Department of Women in the Presidency on its Quarter 3 performance, with Minister present

Women in The Presidency

07 March 2017
Chairperson: Ms P Bhengu (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The meeting started with a debate on the use of English by MPs for communication during the meeting, and expanded into a discussion on the need to consider ways to allow fuller use of the country’s 11 official languages at committee meetings. It was agreed that it was Parliament’s responsibility to make provision for translation services for this to become practicable.

The Department of Women in Presidency (DoW) presented its quarterly performance report, focusing on its achievement record, as well as on the targets which had not been achieved. Among the non-achieved targets were the three-year rolling strategic risk management plan; 100% payment of invoices within 30 days; resolution of disciplinary cases within 90 days; development of consultation documents on the provision of childcare best practices and household community care work; draft discussion documents on strategy for gender main streaming, and gender focal points (GFPs); an analysis on gender responsive framework (GRB) best practices; initiation of a prevention strategy on the integrated programme of action on violence against women; and analysis of best practices on integrated services for a gender-based violence (GBV) discussion paper. Of the 29 overall targets set for quarter 3, 15 targets had been achieved, while 14 were unachieved.

In respect of the financial information, the variance between the actual and projected expenditure on the compensation of employees was R1.3 million as at 31 December 2016, and this was due to the vacant positions that had not been filled. In terms of the programme expenditure, the DoW had spent 71% of the projected expenditure by the end of quarter 3, and the available budget as at 31 December 2016 was R58 million. No fruitless and wasteful expenditure had been reported during quarter 3. Financial achievements recorded within the quarter included the appointment of an investigator in January 2017 to start with the process of investigating irregular expenditure.

The Committee was briefed on the management performance assessment tool (MPAT), which was an annual departmental assessment that measured management practices in strategic management, governance and accountability, and human resources and financial management. Details of self-assessment scores, moderation scores, and comments for the four key performance areas (KPAs) were expounded upon, in relation to MPAT outcomes.

Members raised issues around the need to address the language barrier in order to ensure appropriate coordination with departments; confusion around the DoW starting with 32 targets and ending up with 29 at the end of the quarter; incessant changes being made to the Department’s annual performance plan (APP), especially towards the end of the quarter, which was unacceptable; the lack of proper leadership in the Department, with an assertion that the Minister was an “absent minister”; how the Department had been able to finalise a strategy on the nine-point plan without achieving its target in that regard; the agri-parks programme – the number of women who benefited from it, the expanse of land owned by these women, whether necessary equipment was provided for these women to farm; as well as the role of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in ensuring the development of an industry.

Members also enquired about the implementation of the sanitary pads programme on a monthly basis, and not only to schools but to clinics as well. The need to ensure the actual empowerment of women in business was emphasised. The department was urged to relate with the Committee as stakeholders, and therefore carry the Committee along in its programmes and events. It was also asked to give details on its preparation for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), as no report had been submitted to the Committee in that regard.

The Acting Chairperson stressed the need for the Department to submit detailed reports on practical issues affecting women on the ground, and the Department requested another opportunity to present detailed reports on practical issues and programmes being worked upon.

Meeting report

The Acting Chairperson apologised on behalf of the Chairperson, whose absence from the meeting was because of a Pan African Parliament (PAP) meeting. Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) also sent in her apology for non-attendance.

Department of Women in the Presidency (DoW): Quarter3 performance

Opening remarks

Ms Susan Shabangu, Minister of Women in the Presidency, started by greeting everyone and then politely requested to be excused be excused at 12:00 pm as she needed to attend another meeting.

She said it must be emphasised that the Committee should prioritise speaking African languages so as not to disadvantage Ms M Khawula (EFF), who always had to rely to translators. The Chairperson should allow the presentation to be solely presented in an African language, specifically IsiZulu. The Department today was to present the work that had been done in the third quarter. The issues raised by the Committee had been responded to by the Department. All documentation in respect of the third quarter report had been distributed to MPs. Overall, the Department had made progress in terms of various aspects raised by the Committee. The Department had several reports on quarter 3 performance to table before the Committee.

The Acting Chairperson requested that the presentation be made in English for the benefit of the research and content advisers.

Ms Khawula said that English had always been spoken in the Committee and Parliament in general, and perhaps it was high time that everyone learnt the African languages by being provided with dictionaries.

