Department of Women in the Presidency on its 2nd Quarter 2016/17 performance, with Minister; National Dialogues on Violence against Women and Children

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

15 November 2016
Chairperson: Ms T Memela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Women presented its 2nd Quarter Performance Report and the plan for the National Dialogues on Violence against Women and Children.

The presentation on the 2nd Quarter Report dealt with the achieved and non-achieved targets for the current financial year per programme. The non-achieved targets were as a result of the Department discontinuing the targets. The targets were discontinued because the Department reviewed its ability to deliver and found that the constraints on human resources and financial capacity would make it impossible for the targets to be achieved successfully.

The Department was having challenges with progressing with gender mainstreaming within the public service as Director Generals had been resistant and reluctant to fully support the process within their departments. The Department continued to have wasteful expenditure for the payment of employees on special leave due to the restructuring that took place within the Department.

Financial information reflected that R96,5 million was spent as at 30 September 2016, which translated to 49% of the Appropriation for the Department. Compensation for employees was underspent by 1% mainly due to vacancies in the Department. It would be closely monitored to avoid unauthorised expenditure. The budget for goods and services was underspent by R3.1 million due to consultations with stakeholders which did not take place as anticipated and other departments assisting financially mainly on infrastructure and catering for Women’s Month. Transfers and subsidies to the Commission for Gender Equality were done on time in line with the projections. It was anticipated that the entire budget for capital assets would be utilised in the current financial year.

The overspending in programme one was because of office accommodation invoices that were received late. Monthly reconciliations were done on the suspense accounts, and accumulative fruitless and wasteful expenditure as at 30 September 2016 amounts to R1, 6 million relating to three cases. Accumulative irregular expenditure was R338 000 relating to six cases, there were eleven transactions reported as at 30 September 2016 amounting to R2.7 million in deviations. Five cases were single source service providers and six cases were urgent cases. Ten invoices amounting to R468 011, 76 were paid outside of 30 days due to banking detail verification and late certification by end-users on invoices. Consequence management was implemented against relevant officials. An investigator was appointed to start with the process of investigating irregular expenditure.  Additional capacity was being sourced through appointment of a contract worker to reconcile and clear the suspense.

The Department was launching its National Dialogues on Violence against Women and Children at Lebowakgomo in the Limpopo Province on 25 November 2016, and the dialogues would roll out in each province until October 2017, anticipated to reach a number of 100 000 people in each province.

Members asked questions relating to the Department behaving as if when they came to the Committee they were coming to a disciplinary hearing; the lack of communication within the team which led to incorrect information being provided to the Committee; officials not understanding the mandate of the Department and had as a result failed to execute it successfully; the disciplinary cases within the Department that took a long time to be concluded; the discontinued targets of the Department; the employees on special leave who continued to cost the Department money; and the Department’s efforts to hold government owned and private institutions on their women’s empowerment initiatives. Members also asked about the Department’s capacity to successfully complete the dialogues and whether the dialogues had been sufficiently advertised.

Meeting report

Presentation on Quarter 2 Performance Report
Ms Susan Shabangu, Minister, Department of Women, highlighted financial inclusion; a process which had not gone through the relevant channels. The Department should have indicated that the document was still a rough draft and had not gone through government processes. The Director-General should have advised that even though it had been shared the status of the information was not final. The Department was ready to present following last week’s meeting which was postponed.

Ms Jenny Schreiner, Director-General, Department of Women, briefed the Committee.
The presentation spoke to the full performance in terms of delivery on objectives, human resources, finances and the issues that the Committee had requested must be covered by the presentation. This included the outstanding targets from the previous presentations. The first part of the presentation dealt with the strategic focus and general information that did not change from quarter to quarter.

Outcome 14 dealt with Women’s Month, the Girl and Learner Exposure, the collaboration with the Uweso Consulting on the TechnoGirl project, 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children, and the national dialogues and advocacy programme. There was also International Women’s Day in March and 365 days of no violence against women in Africa.

The first slide dealt with the outcomes in terms of achievements and non-achievements for quarter two aggregated across all of the programmes. The Department had 31 targets, 15 were achieved and 16 were not achieved and were still outstanding. The targets that were not achieved had been subjected to an internal audit verification process and significant improvement in terms of the quality of compliance by the budget programme managers and sub-programme managers with the reporting progress. The reports submitted spoke to the indicators, the evidence where achievements had been delivered was there and had been confirmed by internal audit to be there, and where targets had not been achieved the reasons were given clearly and corrective steps were included.

