The Commission for Gender Equality presented its 2nd quarter 2016 report. The Committee was briefed on the work during the second quarter, linking this back to targets and comparing the output with first quarter results. The CGE programmes included gender transformation hearings and a gender barometer, and social social protection activities, which focus on the security sector and systemic investigations. Chapter 15 of the National Development Plan (NDP) is concerned with transforming society and uniting the country by making submissions on engendering legislation, compliance reports on international and regional instruments, court monitoring and meetings with the Justice Cluster. Economic transformation was one important issue. Investigative hearings and gender barometer programmes monitor the process. Submissions included land reform, engendering the National Health Insurance, compliance reports, victims’ charter and the court monitoring, as well as actively engaging with communities. The Public Education and Information (PEI) programme aimed to draft resource books on concepts used in gender mainstreaming, which would assist municipalities. In this month, CGE tried to run programmes to support Housing Women's Month and was promoting this through partnerships with radio stations to inform. Details were then given of the four main strategic objectives. In the provinces there were some problems with non-registration of customary marriages, which has to be discussed with traditional councils. Protection orders remained a challenge. The CGE was negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with the Employment Equity Commission. 14 submissions for legislative and policy enhancement were made in this quarter. The gender barometer has been directed to the private sector, specifically to the mining sector. In terms of the campaign for 365 NAO on GBV and supporting structures, a number of personnel of police stations in Limpopo, Eastern Cape and North West have been interviewed as part of assessing the programmes the SAPS have initiated. CGE continued to monitor domestic violence courts, maintenance and sexual offences courts. In pursuance of the gender transformation investigation report, CGE had dispatched questionnaires to Rhodes, UKZN, WITS and UCT, and to private sector bodies, over the last two quarters, and institutions of higher learning would be held to account for gender-based violence. In relation to women’s representation in political parties, CGE observed elections and maintained that 50/50 representation must be taken seriously and legislated for. 180 complaints were received and dealt with, and 218 new files, including some from the previous year, were opened. 42 outreaches were conducted. The report on transformation of the judiciary has been finalised. The process on decriminalisation of sex work is still not finalised. Work on maternal health had been delayed by the need to get consent to get information from the files. The Uthukela Bursary investigation report was finalised and lodged with Parliament. Traditional sector hearings were held, to identify and address challenges and plight of Amkhosikati. CGE was working on its report on the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women contributions. The topics on which the CGE had commented were outlined.
The internal audit had indicated that overall achievement for the quarter is 72%. This percentage is an improvement from the last financial year, at 58% .This shows that the systems that have been put in place have improved, however there are areas that still need intervention. The financial report showed a year-to-date deficit of R3.8 million , with 57% of funding already spent. The CGE said that its financial prognosis did not look good and called for decisive intervention to sustain financial viability, stating that the CGE was under-funded. Its budgetary reduction for the current year is R4.6 million. Inflation and cost of living adjustments are the key reasons for the spending pressures in the current period.
Members were not pleased to see the financial figures and said that they were worried that CGE was under-funded. However, several of them also questioned particular expenditure, and asked the CGE to address travel issues, training, and why this was centralised, how it intended to get more funding. They asked why the computer figures had doubled, and why the travel figures were so high. They asked how CGE intended to roll out gender mainstreaming and asked for reports on the Sonke Gender Justice report that more than 56% of men in Diepsloot had admitted to sexually or physically abusing women. They called for reports on the computers donated to schools, engagement with other departments and what was to be done about gender mainstreaming training. Members were generally in favour of legislating for 50/50 representation and asked the CGE to be alert to any new legislation being proposed. They asked what it was doing to push for the removal of VAT on sanitary pads, and how the education system was promoting skills in women. The CGE was urged to work more closely with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, to put more information on its website, to speak to the targets on African Gender Development and to concentrate on assisting boys to become decent men. Questions were to be answered in writing.
Commission for Gender Equality on its Second quarterly Report for 2016/17
The Chairperson expressed the condolences of the Committee to Commissioner Lindelwa Bata on her loss.
