National Council against Gender Based Violence; Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities: 6th session; UN GA High-level Meeting on Disability & Development: briefings with Minister

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

11 June 2013
Chairperson: Ms M Tlake (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

Both the Select and Portfolio Committees on Women, Children, and People with Disabilities were briefed on the newly formed National Gender-Based Violence Council (GBV Council), and the Deputy Minister spoke about the upcoming conferences at the United Nations on Persons with Disabilities.

Both briefings were well received by the members for government's concerted efforts on these pressing social issues, but there were some reoccurring concerns among the members:
▪ Budget gap between R3 million allotted for establishment of GBV Council, and the R20.750 million requested.
▪ Lack of detail on the budget for the GBV Council.
▪ Need for more detailed expected outputs, outcomes, and goals for the 2013 year.
▪ Lack of representation from women in rural areas in the Council.
▪ The size of the delegations to be sent to New York for the United Nations meetings.
▪ The need for a stronger mandate, unified message, and set of goals for the September high-level meeting.

Meeting report

The Committee elected Ms M Tlake as Acting Chairperson as the Chairperson Ramodibe was ill.

The Acting Chairperson explained that the joint committee meeting would be hearing from the Head of the Office of the Minister on the National Gender-Based Violence Council and the Deputy Minister's Office would present on the 6th session Conference of States Parties (COSP): Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

After introductions, the Chairperson gave a warm and special acknowledgement to the NGOs in attendance.

The Chairperson commented on the importance of the creation of a National Gender-Based Violence Council. There had previously not been any structure to coordinate all of the work that had been going on in this area. She raised a copy of a book entitled “I Now Have Life” by a young woman that was brutally raped, mutilated, and disembowelled by her attackers, and believed that such matters would finally receive the attention they deserved in South Africa with the establishment of the National Gender-Based Violence Council. The Chairperson acknowledges Ms Mathuto Motumi, Head of the Office of the Minister.

National Council for Gender-Based Violence briefing
Ms Motumi apologized on behalf of Minster Xingwana's absence who was attending a cabinet meeting, but would join the meeting later if she was able to. She acknowledged her fellow DWCPD colleagues in attendance, the Deputy Minister, Deputy Director General for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality, Head of the Deputy Minister's Office, and Director for Monitoring and Evaluation in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities branch.

Ms Motumi gave a brief background on the creation of the Gender-Based Violence Council, which was approved in December 2011, and inaugurated in December 2012 by the Deputy President. The third meeting of the Council was held on 11 June 2013.

The Council met and identified their objectives - where they see themselves to be responsible - including:
▪ Strengthen the coherence of strategies to address Gender-Based Violence. There were a number of organisations and activities taking place in this area and the Council wants to help form synergies between these various efforts.
▪ Bring together a multi-sectoral approach to address Gender-Based Violence in South Africa
▪ Focus approach by looking at six pillars that would form the programme, part of the 365 Days National Action Plan.

Ms Motumi explained that the Council's programmatic approach would be based on six pillars:
- Communication and Coordination (cut across all pillars)
- Prevention (awareness campaigns, engaging in dialogues across provinces and especially with rural communities, information-sharing, ensuring that communities and South Africans were empowered with what to do when faced with GBV)
- Response (examining the government's response to GBV, especially the relevant Departments; Health,
 Justice, Social Development, the South African Police Force, etc.)
- Support
- Policy Monitoring and Evaluation (focusing on synergies and identifying who was doing what in the country)
- Research and Information.

The Council had suggested a structure (not yet tabled by the Deputy President) that consists of two main parts:
- An extended plenary, that would be chaired by the Deputy President, and include ministers, premiers, mayors, and leaders of civil society
- A regular plenary, which would be a forum chaired by the Minister of the DWCPD, and include the sectors themselves that were represented in the Council and related departments.