The slide on programme 1 performance showed the targets as 11, of which 8 had been achieved and 3 not achieved. The quarter risk assessment had been developed and submitted to the audit risk committee on 31 July 2016. The meeting of the audit and risk committee was shifted to a later date but the report was submitted timeously. The internal audit progress report was submitted to the audit and risk committee and it had completed audits on the performance agreements in quarter 1, including the interim financial statements and asset management process.

The draft Annual Performance Plan (APP) for 2017 was submitted on time on 31 August 2016, the first quarter report on 30 September 2016 to National Treasury and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). The Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) coordinators were appointed and attended MPAT training from DPME, which would roll out each year. All the reports on MPAT standards were submitted to the Accounting Officer in time. The MPAT scores would be spoken to in more detail at the end of the presentation. On the issue of the invoices being paid within 30 days, 10 invoices were paid outside of the thirty days and the reasons related to banking details, late certification and delays in internal processes. There were consequences for people who did not comply with requirements. Training for the finance and supply chain management team has been given and the Department was in the process of developing standard operating procedures which would ensure improvement. The first quarter interim financial statements were submitted timeously to National Treasury.

The vacancy rate as at the 30 September was at 6, 4% and the establishment report was provided as evidence to support that. Two disciplinary cases were outside of the timelines. There were processes in place to ensure that they moved forward. The Chairperson has issued a directive on the first matter that it would not be postponed if the employee failed to ensure that his representative was present. There was a request for further information by the employee in the second matter and such information had been furnished and the matter was now moving forward.

There had been a change in the Director of Information Communication Technology (ICT), who joined the Department on 1 June 2016, which resulted in both progress and delay. The Department achieved 95% of systems availability; there was a scheduled downtime which was managed. The business systems and IT governance issues had been reconsidered. This also covered the ICT strategic plan.

The non-achievement for programme one in the previous financial year showed indicators that were time-bound and compliance-bound. The only way to address the non-achievements was to ensure the improvement of delivery going forward. This included the issue of service providers, which improved from 96% in quarter one and two to 99% in quarters three and four. Consequence management was being implemented in relation to that. The Departmental wide risk management was a process that has been achieved in quarter one and two of the current financial year. Reducing the number of risks rated as high risk was achieved in the risk mitigation process and the risk mitigation reports had been given to the risk and audit committee in the last meeting. The ICT security tests had been achieved in the current financial year. The disciplinary processes had already been reported on.

Eight targets were planned for programme two, two of which were achieved and six not achieved. There was a period of transition as the DDG for programme two resigned at the end of August and was booked off for most of the month. The Chief Director Economic Empowerment was acting as the DDG of programme two. Contract staff was hired to assist with the workload on projects.

The mid-year performance review focused the Department’s work to not duplicate the work of the Department of Social Development. An erratum would be tabled to address how the targets would be dealt with going forward. The intervention mechanisms for women’s socio-economic empowerment through improved recognition of women’s productive contribution to household and community care work was not achieved. This remained work in progress due to further consultations required internally. A discussion to obtain further guidance was needed, as well as consultations with the Department of Labour to assess the impact of the Employment Equity Commission report in relation to the Stats South Africa report.

On the progress report on consultations with stakeholders in the economic sector around improving women’s socio-economic empowerment through engendering government’s Nine-Point plan, the first preliminary report on the Departments’ compliance in gender mainstreaming women socio-economic empowerment in SA economy had been produced by end of quarter two. The report was scheduled for discussion at the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development (ESEID) cluster meeting during quarter three. The consultation on the discussion paper for women’s financial inclusion had been achieved and the report remained a rough draft because it had not yet gone through the government processes. The strategy on gender mainstreaming and gender focal persons was challenging in terms of progress between departments on discussion documents in relation to the approach to Gender Focal Points (GFPs) and the responsibilities for Directors-General. The Department engaged with DPSA and documentation was submitted to them and there were delays in re-working the process.

Minister Shabangu said the Director-General must clarify to the Committee what she meant by delays because she was being diplomatic in her presentation on the matter. The challenge was that the Directors-General from various departments including provinces did not want the discussion document because it had a bearing on the DGs. If the country was to succeed in gender-mainstreaming the DGs must take responsibility and they did not want that. The DGs and technical teams were hell bent on it not succeeding because they did not want the responsibility. It was nice to say that there had been delays but the reality was that the Department had been blocked, and if the process had been engaged in without subjectivism then it would be home.

