The Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency met to consider and adopt the Committee report on the strategic plan and annual performance plan (APP) of the Department of Women in the Presidency and the Commission on Gender Equality. The Committee had observed that the Department had identified access to basic services as an issue, but it was unclear as to where this fitted in to the strategic plan. In addition, the Committee also questioned how this would impact on the mandate and scope of the Department, specifically its role in terms of monitoring and evaluation. One Member wanted to know about the kind of positions that were required by the Department, as there were 19 funded vacant posts that had been mentioned in the report. The Committee had recommended that the Department needed to provide the Committee with its organogram in order to see the kind of posts that were required.
The Committee had recommended that the Department needed to increase the number of female teachers and lecturers for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). There should also be a concerted effort to increase the number of girls enrolling for STEM, and to ensure that they were properly resourced from an early age, so that the numbers would increase automatically. One Member expressed disappointment that some of the programmes of the Department did not seem to reach out to those women on the ground who needed to be assisted with funding.
The Committee had questioned the rationale behind the huge amount of funding that had been allocated for bursaries under Administration, while other programmes had been allocated very little funding. It was recommended that there should be a reallocation so that the bulk of funding for bursaries could go to where people performed the implementation part of the work, rather than the Administration.
The Committee adopted the report, with amendments.
Ms Kashifa Abrahams, Committee Content Advisor, said she had rephrased point 7.1.1 (a) on page 9 of the Committee’s report on the Department of Women in the Presidency and the Commission on Gender Equality, to read: “The Committee observed that the Department identified access to basic services as an issue but it was unclear as to where this fits into the strategic plan. In addition, the Committee questioned how this would impact on mandate and scope of the Department, specifically its role in terms of monitoring and evaluation.”
The Members agreed with the insertion.
Ms M Matshoba (ANC) wanted to know about the kind of positions that were required by the Department, as there were 19 funded vacant posts in point 7.1.3 (b) on page 10.
Ms Abrahams responded that this question had been asked by the Members during the meeting and the Committee had recommended that the Department needed to forward its organogram so as to be able to see the kind of posts that were required.
The Chairperson pointed out that there was a grammatical error in 7.2.3 (b) on page 12 in the fourth paragraph, as “were” needed to be deleted.
The Members agreed with the deletion.
Ms Abrahams suggested that 7.2.4 (a) on page 13, under “request by commission,” was best reflected as an observation.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should remove point 9.1 (a) on page 13, as it was still waiting for the organogram of the Department, and this would clarify the programmes or units in Programme 2 and Programme 3.
Ms M Chueu (ANC) agreed with the suggestion as the organogram would be able to determine whether or not Programme 2 and Programme 3 were interlinked in any way.
Ms Abrahams pointed out that Ms Chueu had asked whether there was any repetition in some of the programmes of the Department, and requested that this point should perhaps be moved to the recommendations or observations.
Ms C Majeke (UDM) seconded the suggestion to move point 9.1 (a) to the observations.
The Members agreed with the suggestion.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) focused on 7.1.2 (b) on page 10, and asked for the time-frame for transformation to be visible on the ground. There was no use in coming to sit in the Committee and deliberate on the issues while there was no action on the ground. Women should be assisted with funding on various programmes like baking, sewing, gardening and so forth. It is disappointing to observe that some groups of women were able to receive funding while others were not assisted at all. How could the Committee ensure that women on the ground were able to receive the benefits from the Department?
The Chairperson said that 7.1.2 (c) on page 10 had clarified that the Committee had asked which government departments would be monitored to ensure that they set aside funds and invested to contribute to the socio-economic development of women, as this had not been specified.
Ms Khawula suggested that the Committee should go down to ground level and ensure that all the programmes dedicated to women could be accessed by those in desperate need. For example, there were some women in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) who played soccer and exercised in order to keep themselves fit, but they were not being given enough funding, or taken into consideration.
Ms Chueu explained to Ms Khawula that right now the Committee was only deliberating on the report to see if there were any discrepancies between the strategic plan and the APP. She could identify the groups that were in need of help and bring them to the Committee to see how they could be assisted. The Committee would still conduct oversight visits to see whether the programmes of the Department were able to benefit those on the ground.
Ms Abrahams suggested that under 7.1.2 on page 10, the Committee should add: “The Committee urges the Department to ensure that its programmes are in synergy, in order to avoid duplication.”
The Members agreed with the addition.
The Chairperson pointed out that there was a grammatical error in 9.1 (e) on page 13 in the fifth paragraph, as “it” should be replaced by “them”.
Ms D Robinson (DA) said that the Committee had recommended that bursary allocations should be increased for the programmes focusing on research, monitoring and evaluation, as well as bursaries for skills development. However, she wondered where the funding would come from, as the Department was already under-funded.
Ms Crystal Levendale, Committee Researcher, said that the Department had initially allocated funding for bursaries in each programme. The Committee had questioned the rationale behind the huge amount of funding that had been allocated for bursaries under Administration, while other programmes had been allocated very little funding. This meant there would be a need for a reallocation of funding so that the bulk of funding for bursaries could go to people who performed the implementation part of the work, rather than the Administration.
Ms Chueu suggested that the Committee should recommend that the Department increase the number of teachers, to include more female teachers and lecturers for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The Department should also recommend an increase in the number of girls enrolling for STEM, and ensure that they were properly resourced from an early age, so that the number could increase automatically.
The Members agreed with the suggestion.
The Chairperson requested a proposer for the adoption of the report of the Committee.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) moved the adoption, and Ms Chueu seconded.
The report was adopted with amendments.
Adoption of minutes
The Acting Chairperson requested Members to adopt the minutes of 21 April 2015.
Ms Majeke moved the adoption, and Ms Khawula seconded.
The minutes were adopted without amendments.
Apologies were received from the Chairperson, Ms T Memela (ANC), Ms L van der Merwe (IFP), Mr M Dirks (ANC) and Ms C Dudley (ACDP).
The meeting was adjourned.
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