Because the documents for the meeting were handed to the Committee Members only at the meeting, there was initially considerable discussion about whether the meeting should proceed. Members said they would be unable to discuss the presentation of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) without having engaged with the material beforehand. It was eventually decided that the Department would give its presentation, and the engagement or discussion would take place at the next meeting on 11 August.
The DRDLR described the objectives of its agrarian transformation programme, the strategic objectives, legal mandates, departmental policies and the roles and responsibilities of the Department. In terms of employment equity targets, it was fairly balanced in respect of gender at the middle and lower levels of its organisational structure. However, gender representation at the senior management level was 59% male and 41% female. The gap of 9% needed to be addressed in order to reach the 50% women representation target. Branches had been told that with all senior level vacancies, a concerted effort needed to be made to put women into these positions.
The disability policy of the Department was aligned to the creation of a user friendly environment. It was experiencing problems with landlords and the Public Works Department in its efforts to make its buildings disability friendly. There was, however, a dedicated team to ensure that people with disabilities had the necessary tools of trade in order to function efficiently in the work place. The disability forum met regularly and a project plan was currently being implemented to fast-track the recruitment of people with disabilities in order to achieve the set target of 2%, compared to its current level of 1.7%.
The Department presented on land acquisition, land restitution, and recapitalisation and development projects and how they benefited women, youth and the disabled. They also presented on the contracts awarded to female-headed companies.
Members requested more detailed information from the Department. They said the agri-parks were the initiative of the Department and so should not be run by municipalities. They spoke about the disabled not being properly cared for, and how that problem needed to be addressed. The value of the Ingonyama Trust Board in KwaZulu-Natal was also discussed. A Member commented that most of the information provided in the presentation had dealt with the mandate of the Department and its roles and responsibilities, as well as the Constitution. It was good to educate the Committee, but it needed to hear about the actual work done by Department and its impact on the community, because the Members were accountable to the communities and were appropriating the money to the Department. At the next meeting, a more detailed report should be given.
The Committee Secretary informed the Committee that the Chairperson, Ms T Memela, was unable to attend as she was attending the Pan African Parliament meeting for the whole week. Ms G Tseke (ANC) nominated Ms P Bhengu (ANC) as acting Chairperson. Ms L Van der Merwe (IFP) seconded the nomination, and there were no further nominations. An apology was also received from Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA), who was busy in her province and therefore unable to attend.
Ms Van der Merwe asked why the Members had received the documents only at the meeting, because according Parliamentary rules, they were supposed to have received them 48 hours prior to the meeting.
The Chairperson said the documents had arrived only that morning. She wanted to hear what other Members had to say on this issue. The documents were thick, and without having a chance to read them the Committee would be unable to deliberate on them properly.
Ms D Robinson (DA) agreed that the Committee could not perform oversight on matters the Members had not read. She did not think there was any reason to continue with the meeting. The committee needed to be taken seriously and departments needed to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that everything was ready so that Members could ask intelligent questions without compromising themselves.
Mr M Nchabaleng (ANC) suggested that the Department should be given a chance to explain why the documents were late.
Mr Eugene Southgate, Deputy Director General: Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), first tendered the apology of the Director General, who was unable to attend the meeting because he was in a meeting with the Minister. The rest of the delegation was stuck in traffic because of an accident on the N2 coming into Cape Town.
Regarding the late submission of the documents, the Department had received the request to attend this meeting on Monday or Tuesday last week. At the time, the Department was engaging with the Auditor-General on its management report. That had needed to be concluded, so all resources had gone into the communication of the audit findings that had been submitted to the Department, and that was the primary reason why the presentation was not able to have the Department’s undivided attention.
Two presentations had been submitted because the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), dealing with the gender issues of procurement, had been able to complete the report only the night before, so the DDG had received the document on the morning of the meeting. The Department did not have the resources to prepare the presentation last week, but had wanted to send substantive information to the Committee that contained up to date and accurate information. There was a process in the Department that required certain people to sign off, but unfortunately those people, including the CFO, had been extremely busy with the Auditor-General,.