Ms Schreiner added to what the Minister has said, the document had been through the DGs cluster and technical working group. There was resistance on three levels; the first was that it was a reflection that departments did not fully understand gender mainstreaming and the Department therefore needed to ensure that the placing of women’s socio-economic empowerment in the core business of departments was fully understood. There was still a strong feeling that in terms of GFPs it was still an HR function, although in some departments there was recognition that it was a core business function. The second was that the accountability of heads of Department at both provincial and national level and their responsibility to ensure that the socio-economic empowerment of women was central to their work. There was strong resistance to them taking direct responsibility for it. Key areas of disagreement had been the reporting lines of GFPs; whether they reported directly to the Head of Department as was the original directive that had been mandated in the year 2000 National Policy Framework, or whether they reported to a DDG who reported to the DG, or whether they were imbedded in the strategic planning unit.

The Gender Responsive Budgeting Framework (GRBF) was not achieved within the timeline but there was significant progress. Two consultation meetings had taken place internally with the Minister giving three directives on what the Department should do to better understand the issues. A concept paper had been drafted which had been engaged on in partnership with National Treasury, Stats SA and a follow-up would be arranged with DPME who were unable to attend the last meeting. Engagements with external stakeholders who were experts on the matter would be held after all internal processes had been concluded. A clear understanding was there that the institutionalisation was mandatory for it to become a sustainable process and not have the disruptions that had been taking place. Technical work that was being done presently was around the ways in which it could be included in the budget cycle in a manageable form and focus on high impact departments and programmes.

The discussion paper towards a national prevention strategy for the integrated programme of action on violence against women and children was in the draft stages. The Department had realised that to have a working strategy outside of the national dialogue process outcomes would be fruitless. The implementation of the Sexual Offences Act required the same feedback from the dialogues.

The non-achievement of targets of the previous year was largely due to the targets being discontinued due to the revision of the Annual Performance Plan. Work was done around the access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. The intervention plan developed for women’s access to funding opportunities had been put in the financial inclusion paper that was still in progress. The intervention mechanisms in relation to implementing the Status of Women in the South African Economy social recommendations had been achieved in quarter two. The intervention mechanisms on the empowerment of women in the ocean economy, economic recommendations and infrastructure value chain were achieved and reports were available. The analysis of Best Practices of One Stop Shops for Gender Based Violence (GBV) Survivors was not achieved and was awaiting the outcomes of the dialogue initiatives.

Programme 3 had 12 targets, 5 were achieved and 7 not achieved. The progress report on research analysis of the Agri-parks programme was developed. The desktop review of available research was initiated and analytical review was work in progress. Consultative meetings still needed to take place with the lead departments.

Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA) asked for clarity on why the Department had listed the financial inclusion paper as an achievement when the Minister in her opening remarks said it was still a rough draft and had not yet gone through the government processes.

Ms Schreiner responded that the quarter two targets were consultations on the discussion paper, and the internal processes and meetings counted as an achievement in this regard and the outcomes were approved as a document that could be taken forward for external processes. It was the achievement for the quarter, not the entire financial year. It was not performance on the full performance indicator as some of the indicators may stretch over more than one financial year.

Minister Shabangu said the Department could not report on the work in progress as an achievement because it had not been endorsed and was still in the draft stages. The technical team and DGs had not seen the document and it was only sent to the Committee for information sharing purposes. It could only be said to be an achievement after it had gone through the various stages and endorsed. It must be cited as a partial achievement.

Ms Schreiner continued the presentation. The research strategy on women’s socio-economic empowerment and gender equality in relation to the Nine-Point plan and the policy paper on gender policy analysis of the land reform programme related to the Nine-Point plan developed were not achieved. Further research was being done and external consultations had been scheduled for quarter three. The progress report on implementation of phase one of the Indigenous Knowledge Management (IKM) Strategy was not achieved due to delays in consolidation. The number of reports on the domestication of internal commitments was achieved.