Ms T Stander (DA) said that there were no translation facilities in the venue being used for the meeting. She remarked that despite her appreciation for all 11 official languages, there were several people in the meeting who had no access to either an interpreter or to interpretation services. She requested that the rest of the meeting be conducted in English due to the absence of interpretation services, and also for the benefit of the media, the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG), researchers and content advisers present at the meeting.

Mr M Dirks (ANC) said that although he understood Ms Stander’s point, there was only one person among the MPs and researchers who did not understand Zulu. He also pointed out the presence of an interpreter in the meeting.

Ms M Cheu (ANC) said it was time for the Parliament to organise translation services in all facilities. It was not the Committee’s responsibility to stop people from communicating in their respective languages, especially since Parliament had agreed that all official languages had to be respected equally. She indicated that she spoke Sotho and she would also like to have a presentation in the language that she clearly and fluently understood.

The Chairperson requested the Minister to continue with the presentation without wasting any valuable time.

Ms Shabangu maintained that there was no valid or cogent reason for the presentation not to be delivered in an African language.

Ms Stander indicated that there were people speaking different languages in the Committee, and this needed to be taken into consideration. It would almost be impossible for the Committee to get translators for all different languages that were being spoken in the Committee. It would be beneficial to everyone for the presentation and the entire meeting to be conducted in English so as to accommodate everyone. She reiterated that the even though the Committee had the benefit of a translator, there were other people present at the meeting who might not understand the languages. She agreed with Ms Cheu that Parliament should take up the responsibility for providing appropriate language services. She pleaded that the meeting be conducted in English, however, to avoid breaks caused by translation during the meeting. She asked the acting Chairperson to rule on this proposal. The resources available today allowed the meeting to be conducted only in English, and the Chairperson needed to rule urgently on this matter without wasting any further time.

Ms Khawula said that perhaps the Committee should allow the officials of the Department to speak in English and the other African language simultaneously. It should be maintained that it was completely unacceptable for the Africans to be compelled to learn in languages they did not understand. The Constitution that was adopted in 1996 had been clear that all the official languages should be treated equally and therefore it was unfair to see that there were some languages that were treated better than the others.

The Acting Chairperson said that the Minister should be allowed to speak in whatever language she chose. The officials from the Department would make their presentation in the English language. The Minister was just giving the Committee an overview of the performance of the Department, and this would be delivered in IsiZulu.

Ms Shabangu thanked the Acting Chairperson and then mentioned that the Director-General would deliver the presentation on the third quarter and the work that had already been done thus far. There were some questions that had been asked by Members in the previous engagements, and these would also be dealt with after the presentation. 

Quarter 3 Performance

Ms Val Mathobela, Chief Director: Strategic Management, DoW said the presentation had been divided into parts. Part A dealt with the strategic focus and update on outstanding quarter 1 and 2 targets yet to be achieved. Part B focused on the actual performance information for quarter 3. Part C dealt with the actual human resource oversight for quarter 3, and also contained financial information relating to quarter 3. Part D contained information on the outcome of the Department, as well as the way forward in that regard.

The mandate, mission and vision of the Department, as well as its strategic focus, were still the same as that of the previous quarters. The Department was still structured into three programmes and two branches (one of which was administration, with three divisions). The two branches focused on the core business of the Department, namely social transformation and economic empowerment programmes. Programme 3, on the other hand, focused on policy stakeholder coordination and knowledge management. The Department also looked into the strategic focus relating to State of the Nation (SONA) priorities of 2016, and paid special attention to the nine-point plan. The DOW was monitoring and evaluating the placement of women in the centre of government programmes. It was also focusing on gender mainstreaming and the financial inclusion of women in the economy. Processes were under way to finalise the financial inclusion framework.

The 2017/18 annual performance plan (APP) that would be tabled in March was linked to the 2017 SONA requirements.

One of the unachieved targets under programme 1 was the three-year rolling strategic risk management plan that had not been approved in quarter 2. The risk implementation plan had also not been approved in quarter 1, but the managers responsible for implementation had achieved this target in quarter 2.
The quarterly report showing trends of payment to suppliers who submitted invoices was not achieved. However, the average compliance of the Department was at 96% by the end of quarter 3. The non-achievement of 100% payment of invoices within 30 days was due to invoices that had been approved late and were paid out of the quarter 3 cycle. It was also due to negligence on the part of the management, since the Department had committed itself to organising a workshop with its suppliers in quarter 2, with the aim of ensuring that its suppliers submitted their invoices, together with all supporting documents, that would allow the finance unit of the Department to make prompt payments. The Department was able to succeed on this element, and only 11 invoices were approved out of the payment cycle of quarter 3.

