Department of Women in the Presidency on its 2015/16 Annual Performance & Strategic Plans

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Meeting Summary

The Department of Women in the Presidency presented its budget and Annual Performance Plan to the Committee. The delegates focused on the budgets of the DoW’s four programmes and the way in which these programmes would further women empowerment and gender equality in South Africa. After the disaggregation of the DWCPD in 2014, the two programmes on children and people with disabilities migrated to Social Development. The DoW has retained the Administration Programme and the Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality Programmes. An important element of the new DoW is that its mandate has been refined and focused. The DoW amended mandate is to “lead, coordinate, and oversee transformation on women’s socio-empowerment, rights, and equality through mainstreaming, monitoring, and evaluation” This new mandate establishes the background of the Department’s APP and the Department’s status as a coordinating lead department. The DoW is not a service delivery implementation department and thus it functions in a unique way.

Some members expressed concern that the presentation was highly academic and not practical enough. They wished to see more deliverable goals and more collaboration between the DoW and other departments. There was also concern that the Department had spent more budget in 2014/15 but achieved fewer performance indicators.

Meeting report

Department of Women in the Presidency on their Strategic Planning and Annual Performance Plan
The Chairperson welcomed the officials from the Department of Women in the Presidency (DoW). He stated for the record that the Committee had received an apology from the Minister. The DoW delegation was led by its Director General. He pointed out that there were many calls of concern from the Committee regarding previous unavailability of the DoW. He asked the DG to address that before giving the Department’s presentation.
Ms Jenny Schreiner, DoW Director General, introduced the delegation who included:
- Ms Thandeka Mxenge, Deputy Director General of Corporate Management
- Ms Ntsikilelo Sisulu-Singapi, Acting Deputy Director General: Women Empowerment & Gender Equality
- Ms Camagwini Ntshinga, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Ms Schreiner stated that the delegation would present to the Committee on the status of the DoW and its Annual Performance Plan (APP).

The Chair indicated that the briefing by the DoW was the only item on the agenda. The Committee will finalise another meeting to conclude matters. Some Members of the Committee needed to prepare for other debates in later in the day. He asked the DG to address the primary concern for the Committee before presenting.

Ms Schreiner thanked the Chairperson and extended her apology for the DoW’s “blunder” on 26 May. It is a responsibility that she takes fully on her own shoulders. She made a firm commitment that the error would not be repeated. An administrative communication error occurred within the DoW, but it has been addressed. The DoW needs to ensure a closer relationship with the secretary of the Committee. She also asked all correspondence to the Ministry gets copied to the DoW as a backup system. She reiterated the necessity of a strong relationship between the DoW and the Committee and hoped the apology would enable the correct relationship between the Committee and the DoW.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Schreiner and asked if there was any response to the apology from the Members.

Mr J Julius (DA, Gauteng) noted that the Committee had written a letter to the DoW on this matter and asked if the DoW’s apology was available in writing. The documented apology will build the relationship in the future.

The Chairperson responded that since the DoW was appearing before the Committee, the verbal apology should suffice. Having a written apology is not necessary.

Mr Julius replied that it would be proper for the Committee to have the DoW’s response in writing. The Committee wrote a letter to the DoW, so it is important to have a written record of the DoW’s response.

The Chairperson acknowledged this point and said the verbal apology sufficed for him, but would appreciate if the DoW could submit the apology in writing.

The Chairperson then invited the DoW to present, asking them specifically not to read through all slides, as there were 60 slides.

Ms Schreiner stated that it was important to contextualise the DoW to the Committee, since the Department was established through a presidential announcement in May 2014 that disaggregated the Department of Women, Children, and People with Disabilities (DWCPD). Issues of children and people with disabilities went to the Department Social Development, leaving women’s issues in its own department. This process constituted the energy of the DoW during the last fiscal year. The DoW also ensured planning for this year.

Prior to the disaggregation of the DWCPD, there were four budget programmes. Two programmes on children and people with disabilities migrated to Social Development. The DoW has retained the Administration Programme and the Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality Programmes (see Slide 4).