The Minister said the way in which the Nine-Point plan was captured in relation to the mandate of the Department would never be achieved. The Department would have to issue an erratum because it did not have capacity to do research. The President gave a directive to the Department to monitor other Departments and what they were doing in terms of women. The Department must analyse the programmes of other departments and see whether their programmes were realistic and had the potential to change women’s lives. The team in the Department did not understand what was expected. The Department could not do research, and if it was asked what research it was doing there would not be an answer. The Department’s mandate was to check the programmes within departments regarding women. The Department must bring the entire economic cluster when it comes to report next time.

Ms M Chueu (ANC) added that it was not only about what the Department was doing but also how they did it. The implementation and delivery process must be improved to increase the impact.

Ms Schreiner continued the presentation.  The number of outreach and community mobilisation initiatives was achieved. A Women’s Month report was available and three reports for community mobilisation were done and routed for approval. The M&E system draft had been developed and the progress of analysing the cases had not progressed as expected. The intervention was that the national dialogues process would assist in this regard. The Department analysed 20 1st draft APPs from the economic cluster departments and submitted to the DPME. Some of the departments submitted their APPs late, which had affected the Department’s performance target for the second quarter.

The areas of non-achievement for the previous financial year were a research report on access and participation of young women and girls in STEM fields, which the Department had discontinued and focused on STEM advocacy work in partnership with UWESO, the one policy analysis report was discontinued because it focused on the construction industry and the focus was the Nine Point Plan, phase one report on the status of women’s socio-economic empowerment, and finalisation and implementation of the IKM strategy due to financial constraints. The Gender Policy Brief on the Black Industrialist programme was discontinued.

The sector Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) targets and indicators on women’s socio-economic empowerment, monitoring tools aligned to DPME, monitoring reports on socio-economic empowerment on women, food security impact assessment, stakeholder framework and five-year outreach strategy were all work in progress at the closing of the financial year.

Programme three had the targets of the solemn declaration update report, progress report on implementation of phase one of IKM strategy, AU Agenda 2063 domesticated, and analysis of reported cases by nature of gender-based violence in police stations as not achieved.

Two senior managers attended risk management training in quarter two, and the Department was implementing its fraud prevention policy, whistle blower policy and fraud prevention plan which had been communicated to all employees. The Department was also implementing its occupational health and safety policy. All the required MPAT 1.5 standards were uploaded and reports were approved by DG. The audit steering committee was operational and the audit action plan developed. The performance agreements of the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Directorate Corporate Management and Chief Director Strategic Planning would be amended to include the management of the audit action plan.

The vacancy rate was improving, there were 108 approved and funded posts and 102 had been filled and appointed. Ten people were employed on fixed term contracts to provide additional support capacity such as internal audit, job evaluation and project secretariat activities. Equity employment showed that there were four persons with disabilities within the Department. Job evaluations were for posts and categories of posts, and not for each individual employee. A secretarial post in a Chief Directorate would be evaluated once and would cut across all the posts in that same category. Fifteen posts were still outstanding and would be finalised in the third quarter.  Service terminations showed one contract ended, three resignations, one retirement, and five transfers to other public service departments. The status of special leave cases showed one DDG placed on precautionary suspension on an unrelated disciplinary matter, one Chief Director transferred to Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services in 2016, and two Directors remained unresolved and the Department was engaging with the Department of Social Development to find a solution. They had been issued with letters to recall them from special leave.

Financial information reflected that R96,5 million was spent as at 30 September 2016, which translated to 49% of the Appropriation for the Department. Compensation for employees was underspent by 1% mainly due to vacancies in the Department. It would be closely monitored to avoid unauthorised expenditure. The budget for goods and services was underspent by R3.1 million due to consultations with stakeholders which did not take place as anticipated and other departments assisting financially mainly on infrastructure and catering for Women’s Month. Transfers and subsidies to the Commission for Gender Equality were done on time in line with the projections. It was anticipated that the entire budget for capital assets would be utilised in the current financial year.

The overspending in programme one was because of office accommodation invoices that were received late. Monthly reconciliations were done on the suspense accounts, and accumulative fruitless and wasteful expenditure as at 30 September 2016 amounts to R1, 6 million relating to three cases. Accumulative irregular expenditure was R338 000 relating to six cases, there were eleven transactions reported as at 30 September 2016 amounting to R2.7 million in deviations. Five cases were single source service providers and six cases were urgent cases. Ten invoices amounting to R468 011, 76 were paid outside of 30 days due to banking detail verification and late certification by end-users on invoices. Consequence management was implemented against relevant officials. An investigator was appointed to start with the process of investigating irregular expenditure.  Additional capacity was being sourced through appointment of a contract worker to reconcile and clear the suspense.