The target set for disciplinary cases resolved within 90 days was not achieved. There were two outstanding cases yet to be resolved, and this was due to the disciplinary process requirements that resulted in postponements to afford each party the opportunity to present his/her case.
The 95% availability of information communication technology (ICT) systems was not achieved in quarter 1, but had been achieved in both quarters 2 and 3. In terms of the business application implementation plan, the Department noted that the director responsible for information technology (IT), who would finalise the ICT business implementation plan, had been employed in quarter 2. However, this business implementation plan had not been achieved in quarter 3. Finalisation of the plan was expected in quarter 4.

Areas of non-achievement under programme 2 of quarter 1 included:

•                                                                                                                 Consultation document on the provision of childcare best practices:
The Committee was referred to the erratum tabled by the Department to review this target. The management had looked into the execution of this target and realised that it was in sync with the DSD function. The Department could therefore not continue with the target as planned. This had led to a review of the target, which aligned with the commitment made by the Minister during the budget vote, for the Department to commence work on the development of the policy framework on sanitary dignity for indigent girls and women. This target was, however, achieved in quarter 3.

•                                                                                                                 Consultation document of household community care work developed:
This target was being finalised and expected to be ready by quarter 4. The reason for non-achievement was because the Department was engaging the Department of Labour in finalising the target, so that it could come up with a proper intervention and mechanism to address the target.

•                                                                                                                 Consultations with stakeholders in the economic sector and the women’s financial inclusion discussion paper had been achieved in quarter 2, and it had continued in quarter 3.

•                                                                                                                 The draft discussion document on strategy for gender main streaming, and gender focal points (GFPs); analysis on gender responsive framework (GRB) best practices produced; as well as the discussion paper on the prevention strategy on the integrated programme of action on violence against women initiated:
Full updates would be given on the GFPs and GRBs. However, a summary of the status of these targets had been highlighted (see page 9 of the attached document). The target on the integrated programme of action on violence against women and children that had been initiated, was one of the targets that had been affected by the review, in the sense that the Department was embarking on national dialogues which necessitated a finalisation of the target within the framework of the dialogues. The target would be reported with the outcome of the Limpopo dialogue which would be finalised in quarter 4.

•                                                                                                                 The analysis of best practices on integrated services for gender-based violence (GBV) discussion paper: This target had also been incorporated into the dialogue. The responsible managers were working with the community on the ground to analyse the integrated services for GBV in the respective communities. This would also be included in the Limpopo dialogue for quarter 3.

Some of the programme 2 targets that were not achieved in quarter 2 included the consultation on intervention mechanism for improved childcare, and the sector consultation on women’s productive contribution to households, which would be finalised by the end of quarter 4. These two targets were categorized under the sub-programme of social empowerment, which would begin to focus on the development of a framework of sanitary dignity for indigent women and girls. The Department would be required to convene a national task team of relevant departments to look into the provision of sanitary dignity for indigent women and girls.

Regarding the draft discussion document on strategy for gender main streaming and GFPs, consulted with stakeholders, it was noted that the Department had held a meeting on 28 October to refine the proposals on the GFPs. There was still a need to convene several meetings, such as Director General (DG) to DG meetings, and Ministers to Ministers meetings, which would involve the Minister of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), in order to reach a conclusion on the way forward.

The draft GRB framework, consulted with stakeholders, was a work in progress. The Department had consulted with National Treasury, the Department of Performance Management and Evaluation (DPME) and Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). Consultations were still ongoing with the DPME and the specialist in the GRB sector.

Under programme 3, the solemn declaration update report had not been achieved in quarter 1. This report had been finalised and submitted for approval in December 2016. It would be lodged in March for the Heads of State summit meeting scheduled to take place in July 2017.
 
The progress report on the implementation of phase one of the Indigenous Knowledge Management (IKM) strategy was also not achieved, due to the required audits that should have taken place, because of the Department’s lack of sufficient human and financial resources to execute this target. In the 2017/18 annual performance plan (APP), the Department had refocused the work in the information and knowledge management area to look at information and communication work in the gender sector of the Department.

The Department had consulted with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on the target of domesticating the AU agenda 2063. Stats SA and the DPME were still developing targets and indicators aligned to the national development plan (NDP). It had been indicated that it was premature for the country to commence with implementation without properly defined indicators. The Department was therefore considering the proposed action plan, which would be executed and submitted to the Minister by the end of March.

