Commission for Gender Equality on Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan 2015/16

Women in The Presidency

24 March 2015
Chairperson: Ms T Memela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) presented its strategic and Annual Performance plan (APP) for 2015/16. There was a moratorium on filling vacant posts but new Commissioners had been approved since the inception of the strategic plan. After setting out its vision and mission, the CGE reported on international conventions, charters and declarations informing the programmes, from both the European Union and African Union and SADC. It outlined its strategic objectives, emphasising the creation of an enabling framework, promotion of gender equality awareness, challenging patriarchal perceptions and stereotypes and taking actions against infringements of gender rights. It would also monitor state compliance with regional and international conventions, covenants and charters. The final objective related to building an effective and efficient institution.

Particular objectives for the 2015/16 financial year included reviewing the progress or recommendations made to entities out of employment equity hearings, gender transformation hearings in three universities, and the report of the status of polities and practices in the public sector. It was assessing women's representation in political parties, implementation of the 365 days programme on gender based violence (GBV) and the audit report on the victims' charter and courts. It was looking, amongst others, into transformation of the judiciary, decriminalisation of sex work and maternal health and was using joint programmes and platforms to disseminate education and information. It would be responsible for assessment reports on regional protocols and charters. Finally, it needed to review the delegation of authority internally, as directed by its founding legislation, align to the new business model and report on the last twenty years achievements and failures. It noted that the lowering of the budget by 4% would hinder its ability to deliver on commitments. A financial report was presented, describing the impacts of the reduction of the baseline by 4% (R3.1 million for this year) and it was pointed out that this meant that unfilled positions would not be filled, which would impact on effectiveness of service delivery. CGE was introducing cost-containment, avoiding duplications, using alternative methods for delivery.

The Chairperson of the CGE briefly spoke to how the State of the Nation Address had dealt with gender issues. Although it had identified several points that posed challenges to both men and women, including those in rural areas, it had not examined how those impacted upon women in particular - for instance, lack of housing undermined the role of women, and adequate healthcare and sanitation were particularly important for women and girls. The CGE felt that the challenges and special needs of female-headed households should have been identified as important social and welfare policy priorities. It was particularly concerned that access to and control of land, as an economic resource and asset, was still skewed in terms of gender and race, further entrenched by patriarchy and traditional leadership structures in rural areas. Since women constituted the majority of the "unemployed, under-employed and unemployable" it would have been useful if job-creation initiatives specifically for them were identified. Pregnant women continued to face violations of their rights, and were denied employment benefits, and traditional harmful practices such as ukuthwala and female genital mutilation also required urgent policy interventions. Although there was mention of successful prosecutions of perpetrators of violence against women, it was important that government identified this in particular for policy and effective law enforcement. It suggested that the SONA should have a far stronger gender-focus, and should have included one or two bold policy and programme initiatives to signal the continued prioritisation of gender mainstreaming by the government, It was important that the National Council on Gender Based Violence be revived.

The Committee expressed concern at the budget reduction, as it would affect the Commission in its service delivery, and suggested that there be liaison with the Standing Committee on Appropriations to try to push for an improved budget. Several Members raised comments on the poor living conditions of the black people in Western Cape Province, and one Member recommended that the Western Cape government be requested to answer specifically on the differences in the service delivery, although others pointed out that this was not the only province with inequality, and the Commission said it would partner with the South African Rights Commission on water and sanitation matters. Other recommendations were made that the Portfolio Committees on Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements be asked to give input to this Committee. Members suggested that the transformation hearings should be fast-tracked and that students unions must be involved. They asked what platforms CGE used to reach out to women, suggested use of local government platforms since many women lacked access to social media. They questioned the consultancy fees, asked for a copy of the CSW report, but then decided that it would request the Department for Women in the Presidency to send it through directly, and wondered if the CGE was still lobbying for "one woman one hectare". It was urged to interact with the Ministry of Women on the National Council for Gender Based Violence. The Committee asked if the Commission had outstanding savings and programmes from previous financial years. It asked if anything was done in relation to protection from drugs and gangsters and questioned the budget for revitalising the Commission on GBV.