The Department had one major event which was women’s month and the total cost for the event was R859 128. International trips for the year up to 30 September 2016 were the 58th Ordinary Session of the Africa Commission on Human and People Rights which took place in Banjul, Gambia from  6 to 20 April 2016, the 4th Women Deliver Global Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark 16 to 19 May 2016, the SADC Technical meeting on Women’s Economic Empowerment Programmes in Gaborone, Botswana on the 16 of June 2016, the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland 16 to 17June 2016, the 3rd High level panel on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Kigali, Rwanda 8 to 9 July 2016, the AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda on 10 to 18 July 2016, and the 11th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers meeting in Apia, Samoa 5 to 8 September 2016. Total costs for the international trips amounted to R2 140 535, 50.

Minister Shabangu said did not attend the AU Summit. There were issues of accommodation and she did not understand who went on her behalf because she had not authorised the trip.

Ms Schreiner apologised for the wrong information provided about the Summit and said in future she would make sure that the reporting was on the actual trips attended and not on the ones budgeted for.

She continued the presentation by saying that there were no reported cases of financial misconduct during the second quarter.

A brief review of the recommendations by the Auditor-General on the 2015/16 financial year was given, as well as a review of the MPAT scores of the programmes. Ms Schreiner concluded the presentation saying the Department had shown improvement from the previous year and more processes were being put in place for the next cycle. The Department was engaging DPSA and National Treasury regarding its human resources and financial constraints.

Ms M Khawula (EFF) thanked the Minister for showing the Committee respect by being honest about not attending the Summit whereas the report by the Director-General said otherwise. She wanted to know why the Department would come to the Committee and lie. Why did the Department behave as if when they came to the Committee they were coming to a disciplinary hearing? Ministers were in trouble because they get into trouble when their departments did not perform, whereas it was the management of the Department that was not doing its job correctly. The Department did not appear to be working together as a team or communicate with each other. They said different things that contradict each other, but formed part of the same team.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi added that the Department was told many times that the Committee was there to work with them and assist them to execute their mandate, but they continued to behave as if they were coming to receive a hiding every time they came to the Committee.

The Minister responded that she agreed with the comments by the Committee and that the Department must stop presenting information that was not factual because it would be a false representation of what was happening within the Department. It was not good to mislead the Committee, and the team should have reconciled the information to show that the trip did not take place as budgeted for.

The Chairperson commented on the functioning of the Department. It was worrying and painted a bleak picture; they should have seen the shortcomings while they were still in their offices instead of coming to the Committee and pulling in different directions. She hoped the Minister would ensure that such hiccups did not happen again because it meant that the team was not talking to each other or when there were discussions someone was not prepared to listen with understanding.

Ms Khawula said that the Director-General did not respect the Committee and the Department, which was why the Department was failing to execute its mandate. The Director-General must know that when she came to the Committee she came to people who would be engaging fully with the presentation. The Committee was not comprised of children, and the Committee represented the people of South Africa and women’s needs. How would the Committee be sure that whatever recommendations they made to the Department would be executed? The failure of the Department equated to the failure of the Committee and the women of South Africa as a whole. It was difficult to put confidence in the Department because it repeatedly failed to do what was expected of it.

Ms Schreiner responded that she had heard clearly what has being said and she would do her best to correct all the mistakes. She did not disrespect the Committee or go out of her way to make the Department to be dysfunctional.

Ms N Bhengu (ANC) asked questions around the issue of the officials of the Department not understanding the concept of gender mainstreaming whereas it was said to have employed highly skilled personnel, whether the Department provided training on gender mainstreaming, the reason for the resistance by DGs and the names of the people who were going through disciplinary proceedings and on special leave. She asked which posts had been advertised, the process of the evaluation of the Department as most targets had not been achieved, and the appointment of a contract worker in the finance Department and if there were not a funded post instead of hiring a contract worker.