The target set to analyse reported cases by nature of gender-based violence in police stations would occur within the national dialogue and would be achieved at the finalisation of the Limpopo dialogue report.

Areas of non-achievement of targets for quarter 2 under Programme 3 included a progress report on research analysis of the agri-parks programme; research strategy on women’s socio-economic empowerment; and the policy paper on gender policy analysis of the land reform programme. These targets were also contained in the erratum, and were restructured into the midterm review of the APP and approved by the Minister. These three targets had been collapsed into one target to enable the Department to produce a generic analysis report of the nine-point plan. The working draft report, which would include work on agri-parks, land reform, policy issues and the research agenda, had been developed and was currently being finalised. The research policy analysis (RPA) unit had developed a tool for data collection, which would assist the sub-programme in executing this target in 2017/18.

Other non-achieved targets included analysis of prosecuted cases by nature of gender-based violence by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and monitoring of the implementation of the recommendation from the analysis of strategic planning documents of the economic cluster departments. Progress reports on achieving these targets were expounded on (see slides 14 and 15 of the attached document).

Part B of the presentation focused on the quarter 3 report. Out of 29 targets set for the quarter, 15 had been achieved, while 14 had not been achieved.

11 targets had been set for programme 1. Eight of those targets were achieved, while the remaining three targets were not achieved (see slide 18 of the attached document for details). One of the unachieved targets was in respect of the 100% payment of all valid invoices within 30 days. Some invoices were identified under the reason for deviation. In October, ten invoices were delayed due to late certification by the responsible managers. Approval for two invoices was also delayed in November, while three invoices were submitted late by the end-user in December. The two invoices delayed in November related to the case of a service provider who had submitted an invoice that exceeded the agreed order. The matter had to be resolved before payment for the invoices were made.
 
In terms of the intervention and corrective measures taken to achieve this target, it was noted that consequence management had been implemented on the responsible managers who had failed to approve invoices on time. The Department continued to monitor the implementation of Note 34 by ensuring that it sensitised the finalisation of the payment of invoices that were received on time with supporting documents.

Another unachieved target was in respect of the 100% of disciplinary cases resolved within 90 days. A fixed-term contractor had been appointed by the Department from 3 March 2017 to provide technical support for labour cases. The delays identified as the reason for the deviation would be addressed by the appointed contractor.

The target of 85% of business applications developed on annual basis was also not achieved, and this was due to the lack of an approved ICT business implementation plan, which would be developed and finalised by the end of quarter 4. The business implementation plan would go through the management structures, including the audit and risk committees for endorsement, finalisation and approval by the Minister.

The highlights of achievements for programme 1 were highlighted (see slide 26 of the attached document).

Mr Prince Booi, Chief Director: Economic Empowerment and Participation, DoW, continued with the presentation, and said that 50% of the quarter 3 targets set for programme 2 had been achieved, while 50% remained unachieved.

Programme 2 was divided into three sub-programmes. The first sub-programme focused on social empowerment and transformation, and it had two performance indicators. The first indicator was the coordination of the framework for the sanitary dignity campaign. The consultation process for the sanitary dignity campaign had been approved. The description of the progress made for quarter 3, as well as the verification source, was highlighted (see slide 29 of the attached document).

The second performance indicator for this sub-programme spoke to the improvement of women’s socio-economic empowerment through engendering the government’s nine-point plan. In terms of the target for this indicator, the Department had to consult with stakeholders based on the preliminary report that was developed in a bid to close the gap. It should be noted that out of the 21 economic cluster departments, only 14 had submitted their reports as was required, while seven reports were outstanding. However, the remaining seven departments had submitted their reports based on the resolution that was taken at the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development (ESEID) cluster. The Department would update the report upon receiving outstanding reports from the other departments.
The other indicator for this sub-prorgamme focused on the women’s financial inclusion discussion paper. The Department aimed to table this discussion paper before the ESEID DG cluster departments. After some internal engagements, the Department realized that it had to withdraw the plan and replace it with tabling the same report before the technical working committee group. However, this target would be achieved by quarter 4.

The second sub-programme focused on governance transformation, justice and security. The first performance indicator that had been achieved was the strategy for gender mainstreaming and GFPs. The draft discussion document on the strategy for gender mainstreaming and GFPs had been consulted. The document had gone through the approval process that required engagements by the DGs of departments.