The minutes of meetings on 3 and 17 March, the programme, and oversight visit reports were adopted. 

Meeting report

Commission for Gender Equality Briefing on Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan (APP) 2015/16
Ms Kketso Maema: Chief Executive Officer, Commission for Gender Equality, briefed the Committee on the strategic plan and Annual Performance Plan (APP) of the Commission (CGE) for 2015/16.CGE was in its fourth year of the strategic plan and the vision, mission and values had remained the same. The approved structure had been amended since a moratorium was placed on vacant positions in Head Offices due to a reduced budget. New Commissioners had been approved since the inception of the strategic plan.

She described its constitutional mandate and obligations, noting that section 187(1) mandates that CGE must promote respect for gender equality and protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

Additional power and functions also prescribed by national legislation included monitoring, investigating, research; education; lobbying, advising Parliament and reporting on issues concerning gender equality. CGE must also monitor compliance to regional and international conventions. It is responsible for the monitoring and effective working of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (PEPUDA).

The vision was to have a society free from all forms of gender oppression and inequality. The mission included references to monitoring, evaluating and making recommendations on policies of the public and private sector; Information and educational programmes; evaluating and making recommendations on legislation affecting the status of women; investigating, resolving and rectifying gender issues; collaborating with government and civil society; monitoring and reporting on international conventions.

Ms Maema described the work in respect of the international conventions, charters and declarations informing the Commission’s programmes, as follows: - Ensuring full implementation of all commitments made by the state to the implementation of Convention on Elimination of  Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
-  Monitoring of implementation of CEDAW by state departments
- producing monitoring reports which highlight achievements and challenges
- sharing recommendations with the state on improving compliance with the Convention, by engaging with the Minister of Women
- Supporting the country in reporting to the CEDAW Committee in 2015.

Further commitments that CGE must monitor were as follows:
- Commitments made by the state in respect of the Beijing declaration and Platform for Action
- Commitments under the Millennium Declarations and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
- Monitoring the compliance with and the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, with focus on the 12 critical areas of concern
- Monitoring compliance and tracking progress on the implementation of the MDGs
- Producing monitoring reports which indicate achievements and challenges
- Sharing recommendations with the state on improving compliance with the Convention by engaging the Minister of Women
-Supporting the Country when reporting the Convention on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2016
- Engaging with the post 2015 agenda which reflects on new development challenges -leading to the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals(SDGS).

African Protocols informing the Commission’s programme included;
- Commitments made by the state to the implementation of the Maputo Protocol and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development
- Monitoring the compliance with and the implementation of the Maputo Protocol and tracking progress
- Tracking the implementation of the SADC protocol.
- Monitoring South Africa’s compliance with the requirement to achieve gender equality, by producing a status report on gender equality
- Producing a monitoring report on the status of gender equality in the country by implementing the Africa Gender and Development index tool.

Ms Maema described the gender landscape influencing Commission’s programme. There were several facets,which included the embedded impact of patriarchy on institutions, relation and behaviours; the fact of deepening inequality; the impact of poverty; lack of access to and ownership of land; unemployment and precarious employment; the persistence of Gender Based Violence (GBV), including violence on the basis of sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS. Further aspects involved denial of reproductive and sexual health rights; an increasing trend of traditional, cultural and religious fundamentalism; decision-making power and substantive participation of women in the processes and empowerment and the economic empowerment of women.

She took the Committee through the strategic objectives (see attached document for full text). Strategic Objective 1 included the creation and implementation of an enabling legislative framework that promoted the attainment of gender equality, and the monitoring, evaluation and conducting assessments on compliance with the legislation and good practice.  Strategic Objective 2 was largely concerned with promoting and protecting gender equality by engaging with stakeholders, education and awareness-building, dealing with complaints, developing coordinated programmes and coming up with initiatives to address violations in any sector or sphere of society. Sector 3 required the CGE to monitor the State's compliance, including by conducting reviews, and to report to Parliament and national, regional and international bodies. Strategic Objective 4 related to building an effective and sustainable institution and using resources effectively.