The proposed organogram of the Secretariat was provided, outlining the organisational structure and the chain of command. At the head would be a CEO, CFO and CIO. The following level would consist of separate organs for Programmes (including Prevention, Research, Policy and Legislation, Response, Research and Monitoring and Evaluation, Administration, Communication, and Resource Mobilisation (which would work closely with the CFO). It may be suggested at a later date that this structure be cascaded to the provincial and local districts levels, but that would be revisited at a later time. Questions arose in the Select Committee if it would be an unfunded mandate at the local government level, but that prospect may be potentially problematic.

The Council would consist of the National Departments, all provinces, representatives from civil society and labour, public entities, and Chapter Nine institutions - the main criteria being that the organisation or institution specifically represent or work with vulnerable populations. Selection would be based on nominations submitted for consideration. Applicants should submit a letter and resume, and members of the Council would serve on a voluntary basis. Call for applications were advertised in The Mail and Guardian and government gazettes.

The budget, estimated at R20 750,000, excluding monitoring and evaluation was as follows:
R4 000, 000 - Communication and Coordination, Prevention, Response, Support, Research and Monitoring and Evaluation, and Policy and Legislation
R7 500, 000 – Development of the National Strategic Plan (2013-2018)
R7 500, 000 – Secretariat Coordination
R1 500, 000 – Strategic Planning Meetings.

The Council believes that this was the amount needed to build a strong, strategic plan for the next five years that would achieve their mandate. The Council plans on reviewing the 365 Days Action Plan, working closely with the Commission for Gender Equity (CGE) to conduct annual reviews of the Council's work.

The Council had already met with various sectors, including the South African Football Association (SAFA) which had recently been brought on as a partner. SAFA would assist the Council with a press conference and football game to launch the partnership on 14 August 2013 (“The Nelson Mandela Challenge” between South Africa and Botswana). The Council was working with the Department of Education to raise awareness of the Bill of Responsibilities in schools. The Bill consists of twelve responsibilities, and one responsibility would be promoted each month. The Council had also met with religious leaders from various faiths, and would also work to leverage existing campaigns.

Minister Lulu Xingwana joined the meeting and was welcomed by the Chairperson.

Ms L Van der Merwe (IFP) asked for more information about the 11 June meeting; where it was held, how much it cost, and from which program it was funded? What were the expected outputs and outcomes for 2013? She was still unclear on who the participants on the Council were to be, and did not have a clear understanding of the difference between those in the Secretariat and those serving as volunteers. She warned that the Council risked losing credibility unless all NGOs already working on the ground were included in this body. Did the department know how many people they wanted in this body, and were they actively soliciting people and groups, or just sticking with the few organisations that were currently on board? R3 million was for the establishment of the Council, so from where was the additional funding going to be sourced?

Ms E More (DA) asked if there would be a presentation for the first planned activity, National Vikela Campaign. Monitoring and Evaluation was very important to the success of the Council, how was it going to be funded? In what capacity were the civil society groups supposed to serve in comparison to the government entities? What were the different roles and responsibilities of the various actors in the Council?

Ms S Paulse (ID) asked for a more detailed budget, expected outputs and outcomes in 2013, and a list of councillors.

Ms H Lamoela (DA) asked the following questions:
What was meant by 'political and strategic guidance'? (see first objective on slide four.)
Why had not a proper costing been done on the implementation of this Council?
Would we ever reach our goals, were we not duplicating efforts through this design?
We were not involving existing structures, why not?
The Mail and Guardian was an expensive paper, why weren't advertisements run in The Burger instead?

Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP) asked the following questions:
Where were the disabled and the rural people in the Council? Are they included in the selection process? All of the participants appear to be from urban areas.
R3 000, 000 was allocated, was any additional funding being sourced from other departments? Where would the rest come from?

Ms P Peterson-Maduna (ANC) asked the department what were the time frames for the implementation of an over-arching policy, and asked for clarity on the strategies for vulnerable groups (such as children and those with disabilities).

