Department of Women in the Presidency 1st Quarter 2015/16 performance; Committee Oversight Visit Report

Women in The Presidency

08 September 2015
Chairperson: Ms P Bhengu (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Women (DoW) in the Presidency briefed the Committee on its Quarter1 Performance Report. The Committee was provided with an overview of the DoW’s organogram and on its organisational transformation. The DoW was now considered a lean and mean department even if it had limited funds. The organisational structure was redesigned based on a new mandate and revised strategic intentions. There was also the reprioritisation of posts including the downscaling of Corporate Management from a Branch to a Division in favour of the creation of an additional core Branch. The Executive Authority approved the new structure on 20 June 2015. Job and competency requirements were defined for all jobs on the new structure. A service provider was appointed on 05 June 2015 to conduct an audit of the skills of all employees against the competency requirements of the new structure. The Director General launched the skills audit process at a staff Imbizo. A dedicated web page was created on Intranet to communicate processes. The Minister interacted with staff at a 2nd staff Imbizo. The skills audit report was received from the service provider and letters of placement were given to all staff by 31 August 2015. By 4 September 2015 all staff would have responded. Job descriptions, performance agreements and personal development plans would be finalised during September 2015.The second half of the financial year would focus on delivery. The Committee was provided with a summary of the DoW’s organisational performance overall score for Quarter 1, outlining an aggregation of what had been achieved-37%, partially achieved-47% and not achieved-16%. The DoW’s annual appropriation was R187m and its actual expenditure for Quarter 1 as at 30 June 2015 was R43m, which was 23% of its budget. Members were also given insight into the performance and highlights of the DoW in relation to each of its four programmes ie Administration Programme; Social, Political and Economic Participation and Empowerment Programme; Research, Policy Coordination and Knowledge Management Programme and its Monitoring, Evaluation and Outreach Programme. Specific performance targets in terms of each Programme were elaborated upon. Figures on the financial performance of each of the Programmes were also provided.

Administration Programme - Out of 8 targets planned for Quarter 1 the Programme achieved 7 targets (87%) and 1 target (13%) were partially achieved. The projected expenditure for Quarter 1 was R19.500m the actual expenditure was R20.066m. there was thus over expenditure of R566 000. At the end of Quarter 1 the Programme had spent a total of 24.9% of its annual budget.

Social, Political and Economic Participation and Empowerment Programme - Out of 6 targets planned for Quarter 1 the Programme achieved 1 target (17%) and partially achieved 5 targets (83%).

The projected expenditure for Quarter 1 was R19.805m the actual expenditure was R18.705m. There was thus under expenditure of R1.100m. At the end of Quarter 1 the Programme had spent a total of 21.4% of its annual budget.

Research, Policy Coordination and Knowledge Management Programme - Out of 7 targets planned for Quarter 1 the Programme partially achieved 4 targets (57%) and 3 targets (43%) was not achieved. The projected expenditure for Quarter 1 was R1.611m the actual expenditure was R37 000 there was thus under expenditure of R1.574m. At the end of Quarter 1 the Programme had spent a total of 0.6% of its annual budget.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Outreach Programme - Out of 9 targets planned for Quarter 1 the Programme achieved 3 targets (33%), partially achieved 4 targets (45%) and 2 targets (22%) were not achieved. The projected expenditure for Quarter 1 was R3.421m the actual expenditure was R4.285m. there was thus over expenditure of R866 000. At the end of Quarter 1 the Programme had spent a total of 32.6% of its annual budget.

It was pointed out that funding would be moved from the Social, Political and Economic Participation and Empowerment Programme to the Monitoring, Evaluation and Outreach Programme through virements. Much of the funds would be used for Women’s Month Programmes. Some detail on the DoW’s efforts was provided. On 30 September 2015 there would be the New Age Business Breakfast. Companies would be encouraged to take on young girls for job shadowing. Consultative agreements were also entered into. One was entered with Lesotho. The intention was to review gender based violence. Targets were not met in line with the SMART Principle. In August 2015 a symposium was held on human trafficking and Lesotho was once again involved. There was also the South African Programme of Action Against Violence of Women 2013 – 2018. The Department of Social Development conducted the process. It had been presented to cabinet in 2013. It was published in August 2014. The plan was to have another strategic plan on gender based violence. This would put in place a government approach to gender based violence. There was therefore a plan of action for the DoW for the rest of the financial year. 