The various topics that related to each of those objectives in the Annual Performance Plan were then outlined. For Strategic Objective 1 particular mention was made on the need to review progress on recommendations made to entities following Employment Equity (EE) hearings, and to deal with the gender transformation hearings of three universities. The Gender Barometer was used to report on the status of gender policies and practices in the public sector. An assessment report on women's representation in political parties would be done. There would be an audit report of the implementation of the victims charter, an evaluation report on monitoring of courts and dialogues with policy makers.

In respect of Strategic Objective 2, Ms Maema noted that targets were set for complaints received that must be attended to. It was intended that 90 outreach and legal clinics would be conducted in provinces. There would be systematic investigations into transformation of judiciary, decriminalisation of sex work, maternal health, using joint programmes with stakeholders. CGE intended to use public media platforms to disseminate gender equality education and information, and had targeted 54 media slots. It would also be doing intervention programmes on gender violations with the traditional leadership and religious sector.

In respect of Strategic Objective 3, the CGE intended to attend to assessment reports on regional protocols and charters, including the African Protocol on Human Rights and the Rights of Women, the SADC report on Gender and Development and a report on African Gender Development Index (AGDI). It would be making representations to relevant national regional and international stakeholders and there would be engagements with stakeholders on CGE's attendance at international and regional events.

In relation to the internal workings of the CGE, it would be undertaking a review of the delegation of authority between the Office of the Chair and the CEO as directed by the CGE Amendment Act and aligning the operations to the new business model. Annually, it would be reviewing or further developing policies. It was aiming for a clean audit report, following the approval of a financial management strategy based on delegation of authority and revised and approved policies and procedures. It had been in existence now for 20 years and would thus be preparing a 20-year Review on its achievements and failures since its inception. Overall, it would seek to review the CGE business model and manage resources efficiently.

Ms Maema reported that the CGE's funding remained at the same level for the previous five years, save for some inflationary increases. Any requests for additional funding had not been responded to positively. No increase would be given for 2015/16; in fact there had been a 4% reduction, which would affect the ability of the CGE to deliver on its legislative mandate. Redress of gender violations and advancement of rights spanned right from the top to grassroots levels and required interventions with multiple approaches, as the CGE budget was inadequate to address this. CGE was forced to undertake austerity measures in the 2015/16 FY.

Challenges were that the current ICT systems were technologically worn out and impeded business operations. The budget did not adequately finance the strategic plan. Training for staff had been cut due to financial constraints. There was a moratorium placed on filling of positions at Head Office, which impeded on productivity.

APP 2015/16 budget

Mr Moshabi Putu, Chief Financial Officer, CGE, briefed the Committee on the APP 2015/16 budget. He reported that the budget of the CGE formed the main division of Vote 18 for the Ministry of Women in the Presidency. The budget covered three aspects: (a) Commissioners, governance and support (b) Corporate/administration support and (c) main services and core business.

The top three spending drivers were: compensation of employees at 67%; Professional services at 7%; travel and accommodation, event management and media at11%; and report production and printing at 3%; with telecommunications, courier services and vehicle expenses at 4%.

Therefore over 90% of the total spending was made out of unavoidable expenditure, and most of this was fixed.

He reported that the baseline was sensitive to cost of employment. The CGE relied primarily on staff to execute mandate, and this raised a dilemma from the budget cuts, for they would have a direct negative implication on service delivery. He repeated that the reduction of the baseline by 4% (R3.1 million) for 2015/16, and by R4.6m for 2016/17 would significantly and negatively impact on the CGE services. Adding to this, he said that there was a R16 million budget deficit, and the establishment would not be populated with unfilled positions at Head Office. The scale of the APP activities was reduced and some activities were removed from plan, impacting on effectiveness in service delivery. He also repeated that in the interim, CGE had managed to come up with and stringently implement cost containment plans. There were efficiency gains on the use of fleet telecommunications, and this also avoided duplication of service. The media and other forms of distribution were used for service delivery. There would be a review of the ,current business model and escalation of funding discussions in line with the provisions of the CGE Act.