Ms M Nxumalo (ANC) expressed specific concern over the targeted killing of lesbians, and asked where they fitted in the Council. She also was concerned about the violence regularly occurring in the rural areas, and suggests that perhaps religious bodies or organisations could be useful partners in these areas. She noted the elderly who were especially vulnerable and shared the anecdote of an elderly woman who was killed at the hands of her grandson who was addicted to drugs. Ms Nxumalo noted that she was having trouble articulating herself due to the emotions surrounding the issue.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) asked for a further breakdown of the R4 000 000 that was allotted for the communication campaign and other programming, and also how soon a replacement would be found for the head of CGE, since the previous head had stepped down. Only the CEO had been budgeted for, how did the department plan on paying for the CIO, CFO and the rest of the Secretariat?

Mr D Kekana (ANC) also expressed concern about the rural areas and believed that some negative influences of the urban areas were now penetrating rural areas, perhaps because these areas were gradually urbanizing. He believes that the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) could play a role in this area, since some of the chiefs/traditional leaders were women, and the institutions in the rural areas used to contain good social practices. Teenagers used to know how to behave themselves, there was no crime, doors and cattle kraals were not locked, and no one stole from each other, but all of that social cohesion had collapsed now. Do the chiefs and communities still meet? Should the Council be providing that structure?

The Acting Chairperson raised the point that the Annual Performance Plan (APP) stated that the Council was allocated R3 million, but now in the organogram the CFO was located in Administrative Office of the Director General. So if this Council had a CFO and the department already had its financial management systems, why did the Council need a CFO? What would be the financial system synergies between the CFO of the Council and the finance management of the department?

Ms Motumi gave Minister Xingwana an opportunity to address the Committee.

Minister Xingwana apologised for her tardiness, and explained that she would shortly need to return to the President's cabinet meeting; and that she would answer the strategic questions and leave the more detailed responses to Ms Motumi.

In response to Ms Lamoela's question on political guidance, she explained that this was in reference to civil society organisations and various entities all over the country, and would ensure that ministers were thinking in a sound and strategic manner when developing their programmes and forming partnership. Political guidance should be thought of more as technical or strategic considerations, rather than political in the partisan sense.

On the topic of the budget, Minister Xingwana acknowledged that after engagement with the Council and a proposed budget was drafted, it was determined that R3 million would not be enough to fulfil its mandate. The department was well aware that they could not expect National Treasury to make up the remaining difference, so the department had embarked on a fundraising campaign, specifically targeting the United Nations (UN) and various other international partners. The Council had already raised US$1 million from the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), and a sum amount from various UN agencies. The department would continue to fundraise, was in discussions with the National Treasury (not for this fiscal year), and various domestic and international private companies. The Council had not received any funding from other departments, but had received in-kind donations. For example, departments that had signed on to take responsibility for one part of the programming were funding the work themselves from their own budgets.

The meeting held on Tuesday (11 June 2013) was to look into priorities, and one of the resolutions of that meeting was to advertise the CEO vacancy immediately in order to fill it as quickly as possible. Almost half the necessary budget had already been raised (almost R10 million) and would be used to prioritize the Vikela campaign and the communication strategy. The communication tools would assist with outreach to all provinces and local municipalities.

Another goal of the department was to eventually form GBV Councils at the provincial and district levels, and hope to begin by launching provisional councils. Some had already started and running campaigns (Gauteng was already running the Vikela campaign), and had begun by building on the work of those organizations and actors already on the ground. A national structure where everyone was focused on national organisations would be too cumbersome to provide support or focus on organisations working at the provincial or district level. That would eventually become a duty of the CEO once the Council was put in place.

In response to Ms Lamoela's question on the advertisements, the Minister explained that the Mail and Guardian was selected because it had the widest readership nationwide, and it was actually more cost effective to advertise with them. It was simpler and more economical to advertise in just the most popular newspapers.