Ms Chueu said the Department must conclude on the discussion with DGs because if the DGs did not understand the roles they needed to play in the empowerment of women then the entire country was in crisis. It meant that the three issues that affect women, namely poverty, unemployment and inequality, would never be achieved. If at this point in time the issues had not started being addressed, then there was no hope in achieving the targets set for achieving empowerment for women. If she had been the one to hire them she would be re-thinking their employment because their delaying was affecting 52% of the population when time was of the essence. If the issue was not drummed into their heads, then they were not good for those positions. The second issue was that there must be time frames for the delivery, and it should no longer be about negotiations but expectations that had to be met. The discontinued targets of the Department were the same that affect women, but it would not be addressed until the document that the Minister had promised would be sent to the Committee was received and interrogated.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi asked about gender mainstreaming and the staff’s inability to understand what was expected of them. The DGs’ refusal to comply was also a cause for concern. She expected that the budgets allocated for women should be having reports to show what had been done for the lives of women, so it raised the question of what the budgets had been utilised for. She was worried about the Department because it really appeared that the Department did not know what it was doing because it placed targets and later discontinued them, and in other reports said that those same targets had been achieved. The mandate for empowering women did not seem to be on the top of the agenda of the Department.

Ms Chueu said that the Department could still evaluate other departments without having to beg them for information. The Department could just look at their budgets and determine whether the percentage allocated for women’s programmes had really been utilised for that and what the impact was. The Department was not holding organisations such as the IDC accountable for the billions that they received per year and what they were doing to empower women. For as long as the Department did not make these institutions accountable they would never deliver on women’s issues.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) said she hoped that the Minister would understand their frustration because she had been in the Committee since 2009 and still did not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The revision of targets showed lack of planning on the part of the Department and leadership. This affected the performance of the Department in the annual performance report, and the discontinued targets seemed to be a norm when quarter three and four approached. The Department was too small to have challenges of internal consultations that led to targets not being met timeously. The Department had already submitted its expenditure to National Treasury and the issue of the trip that did not take place but was recorded as having taken place was an issue of concern. Something was not going right in the Department and it was worrying. She wanted to know the difference between the M&E system and M&E framework.

Ms Khawula asked about the Department’s hostels where women lived in very bad conditions, cramped into rooms, where they end up getting raped. Children went missing and up until today there was no word on their whereabouts. There were laws that affected women negatively after the death of a husband or upon divorce. There were female farm workers who were abused by their employers and nothing was being done about it. The women in the rural areas who were not receiving any government services, which affected them negatively in their lives. The sanitation situation was also a huge concern. What was being done to address the Ukungena custom that was happening in the rural areas, and disabled women who were entrepreneurs but did not had access to the markets?

Ms D Robinson (DA) said a lot of the questions that Ms. Khawula asked were hard-hitting but could not be addressed by the Department as some belonged to the mandate of other departments. She endorsed the concerns raised by Members, and asked about the employees that were on special leave and the time it was taking to finalise the disciplinary hearings.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi asked the Acting Chief Financial Officer which position he now occupied on the organogram.

The Chairperson said there was a lot of dissatisfaction with the Department and drastic measures needed to be taken to fix the situation. There was poor communication amongst the members of the Department. She asked the Department to take time to spell out the shortcomings before coming to the Committee, and stop coming to the Committee with issues that had not been discussed internally. Did the Department listen to each other and work as a team? The delinquency within the Department would not be accepted because it would destroy the Department. She asked the Department to work as a team.

Minister Shabangu responded that the Department did indeed have challenges from within. The Department may come across as if it did not communicate but it communicated a lot. The problem was the mandate of the Department which was complex and led to situations such as the one they now found themselves in. The Department held EXCO meetings every fortnight to discuss issues.

She responded to the question about gender mainstreaming by saying that it was not the staff of the Department who did not understand, but other departments. The establishment of gender focal points remained a challenge, as there was a misconception that it was the sole responsibility of the Department to ensure the smooth running of gender focal points. It was important that the person who was tasked with the responsibility of being a gender focal person within a department must form part of EXCO so that issues of women were dealt with at a strategic level. The Department was not a service delivery department and therefore could not go out and ensure that things were getting done. The mandate of the Department was difficult to drive and was challenging. Targets were discontinued because the Department could see that it was not going to be able to successfully achieve them. The Department did not have the ability and capacity to academically engage with the theoretical aspects of the questions that need to be addressed, such as the issue of child care provision and its effects on women.

Minister Shabangu said she saw and and approved the work but the team went back and repeated the same mistakes which she had requested them to correct. She gave the example of the STEM target and said that she had hammered that it was actually the Department’s partnership with UWESO that should be included in the performance report. The partnership was aimed at high school children to nurture them and help them with career pathing so that they were exposed to various opportunities. It was known as the TechnoGirl project and had produced over 8000 women who were employed.  The Department would invite the Committee on an oversight visit with UWESO so that they could see what the initiative was about.