Ms Van der Merwe said it was a valid explanation, but when the Department had received the invitation to appear before the Committee it would have been prudent to have informed the committee principals that it would be unable to be ready in time for the Members to study the documents. In terms of time management, if the Department saw that their primary responsibility was the Auditor-General, which Ms Van der Merwe fully agreed with, then the Committee should have been informed and it could possibly have engaged another department. She was unsure whether the Committee would be able to do the presentation justice, and engage with the issues of the 50-page report, if l the Members were seeing it only now. It would be a one way engagement, because Members had not been able to do their own research and engage with the documents. They had been left at a disadvantage.
Ms M Chueu (ANC) agreed that if the Department had communicated with the Committee on time, it would have made other arrangements and the Department would have saved the expense of coming to Cape Town and saved the Committee’s time, as it would have engaged with another department. It was important for the Department’s to have noticed that it was not only the Department itself that was affected, but other parties as well. She hoped that the Department had not wasted money, as the Auditor-General would see it as wasteful expenditure.
Mr Nchabaleng said that there were lessons for both the Department and the Committee to learn from this experience. The Committee should not have requested this kind of information and expected it to be done within two days, while the Department should have said it would be able to meet the deadline. The Department should have been given more time to prepare. This was the first time in his ten years in Parliament that a committee had wanted to see a report of this nature, which looked at companies benefiting women and doing business with government, although it may have happened in other committees. To get that kind of information collated in one day was not easy.
He queried why the Committee should engage when it was new information. He did not doubt the accuracy of the information, because from his dealings with the Department, it always gave accurate information. Everyone needed to open their eyes, though, because there were issues of fronting of businesses, where one could ‘rent’ a woman. He wanted to know how the Committee could satisfy itself that there was no fronting, and how the Department could verify this. He suggested that women in business should be brought to meet the officials at municipalities. For example, if there was a disabled CEO, the Committee wanted to know that he was benefiting, and that his name was not being used just to benefit others. As part of its oversight -- since it was about vulnerable groups -- the Committee may ask a female director how much money had been given to her since the beginning of the year. Sometimes, money could be in an account, but two days later it could be withdrawn.
He agreed with the other Members that they had not been given enough time with the documents to apply their minds, and suggested that the Department make the presentation and come back on another day for an engagement and follow-up so that the day was not completely lost.
The Chairperson said that this was the second time the Committee had met with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. The committee had met it in Pretoria to discuss its strategic plans. She would give the Department a chance to present and the Committee would engage at a later stage. Any issues that remained at the end of the meeting would be dealt with at the next meeting, as the Committee wanted to maintain a working relationship with the DRDLR.
DRDLR’s Key Programmes and Policies
Mr Southgate said the DRDLR’s agrarian transformation objectives were:
- social mobilisation to enable rural communities to take initiatives;
- sustainable settlements (access to basic services and economic opportunity, meeting of basic human needs, infrastructure);
- establishment of cooperatives and enterprises for economic activities;
- non-farm activities for strengthening of rural livelihoods
A “wagon wheel” of those objectives showed that Phase 1 was where the Department tried to meet the basic needs of the community, going into rural areas to assist. Phase 2 was enterprise development in terms of sustainability, and Phase 3 was the agro-village industries. These phases would be used to measure the performance of the various programmes of the department.
In the centre of the wagon wheel was the agrarian transformation philosophy that the DRDLR tried to follow, supported by community, land, livestock and cropping. The Department was focusing on agri-parks in this financial year. In the President’s State on the Nation address, it had been thrown a curveball because in the financial year of 2014, it had planned for 27 priority areas, but had then been told to extend it to 44, so the planning with regard to the agri-parks had been delayed. However, the DRDLR was going to go into 44 municipal areas in the country and rolling out the agri-parks, probably from the end of this month or the month thereafter.