Second Quarter 2015 report
Mr Shozi Mfamojelwe, Chairperson, Commission for Gender Equality, noted that the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE or the Commission) would present one report on the implementation of the Annual Performance Plan (APP) and one on financial management. He also highlighted the importance of the reports during the sixteen days of activism programmes and monitoring the implementation of the 365 days programme. CGE Commissioners had also interfaced with some Committee members in certain activities taking place around the country.
Ms Keketso Maema, Chief Executive Officer, CGE, said the presentation tabulated and linked targets and priorities highlighted in the NDP and MTSF outcomes. She would talk about the reflections on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the progress of the APP. In the second quarter, the primary focus was to finalise and table the Annual Report 2015/2016. The report will give a brief account and feedback on audit outcomes, interrogate spending patterns and trends as well as overall functions of the institutions.
Ms Maema indicated that there is a table to highlight the link between the APP, the NDP priorities and MSTF outcomes (see document page 4-5) through the CGE programmes. The CGE programmes included gender transformation hearings and a gender barometer, which looks into gender mainstreaming and ensuring that women hold both public and private sector posts. There are outreach, advocacy and legal clinics, policy briefs which are concerned in educating women with the legislative framework around gender rights. She also talked about the social protection activities, which focus on the security sector and systemic investigations. Previously there was also a Victim's Charter Report that the CGE monitored. It would look into investigations, and gender-based violence (GVB) make findings and draw recommendations to ensure that all people are safe in their communities in South Africa.
She highlighted that chapter 15 of the National Development Plan (NDP) is concerned with transforming society and uniting the country by making submissions on engendering legislation, compliance reports on international and regional instruments, court monitoring and meetings with the Justice Cluster. This will ensure that bills passed by Parliament or at the provincial level comply with gender perspectives. It is also looking into the state's responsibilities in implementing international and regional instruments.
Ms Maema went on to talk about SONA. Economic transformation was one important issue. Investigative hearings and gender barometer programmes monitor the process. On the issue of land reform the CGE has engaged this particular committee on some challenges with gender equality. That gave rise to the campaign called One Woman One Hectare Campaign, and after engaging with the relevant departments this led to the One Hectare One Household initiative. Women are still not leaders in many instances, especially in the traditional homes where the eldest son inherits the land instead of a woman.
There had been a submission to engender the National Health Insurance (NHI))and the DG and the Department of Health wanted to engage as well in ensure that we do not lose sight of some of the gender perspectives. Active monitoring and accountability was also brought out in the SONA and some of the CGE programmes will be helpful, such as the compliance reports, victims’ charter and the court monitoring, which is very important. One of the highlights was that, again as a result of comment in the SONA, the CGE has been concerned to ensure that various communities in the lead up to 2018 (the end of the five-year plans) are engaged and part of this process is crafting the new plan going forward. At the moment the engagements are taking into account what the communities see as their main challenge and what they will highlight as priorities of concern.
Ms Maema noted that the 2nd quarter is halfway through the financial year and work planned in the annual performance plan should be halfway done by 50% in order to give comfort that all planned targets will be achieved. The internal audit have indicated that overall achievement for the quarter is 72%. This percentage is an improvement from the last financial year, at 58% .This shows that the systems that have been put in place have improved, however there are areas that still need intervention.
The CGE had formulated a new programme - called the Public Education and Information (PEI) . This aims to draft resource books on concepts used in gender main-streaming, using a framework of Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs) for gender mainstreaming in municipalities. The resource books have just been finalised and the officers and provincial coordinators are getting training, specifically on a human rights based approach, using the SDG framework. The PEI unit continues to provide technical assistance and training on gender mainstreaming. Hopefully other universities will get engaged also.
Ms Maema noted that this month was Housing Women's Month. The CGE had tried to monitor and run programmes in the APP that are specifically to do with the women’s month. CGE has tried to form partnerships with SABC and some of the National Community Radio Stations, to try and inform people.