He set out the figures for each of the strategic objectives, approved and final budgets and the percentages to salaries and core functions (see attached presentation). A detailed list was given of the budget allocations to each of the points in the APP.

CGE Response to State of the Nation Address (SONA)

Mr Mfanozelwe Shozi, Chairperson, CGE, briefed the Committee on the Commission's response to the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA). He briefly outlined that this identified the challenges and achievements of the government in implementing its programmes over the past financial year. It focused on several issues such as the economy, education, health, governance, transport, the judiciary; social challenges such as corruption, crime, GBV and gender equality; the Freedom Charter and the National Development Plan (NDP).
 

The SONA identified and acknowledged the achievements made by selected individual women who excelled in their respective fields.

Key points from the SONA were that it had not gone on to address some of the major challenges faced by women in general, including the need to deal with the challenges faced by women in rural areas across the country. Whilst it had focused on important policy areas for the country, such as water, energy, land, roads it had not actually addressed these in the context of the challenges of gender mainstreaming. All the policy areas mentioned were important for the welfare and advancement of both women and men.

Mr Shozi noted that lack of housing or poor housing conditions undermined the roles of women. Provision of adequate healthcare, water and sanitation services was crucial for health and welfare needs of women and girls in general. The challenges and special needs of female-headed households should therefore have been identified as important social and welfare policy priorities for the President and Government.

In respect of land reform and redistribution, he noted that the Freedom Charter had articulated that the land shall be shared among those who worked in it. The President had identified land as a priority issue. However, a 2010 study on land reform by the CGE revealed that women were not fully enjoying the benefits due to them as beneficiaries of land reform and restitution initiatives, and the beneficiaries were still predominantly male. Access to and control of land as an economic resource and asset was still skewed in terms of gender and race. Patriarchy and traditional leadership structures in rural areas ensured continued gender imbalance in land ownership and control.

The CGE believed an opportunity was missed, in terms of announcing support initiatives to alleviate the conditions of employment for women. He pointed out that it could contribute towards economic welfare of women and rural households, as women comprised the majority of the unemployed, under-employed and unemployable. Therefore the CGE would have liked to see new job creation initiatives being announced in the SONA, to alleviate the plight of women in particular. He further pointed out that pregnant women continued to face violations of their rights, and were often denied employment benefits. Issues of harmful traditional practices such as Ukuthwala and female genital mutilation remained important challenges for social policy. The CGE would have welcomed these being mentioned as an area of priority for the SONA speech, for it was indeed an issue that needed to be prioritised.

Although the President did mention the successful prosecutions of perpetrators of violence against women, it was important that government identified this as a particular focal area to be addressed through policy and effective law enforcement.

Mr Shozi concluded that he had hoped that the SONA would have been "engendered". Although in general it did identify issues of considerable importance for women and gender mainstreaming, it ought to have made one or two bold policy and programme initiatives, to signal the continued prioritisation of gender mainstreaming by the government. The CGE would have liked to have seen the revival of the National Council on Gender Based Violence.

Discussion

Ms M Khawula (EFF) thanked the presenters. She expressed her concern that Section 11 of the CGE Act calling for gender equality of all South Africans was not satisfactorily applied here in Cape Town, where black people lived in poor conditions with poor infrastructures. She asked what was being done with the budget allocated in this Province, as blacks were still being discriminated against in this province. She added that areas like Guguletu, Khayelitsha and some other areas with black residents were poorly managed. She asked that the Western Cape Government "be jailed or penalised" for this. She urged the Commission to try by all means to get land for these people in order for them to have a good life. She added that the CGE played a major role within the community as it helped to bring justice to the people and urged that it should not be under-funded as its role could not be overemphasised.