One of the key deliverables within this programme was that the agri-parks needed to provide opportunities for women and young people in the rural areas. While that was the Department’s strategy, the implementation and the way it processed what it did in terms of programme, was to follow a “virtuous cycle.” The Department decided where it wanted to implement in the 44 priority areas. Another area was the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act SPLUMA. From 1 July 2015, the SPLUMA became law and had to be enacted in municipalities. Once the SPLUMA people had done their work -- basically scoping the areas and giving the Department all the strategic information it needed, it then worked in terms of land reform to determine what land to buy. The Department had purchased a lot of land in rural areas, but it was strategic land.
Once the land was acquired, the DRDLR had two other programmes that ran called Rural Enterprise and Industrial Development (REID), which was about starting enterprises in rural areas so that communities could become sustainable, and Rural Infrastructure Development (RID), where the Department built roads, schools, bridges and set up fences around properties.
Mr Southgate said the work of the Department was underpinned by the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994. Through the Act, it ensured provision for the restitution of rights in land to persons or communities dispossessed of such rights after 19 June 1913. On 1 July 2014, the land claims process had been re-opened for a further five years, and since then there had already been 70 000 claims. The Land Reform: Provision of Land and Assistance Act of 1993 required the Department to provide for the designation of certain land, the regulation of the subdivision of such land and the settlement of persons on it. In addition, it provided for the acquisition, maintenance, planning, development, improvement and disposal of property and the provision of financial assistance for land reform purposes. Part of the enabling legislation that the Department had done recently was the Office of the Valuer-General, and that piece of legislation had been enacted and become effective on 1 August 2015. The office had been set up and work had begun on Monday 3 August 2015. The Land Survey Act, 1997, regulated the surveying of land in South Africa. The Department was responsible for surveying land throughout the country. One of the major projects now was determining who owned what land in the country, and that was a multi-faceted project.
The Deeds Registries Act, 1937 made provision for the administration of the land registration system and the registration of rights in land. This involved all the deeds offices across the country. Whoever purchased land, the DRDLR was responsible for registering the title deeds of those properties in the deeds offices. It had an extensive, good and admired deeds registry system -- one of the better ones in the world -- and was currently busy with digitising the entire deeds registry process. If someone bought property in a particular area, in Cape Town or Pretoria or Bishopstown, that person would have to go to that particular deeds office to actually lodge the title deeds. That was why, when people bought property, a power of attorney was given to a lawyer, so that this person was located in the particular town to lodge the title deeds.
The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013 sought to bridge the racial divide in spatial terms and to enable transformation of the settlement patterns of the country in a manner that gave effect to the key constitutional provisions through the introduction of a new approach to spatial planning and land use management. The Department was currently working on trying to assist and empower the district municipalities to do spatial planning very differently from what had been done in the past, which was the racial divide.
The department had a number of policies, the keys ones being:
- Agricultural land holdings policy framework, which introduced upper and lower limits to agriculture holding sizes and also promoted productive and sustainable use of land. The Department worked closely with the Department of Agriculture to ensure that they did not make any impact regarding food security in the country.
- State asset lease and disposal policy, which created a single system for state land lease and disposal and promoted the development imperatives of the government.
- Land tenure security policy for people working and living on commercial farms, which addressed the tenure insecurity of farm dwellers, farm workers and their families. There was a high incidence of evictions of farm workers who had been on the farms for quite a number of years. There was a toll-free number, and the Department gave support to those being evicted from farms.
- Rural development policy framework, which aimed to promote social and economic infrastructure, deploy resources for animal and veld management, river catalytic, enterprise development and industrial development programmes in rural areas.
- Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RECAP), which aimed to recapitalise farm projects that had been challenged as a result of constrained beneficiary and project support development and productivity.