An important element of new DoW is that its mandate has been refined and focused. The DoW’s amended mandate is to “lead, coordinate, and oversee transformation on women’s socio-empowerment, rights, and equality through mainstreaming, monitoring, and evaluation” (see Slide 5.) This new mandate establishes the background of the Department’s APP and the Department’s status as a coordinating, leading Department. The DoW is not a service delivery implementation department. It functions in a unique way.

Ms Schreiner noted that a number of staff had been transferred from DoW to DSD (slide 6.) There was a monetary equivalent transferred to the DSD because the new DoW did not require as large a budget as did the former DWCPD.

The DoW’s new mandate is to engage with the new programme structure. The DoW has four programmes: Administration; Social, Political, and Economic Participation; Research Policy Coordination; and Monitoring Evaluation and Outreach.

The Department’s budget structure was completed last year, but the progress of budget restructuring has been delayed. The DoW has designed a five-year-vision for the organisation, but is severely constrained by budget. The DoW felt it needed a longer term goal to deliver on its mandate of gender equality. With the support of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), the DoW has redesigned a structure that is appropriate for its mandate and for the APP that is restricted by the budget. These plans have been submitted to Minister of Public Service and Public Administration for his concurrence. Once this is received, DoW will have a structure that is appropriate for delivery on the APP.

The redesign process reprioritised funding away from administration and towards core business. It will be incrementally implemented. Slide 10 shows the roadmap of the organisational redesign. Ms Schreiner said she would not read line by line, but stated there were many areas in the redesign where substantial work has already been done.

The DoW is in the process of a skills audit to show how to best accommodate and train staff in terms of the new mandate. The DOW remains in a change management process that must be sustained over the next five years. The DoW will engage with Treasury and the DPSA over structure and funding. The Department is acutely aware the structure submitted to DPSA gives the Department an absolute minimum.

Ms Schreiner then handed over to Ms Mxenge, and recognising that there are 60 slides, said that the delegation would move through them efficiently.

Ms Thandeka Mxenge, Deputy Director General of Corporate Management , addressed the DoW constitutional, legislative, and other mandates. The DoW does not make besides the Gender equality act, but the DoW responds to other legislation, including the National Development Plan on public employment and the economy. The NDP lists goals for women, including that they should be protected from violence and should have access to adequate health care. Statistics show there has been little progress and improvement for women in these issues. The DoW responds to international commitments including the Millennium Development Goals and the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. 

A situational analysis of women’s status shows that the following themes affect the socio-economic empowerment of women:
- Education
- Economic Participation
- Demographic Trends
- Social Protection
- Health
- Basic Services.

Gender reports show that the historical context of inequality and division during Apartheid caused women to be disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination. Women’s rate of labour participation has been lower than that of men. Women have also been trained less than men doing the same jobs.

Mr Thobejane asked the DDG not to read the slides word for word. The Chair agreed with Mr Thobejane. However, Mr M Mhlanga (ANC, Mpumalanga) noted that this was the only agenda item and the Committee should not rush the DoW presentation. The Chairperson replied that the proposition was not to limit the DoW presentation. The Chairperson appreciated the DDG presentation but asked her not read from the presentation.

Ms Mxenge said she was finished with the slides she would read. She then presented budgetary information. The summary of financial information shows the budget as R187 million for the department this fiscal year. Administration has an allocated budged of R80 million.

Ms Mxenge presented the goals,  budget and annual performance indicators for DoW’s four programmes:

▪ Programme One (Administration) goal is to issue quarterly reports in the following areas: internal audits, ICT operations, departmental risk assessment, fraud prevention measures, HR oversight reports, and security reports (see Slides 21-26). In the first quarter, the DoW will analyse each area. By the third quarter, the DoW will create a plan for each. These plans will be submitted for approval in the fourth quarter. In addition, the Department will pay all service providers within 30 days throughout the year. The Department will tolerate no more than a five percent deviation from the allocated expenditure throughout the year.

▪ Programme Two (Social, Political, and Economic Participation and Empowerment) has an allocation of R87 million. R67m goes to the Commission on Gender Equality, leaving R19m for the Programme. Indicators for Programme Two included creating intervention plans for the following areas:
- Women’s access to the infrastructure value chain
- Women’s participation in food security
- Women’s access to funding opportunities
- Young women’s and girls’ access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education
Other indicators included reviewing institutional mechanisms to eradicate gender-based violence (GBV) and standardising gender focal points. (See Slides 33-34).