Ms Ndumiso Mphazi, Commissioner, CGE commented that the gender situation in Western Cape needed the intervention of political leaders as the Western Cape often did not act according to the national gender framework as it prioritised Human Rights. She said there was no dedicated office to deal with the issue of gender in general. Last year, the CGE had mapped out a forum where gender issues in Western Cape could be discussed. She said CGE had a stakeholder’s workshop also last year where a task team was elected which would present the consolidated report to other stakeholders. Through the task team, there would be quarterly programmes in different areas of the Western Cape, focusing on gender matters.

Ms Thoko Mpumlwana: Deputy Chairperson, CGE, replied that funds could be increased if people were made to understand the value of the work done by CGE in the gender space. It needed to be accorded the seriousness it deserved, as much money was required in order to empower women and help them assess their rights as women.

Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) thanked CGE for the presentation. She added that the shortage of funding was a grave issue, as gender equality and women empowerment in South Africa was a work in progress. She added that many of the Commission’s plans had been scaled down due to insufficient funding, hence entrenching gender inequality in South Africa. She added that there had been a regression in terms of gender equality and women empowerment. She asked if CGE offices in provinces and local municipalities were properly capacitated in terms of human resources and financial resources.

Ms van der Merwe made the point that CGE had highlighted the lack of gender data as part of its challenge. One of CGE’s roles was to monitor government compliance on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Beijing platform of action. She wondered how the gender planning could be done if there was no comprehensive data being generated and disseminated.  Many Africans in the rural communities did not have access to social media hence did not have access to CGE. She added that CGE expected the President to have spoken about National Council against Gender Based Violence in his State of Nation Address, but the point was that there was not enough funding for this project. She asked if CGE’s new business model could address the funding problem.

Ms Mphazi replied that CGE had limited staff in the provinces and so they would not be so badly affected by cutting down the budget, and the CGE would ensure that the staffing of the provincial offices remained intact. However, the Commission would have to consider if it was practical to have nine offices in provinces.

Ms Mpumlwana added that some departments did not know the value of desegregation of data and suggested that the Portfolio Committee should send letters to other Committees, suggesting that when they wanted information they should stress that it was disaggregated data (particularly on gender) that was required. She added that there was no law that mandated this, but it was just a matter of expectation in order to measure the impact of development and service delivery in the country.

Ms Maema commented that CGE planned to meet with Statistics SA with a view to signing a Memorandum of Understanding with that body. It provided a huge volume of data that was generated within the country, and could ensure that the data had gender desegregation.

Ms D Robinson (DA) commented that budget was a big concern. She had appealed, on behalf of CGE, earlier in the year for more funding. She said there was a need to improve on savings and appreciated the presentation of the Chief Financial Officer, particularly his suggestion on the need to maximise funding and collaborate with other organisations. She added that so many functions were duplicated by similar organisations, and this could be addressed to save time and money.

Ms Robinson expressed concern on the regression of gender right, stressing that there should be equal pay for equal work. She expressed her concern about the rural areas, as there were problems within municipalities all over the country and she also suggested the need to intervene in areas highlighted by Ms Khawula, as there were service providers that were not cleaning toilets properly and regularly. If she could be provided with figures and facts, she would intervene in order to ensure that everybody had respectable and healthy living circumstances.

Ms M Chueu (ANC) disagreed with Ms Robinson on the idea of individual intervention at local areas. She pointed out that this was not an individual problem, but rather a systematic problem that needed to be addressed. She said it was unconstitutional, in terms of not complying with basic human rights, to have an oppressed community. The fundamental issue being raised was the fact that basic services were not being provided by the municipalities to the African people. She suggested that municipalities be made to answer to these questions as they must give proper sanitation to every human being who lived in these areas. She suggested that the Committee should invite the Portfolio Committees on Water and Sanitation and on Human Settlements, to deliberate this issue with them, and then evaluate the progress next year. She said the role of the Committee was to defend the rights of women to be given dignity so that they could live in a way that was safe and healthy. She suggested that the Standing Committee on Appropriations also be invited and presented with the budget of CGE, and that it be asked to make recommendations in order to reconsider an increase to the CGE budget. The Committee should be an advocate of women's rights.