- Policy on rural investment and development finance facility, to support smallholder farmers, communities on communal land and to facilitate, as well as incentivise, development initiatives in commercial farming areas.
- Rural enterprise and industry development policies sought to draw lessons from the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) and other rural enterprise and industry development initiatives in order to develop a consolidated, coordinated and feasible government policy on industry and enterprise development in rural areas.
- Re-opening of land claims in the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights last year, for a further five years.
Those were the policies that underscored and underpinned the work done in the Department.
Mr Southgate described the various programmes of the Department.
The first programme dealt with the administrative work of the ministry, the Director-General’s office, the CFO and all the corporate functions.
Programme two covered geospatial and cadastral services, which was connected to the SPLUMA legislation and the Land Survey Act spoken about earlier. There was a focus on the provision of geo-spatial information in support of spatial equity and sustainable development. The land surveyors, town planners, regional planners were all located in this programme. They provided technical support to municipalities through the development of spatial development frameworks which, through the enactment of the new legislation, became a critical function. On 1 July, only one area had been ready to implement the legislation, and that was the City of Cape Town. There were other cities across the country in various stages of readiness. The target date was 1 November 2015, when all municipalities should be ready to implement the SPLUMA legislation. The Department provided training to augment the scarce resources in geomatics. There were currently 64 persons at various institutions across the country getting bursaries to study geomatics. They would then go into land surveying, so the Department partnered them with the public and private sectors for their practical training, once the theoretical training was over. Investment had been made in the development of the e-Cadastre system, which enabled a holistic view of land ownership. The Surveyor-General’s office and the Deeds Office would eventually amalgamate and become one once the e-Cadastre programme was fully rolled out.
Programme three dealt with rural development, and focused on the provision of infrastructure to support access to basic services in order to promote rural livelihoods. The DRDLR worked closely with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), with the Public Works Department (PWD), with the provincial governments across the country and the district municipalities. It was required that all spheres of government work together. A good example would be the agri-parks, where the policy and everything was determined and written from a national perspective, but it was the local authorities and provincial governments that were to become the drivers of implementation. The Department therefore met with the district municipalities on a weekly basis regarding the agri-parks. The district municipalities determined the sites for implementation, while the Department gave the guidelines for the district municipalities to use when finding sites. 30 sites had already been found and the DRDLR was working to ensure that the remaining seven would be identified by the end of the month. It was not forcing the municipalities, but rather working with them. The Minister and the Presidency had informed the Department that the key issue was giving priority to women and young people in the rural space.
Within this programme there was implementation of the Animal and Veld Management Programme, the revitalisation of irrigation schemes to enhance food production, the promotion of skills development and job creation, with a bias towards the youth in rural areas, and supporting rural enterprise development in the agricultural and non-agricultural value chain. In terms of this, the Department worked closely with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Programme four dealt with restitution, where the focus was on the settlement of land claims and finalising the backlog of claims, contributing to the priority of sustainable land reform through the restoration of land rights and planning and administration of the re-opening of the restitution lodgement process. Land claims were a complex process. Many people assumed that when they lodged the claim, it was simply processed and then they were paid out. Much time was spent on researching the claim to be sure of the facts so that the claim could be processed fairly, reasonably and honestly. The Department had therefore brought in more research capacity by partnering with tertiary institutions so that the research that needed to be done could be fast tracked, especially regarding the old claims.
Programme five dealt with land reform, covering land redistribution and development, and land tenure and administration. The acquisition and allocation of strategically located land which was critical because if it was not done properly, the food security of the country would be affected, so the DRDLR worked closely with other government departments in this respect. Security of tenure included the provision of support to emerging farmers through RECAP and the provision of skills development and training support for emerging farmers, and the creation of job opportunities in land reform projects.