The report also highlights the four strategic objectives to ensure that the CGE attains the targets pointed out (see document). Ms Maema highlighted that strategic objective 4 is sitting at 67% achievement, which is lower than the other strategic objectives, due to some challenges around vacancies; in the provinces, people could not be obtained in the first round and some offices were without legal officers, although they were trying to maintain stability without them. In part of the PEI programme there had been engagement with various provinces, and specific municipalities will be chosen for the pilot projects and training. At a meeting with strategic partner South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and development partners, plans were put in place to ensure that these pilot projects would be able to start as planned. CGE has also engaged with the UNDP, which is apparently offering a similar programme which is geared to Parliament and provincial legislatures.
Ms Maema also spoke about the key issues in the provinces, which relate to non-registration of customary marriages. She said there was a need to raise and discuss this with traditional councils, because it has been indicated that it is difficult, especially for women in polygamous marriages, to raise the issue without it being negatively construed. Obtaining a protection order still remains a major challenge for many women who depend on someone economically. CGE has had engagements with the Employment Equity Commission to have an MOU, recognising that CGE has a broader mandate as far as transformation is concerned. This particular year the CGE will be concentrating directly on the private sector. If companies were reported to the CGE, it would hand the matter to Employment Equity Commission to check if employees were still employed. In the last quarter it was reported that CGE was included in the judgment process of the Swedish embassy youth month so the pictures depicting gender equality have been received and can be used throughout the various provinces.
Ms Maema set out some of the strategic objectives in the APP. Strategic Objective 1 spoke to the creation and implementation of an enabling legislative framework. 14 submissions for legislative and policy enhancement were made in this quarter. There had been some favourable considerations by the NHI and the Director General is keen to hold further discussion.
The Victims Charter recommended that there should also be internal monitoring to monitor the processes and the recommendations put forward to the Department of Justice, NPA and SAPS. The gender barometer has been directed to the private sector, specifically to the mining sector. She cited the Sibanye Gold and Exxaro resources Ltd cases. In the Sibanye Gold case, field work and necessary information has been completed, analysis has begun and this will be finalised in the third quarter. With regards to Exxaro Resources, the unit has experienced some delays even for the current reporting period, and a final warning letter has been executed. Should there be no cooperation a subpoena will be directed to the Chief Executive Officer of Exxaro.
In terms of the campaign for 365 NAO on GBV and supporting structures, a number of personnel of police stations in Limpopo, Eastern Cape and North West have been interviewed as part of assessing the programmes the SAPS have initiated. With regards to court monitoring at the end of each financial year there is a report and the Commission continues to monitor domestic violence courts, maintenance and sexual offences courts. As far as policy dialogues conducted on findings in research reports is concerned there has not been a report in this current financial year and research reports will be based on reports finalised in the last financial year on AGDI, GBV and Gender Barometer reports. The dialogue will be rolled out during third and fourth quarter.
Ms Maema further talked about the gender transformation investigation report and indicated that the Department drafted and dispatched questionnaires to Rhodes, UKZN, WITS and UCT in the first quarter. Questionnaires were also sent to private sectors and the responses received from the questionnaires were analysed for the purposes of holding the hearings ,which have been scheduled for the third quarter.
She also highlighted that she has engaged with the Minister of Higher Education and signed MOUs with various institutions to do research into policies to be put put in place to hold these institutions of higher learning to account ,as far as gender based violence is concerned. That process initially was supported by the Minister but later on the Director-General indicated that there was no money. \
With regards to the issues of assessment of women’s representation in political parties the unit has engaged with all internal stakeholders taking them through logistics and protocol issues that were to be observed during elections scheduled for 3 August 2016. She said that the issue of 50/50 representation should be taken seriously and be legislated for and stressed that the position in regard to representation of women in politics was poor. She gave an example of a report in Metros and indicated that the ANC is losing quite a number of Metros in this particular year. The CEO also indicated that the 50/50 issue does not only affect political parties but also all other sectors.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) interrupted at this point to ask if this comment only related to the ANC, saying that this was how the presentation was coming across.