Another performance indicator that had been achieved under this sub-programme was the development of the GRB framework that needed to be consulted with stakeholders. Intergovernmental consultations involving the National Treasury, the DPME and Stats SA had taken place. However, the Department had not engaged with the DPME at the time of compiling this report.

Regarding unachieved targets, the performance indicator reflected a non-achievement in respect of the discussion paper towards a national prevention strategy for an integrated programme of action on violence against women and children, as well as assessing the impact of the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act. Details of the target, a description of the progress made in quarter 3, reasons for the deviation, interventions and corrective measures taken, and verification sources in respect of these two indicators were highlighted (see slide 34 of the attached document).

The highlights of achievements and non-achievement for Programme 2 were outlined (see slides 35 and 36 of the attached document).

Ms Mmabatho Ramagoshi, Deputy Director General (DDG): Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management, DoW, made the presentation on programme 3, and said ten targets had been set, of which only four had been achieved.

The first sub-programme under programme 3 dealt with research and policy analysis. The target was to look into the desktop research and analytical report on socio-economic empowerment of women in the thematic areas of the nine-point plan. The initial erratum was supposed to look into the agri-parks programme, land reform, and policy issues around gender equality. The work was then consolidated to include the target on the nine-point plan in order to make it a different target in the nine-point plan. The incorporation of the work was still in progress.

The second sub-programme dealt with information and knowledge management. The target for quarter 3 was the progress report on the implementation of phase one of the IKM strategy, which dealt with the audit. The Department recognised that it was premature for it to have proper audit information based on the lack of capacity, as there was only one chief director in the directorate at the time. After the exit of the chief director, the Department had taken some of the work involving data to the research policy analysis, based on its custom to take any information to the research policy analysis unit. A portal had been developed for the upload of required information.

Under the third sub-programme that dealt with stakeholder coordination and outreach, the target to implement the solemn declaration had not been achieved. However, the instrument had been filled in and submitted through the system, but was yet to be approved at the time of the close of term. The target on the implementation of the report of strategic multilateral relations, which spoke to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) report, had been achieved, and the report had been sent to DIRCO.

The target for organising one outreach initiative on the socio-economic empowerment of women, which included the 16 days of activism campaign, had been achieved. The 16 days of activism campaign had been launched as part of the dialogue. On 25 November 2016, which was the international day on violence against women, dialogues had taken place in the five districts of Limpopo, and the Department had been able to engage with 10 000 people in those districts.

The target to conduct three community mobilisation initiatives on socio-economic issues affecting women, particularly in relation to gender-based violence, had been achieved. A description of all three engagements was given (see slide 42 of the attached document).

Under the sub-programme on monitoring and evaluation (M & E), the target for testing of the M & E system had not been achieved because of some gaps identified within the system itself.
The target to analyse the turn-around time to conclude cases of gender-based violence, and monitor programmes developed by the justice cluster to prevent gender-based violence, was also not achieved. The targets were incorporated into the dialogues, and visits were made to various police stations and courts during the dialogues.

Another unachieved target under this sub-programme was the target to monitor programmes developed by the justice cluster to prevent gender-based violence. This target was also incorporated into the dialogues. Although visits had been carried out to Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) centres, sexual offences courts and police stations, the report was yet to be compiled and submitted.

In terms of the progress report on the analysis of strategic documents of the economic cluster departments for the 2017/18APP, an assessment of the first draft of APPs for 2017/18 of all departments had been conducted and the report had been submitted to the DPME, so this target had been achieved.
As for the target to induct stakeholders on the approved women’s empowerment M & E frameworks, it was pointed out that the DPME had already planned a workshop where the Department could induct the attendees. However, there were identified gaps in the M & E framework, so the Department had engaged an M & E expert to proffer solutions that would help in strengthening the framework. Therefore, this target was not achieved.

Highlights of achieved and non-achievement targets in programme 3 were outlined (see slides 46 and 47 of the attached document).

Mr Mbhazima Shiviti, Acting Chief Financial officer, DoW made the presentation on human resource oversight and financial information, and highlighted the personnel expenditure by programme covering the period from 1 October 2016 to 31 December 2016 (see slide 49 of the attached document for details). Information on the employment and vacancy rates per programme, and employment equity as at 31 December 2016, was highlighted (see slides 50 and 51 of the attached document). No job evaluation was carried out during this quarter.