The DRDLR had three links to public entities. Agricultural Land Holding was basically an account managed and overseen by the Department. Its output was the acquisition of strategically located land for agricultural productivity. Funds were set aside and work was governed by the Act which had enabled the creation of the entity. The KwaZulu-Natal Ingonyama Trust Board’s core business was to manage land for the material benefit and social wellbeing of the individual members of the tribes in KwaZulu-Natal. The Minister had oversight over that Trust. There was also the Registration of Deeds Trading Account. Deeds offices were entities that had to be self-funded, according to legislation. The Account’s outputs were improved land administration through professional advisory services for efficient and effective surveying and the registration of rights in land, and to expedite the registration of rights in land for land reform and restitution.
The structure of department was laid out graphically, showing that there was an even split in gender at the head office level, which was something that the Director-General and the Minister had insisted upon. In terms of employment equity targets, the Department was fairly balanced in terms of gender in the middle and lower levels. Gender representation at the senior management level was 59% male and 41% female, mainly on levels 13, 14, 15, and 16. The gap of 9% needed to be addressed in order to reach the 50% women representation at senior management level. All branches had been told that for all vacancies at senior management service (SMS0 levels, which were levels 13 and 14, a concerted effort needed to be made to put women into these positions. The Department was committed to achieving equitable representation of women at senior management level, and preference was given to suitably qualified women in the filing of senior management positions. At the SMS level, African females were under-represented by 6.9%, there was a 3% shortage of coloured women, and there was an over-representation of asian and white females.
The disability policy was aligned to the creation of a user friendly environment. The Department was experiencing problems with landlords and the PWD regarding making the its buildings disability friendly. It was a constant battle, but there was a dedicated team to ensure that people with disabilities had the necessary tools of trade in order to function efficiently in the work space. The disability forum met regularly and the project plan was currently being implemented to fast-track the recruitment of people with disabilities in order to achieve the set target of 2%. The department was currently at 1.7% of people with disabilities, but its target had been set at 2.5%.
The Directorate on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities was located in the Office of the Director-General, and fell under the Chief Directorate of Policy Development. Each provincial office had a Deputy Director post allocated to deal with women, children and persons with disabilities in each province. The movement of the Director to the Policy Development unit was to ensure that when policy and strategy was developed, women, children and persons with disabilities were mainstreamed into everything the Department did.
DRDLR’s work with regard to women
The Department provided support for arts and crafts cooperatives. It participated in various exhibitions and markets where they had given a chance to all the enterprises, but had tried to support the women that participated in particular. When the department had done this, 930 women had participated. There had been training for arts and crafts cooperatives on issues of governance, a retail shop had been opened for arts and crafts co-operatives in Durban, and arts and crafts co-operatives were currently in the process of establishing a cooperative bank.
There had been support for various women-owned or managed rural enterprises in the agricultural and non-agricultural value chain in all nine provinces in order to promote enterprise development and participation in the rural economy. The Abafazi Besintu Agricultural Cooperative in the Eastern Cape was primarily geared towards women. Other examples were the Women in Poultry and Multi-Purpose Cooperative in the Free State, the Thembelani Bakery and Akwande crop production cooperatives in Gauteng, the Reamat Kreaxions sewing cooperative and Temothuo Essential Oils cooperative Limpopo, the Women and Youth vegetables, fruit and crop production cooperative in Mpumalanga, the Rearoka Sewing cooperative in Northern Cape and the Boinelo Tailoring and fashion designing cooperative in North West. These were all women-owned or managed rural enterprises funded by the Department.
In terms of infrastructure development, there was the provision of water, sanitation, housing and energy to rural households, and the provision of bridges and roads that ensured women from surrounding villages had improved access and safety and dignity. There was training in ICT at schools and at the community level, giving young people, and women in particular, an opportunity.
Several Animal and Veld management projects were being implemented across the country for soil rehabilitation, and de-bushing to improve land for production, with a directive that women are primarily employ when this work is allocated.