Ms M Chueu (ANC) said the point was that it was not just the ANC, but in fact all parties, who did not not choose women to represent them, at whatever level of government. The hope was that women election to positions would match that of men, in all political parties, equally. She highlighted that women are important in making political decisions of the country.
Mr Mfamojelwe wanted to contextualise what was being said. The report released in August is looking and the status and general representation of women. He asked if CGE could re - present that report so that the Committee will have a better picture.
Ms N Marchesi (DA) said it is also important to look at the issue of service delivery as well.
Ms Maema continued to give the presentation.
She said that in this year, 180 complaints were received and dealt with, in terms of the complaints manual. In the previous financial year, the CGE legal unit had 377 pending cases, and 218 new files were opened in this quarter. In terms of legal outreaches and clinics conducted in the reporting period, collaboration with public education and information meant that there were 42 outreaches conducted, and the unit was able to reach more communities without using a lot of money. CGE was currently running a manual system but hoped to have an automated system in future. She said there had been progress and improvements in files being closed, as this had been a major concern.
Ms Maema noted that Strategic Objective 2 is to protect and promote gender equality by engaging with relevant stakeholders to educate and raise awareness on issues of gender equality. In terms of systemic investigations undertaken, the report on transformation of the judiciary has been finalised. The process on decriminalisation of sex work is still not finalised and CGE is still waiting for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD) to put the paper out for comments. In relation to the work on maternal health, a meeting was held with the Department of Health who requested that complainants provide consent that will allow the investigation team to peruse the files. Some of the cases related to disabled women who were being forced to be sterilised. The CGE had been struggling to get the necessary documentation from the complainants, but there had now been further engagements to have the information provided timeously. The Uthukela investigation report was finalised and lodged with Parliament, and it has been disseminated to various stakeholders ,including the respondents. The Uthukela Municipality has been given until the second quarter to implement and report on the recommendations highlighted.
She added that the idea, with the traditional sector hearings, was to identify and address challenges and plight of Amkhosikati. Information from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) indicated that there was poor coordination of Amkhosikati, in that there was no formal structure that recognised them so it was becoming difficult to develop programmes that will promote women’s empowerment. In Mpumalanga the Traditional Council failed to appear for the hearing and had to be subpoenaed.
Strategic objective 3 is to monitor state compliance with regional and international conventions, covenants and charters relating to the objects of the Commission for Gender Equality. In relation to the Convention for Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) the CGE was working on its report on what the Ministry had put forward, and will participate once this process had taken place. Trends on social media show that the CGE still has a lot more conversations on Twitter than on other mediums. Generally there has been improvement of media coverage, compared to the last quarter. In the second quarter, CGE contributed to public debates and made numerous comments on issues of importance, ranging from virginity testing and awarding of bursaries to virgins, elections and women political representation, gender based violence, and the sentencing of Oscar Pistorius.
Mr Moshabi Putu, Chief Financial Officer, CGE, presented the finance report for the second quarter, ending 30 September 2016 (see document).This set out the funds appropriated for the period and other obligations advanced by the Committee from time to time. He said that a year-to-date deficit of R3.8 million was recorded, compared to the year-to-date deficit in the first quarter of R1.5 million. There had been total cumulative expenditure of R40 million, against an annual budget of R69.9 million, which meant that 57% was already utilised. The total revenue includes transfers of R34.9 million, and interest income and donor funding for R1.3 million. He said that the prognosis does not look good and called for decisive intervention to sustain financial viability, stating that the CGE was under-funded. Its budgetary reduction for the current year is R4.6 million. Inflation and cost of living adjustments are the key reasons for the spending pressures in the current period.