With regard to financial information, the expenditure report per economic classification was highlighted. The variance between the actual and projected expenditure on the compensation of employees was R1.3 million as at 31 December 2016, and this was due to the vacant positions that had not been filled. The available budget at the end of the quarter was R19 million. Information on the adjusted budget, variance between the actual and projected expenditure, and available budget on goods and services; transfers and subsidies; and capital payments were highlighted (see slide 55 of the attached document for details).

In terms of the programme expenditure, the DoW had spent 71% of its projected expenditure by the end of quarter 3, and the available budget as at 31 December 2016 was R58 million. The narrative on the programme financial overview was highlighted (see slides 59 to 61 of the attached document).

With regard to financial accounting, a monthly reconciliation was done on suspense accounts, as the Department had to contract someone to assist with this process. However, this was an ongoing process. No fruitless and wasteful expenditure was reported during quarter 3. Seven cases of irregular expenditure transactions were reported during quarter 3, which was cumulative for the 2016/17 financial year. These cases, together with outstanding cases emanating from previous financial years, were currently under investigation. The Department had already appointed a person to deal with these investigations on 9 January 2017.
17 transactions were reported as supply chain management (SCM) deviations amounting to R3.6 million. The invoices paid within and outside the 30-day period had been alluded to earlier in the presentation.

The financial achievements recorded within the quarter included the appointment of an investigator in January 2017 to start with the process of investigating irregular expenditure, and the setting up of the implementation of the Logical Information System (LOGIS) which had commenced on 3 February, with a target date to be live on the system by 1 April 2017.

A major challenge faced during the quarter involved the reconciliation and clearing of suspense accounts. Additional human resource capacity had been appointed for the rest of the financial year to assist with the clearing.

Details of the expenditure for the 16 days of activism major event that took place during the quarter was highlighted. The total expenditure was R6.358 million, and this amount was not necessarily sourced from the Department, but was part of the General Budget Support (GBS) funding.

Two international trips occurred between October and December 2016 -- to Gambia and Addis Ababa respectively. Three delegates from the Department went on both trips.

No cases of financial misconduct were reported during the period under review.

Regarding progress on the audit action plan, the action plan was reviewed weekly by the audit steering committee, chaired by the acting CFO. The committee was currently looking into the 2015/16 audit report, and the last meeting had considered the interim audit report by the Auditor General (AG).
The only area flagged was where irregular expenditure had been recorded, but this would be cleared by quarter 4.

Ms Mathobela continued with Part E of the presentation, which focused on the management performance assessment tool (MPAT). MPAT was an annual departmental assessment that measured management practices in strategic management; governance and accountability; and human resources and financial management. It was an evidence-based tool. There were now 37 standards, and the DoW had improved its monitoring and compliance with MPAT through its management structure up to the level of the executives in order to make sure all systems were ready. The Department had held a meeting with the DPME, prior to the closing of the MPAT, on 23 September 2016 to discuss challenges identified by the key performance area (KPA) coordinators, and also to seek solutions. The DPME had also issued the moderated scores on 1 February 2016 for departments to challenge.

In terms of MPAT outcomes, details of self-assessment scores, moderation scores and comments for each of the four KPAs were highlighted (see slides 72 to 86 of the attached document).

The Department remarked that the entire presentation had focused on a comparison of 2015/16 financial year. Other relevant documents would be made available to the researchers of the Committee, in order to assist with comparison of the previous and current financial years, in terms of the progress of the Department in achieving its targets.

The Minister corrected Ms Mathobela by saying the slides would be submitted to the Committee.

Discussion
Ms C Majeke (UDM) commented on the language barrier faced by the Committee. It would be appropriate for the Department to assist by engaging the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in a bid to see how parliamentary programmes could be properly coordinated. The challenge of languages had posed many problems during oversight functions, where departmental delegations could not speak the language of these communities.

Regarding the presentation, she sought clarity on the disparity between the 32 targets at the beginning of the quarter and the 29 at the end of the quarter. She wanted to know if National Treasury had approved the new changes to the DoW’s APP; about the number of targets that had been discarded, added or changed in the revised APP; what the financial implications of discarding work that had already being done were; and what the Auditor General’s (AG’s) opinion on the changes was.