The Committee noted that it seemed that not much was being done on gender-based violence in SA. To make matters worse the Council on Gender Based Violence had been plagued with issues of funding. Members were concerned about the status of women in the South African economy. The economic empowerment of women in SA was considered important. How did the DoW work with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Small Business and Economic Development over the issue? The Committee expressed its disappointment that reports from the DoW had not been forthcoming to the Committee. Many reports that had been requested in the past were still outstanding. Members noted that the DoW should be aware of all the gaps in legislation given in all its reports. Did the DoW see potential for legislation to be amended? Reports from departments were crucial for Parliament to perform its oversight function. Members felt that the Committee needed to be more involved with the DoW and should be kept abreast of its work. The DoW had not even taken the Committee on board with its Women’s Month Celebrations. Members pointed out that departments were not even aware of the work of the DoW. The Committee suggested that the DoW enter into Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with departments. The MOUs would be useful to evaluate departments on the work they were doing on women’s issues. Greater cooperation was needed with departments and the Commission for Gender Equality. Members questioned why work was being done on redrafting a monitoring and evaluation framework when it had already been done in the Fourth Parliament. All that was needed was for its implementation. Members felt that there were too many policies but no implementation. The DoW was asked how its work tied in with the National Development Plan. Concern was raised that too many of the DoW’s targets were not achieved or partially achieved. The Committee made a point of requesting the DoW to allocate officials to accompany members when it went on provincial oversight. Members were disappointed that the briefing had not said much about the DoW’s efforts in rural areas and on disabled persons. Members furthermore pointed out that when Parliament hosted the Women’s Round Table it had come to light that there was frustration at provincial level as budgets on women’s issues were lacking. The DoW was asked whether it worked with the Department of Education on educating young girls about teenage pregnancies. 

Meeting report

Department of Women in the Presidency
The Department of Women (DoW) in the Presidency briefed the Committee on its Quarter1 Performance Report. The delegation comprised of amongst others Ms Jenny Schreiner, Director General; Ms Val Mathobela. Chief Director: Strategic Management; Ms Bernadette Muthien, Deputy Director General: Gender Mainstreaming; Mr Llewellyn Louw, Acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO); Mr Mbhazima Shiviti, Chief Director: Corporate Management; and Ms Ntsiki Sisulu-Singapi, Chief Director: Social Empowerment. Ms Schreiner kicked of the briefing by speaking to the DoW’s organogram and on its organisational transformation. The DoW was now considered a lean and mean department even if it had limited funds.
The organisational structure was redesigned based on a new mandate and revised strategic intentions.
There was also the reprioritisation of posts including the downscaling of Corporate Management from a Branch to a Division in favour of the creation of an additional core Branch. The Executive Authority approved the new structure on 20 June 2015.Job and competency requirements were defined for all jobs on the new structure. A service provider was appointed on 5 June 2015 to conduct an audit of the skills of all employees against the competency requirements of the new structure. The Director General launched the skills audit process at a staff Imbizo. A dedicated web page was created on the Intranet to communicate processes. The Minister interacted with staff at a second staff Imbizo. The skills audit report was received from the service provider and letters of placement were given to all staff by 31 August 2015. By 4 September 2015 all staff would have responded. Job descriptions, performance agreements and personal development plans would be finalised during September 2015.The second half of the financial year would focus on delivery.

The Committee was provided with a summary of the DoW’s organisational performance overall score for Quarter 1, outlining an aggregation of what had been achieved-37%, partially achieved-47% and not achieved-16%. The DoW’s annual appropriation was R187m and its actual expenditure for Quarter 1 as at 30 June 2015 was R43m, which was 23% of its budget. Members were also given insight into the performance and highlights of the DoW in relation to each of its four programmes ie Administration Programme; Social, Political and Economic Participation and Empowerment Programme; Research, Policy Coordination and Knowledge Management Programme and its Monitoring, Evaluation and Outreach Programme.  Ms Mathobela spoke to specific performance targets in terms of each Programme. Figures on the financial performance of each of the Programmes were also provided.

Administration Programme
Out of 8 targets planned for Quarter 1 the Programme achieved 7 targets (87%) and 1 target (13%) were partially achieved. The projected expenditure for Quarter 1 was R19.500m the actual expenditure was R20.066m. there was thus over expenditure of R566 000. At the end of Quarter 1 the Programme had spent a total of 24.9% of its annual budget.