National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) recruited youths for a two-year period. This was in partnership with South African National Defence Force and Further Education and Training (FET) colleges. The principle of the programme was to ensure that the intake of males and females was a 50% split. Several young women were also part of the international exchange programme to China.
Land redistribution statistics revealed that since 1994, 50 882 of the 235 609 land allocation beneficiaries were females, while 33 108 had been youths and 678 disabled. In terms of the redistribution of farms, 8 297 had been allocated to females, 6 149 to youths and 49 to the disabled. Overall progress regarding the redistribution of white-owned agricultural land in South Africa from 1994 to March 2015, showed that 4 555 995 hectares had been delivered through 5 184 projects, benefiting 235 609 beneficiaries, of which 50 882 (21%) were women, 33 108 were youth and 678 were people with disability. The statistics over the past six years suggested that there had been a 50% improvement in benefiting women under this programme in a form of either groups, individuals and black emergent farmers obtaining grants, as well as land acquired under leasehold.
In terms of land restitution by gender, 77 610 claims involving 3 078 948 hectares had been settled. There had been 371 140 households with 1 838 997 beneficiaries, of which 138 456 were female headed.
The recapitalisation and development projects were where the Department acquired the land, allocated it and then recapitalised it by providing support to the persons put on to the land. There were 1 496 projects from 2009 to 2015. 2 523 women were employed in this regard and 1 207 women had been trained out of a total of 2 202 farmers that had been trained. The key strategic objective of the programme was to provide comprehensive farm development support to smallholder farmers and land reform beneficiaries for agrarian transformation by 2019. There were 1 496 farms in the programme, in terms of the five-year funding model, involving 1 421 846 hectares.
Expenditure of R3.378 billion for recapitalisation and development was incurred from 2009 to 2015. There were currently 651 strategic partnerships secured to provide technical, financial and infrastructure support to farmers. The support varied from production inputs, infrastructure, machinery and implements. 46% of the 5 473 jobs created had been filled by women.
The Principles of the Green Paper on Land Reform were committed to three fundamental principles for the review of land reform policies and programmes. These were de-racialising the economy, democratic land allocation across race, class and gender, and sustainable production discipline for food security and food sovereignty.
The triple challenge of high levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty were central to the problems being addressed. Poverty was most pronounced among the rural populations, children, women, youth and the poorly educated. Those were the groups on which the Department focused. Its approach was one that took cognisance of the constitutional protection of women and other designated persons (children, elderly and persons with disabilities) that tended to be the burden of women, as based on the prevailing and present community social norms. The Department had mobilised women and other designated persons to inform rural development and land reform policy developments. It ensured that they partook actively in structures created by policy and legislation aimed at guiding and administering the policies and programmes of rural development and land reform. These included the Councils of Stakeholders for Rural Development; the Land Rights Management Committees (now known as Land Reform Right Committees in all the district municipalities) which were established locally to address tenure security challenges in commercial farming areas and find lasting social solutions to this problem; and the District Land Reform Committees, which were established in terms of the National Development Plan (NDP) and aimed at redistributing 20% of all farm land in all 44 district municipalities.
In terms of women in agriculture and agrarian transformation as the basis for broader rural development, the 2013 Statistics SA Report on South African households in agriculture indicated that in the Western Cape there were 61 393 male-headed households and 23 176 female-headed households. In the Eastern Cape there were 271 400 male headed-households and 325 173 female-headed households. There were also more female-headed households In KwaZulu-Natal. In Mpumalanga, the number was relatively close but in Limpopo there were also more female-headed households. The work the Department had to do was skewed towards those provinces with more female-headed households.
Mr Southgate said all the policies being reviewed and legislation being developed in the Department would impact directly on women. As indicated, the principles of the 2011 green paper on land reform, among others called for “democratic land allocation across race, class and gender.” The policies that would be highlighted were the following:
- The rural economy transformation model;
- The regulation of land holdings policy;
- The land tenure security policy for commercial farming areas; and
- The communal land tenure policy.