▪ Programme Three (Research, Policy Coordination, and Knowledge Management) has a budget allocation of R6 million, with R4 million for compensation and R1 million for Goods and Services. This programme has lost personnel to the DSD. The programme includes the following priorities (Slides 36-42):
- Creating a report on the status of women’s socio-economic empowerment
- Researching the participation of young women and girls in STEM fields
- Analysing policies in the construction industry
- Coordinating a brief on women in agro-processing
- Developing information knowledge management strategies

▪ Programme 4 (Monitoring, Evaluation, and Outreach) has a budget of R13 151 and deals with international relations. Indicators for this Programme include:
- Producing quarterly multilateral engagement reports
- Producing reports for strategic multilateral and bilateral relations
- Developing monitoring tools for socio-economic empowerment of women
- Conducting campaigns to combat gender violence

The DoW will conduct campaigns including Women’s Month and #365 Days Campaign on Twitter, which was launched last December in partnership with Crime Line. These and other initiatives will be performed in coordination with other provinces and departments (Slides 57-58).

Discussion
Mr Julius thanked the DDG for the presentation. He believed that the DoW’s mandate should be focused on monitoring and evaluation and expressed concern that only five to six percent of the DoW’s proposed budget would be spent on monitoring and evaluation. Many issues that affect women also affect other departments, so the DoW’s main responsibility should be to see what other departments are doing. The DoW should monitor whether social development, police, and other departments were furthering ensuring gender equality. Otherwise, the DoW would be duplicating other departments’ functions. He added that report was very academic. He believed the report should be more practical. Several phrases were repeated throughout the report, as though they were “cut and pasted”.

Mr Mhlanga noted that under Goods and Services, R10.4 million is not clearly allocated. He asked for clarification on where that money goes. He asked why the status of women in mining was not included in Programme Two. In addition, what did the phrase “infrastructure value chain” specifically mean? Finally, apart from the outreach events, how much of the DoW budget is allocated to community consultation? How much is allocated to do community events apart from the outreach campaigns?

Mr Nzimande welcomed the presentation but agreed with Mr Julius that the presentation sounded very academic. His concern is that the DoW’s APP will produce a large number of documents. What will happen after these documents are produced? He asked what kind of relationship does the DoW have with the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE)? The DoW report seems to include many of the same goals as the CGE.

Mr Nzimande echoed Mr Mhlanga’s question on what the “infrastructure value chain” means. He asked how much money DoW was allocating to research. Parliament has been concerned about the use of outside consultants and he hoped DoW would not rely on consultants too much. What would the specific product of the “knowledge management” goal in Programme Three be? Will the goal be to create a website or a document?

Mr Nzimande noted that Programme Four stated that the DoW would work with the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). Will the DoW develop its own monitoring and evaluation standards or adopt those used by their sister department? Finally, at what level will the DoW conduct its interdepartmental programmes? Will the partnerships be between ministers or between department heads? 

The Chairperson noted that the DoW has performed well in terms of its budget. But it is unable to reach its performance targets. What is the link between financial performance and performance targets? He asked how DoW will ensure it is able to reach its performance targets. This issue was particularly important because President Zuma created DoW to further gender equality. He asked how does DoW’s new sole focus on women affect the department?

Ms Schreiner thanked the Committee for insightful and challenging questions. DoW will be able to address many of these concerns in the coming year. She noted that this year was the first that DoW faced these issues.

Ms Schreiner explained that President Zuma’s emphasis on DoW did place “an enormous responsibility” on the Department. DoW has accepted that challenge. The challenge is to deliver whilst restructuring the Department. The Department has already found a balance between these goals.

On why the presentation did not focus on women in mining, Ms Schreiner responded that the Department could not take on “the entire world” with its small amount of resources. The presentation focused on particular aspects. The report did not address women in mining, but the Department is aware that there are critical gender issues regarding mining. DoW has to set out its goals for this year, and then will reassess other issues in future.

Ms Schreiner appreciated the concern that the presentation suggested that DoW would produce a large number of documents. DoW has not adopted this approach and does not plan to. The Department is focusing on the outcome and purpose of reports. She emphasised the importance of interdepartmental relationships.