Social, Political and Economic Participation and Empowerment Programme
Out of 6 targets planned for Quarter 1 the Programme achieved 1 target (17%) and partially achieved 5 targets (83%).
The projected expenditure for Quarter 1 was R19.805m the actual expenditure was R18.705m. There was thus under expenditure of R1.100m. At the end of Quarter 1 the Programme had spent a total of 21.4% of its annual budget.

Research, Policy Coordination and Knowledge Management Programme
Out of 7 targets planned for Quarter 1 the Programme partially achieved 4 targets (57%) and 3 targets (43%) was not achieved. The projected expenditure for Quarter 1 was R1.611m the actual expenditure was R37 000 there was thus under expenditure of R1.574m. At the end of Quarter 1 the Programme had spent a total of 0.6% of its annual budget.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Outreach Programme
Out of 9 targets planned for Quarter 1 the Programme achieved 3 targets (33%), partially achieved 4 targets (45%) and 2 targets (22%) were not achieved. The projected expenditure for Quarter 1 was R3.421m the actual expenditure was R4.285m. there was thus over expenditure of R866 000. At the end of Quarter 1 the Programme had spent a total of 32.6% of its annual budget.

Mr Louw touched on the financials of the DoW. He spoke to specifics on appropriated funds for each of the Programmes and what their actual expenditures for Quarter 1 were. 
It was pointed out that funding would be moved from the Social, Political and Economic Participation and Empowerment Programme to the Monitoring, Evaluation and Outreach Programme through virements. Much of the funds would be used for Women’s Month Programmes.

Ms Sisulu-Singapi elaborated on some of the DoW’s efforts. On the 30 September 2015 there was to be the New Age Business Breakfast. Companies would be encouraged to take on young girls for job shadowing. Consultative agreements were also entered into. One was entered with Lesotho. The intention was to review gender based violence. Targets had not been met in line with the SMART Principle. In August 2015 a symposium had been held on human trafficking and Lesotho was once again involved.

Ms Schreiner noted that there was also the South African Programme of Action Against Violence of Women 2013 – 2018. The Department of Social Development conducted the process. It had been presented to cabinet in 2013. It was published in August 2014. The plan was to have another strategic plan on gender based violence. This would put in place a government approach to gender based violence. There was therefore a plan of action for the DoW for the rest of the financial year. 

Discussion
Ms G Tseke (ANC) was concerned that even though gender based violence was driven by the Department of Social Development nothing seemed to be happening. The Council on Gender Based Violence had been plagued with issues of funding. She thanked the DoW for the Report that it had provided to the Committee on gender-based violence. She was also concerned about the status of women in the South African economy. A report had been launched about it and members had not even been aware of it. The Committee should have known about the Report since it was the Committee that appropriated funds to the DoW. The DoW had to be accountable to the Committee. The last time that the DoW had appeared before the Committee promises had been made that reports would be forwarded to the Committee. The briefing had spoken about many reports being finalised but yet the Committee was not taken on board. The reports had not yet been presented to Parliament. Reports were important as they assisted Parliament with the task of legislating and also allowed Parliament to conduct oversight over government departments. She was glad that the DoW had finalised its Gender Responsive Planning and Budget Framework. The Framework was one of the things that the Committee was pushing with departments. Timeframes were needed. Departments did not take the Committee and the DoW seriously. Other government departments were not even aware of the work of the DoW. The DoW should be aware of all the gaps in legislation given all its reports. Did the DoW see potential for legislation to be amended? She was pleased that the DoW would be providing the Committee with all outstanding reports. The new organogram of the DoW showed that there were only two deputy director generals. The DoW’s previous structure had four deputy director generals. What happened to the other two director generals? Were they now chief directors? She pointed out that the Committee wished to see economic empowerment of women in SA. How was the DoW working with the Departments of Trade and Industry and Small Business and Economic Development? She noted that during the Fourth Parliament a monitoring and evaluation framework had been completed. Why was it being redone and redrafted? All that was needed was implementation of it.  Too much time was spent on formulating and not on implementing.