Mr Putu indicated that the CGE had received revenue transfers from National Treasury. Additional income arose, in the main, from donations by SABC and interest on positive cash bank balances. He then highlighted the operating expenses, noting that travel expenditure doubled from the prior period, due to the M&E training for which trainees must travel from various provincial offices. However, the Commission has a plan to minimise travel expenses. The income statement for the six months period shows that leave contribution to spending is R1 million, so that leave plans and implementation of a policy to reduce balances during the 4th quarter have been discussed in management, for immediate action. In terms of the interim statement of changes in net assets, he pointed out that the equity/net asset value is diminishing swiftly and will be eroded by the end of 2016/2017.
Mr Putu talked about the financial position and indicated that the net assets of the CGE, as at 30 September 2016, stood at R3.2 million, compared to R12.3 million in the previous period. This signifies deterioration in solvency and financial health overtime, due to spending and budgetary pressures currently faced by the Commission. He also said that liquidity is at risk, with cash balances diminishing unabatedly from R13 million in 2015 to R7 million by the end of the current period. He also said activities such as auditing by the Auditor-General put pressure on the budget for corporate services.
Mr Putu also looked at the Corporate Services overview and noted that in the current year CGE does not have a large procurement, compared to the previous year. With regard to supply management the transactions are small and the performance management is part of the regular contract management activities. At the moment two contracts are under performance review – namely, Duma Travel (on account of under-performance) and EOH (lease of copiers, where the machines have not been installed to the required level). In terms of assets and disposal management, donations of ICT equipment have been made to institutions of learning.
He noted that the Eastern Cape and Pretoria offices had relocated successfully to new premises at the beginning of August and September 2016 respectively. There are currently two procurement instructions in progress for the alternative accommodation, for both the HQ and Western Cape offices. In terms of risk management, there are risk committees, audit committees and all plenary sub-committees review progress on the assessment and the effectiveness of the mitigating interventions employed by senior management. Known emerging risks are the budget and the operational ICT which is being applied within a cautionary range (with medium residual risk in terms of the policy).
The Annual Report and audit report were tabled in Parliament during September 2016. Management had compiled Action Plans to remedy/address the issues and areas of weakness identified by Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA). These plans were subject to oversight and monitoring by the Audit Committee. The key control assessment (dashboard) for the second quarter, up to 30 September, will be conducted by the AGSA during December 2016.
Mr M Dirks (ANC) said the CGE report was too long. He also said that the statement that currently there was stability but in the near future there would be problems indicated that the CGE was over-spending. He thought that instead of simply stating this, the CGE ought to tell the Committee how it will deal with the overspending, and where it will get the funding.
Mr Dirks asked if there was good women's representation in CGE, noting that more men than women were present at the meeting. Finally, he noted that KwaZulu Natal had taken a political decision that by March next year all departments must have women development units. He asked how CGE intended on rolling out gender mainstreaming to all the other provinces.
Ms N Marchesi (DA) said the computer servicing and internet website finance figures had doubled and asked how CGE managed to overspend on this, and why there had been doubling since 2015. In regard to the Sixteen Days of Awareness, SAfm had recently highlighted that Sonke Gender Justice had found that more than 56% of men in Diepsloot had admitted to sexually abusing, raping or beating women. She asked what role the CGE would play in this regard.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) pointed out that a lot of the travel money seemed to have been used for centralised training on M&E. She asked what the reason was for not decentralising. She commented that cost-containment measures were needed for printing. She had not seen anything in this presentation about the 20 year Review Report, and there was no feedback on this process. She asked CGE to give a list of schools who received donated computers. She wanted more details on the R33 million that was mentioned, noting that this money had not yet been received. She also directed a question directly to the CGE Chairperson, asking that he should share the findings and resolutions of his conversation with the Deputy Speaker. She wondered if the CGE is engaging with the Department of Women, in terms of community engagements. She suggested that there must be training in the national department about gender mainstreaming, because there is still a challenge. She asked for the report on the assessment of women, so that the Committee could engage with it, and agreed with the concept of 50/50 legislation.
