (COPE) supported the previous questions and asked for progress on the turnaround.

Mr Shozi said that one thing that the CGE had done as part of the turnaround strategy was create a CGE Commissioner’s booklet that articulated the roles of CGE Commissioners. They were going to use the booklet as clarification for the role of and rules for CGE Commissioners and had since adopted the booklet.

Ms Maema replied that a report was being done on progress made in terms of the turnaround strategy.

Mr Putu replied that there were two phases to the turnaround strategy. The first phase aimed to stabilize the environment and get the process running. Phase One was comprised of financial management, human resources and business involvement. The second phase included development strategy and resources. There was progress in the turnaround strategy, but more had to be done.

Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP) asked about the budget. Within the detailed expenditure, R650 000 was directed towards training and development while R4 million was allocated to travel and accommodation. Which was more important of the two? Could they not allocate more to training? Similar to other members, she asked for a detailed breakdown of the 75% planned targets. On assets and other such issues, she asked what had been done.

Dr Maphazi replied to the concern about the high costs for travel and accommodation, saying that CGE had expressed concern about but the problem was that the type of institution they run required them to have meetings at head office which meant that those in provincial offices had to travel to head office. Provincial office workers had to travel long distances to attend to particular issues.

Mr Shozi added to the reply on travel costs saying that having a high visibility among communities would have large costs but it did not mean that CGE would be reckless with its spending on travel.

Ms Maema replied that they had undertaken an investigation looking into the loss of assets to find out where the problems actually are. The report had just come out in April and highlighted the gaps and CGE had started the necessary processes to deal with this and were engaging staff on the matter.

Ms H Lamoela (DA) was worried about M&E because it did not happen in departments and was often not done right. Why was M&E becoming a focus of the CGE only now in its third year of the plan? How could M&E be done at this point if it was not a focus in the past two years? She asked if there was any collaboration with other departments (such as education, health, labour) since the CGE’s budget was small and it lacked resources to achieve all the necessary outcomes. She asked if it was enough to provide the nine provincial provinces with only 31.6% while head office consumed 68.3%? Were there any private donors for more financial support? How did CGE manage to go from a qualified audit in previous years to unqualified? Why were only 25 of 56 of targets achieved when CGE says they had 75% achievement rate?

Ms Hicks replied to the concerns over M&E by saying that monitoring and evaluation was not new to the CGE and had been in full action since the beginning. However, CGE had increased its focus on M&E in the 2013/14 plan because they would like a more sophisticated and responsive M&E framework.

Ms Maema replied about private donors, saying that proposals were done on a project to project basis.

Mr D Kekana (ANC) commented on the long length of the presentation and the potential of losing one's audience as a result. He would like to see a presentation that shows the impact and outcome of M&E as well more details in what had actually been achieved. He stated that perhaps the CGE was losing control of rural areas.

Ms Lamoela asked, in a second round of questions, for the statistics on the unplanned activities that were achieved by the CGE so that a detailed list of activities could be available and be clearer. She asked if there was value for the money, as it did not seem as if many cases had been closed. She asked if CGE dealt in detail with the Employment Equity Act? Why did we work on quotas now? Did we need more women in decision-making positions or did we need competent effective people? She asked the CGE how they planned on turning unskilled women into those with capacity and skills, for the jobs required? She asked why many of the Acts relevant to gender matters were not implemented.

Ms Hicks replied about the Employment Equity Plan, saying that South Africa had improved in employment equity with regards to race, but it was bad with gender and rather shocking at disability. She emphasised the role of international protocols in relation to employment equity and the need to implement quotas. CGE did not have the necessary funds to implement monitoring of the employment equity action plan but could monitor private and public sector employers to see what they were doing to recruit and train women. About women’s economic empowerment, it would require engaging with experts in this area and one needed an analysis of what was working and where the gaps existed. The National Development Plan was of key importance in this discussion as it was known to be gender blind.

On the lack of implementation of various Acts, Ms Hicks said that the CGE was outraged and would urge Parliament to engage with the Departments of Labour and Justice because it was not the CGE’s responsibility to implement but rather to monitor.

Ms Maema replied that the provincial offices receive a much smaller portion of the budget because there were fewer people in the provinces. There were only three officers in each office (legal, research and education). Therefore, doing a direct division of the budget did not work because of the difference in numbers.

Ms S Paulse (ID) asked about the difference between gender based violence and domestic violence. She asked if there were any critical vacancies in the CGE aside from CGE Commissioners?

Mr Kamraj Anirudhra, Parliamentary Officer at the CGE, replied that domestic violence had a specific definition and it referred to any violence that took place within a domestic relationship. Specific definitions were very important because when an issue was criminalised, clear definitions had to exist. There were specific definitions for the different forms of violence such as economic, psychological, emotional or physical. A domestic relationship could be between husband and wife or any two people existing within a certain domestic relationship. He then explained gender-based violence as any violence that was directed towards an individual or group based on gendered social constructs. It was often directed at those who were seen to be deviating from the gender norm. He provided the example of violence that was targeted to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.

Committee members expressed interest in a workshop about this topic in order to increase their knowledge as there was much information to learn and because violence of this kind was high.

Ms Maema replied that the main critical vacancy was for a provincial coordinator that would coordinate some of the work between the provinces. They aimed to fill this position by the end of this quarter.

Ms Peterson-Maduna asked where the CGE advertised its work; which radio stations? She had seen the CGE chairperson on a debate on television but no one else.

Ms Maema replied that community stations such as True FM and Fort Hare Community Radio in the Eastern Cape were used. CGE took the point that they could do better in terms of engaging with community radio stations which was why it was included in this year’s APP. It was difficult, however, to create many partnerships with radios because airtime was very expensive and the budget did not allow this.

Ms More asked on what the 1 620 complaints target based? Based on what institutions was this number benchmarked? Did this target include unplanned achievements? Why had the Committee stopped receiving monthly reports? What was the required reporting period?

Dr Maphazi replied that the 1 620 target was what was hoped to be achieved in this financial year and that 390 was what was achieved in the previous year. 1 620 was agreed upon because the CGE aimed to use a new direct approach in opening cases, going into the community and approaching problems.

The Chairperson replied about the CGE reporting period, saying the CGE was obliged to submit quarterly reports but it had been recommended that they submit monthly reports.

Mr Shozi replied that the CGE completed quarterly reports and the last report was submitted in March. He had to follow up with the officer to see if the report was received as many of the questions raised at the meeting were addressed in the report.

Mr Kekana expressed concern about the use of radio station, saying that small community stations were usually left out and only the big ones were used. He was interested in a monitoring assessment in the future that would look at women’s issues around unemployment and poverty as women were at the forefront of poverty. Had the CGE assessed this issue in rural areas or assessed any projects that were targeting poverty for women in rural areas?

The Chairperson thanked the CGE. She appreciated that a lot of issues had been raised in discussion. Due to time constraints, the Chairperson decided that the remaining answers were to be replied in writing.

The meeting was adjourned.


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