Ms Schreiner said the DoW had to intensify communication efforts on the Intergovernmental Programme Against Violence of Women and Children.  She apologised for the Status of Women Report only being provided to the Committee in the meeting. President Zuma had commissioned the Report himself and had released it on Women’s Day. It was the President’s Report and hence the DoW could not release it to anyone else. The Report had been presented to the Presidency. It was a communication issue. The DoW could not release the Report into the Public domain. The DoW took heed of the comments that Members made about how the DoW should deal with reports and that reports should be forwarded to the Committee. The DoW had not managed the timelines of reports well. It had been a difficult process. Proper planning was needed. Drafting reports took time but the DoW intended to improve itself on it. She understood that departments did not have the Gender Responsive Planning and Budget Framework. The framework needed to feed in on the budget cycles of departments. It had to also be aligned with strategic planning cycles. On the DoW not being visible to other departments, she responded that the DoW did participate with departments at cluster level. The DoW was making a bigger impact and it would be seen. The DoW had as yet not dealt with existing legislation and policy. The DoW’s Research and Policy Analysis Directorate needed to be properly capacitated. The DoW had not had four Deputy Director Generals. With the new structure of the DoW there was a directorate specifically dealing with the economic empowerment of women. The DoW had engaged with the DTI and the Department of Small Business and Economic Development over the issue and more work was to be done. She pointed out that the DoW was not keen just to generate policy after policy. The intention was to implement but frameworks had to be finalised as well.

Ms C Majeke (ANC) asked what the DoW’s policy priorities were. No mention was made of the National Development Plan. On achieving its strategic goals the DoW had to create an enabling environment. Cooperation was needed with departments and the Commission on Gender Equality.

Ms Schreiner said when one looked at the full text of the NDP it was questionable whether it was fully engendered. The position of women needed to be relooked at. Targets needed to be set on gender. The Status of Women Report was useful in terms of the information that it contained. Dialogues were taking place. Financial and performance information comments by Members were noted. The DoW’s interaction with the Commission on Gender Equality was a complex area of interaction. The Commission on Gender Equality was a Chapter 9 Institution and reported to Parliament. The DoW was aware that discussion with the Commission on Gender Equality was needed. Their relationship was not in the usual sense of a department and its entity. The DoW needed to interact with departments and the Commission on Gender Equality.  

Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA) asked what it meant if targets were partially achieved. Either targets were achieved or not achieved. There were many frameworks that had been created. Gender focal points had also been worked on. The DoW had to find out what they were from other departments. More policy on gender focal points was not needed. The DoW had to make it a priority to provide the Committee with reports. Other departments were unaware of the DoW’s mandate. The Committee was going to Polokwane on oversight the following week and expected the DoW to send along some of its officials. There were too many policies but no implementation. Women needed to be empowered economically. There seemed to be no interaction between the DoW and the Commission on Gender Equality.

Ms Schreiner noted that an analysis of gender focal points was needed if it was to be implemented, as it should be. The DoW had found that gender focal points had not been implemented consistently. Implementation varied from department to department. She felt that gender focal points should sit in the Director General’s Office of departments. A proper mechanism was needed to hold Director Generals accountable. On the DoW providing support to members on oversight visits, the DoW was in the midst of an organisational transformation, a skills audit and Women’s Month. It was extremely difficult for the DoW to do everything. The DoW would however do its best to see what it could do to accommodate members on the oversight visit to Polokwane.

Ms M Khawula (EFF) felt that the briefing by the DoW was not satisfactory. Women were not getting help. Most of the targets were either partially achieved or not achieved. Most of the targets would be achieved in 2016 and not in 2015. The report spoke about targets being partially achieved but in the briefing Members were told that targets had subsequently been achieved. Rural people were not being assisted and neither were disabled persons. She felt that the DoW was squandering money and doing nothing.

Ms Schreiner spoke to the DoW’s partially achieved and not achieved targets. She explained that ultimately and strictly speaking targets were either achieved or not achieved. Work was done over a period of time and perhaps by Quarter 1 only part of it had been done, hence targets that were partially achieved. She did not wish the Committee to have the impression that no work had been done. Targets had to be met at the end of the financial year, the Committee was presented with what had been done thus far. Members were given a sense of how the work of the DoW was unfolding. Perhaps the Quarter1 target had not been achieved by the end of June 2015 but by the time the DoW came to brief the Committee the target had been achieved. Rural areas were an area of concern to the DoW. There were programmes in place to be rolled out in October 2015/November 2015 to target rural areas.