As for the role of traditional leaders, the department was writing to the House of Traditional Leaders requesting a representative for the Council, and CONTRALESA had already sent a woman chief to the Council. The department would provide profiles of all members of the Council (including religious leaders), once the members had been selected.

As for LGBTI representation, the chair of one of South Africa's Executive Council was a member of the Gays and Lesbians Association. HIV-positive women were also represented on the Council.

The CGE had a new chairperson.

Ms Motumi answered Ms Ditshetelo's question on the representation of persons with disabilities, and replied that there was a member from Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) on the Council.

She went onto to describe the national Mandela campaign in greater detail, which would have a steering committee that would drive the campaign, and the relevant subcommittees, branding, structure, and exact breakdown of a budget. Tuesday's meeting was very fruitful and structures were set up to deal with specific issues.

Ms Motumi addressed the question that many Members brought up, which was the role of government officials, versus the members of civil society organizations. Government officials were employees of the state so there was no stipend to participate on the Council, and civil society members participated in the Council on a voluntary basis. The department was covering the cost of convening meetings and transport expenses, but there would be no stipend or per diems for participation in the Council.

The structure of the Council called for its own CFO because it was intended to eventually become an independent body, separate from the DWCPD. The Council would eventually need to find its own funding and for that, would require a CFO. In the meantime, the financial management of the Council would lie with the department, so filling the vacancy of the CFO was not a priority at this time. The priorities lay with finding a CEO, raising the necessary funds, and the campaign.

Numerous committee members requested that the department return to present a more detailed plan and programme for the campaign.

Mr Kekana was concerned that CONTRALESA was very patriarchal, and this was one type of influence in the rural areas that needed to be countered. For instance, women's participation at kraal meetings may not be welcome, so the Council would have to do some work to convince CONTRALESA to allow it.

Ms Lamoela cited that in 2012 the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) labelled South Africa as the rape capital of the world, and that a woman in South Africa was raped every seventeen seconds. The Committee's mandate in this process was to monitor and perform oversight. Would the Committee receive monthly or quarterly reports to track progress?

The Chairperson suggested quarterly reports.

Ms Ditshetelo welcomed the participation of the House of Traditional Leaders, but could there be some other way for rural women to participate? She suggested at the very least that pamphlets be distributed so that women in the rural areas were part of the communication campaign.

Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) would like to know when the department expects to appoint the CEO, and asks if there was any time frame for this to happen.

Minister Xingwana said that the department was arranging for a second meeting with traditional leaders, as well as religious leaders. She had been reminded by Mr Kekana that these leaders emphasized that fighting the scourge of drugs in their communities, and violence against women and children, was not helped by violence and sex that was viewed on television. That was why there was a plan in place to revive the Bill of Responsibilities. This plan had been accepted and endorsed by all religious leaders, governments, and schools in South Africa. The idea was to have schools teach one of the twelve each month. The department hoped to involve schools, children, parents, teachers, and churches in this process.

She also responded affirmatively to Ms Lamoela's request for quarterly reports to the Committee.

Ms Ditshetelo said she would like revisit the definition of 'political guidance' and asked for further clarity.

The Minister explained that what was meant was not politics in the strict sense, but policy, and the need for political guidance to articulate the importance of gender-based violence. An example of this would be in terms of the Councils policies and finances, how should they be prioritised? That guidance came from the political head of the Council to drive the agenda forward.

The Chairperson expressed her excitement over the presentation and hoped that moving forward, South Africa would see an improvement in its gender-based violence problems. However, she warned the department that they needed a much more detailed plan, specifically in the areas of advocacy and how GBV would be mainstreamed.