Mr Southgate asked that these policies should not be examined in detail, and that rather an executive summary and detailed document for each policy should be sent to the Committee instead. This would inform the Committee about the content, philosophy and implementation plans of each policy that had been developed in the Department.
He referred to the contracts awarded to entities where women were directors or members. The DRDLR had to go through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission CIPC to validate the information that they had. The Department had needed a bit more time in order to obtain more information in this regard.
Between 1 April 2015 and 1 July 2015, the Department had awarded five contracts to female-headed companies, or where the majority of the directors were female. The first was for the construction of apartments and housing complexes in District Six by a company called Fikile Construction. A contract of R167 103 542.81 had been allocated to that company. Then there was the Brender Standard Cleaning and Hygiene Services’ contract for the Mpumalanga provincial office of the Surveyor General. A contract of R906 869 had been awarded to Grow Makhosikati Trading, which was a 100% female-owned company. A contract for R676 635.30 had been allocated to Striving Mind Trading 586. For the rendering of cleaning and hygiene services at the Mthatha Deeds Registry for a period of 24 months, Junebug Trading 23 CC had been allocated R426 922.52, and that was a 100% female-owned company. For rendering standard cleaning and hygiene services for the Regional Land Claims Commission office for the Hysco Building in the Northern Cape Province (Kimberley) for 24 months, K-SON-MOS (PTY) LTD had been allocated R699 819.70, and that was also a 100% female-owned company.
The Chairperson thanked the Department and suggested that the Committee meet with it again on 11 August to engage regarding the report. She opened the floor for Members to raise any points.
Mr Nchabaleng saidd that it had been a good presentation but it had not answered all the Committee’s questions. For the Committee to make a meaningful intervention it needed to have all the information that stated how much the government issued on contracts, and out of these how many were awarded to female-owned companies, and what amount those female-owned companies received out of the total. He was not asking for a list of all the companies doing business with the Department. The companies did not even need to be 100% female-owned -- it could be 50% or 40%, because if the Department was looking for only 100%, then other companies might be left out. Looking at the contracts, it seemed that apart from the construction contract, they were ‘girly’ jobs, like cleaning and cooking. In the past, cleaning had been the women’s domain, but that norm had to be broken to indicate that women could do better things.
He wanted to know what the Department was doing to encourage women to bid for certain jobs. The wrong impression had been created in the presentation -- like the Department had worked with only three or four companies, which was not necessarily true.
Ms Tseke said that most of the information provided in the presentation -- around ten to 15 pages -- had dealt with the mandate of the Department or its roles and responsibilities, and most of the last pages had dealt with the Constitution. It was good to educate the Committee, but it needed to hear about the actual work done by Department and its impact on the community, because the members were accountable to the communities and were appropriating the money to the Department. She requested that at the next meeting, a more detailed report should be given.
Ms Chueu said that all the information requested by the Committee had been provided, but it was unfortunate that it had come late. The Department could expect a lot of grilling, because there were lots of empty spaces in the presentation that needed to be filled. It needed to educate the Committee, as the women’s portfolio committee, on how women were to benefit in detail.
The agri-parks were the DRDLR’s initiative, so they could not be left to the municipalities to run. If someone had not come up with the initiative, it would be difficult for them to run it. The Department needed to give clear responsibilities – how it wanted to ensure that they implemented on time, a clear mandate (if it was women and youth) on how would it be done -- so that the Committee knew that the Department was not going to be merely a bystander. She wanted to know if the Department would be the project manager, because it could not be left to someone with no clear project management timelines. It needed to ensure that the projects were not left to councils who were failing to run even their own programmes. She wanted to know that when the President spoke, he was speaking for the Department, and the Committee was doing oversight in this regard.