Ms D Robinson (DA) said that she had a sense that things were being turned around. The Committee needed to be more involved with the DoW. Members needed to be kept informed of what the DoW and the Minister was doing to uplift women. She hoped that things regarding the Committee receiving reports from the DoW would change. The Committee did not have much to be proud of on efforts on women. She asked that the Committee be kept abreast of things before the fact.

Ms Schreiner made a commitment that the DoW would be keeping the Committee informed on its events.

Ms M Matshoba (ANC) felt that government policies were very good and clear. She asked how the DoW conducted its campaigns on violence against women. Everything the DoW planned was on paper but nothing was put into action. She was not criticising the DoW but was concerned about SA’s youth who were dying from drugs. Was there a programme for children? A national programme was needed for children.

Ms Schreiner stated that the portfolio on children had been moved to the Department of Social Development.

Ms Tseke stated that the DoW was doing well in paying its service providers within 30 days. However having three invoices outstanding was still problematic as the three service providers were being unfairly prejudiced. She also said that the DoW officials should accompany members when they went on oversight. Parliament had the previous week hosted the Women’s Round Table. It came to light that there was frustration at provincial level. At provincial and Members of the Executive Committee’s (MECs) offices there were no budgets on women’s issues. Provinces needed structure in this regard. 

The Acting Chairperson also added that the Committee had requested various reports from the DoW but none had been forthcoming. Reports were important for Committee oversight. The DoW had also spent funds on Women’s Month celebrations and once again the Committee had not been taken on board. Why was the Committee excluded? The Committee had to hear about what the programmes for Women’s Month was via the media. The DoW needed to have Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with other departments. There needed to be collaboration between the DoW and other departments. Other departments were not aware of the DoW. The premiers’ offices in provinces had good programmes on women but the DoW was not visible. The Committee was still expecting outstanding documents that the DoW had promised Members.

Ms Schreiner thanked members for their honesty and candidness. The DoW agreed with members in a way. It had to be remembered however that the DoW had done restructuring and had put staff in place. There had been a total transformation of the organisational structure. On outstanding reports the DoW was communicating with Committee staff. There needed to be a sustained interaction. The DoW would appreciate a written list of reports from the Committee on what was outstanding. She did not envisage the DoW entering into MOUs unless there was a joint project with other departments. The DoW wished that frameworks should end up as regulations of government. MOUs were time bound. A regulatory framework was needed, endorsed by Cabinet and Parliament. Partnerships with departments would happen.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi was concerned about the DoW not entering into MOUs with departments. She understood the value that the DoW placed upon frameworks. MOUs were needed with other departments and municipalities. She suggested that when the DoW went to rural areas it should be kept in mind that economic empowerment went hand in hand with gender-based violence. She asked whether the DoW had heard about the incident of seven-year-old schoolboys raping seven-year-old girls.

Ms Schreiner pointed out that the Department of Social Development would have more information regarding the rape incident.

Ms Khawula was concerned about the huge numbers of girls in SA falling pregnant. There were 99 000 girls pregnant in SA. Did the DoW work with the Department of Education on educational programmes over teenage pregnancies.

The Acting Chairperson said she noted the response of the DoW on MOUs. The Minister on Women meeting with other ministers was an important way in which women’s issues could be communicated. Departments generally did not have many programmes to assist women. If the DoW had MOUs with departments then the Committee could evaluate departments. The Women’s Round Table was unaware of the work of the DoW.

Ms Schreiner, on MOUs, said that policy issues went through cabinet. Cabinet decisions were binding on departments. Annual Performance Plans (APPs) of departments needed to have disaggregated targets on gender. These processes were considered more sustainable than MOUs. The DoW did not have a monitoring and evaluation system as yet. The DoW was embarking on efforts to strengthen its participation in clusters. It would also look at the experiences of women in communities. She stressed that the DoW had a growing model of interaction.

Ms Khawula asked, if the DoW did not deal with children, when it considered a child to become a woman.

Ms Schreiner said that when a child became a woman was a complex issue. Members had to remember that departments had mandates. The Department of Social Development dealt with girl children issues. The DoW could not take on the work of other departments.

Ms Khawula did not feel that the DoW had responded adequately to her questions on teenage pregnancies. She asked whether the DoW had a relationship with the Department of Education.

The meeting was adjourned.

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