6th Conference of States Parties 17-19 July 2013 & UN High Level Meeting on Disability and Development 23 September 2013 UN Headquarters, New York: presentation
The Chairperson gives the floor to Deputy Minister Hendrietta Ipeleng Bogopane-Zulu who explained that the delegation had to go to New York with a clear understanding of their mandate. It would be the first time in history that there would be a high-level meeting of heads of state to gather and discuss disabilities at the annual General Assembly meeting at the United Nations. The COSP meeting in July was in preparation for the high-level meeting in September. South Africa would also be running for a seat on the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. South Africa lost the election to Uganda by four votes last year, but South Africa felt confident that it would win this year, and was keeping the same candidate (Ms Sebenzile Matsebula).

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) detailed the adequate standards of living required for persons with disabilities, and had been ratified and signed by each member state. It also required each country to demonstrate that they had acted on the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

 The large debate at the centre of last year's COSP meeting on disability was around rehabilitation versus community-based rehabilitation, with the latter winning over the former (it was heavily favoured by developing countries). An example of traditional rehabilitation would be if a newly disabled person was rehabilitated in a hospital, but was not equipped to operate in everyday life since their living circumstances probably differed greatly from that of a hospital. An example of community-based rehabilitation would be if disabled persons themselves help to rehabilitate others who had a new disability. Another example would be that you were rehabilitated to retain your current profession, without being forced to change careers because of your disability. South Africa planned to showcase Mpumalanga as a model of community-based rehabilitation.

The delegation would include Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu, the Deputy Minister from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as part of the economic cluster, who would lead a roundtable on economic empowerment; Deputy Minister Ntuli from the social cluster, and a member of the committee. The department was still waiting on confirmation from Parliament about the invitation extended to members of the Committee, and the Deputy Minister humbly requested that Parliament respond as soon as possible. The department had asked DTI to pay for this delegation, in order to rotate expenses.

Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu assured the Committee that although the delegation may look large, it was for strategic reasons. First, Article 40 of the CRPD stipulates that country delegations must had at least one disabled person from civil society. Second, there would be five areas of thematic discussions, many of which would be happening concurrently, and its imperative that South Africa be present for them. South Africa was the leader in Africa regarding disability rights and awareness, and it was important that it put forth a strong an cohesive negotiation campaign, as it would also affect Ms Matsebula's candidacy as well.

In order to achieve an outcomes document at the end of the negotiations, it would be a very long and cumbersome process. Once negotiations begin, the Deputy Minister explained that the delegation would need to live in New York City. This must be done in order to ensure that the outcomes document would be up to South African standards and something that President Zuma could sign.

Persons with disabilities did not make it onto the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because South Africa (as a proxy for Africa and other developing countries) had not been involved in the high-level meetings. This could not happen this year. The South African Development Community (SADC) did not currently have a disability entity, and the African Union (AU) did not have a proper one either. It fell on South Africa to push for progress. SA was already leading in this area and pressing for informal high-level meetings among African heads of state.

The Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities Forum would remain in September. Last year South Africa lobbied on child self-representation, strengthening of the family, for assistive devices to go to school, and to ensure their safety in conflict or humanitarian zones, where they were often the ones left behind.

The trip would consist of fifteen total man days of consultation and meetings. The preliminary papers had gone to relevant departments. The Deputy Minister stressed that the briefing to be held on 2 July 2013 was very important because that was where thorough preparation and information-sharing would happen.

Mr D Worth (DA Free State) asked if the department had responded to the ten questions that the United Nations previously put forward.

Mr Kekana recalled that at last year's meeting there was only one head of state (El Salvador) with a disability. He had an artificial leg and created a factory that provided limbs. He believed it was important that President Zuma be there to lead on this issue, because there was only one company in South Africa that provided equipment necessary for students to attend school regularly. Unless those treatments were there, students would continue to be held back. He suggested that the department reach out directly to the AU Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and also the Pan-African Parliament if necessary.

Ms L Van der Merwe (IFP) said that taking an initial look at the presentation, she was confused about the mandate of the delegation, and that it lacked detail about exact outcomes and achievements. What was the rationale behind this delegation (she counted over thirty people in the delegation with personal assistants). South Africa often sent the largest delegation, did the department have the funds? She thought the funds would be better spent on a wheelchair for someone at the grassroots level.