Ms Mphazi replied that CGE would take the case of Western Cape forward with the SA Human Rights Commission also - it had had a partnership with this body previously on water and sanitation issues. There would be a special programme focusing on the situation of Western Cape.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) thanked the presenters. She commented that National Treasury had to cut down budgets of other institutions, municipalities and departments, so that CGE was not the only institution affected. However, the Committee would try to make out a case for CGE to ensure that the rights of women were defended. National Treasury had suggested, several times, that the use of consultants be reduced in order to save funds. She asked if CGE did not have staff to fulfil the functions presently being served by consultants.

Ms Tseke asked if CGE could provide the Committee with the report from the Commission, and from the Status of Women (CSW) summit by the Ministry of Women. She suggested that the CGE should use the local government’s platform for its education and outreach programmes, for there were consistent forums where the mandate, role and responsibilities could be shared.

Ms Tseke added that in 2014/15, CGE lobbied for a "one woman-one hectare" programme and asked if CGE was still pursuing that programme. She asked if the Ministry of women had briefed CGE on the status quo of the Council against Gender Based Violence (GBV), as it was on hold till further notice. She also asked if the CGE had any outstanding savings from previous financial years or if these had been spent.

Ms Mphazi replied that CGE would use the local government's platform to take CGE to the people. She said the Commission’s approach would be changed by putting its stand at all events.

Ms Mphazi commented that the Commission had been trying to save a lot on consultancy fees. The consultancy fee went to the Auditor-General for consultancy services, and the Commission had to set budget aside for Auditor General every year.

Ms Mpumlwana added that CGE had one legal officer and one education officer, to cover an entire province and this was why its business model would be changed by beefing up the provinces to have a bigger reach and partner with stakeholders and local governments.

Mr Shozi commented that CGE had the CEDAW report and the report by the Ministry of Women, but it was not within the mandate of the CGE to release it to the Committee. He suggested that the report be obtained from the Ministry’s website.

Mr Wallace Mgoqi, Commissioner, CGE commented that CGE conducted some research over a period of ten years from 2000-2010 which was published in 2011.The report said that the land reform process, over that period, had about 13% of female beneficiaries so it was clear that the majority of those benefitting from the programme were male. He added that gender equality and women empowerment could not take place outside of the acceptance of access to land for women. He said CGE embarked on lobbying in terms of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which provided clear terms on the importance of women having property rights. The Commission had embarked on the campaign of "one woman-one hectare" of land, and suggested that government use this to empower women. He said that it was mostly women who saw to food security and provision, and thus the relationship between women and access to land should be strengthened. CGE had also tried to bring grassroots organisations and people to take up this initiative. He added that the Rural Women Assembly launched its campaign for land and food, and had then adopted the "one woman-one hectare" as a demand for its members. He added that CGE had done its task in terms of lobbying, and urged that the beneficiaries should be subject to the movement.

Ms P Bhengu (ANC): thanked CGE for a clearly outlined strategic plan and APP. She agreed that there had been a decrease in allocations for Strategic Objectives 1, 2 and 3 from 2014/15 allocation. She required elaboration on why Strategic Objective 2 had the largest increase while Strategic Objective 4 had a decrease in budget. She also agreed that the Portfolio Committees on Water and Sanitation as well as Human Settlements should be invited. She commented that it seemed there were two worlds in the Western Cape:  one for the whites and the other for the blacks. She asked if CGE had outstanding targets for 2014/15 that had not been implemented and asked what it intended to do about them, with this budget constraint.

Ms Mphazi commented that CGE would start with the outstanding programmes of the last financial year for all provinces in order to finalise them, as no target would be left out for 2014/15.She added that in some areas the targets had been met and some were exceeded for 2014/15. There were few areas that needed to be improved; for instance in Western Cape legal clinics needed to be addressed, as some legal officers had resigned.

Ms Tseke commented that there was a need to fast track the transformation hearings for the universities, and Student Representative Councils (SRCs) should be involved. She suggested that institutions be prioritized. She added that CGE should have a good story to tell in the celebration of its 20 years of existence with regard to the positive impact made in South Africa.