Ms Stander said that she was not going to ask questions because of the absence of answers. She expressed disappointment at the exit of the Minister from the meeting. Her opinion was that Minister Shabangu was an absent minister, supervising the Department by correspondence. She wondered how the Department was expected to function optimally without leadership. The submission and resubmission of the APP reflected that the Department had no clue about what it was doing, or what it wanted to do. References to gaps, documents not signed off or finalised, taking too long to finalise a project, and so on, were a result of a lack of direction. It was an absolute tragedy that the Department had failed, especially because women were the face of poverty and the DoW was expected to be the face of socio-economic transformation. The acting CFO was urged to guide the Department, and other officials of the Department were urged to support each other. Every report referred to in the presentation should be tabled before the Committee immediately.

She said that she would write to the Chairperson to request that the Committee should place the Department and the Minister under administration. The Minister and a representative of the Department would be required to produce a report to the Committee once a month. All other recommendations would be sent to the Chairperson in writing.

The Acting Chairperson corrected the notion of the Minister’s absence from the meeting during the discussion phase. She remarked that the Minister was always present at the presentation of the APP and quarterly reports, but had requested to be excused during the meeting in order to attend to other issues.

Ms M Chueu (ANC) raised concern over the Department’s incessant changes in itsAPP, and said that this was not acceptable, as it made it difficult for the Committee to evaluate the Department. She asked for an explanation on how successful the delivery of the sanitary dignity policy was; how the Department was able to deliver on this target since it was not a delivery department; whether the Department engaged any other relevant Department to deliver on this target; and what the delivery plan was in terms of the pace and rate at which the target was being delivered.

She said that the Department had alluded to completing its research on the nine-point plan, yet the nine-point plan had not been achieved. The Department was therefore asked to explain how it finalised a strategy without achieving the target. The DoW was also asked to expound on the number of women that benefited from the agri-parks programme; how much land these women had; whether the women owned the land or were leasing it; whether agri-processing was being carried out and if so, what the duration on the land was; whether or not these women were achieving their goals; whether the incubation centres comprised of commercial farmers or subsistence farmers; and whether the necessary equipment was provided for the women to carry out whatever processing they were involved in.

She also asked about the role of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in ensuring the development of an industry; as well as other details that the government said it would achieve in terms of economic empowerment. The location of the agri-parks was enquired about. The Department was advised to concentrate all its programmes and resources relating to agri-parks in the areas where these agri-parks were located, as this would afford the Committee an opportunity to see the effectiveness of the Department in those areas, and to assist the Department in collating the status of achievement in those areas.

Ms Khawula said that most of what she had wanted to say had already been covered by the Acting Chairperson, and highlighted that it would be useless for the Committee to sit in a meeting and discuss theories without any practical achievement that was felt by women on the ground. It was also important to point it out that in regard to the sanitary pads programme, the programme should be executed once a month and not yearly, since girls experienced menstrual cycles every month.

When talking about women’s empowerment, the women at the Durban station and on the beachfront that made traditional skirts, traditional beads and so many other things, still had no support for their businesses. If such women were able to receive assistance from the government, they would be able to expand their businesses and export their products to other countries. The government once promised to empower the women in the rural areas around Durban, but this promise had not been fulfilled. Other women required support or assistance in learning how to save money, and investing such money into profitable businesses.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) asked how soon the Committee would engage with the Department again, as sufficient time was needed to interact with the Department on the long presentation given. It was expected of the Department to consult with the Committee, as one of its stakeholders, in drafting its documents on various programmes, strategies and policy frameworks. It was very likely that issues would arise at the presentation if the Department failed to engage with the Committee at the consultation level.
With regard to the dialogues, she noted that the Minister had said the dialogues surrounding the 16 days of activism would be a 365-day plan of action for the Department. However, it seemed the Department had concluded dialogues around this area. She wanted to know what the impact of such dialogues was.

Regarding programme 3, the Department had spoken about the discontinuance of the information knowledge strategy indicator due to the retirement of the responsible manager. Plans of retirement of this official should be something that the Department should have been aware of, and should have planned for. In her opinion, this reflected a lack of management on the part of the Department; and more clarity was sought on this issue.

She agreed with other MPs on the change of the APPs by the Department over a consistent period of two years, and towards the end of the financial year. The Department was asked to explain the financial implications of these changes. Nevertheless, it would be difficult for the Committee to assess such APPs. This reflected poor management and poor leadership within the Department.
She also wanted to know if the Department had any report to present to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), since the Committee was yet to receive any such report; the number of people that would attend the CSW from the Department; as well as the cost implications of such attendance.