Ms Lamoela asked if last year's delegation included the Department of Finance and Deputy Ministers as well. What was the total cost for this year? What would the role of the accompanying deputy ministers of the other clusters?

Ms Ditshetelo asked if it would be the same delegation that travels for both July and September, was it two different trips?

Ms Peterson-Maduna asked if the department had begun to answer the ten questions that the United Nations previously put forward. If so, could the Committee have a copy? If not, when would it be completed?

Ms G Tseke (ANC) asked if the Deputy Minister's husband was a part of the delegation, and referred to a municipality that had done a good job of streamlining disabilities.

Ms Lamoela asked if Ms Matsebula and the Deputy Minister could share a personal assistant, instead of each having one accompany them.

Ms Ditshetelo reiterated that point and asked if instead of three there could be one personal assistant in the delegation.

The Deputy Minister said that the department would send the Committee all of the thematic documents for the conference. She then explained that personal assistants were not interchangeable because they serve as guides and help with very intimate matters. If one delegate uses a wheelchair and another was blind, they both require very different assistance, and assistance that could not be split between two people. She asked the Committee to be mindful and respectful and keep dignity in mind, and that was what the Convention on the Rights of Persons was all about. Support assistants were not part of the delegation.

Mr Zulu would be travelling as a spouse, as per the ministerial handbook that allowed for family leave. She explained that she could not travel alone, and that her guide handled travel logistics. She also emphasized that the delegation would continue to do the necessary work of the department while in New York, and not simply focus on the negotiations. For example, South Africa's patent on prosthetics was due to expire in the USA, and that would need to be attended to while in New York.

All deputy ministers were paying for themselves. The cabinet took the decision that it would be clusters and they would be paid for by the dti. There would be more than two trips because the department needed to prepare the outcomes document, though it would not necessarily be the same delegation travelling both times (President Zuma would choose his own delegation in September).

On questions A-J, the task team lead by the Directors General would be putting together that response. The preliminary document was already done and had been circulated to everyone. The final document would be approved in the week of 16 July 2013.

The Deputy Minister agreed that community-based rehabilitation was very important. A typical example of a frustration with traditional rehabilitation was guide dogs who were trained in rural areas where there were no black rural puppy-walkers. The dogs would end up leading people into puddles and potholes. She agreed that local governments were important players in spreading disability awareness, and that was an area of weakness for the department. There were currently 72 counsellors with disabilities in the ANC, so there was some sensitizing to an extent.

There was a need for three deputy ministers because all of the sessions were running concurrently or back-to-back, and the candidate would not be available to participate in negotiations, as she would be running her campaign, and the parliamentarians would have their own itinerary put together.

The Chairperson congratulated the Deputy Minister on the excellent work her office was doing on the international front, but pointed out that one could see from the exchange with Members there was still a lot of education that was needed, as well as progress to be made at home.

Ms Lamoela admitted that even as members of this committee they were lagging behind in awareness of persons with disabilities, and that she only asked the questions about eliminating assistants because of budget constraints, not out of malice. She asked if the department was working on a means test for disabled children under 18.

The Chairperson suggested that be reserved for a future discussion.

Ms Motumi played an advert from the ZAZI campaign ( for the Committee, asked them to read through the document and kit provided, and reach out to the department should they had any questions about the campaign. It would run from May to December. The campaign was meant to help women and men fight GBV, domestic violence, and HIV/AIDs. The colour green was chosen because it symbolises hope.

Adoption of Minutes
The Committee adopted the minutes of 8 May 2013 and 15 May 2013.

The Chairperson declared the meeting adjourned.

Apologies: Chairperson Ms D Ramodibe (ANC), Mr G Mokgoro (ANC Northern Cape), Ms C Diemu (COPE), Ms B Mabe (ANC Gauteng).


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