Mr A Madella (ANC) said he was worried when the Department had spoken about mainstreaming of gender and other designated persons, where they had identified five key components of poverty and had omitted disability. All studies had confirmed that disabled persons were proportionately the poorest of the poor. Making these kinds of omissions allowed for disability to fall through the cracks. Here the Department was opening a big crack and allowing disability to fall through. That could not be allowed to happen. Poor people living in poverty were less concerned about disabled people, because they were concerned with putting food on the table. In times of war, disabled people were not thought of, because people were thinking of saving themselves. There was war on poverty, but it was a different kind of war, and as the protector of all people, and the key driver of development, the Department needed to pay more attention to the disabled.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) said that serious issues were being discussed, but she felt like it was a time wasting exercise. On 11 August, when the Department returned, she had certain answers she wanted them to bring with them. She referred to families living at the mines, where a husband had been working for a long time, but when the husband passed away, the family had been evicted from mine. She then spoke about barren land in KwaZulu-Natal. Sometimes there was land that was not being used, but then it had been discovered that a certain individual owned all that land. Women needed to land to plough and engage in agricultural activities, but they could not access the land because it belonged to one person. She referred to the Ingonyama Trust and emphasised that Members of Parliament were there to represent the people, so it was important to ask relevant questions. She asked how the Trust was made up or constituted – whether it was under the government or certain individuals. Sometimes people from Kwamashu and Umlazi were told that land fell under the Trust, but now it was found that companies like Group 5 were dominating that land – they were building and pushing people away from the land that was initially said to be owned by the Trust Board.
She touched on people living with disabilities, and said this was an issue close to her heart. She referred to a blind man living in North West. He had started an initiative to get women involved in construction, but now he was not receiving any sponsorship. The premises were filthy and the toilets were not in a good condition. It had been said previously that disabled people were cursed, and she was starting to believe this, because people with disabilities were not well looked after. She said the Department could not just come with figures, but needed to come with something tangible. There was land in KwaZulu-Natal and people needed to be taught breeding and goat farming. People were leaving their areas and going far to buy animals when this could be done locally. She had photos of people living with disabilities that would make people cry because they were not looked after.
Mr Nchabaleng said that the questions related to mine workers could be asked when the Committee on Mineral Resources was there, because they did not necessarily belong here. His suggestion was that the Committee should visit the Ngonyama Trust and ask them what they were doing. The Committee on Rural Development valued what the Trust was doing. They were the only entity in the country to go out of their way to trace every piece of land and establish who owned it. That was being done only in KwaZulu-Natal. There should be a way of duplicating the Ngonyama Trust and its facilities so that they were doing could be done by other people when tracing land.
He wanted to know how many girl children were in school and how many children with disabilities were awarded bursaries, and how many disabled persons and how many women worked in the Ngonyama Trust. As of about two weeks ago, the CEO of the Trust was a woman, which was positive, because it was not easy to get a women to lead an organisation run by traditional authorities. In traditional leaders’ nature, women played a secondary role. However, with the laws in the country, they could not discriminate against women. The Trust had shown a will to abide by the laws and appreciated that women had a role to play.
Ms Van der Merwe raised the issue of disability. She said that the programmes pertaining to disabled persons were now more about social development. The Committee needed to actively engage the Department of Social Development on what they were doing to empower people with disabilities. In an article, it had been stated that around 400 000 disabled children were not accessing education, and when doing oversight, Members should see it for themselves. She made reference to the1.7% of disabled people employed in the Department and a project plan that was to be implemented. She wanted to know more about that when they returned, because she saw the 2% target as a target that departments aspired not to reach. It did not make sense why people with disabilities that were suitably qualified could not be found to work in the departments. The 2% benchmark was already so low, why did departments still fail to reach it? She added that the Ngonyama Trust was an organisation that actively tried to empower women, and they actually did do good work.
The Chairperson thanked the Department and said that the discussion would take place on 11 August. She asked them to address the challenges they faced regarding the empowerment of women.
The meeting was adjourned.
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