The challenges were also as a result of restructuring within the Department, which had led to some of the job description challenges and spaces within the Department. This was why there had been issues of wasteful expenditure. Some posts were removed such as a Director level post of “Facilities” which other departments did not have and thus had to be removed. There was a transfer of funds to the Department of Social Development which led to the posts not being funded. The Department tried to engage with the Department of Social Development for the return of funds. The Chief Director Legal was transferred to the Post and Telecommunications Department. The post of DDG: Corporate services was downgraded to Chief Director, and the employee failed the interviews at the level of DDG in other departments, and was now under suspension on other related matters that were currently being dealt with internally.

When the DDG was employed she was not the first candidate for approval, but because the Minister at the time wanted her in the post then Cabinet approved her appointment. She did not perform in her duties even in that period before there were structural changes within the Department, and that was where the disciplinary issues were coming from. The Department would have time frames for the Committee in the third quarter. The Minister requested the Committee to lobby on the Department’s behalf regarding gender focal points because the DGs would be lobbying to their Ministers to reject the proposal which would further delay the progress. The proposal on gender focal points must be presented to the Committee although it was not yet final so that the Committee could see what the efforts were. The Committee would see that the positions were supposed to be located within the office of the DGs. The Committee should subpoena the DPSA to come and account as they had also refused the Department to tamper with the policy because it was up for review in 2018. This meant that women must wait until 2018, and if you asked them what it was that they were doing, they were doing nothing.

Mr Mbhazima Shiviti was appointed as Acting Chief Financial Officer because the Department was small but needed someone to run the finance department until such time as a new person was appointed. The Department needed to put someone in the position who could attend to matters with National Treasury because if a Director was sent then National Treasury would think the Department was not serious. The previous Chief Financial Officer was not prepared to work with other people and this made it difficult for the Department to function effectively. She had been asked to address the matter of the transfer of funds to the Department of Social Development and had resisted. The previous DG Ms Veliswa Baduza played an important role in the transfer of the funds, which was incorrect. The negotiations had since been re-opened and National Treasury was assisting the Department to get back the funds from the Department of Social Development.

The DPSA must also come to explain what the School of Government was doing in terms of training the gender focal points. The understanding of the gender focal points in terms of understanding the concept of gender mainstreaming and how it could be incorporated into the core business of departments, the people who were trained by the School of Government were left wanting. It was therefore important to consider the course content and approach of the School of Government to see how it impacted on the progress of gender mainstreaming in the country. The people who had been through the training were not able to instil the understanding of gender mainstreaming within their departments, and one of the issues was that they were placed in junior levels of HR or events planning.

Mr Mbhazima Shiviti, Acting Chief Financial Officer and Chief Director Corporate Management, said that the posts of DDG: Social Transformation and Economic Development and Chief Director: Justice and Security was advertised and a selection process was underway. The posts were very critical to the functioning of the Department and efforts were being made to put together an interview panel that would ensure that the right people were appointed in the posts. The Department did not incur any expenses on the AU Summit.

National Dialogues on Violence against Women and Children
Ms Joyce Maluleke, Special Advisor, Department of Women, presented on the plan for the National Dialogues on Violence against Women and Children.  She outlined the purpose, vision and objective of the dialogues, and said that the Department had established a task team to plan for the launch of the dialogues which would take place at Lebowakgomo Civic Centre in Polokwane, Limpopo. The event was expected to be attended by Chapter Nine institutions, traditional leaders, religious institutions and other departments.

The dialogues aimed to reach 100 000 people in each province and would run from 25 November 2016 to the end of October 2017. The University of Pretoria was the anchor university to engage other universities in dialogue, and was responsible to document conversations and produce a report.

Ms Tseke asked whether the Department had sufficiently advertised the event and if members of the communities were aware that the dialogues would be taking place.

Minister Shabangu responded that the Department had advertised sufficiently in Limpopo but because of budget constraints, were not able to pay for media advertisement throughout the country. The Department relied on their collaborative partners to make the dialogues a success and trust that it would go as planned as lawyers had come forward to assist with the court cases that arose from the dialogues on a pro bono basis.

The meeting was adjourned.

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