Ms Mpumlwana replied that the APP was targeting three higher institutions and the South Africa Human Rights Commission was focusing on higher education. She added that the CGE would ensure that it infused gender into the broader human rights agenda, in order to have a bigger spread, and to ensure that leaders who understood gender issues would be produced from those universities.

Ms Maema said that CGE held two transformation hearings, for University of Venda and University of Pretoria, with SRCs invited.

On the issue of consultancy, she added that not a lot of money was set aside for consultancy per se. Some of the funding under that heading was actually for those who helped with training and development, internet services, professional services, and were not consultants as such. CGE also set aside some funds for its 20-year review, as it was important to have an objective process as well as to ensure that the work of the Commission was openly described. Generally, CGE used its own internal staff members to run its processes.

Ms Khawula asked if CGE could intervene for students who were no longer getting National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding.

Ms M Matshoba (ANC) asked if CGE had programmes to address the menace of drugs and gangsters among children in the Western Cape, a point also not mentioned in the SoNA.

Ms Mpumlwana replied that girl-children were affected through drugs, teenage pregnancies and other matters, and there was a need for stakeholders to come together and deliberate on how to save our children so that they could have the kind of future that was enshrined in the Constitution.

Ms Mpumlwana commented that much of the new legislation was also important to CGE. The legislation dealing with Sexual Offences had been highly contested, and she requested that the Portfolio Committee be given enough space to deal with it properly. She said there was one view that said that sexual interactions between those under 16 should be criminalised, and others who thought the legal age of consent should be raised to 20 years. Support and guidance from the Portfolio Committee was needed. She added that because most femicides were committed with guns, there was also a need to look into firearms control, management and possession - and once again the support of the Committee for the correct amendments would be appreciated.

Mr Shozi appreciated the contributions and advice of the Committee members on the way forward for the Commission. He said there were statutory organs that dealt specifically with some of the issues raised and their impacts on gender equality. He added that CGE had packaged some programmes around challenges in some particular provinces. For instance; the Commission was working around the advancement of gender equality in Western Cape. He added that CGE could partner with other organisations on the education and research on drug-related issues, which in turn were also related to alcohol, and to gender based violence. He agreed on the need to meet with the Standing Committee on Appropriations on the possibility of reviewing the budget. He conceded that in previous years, CGE sometimes under-spent its budget because it did not have commissioners and management could not use some of the funds on the programmes. He agreed that women needed to be educated, and said that CGE had 54 Committee-based radio slots, which would enable the CGE to reach out directly to the women in the rural areas. He added that the Gender Based Violence Council was not part of the Commission’s plan from SoNA. He added that, this year, CGE would support National events.

The Chairperson commented that it could help in the eradication of the green card that had been the barrier for people working in the farms in the Western Cape.

Ms Van der Merwe commented that the proper protocol should be followed, and suggested that the Committee should ask for the CSW report to be sent directly to this Committee, instead of trying to get it from the website in order to interrogate it.

The Chairperson commented that NCOP had a constitutional mandate to do oversight on all Departments and Provinces, but that it had apparently been blocked from doing oversight in one of the Western Cape areas. She added that in order to see progress in the alleviation of the plight of black people, committees should stand together and do a proper retrospective analysis, and forget about political affiliations. She said 90% of the blacks and other races were suffering, and said that perhaps this was not limited to the Western Cape alone. Whatever the case, Members of this Committee had to work hard and ensure that proper oversight was done, irrespective of the ruling party's views, as work had to be done diligently. She urged CGE to inform the Committee whenever it approached to the court. She said there was segregation in some of the work done in the provinces, and this had to end.

The Chairperson and Ms Bhengu had to leave at this point for another meeting.

Ms Tseke assumed the Chair.

Adoption of Minutes
Minutes from 3 and 17 March were unanimously adopted, without any amendment.

Adoption of Draft Report

Ms Robinson moved for the adoption of the draft Report, and Members unanimously adopted it.

Adoption of Oversight Visit Report

The oversight visit report was unanimously adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.

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