Ms Tseke then questioned the targets. Under Strategic Objective 2, CGE highlighted transformation. However, she wanted to know which of the four targets was being replaced by the Utukela Bursary, listed in the achievements? She thought SABC should be commended for its support and interacting with the community.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) asked CGE for information on the number of women who benefited from the SONA Land Reform campaign “One woman, one hectare” and asked what CGE is doing in that regard. She noted that Outcome 4 noted that decent employment must be provided to women and she asked what the CGE had been doing in that regard. She asked if the Commission can assist women in particular cases where they might have been employed by Shoprite or Checkers for fifteen years and more on contract.
Ms Khawula asked why the target mentioned on page 9 was not met. Page 21 indicated that 42 outreach educational programmes were conducted, and she asked for information on when and what was achieved. She asked CGE how it could assist people who were falsely accused during common domestic disputes. Lastly she asked, in relation to page 23 of the CFO's presentation, what the CGE was doing to ensure that the Departments would retain appropriate staff members with skills to manage people in a good way.
Ms Chueu said she is worried about the finances. This Committee had requested National Treasury for more funding for CGE but was unable to get it. COGTA and traditional leaders should develop a clear programme on how to educate the traditional leaders and women. She commented that cost-saving measures were needed on training commissioners and staff, suggesting more use of telephone conferencing. She asked why CGE was using travel agencies and outsourcing when there were surely skills in-house. Commenting that there should be a link between the APP, the National Development Plan and the Medium Term framework, she asked that the CGE ensure that VAT on sanitary pads was removed. Ms Chueu asked how the education system promotes skills development in women, who were in the majority. In relation to social protection on the issue of land she said CGE should not concentrate only on empowering women in the rural areas, only but also women in urban areas.
Ms C Pilane-Majake (ANC) also urged that something must be done to assist the funding of the CGE. COGTA is not taking women seriously on the issue of engagement with traditional leaders, and she urged the CGE to work hand in hand with COGTA to represent women. She said there will be a call for submissions and the CGE needed to be alert to this, and ensure that Bills coming to Parliament would not be opposed. She suggested that the CGE must put more information on its website. CGE should not concentrate on the girl child only, but must continue to celebrate the boy child and teach boys to be good men. She asked CGE what its targets are in terms of the African Gender Development. She also asked if CGE would hold heads of states accountable on the framework of gender equality that they had signed by way of international instruments.
The Chairperson commented that traditional leaders are not trained and they were brought in under the pretext that they were supposed to deal with some of the matters otherwise being referred to the Magistrate’s court.
She noted that CGE will not be able to answer all the questions, due to lack of time, so some of the responses should be made in writing.
Mr Mfamojelwe firstly confirmed, in relation to the comments on the finances, that the CGE budget had been effectively reduced by R4 million over the last three years, not just in terms of reductions, but also considering the effect of inflation. He also said the issue of patriarchy is critical because when other departments ask National Treasury for money they get it more easily. CGE needed the Committee's assistance.
Ms Lindelwa Bata, Commissioner, CGE thanked the Committee for its support. She said that the CGE Commissioners were making a lot of sacrifices when they did not have the proper budget. CGE managed to reach over 20 000 people in the provinces, by partnering with other departments, the offices of the Premiers and the legislatures. She often managed to get newly-appointed mayors and speakers to speak about gender, without spending money from CGE. CGE does not work alone and always engages with other departments. In relation to computers donated, she said that these were provided to schools with disabled students, but had been stolen from one school. She assured the committee that CGE is “alive and kicking”.
Mr Mfamojelwe thanked the Committee for its trust in him, noting that this was the last meeting he would be attending.
Ms Marchesi asked CGE if they are going to be part of the 365 days dialogue.
Ms Bata responded that it would.
Ms Chueu said the CGE and Committee should work together as a team, noting that women's issues continued to be a struggle.
The Chairperson encouraged the Commissioners of CGE to be the watchdogs of society, and not allow platforms of patriarchy that would destroy the CGE.
The meeting was adjourned.
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