Responding to other members’ concerns, Ms Schreiner agreed that the monetary and evaluation budget is fundamental to the DoW’s responsibilities. However, the DoW may need this budget for multiple purposes. The DoW works closely with Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) to generate gender statistics, so some of the budget may be used for Stats SA.

Responding to Mr Nzimande’s question, Ms Schreiner state that the Department will work on a director-to-director level with other departments.

The planning format and the APP format are geared towards service-delivery departments. This format is not the most appropriate for DoW. 

Clarifying the “infrastructure value chain,” Ms Schreiner explained that the term referred to ensuring that women had necessary work skills and training.

Ms Schreiner addressed DoW’s relationship with CGE. The Department does not want to overlap with the CGE’s work, but does want to play a complementary role to the Commission. DoW seeks a closer partnership with CGE, but the CGE mandate is much broader than DoW’s. Some focal points are gender focal points are not being mainstreamed, but instead are located in various departments.

Ms Schreiner clarified that the Department view on research was to ensure information from other groups and departments was easily available through DoW.

In reply to Ms Ntshinga asking for clarity on Mr Mhlanga’s question on the allocation of fund, the Chair and Mr Mhlanga explained that each DoW programme gave an allocation for Goods and Services totalling R10.4 million. Why is there a particular difference in the funds for Goods and Services?

Ms Ntshinga requested that she be allowed to check these figures and respond to the Committee in writing.

Ms Sisulu-Singapi further explained the 'infrastructure value chain'. This term asks where women participate in the economy. Women are often involved in the construction of infrastructure, but not in the maintenance and design of infrastructure.

Ms Schreiner noted that the Chairperson had cautioned DoW about relying on consultants. She stated that DoW does not want to outsource government responsibilities, but that departments sometimes do not have the necessary resources to complete an action. At the same time, DoW needs a clear distinction between performing its duties and entering into partnerships with stakeholders.

Mr Nzimande noted that the delegation had not responded two questions. First, what was the final product of information management? Second, why was there underspending between last year’s financial performance and this year’s?

Ms Ntshinga explained that in 2013-2014, DoW underspent by 5%, which was mainly on compensation. For the 2014/15 year, though DoW has not been audited yet, it had spent 99% of its budget.

The Chairperson asked about the link between performance and performance targets and Ms Ntshinga replied that the difference between these sums related to paying employee salaries.

The Chairperson asked if it was realistic for the Department to spend 99% of its budget against fewer performance targets.

Ms Ntshinga reiterated that the bulk of the Department’s budget went to compensating employees and paying salaries.

The Chairperson said that DoW budget was not only for salaries.

A committee member clarified that the question is what is the discrepancy causing DoW to spend more of its budget (99%) against fewer performance targets. If Ms Ntshinga was unsure and needed further time to investigate this matter, she could respond to the Committee in future.

Ms Mxenge said that the delegation would look properly at this and respond to the Committee in writing at a later date.

The Chairperson appreciated this and confirmed that the delegation would respond later to the Committee on (1) the discrepancy between performance and performance targets and (2) on Goods and Services where members observed unallocated funds.

Ms Schreiner responded that knowledge management ensures that information is made accessible to all government departments. “In this day and age,” different departments should be able to easily access information from other government groups. The product of this campaign could be a website or a database, but would not be a report. 

The Chairperson asked if the Department had further comments.

Ms Schreiner replied that a member had previously asked about the AU Decade of Women. An AU Summit is currently being held in Johannesburg. One theme of the summit is women’s empowerment. DoW will meet with AU ministers on women empowerment. DoW will provide feedback on these meetings to the Committee.

The Chairperson reiterated that the DoW was expected to forward the following in writing to the Committee before the Budget debate in the NCOP on 18 June:
1) A letter confirming the DG’s apology
2) An explanation on the unallocated budget programmes
3) An explanation of the alignment of financial performance against performance targets.

Before adjourning, the Chairperson asks Mr Nzimande to add a comment.

Mr Nzimane thanked DoW for meeting with the Committee. He hopes DoW transforms gender issues and the Committee’s meetings with DoW will be more regular. 

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

 

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