Ms C Pilane-Majake (ANC) spoke on the issue of stakeholders, and said that the departmental processes should put into consideration government departments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and ordinary women. She asked if the Department was still steering the process of gender machinery; and whether there were gender focal points like what had obtained in the past. The Department was supposed to monitor gender mainstreaming, instead of allowing the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) to monitor the entire process. She commented on the preparedness of the Department to present at the CSW, and questioned what would be presented at the forum. Demanding reports from government departments actually assisted the leaders of these government departments to be alert on the issues relating to the inclusion of women in every programme taking place in these departments.
She sympathized over the budget of the Department, but noted that this did not justify the failure to implement programmes. There should be proper justification for failed targets. The Department was urged to consider actions to be taken on a global scale. An example was the attempt to convert the national gender policy framework into a Bill, but the Bill processing was yet to be completed.
South African women were depending on the DoW for a change in their status in the society. Ms Khawula had spoken about the importance of empowering women with land, and this was an important issue that needed to be taken into consideration. The Department should brief the Committee on steps that were being taken to ensure that women owned the land.

The Acting Chairperson said that the Committee would hold another meeting with the Department to discuss the issues further. The Committee had already informed the Department of the need to report on practical issues and not theoretical ones. The general feeling of MPs was an expectation from the Department to carry out what was expected of it. The Department would accompany the Committee on its next oversight visit to show what had been done so far. The Committee was interested only in seeing that the Department was working for women.

Ms Khawula asked if the Department prioritised providing the sanitary pads to the clinics and not just in schools, particularly to pregnant women who were about to deliver.

Ms Jenny Schreiner, DG: DoW responded to the issues around the Minister, noting that the Minister engaged with the executive management on a fortnightly basis. The DoW was not a Department that was managed remotely. Instead, it was a Department that was actively involved in hard work in a bid to deliver on its mandate. She urged the Committee to interact with the Department in a constructive manner, to assist with moving forward.

The Department engaged with the Portfolio Committee whenever it came to present its quarterly report, and this meant that it needed to cover the entire APP. However, it had been impossible to engage on the practical details of the work carried out by the Department. In terms of the sanitary pad project for instance, the Department had no duty to deliver, but to coordinate and organise a task team that would comprise of the DBE, the Department of Social development (DSD), the Department of Higher Education (DHE), National Treasury, Stats SA, the Department of Health (DoH) and the DTI, in order to ensure the effective implementation of this sanitary pads project amidst indigent young women and girls. The DoW had convened this task team and had noted the work carried out by each department, thereby having a base document. It was in the process of putting it into a project format. A work scheme that would deal with the policy was already in place. There was a work scheme that would look into the social responsibility project.

What the Department meant by achieving this target included setting up the task team; developing a base document; identification of the challenges; and ensuring that information was received from each province, despite the model used in provinces. The Department needed to design a base model and put such into a policy framework. The Minister, in her participation in the debate on the SONA, had indicated that the Department would come back to Parliament by the end of June to present the draft that would enable consultation and progress. In the meantime, the DoW was encouraging departments to continue with implementation. There were departments and private sectors with social responsibility programmes. The Department would need ample time to engage with the Committee on these issues.

With regard to the national dialogue programme, it was pointed out that the Chairperson of the Committee had been with the Department on 25 and 26 November 2016 in a family law dialogue, involving South African women judges and the lawyers’ association; the family advocate from Limpopo; as well as the social development and child policy unit. The engagement was aimed at looking into the provisions of the law in terms of the complexities experienced by women. Women from the community of Limpopo had engaged with legal experts in order to understand the complexities of customary law, civil law, different forms of marriage, and different forms of divorce in relation to issues they had faced around violence and child abuse within marriages. This was the beginning of the pilot for the national dialogues. The Department was currently in the process of finalising the report on this pilot, which was aimed at capturing the issues arising in Limpopo, such as serial rape not being addressed by the criminal justice system, domestic violence against wives and children, and other forms of violence peculiar to different areas.

She reiterated the need for the Department to be afforded the opportunity to present on the concrete work it was doing, and also urged the Committee to relate with the Department on a professional basis, instead of calling the Chief Director ‘Bro Prince’.

Ms Pilane-Majake replied that the term was not insulting; it was only a short form of ‘Brother Prince”.

The DG replied that she was aware that the term was not insulting. Nevertheless, there was a need for the Committee to change the way it interacted with the Department, especially since the Department had to share information with the Committee on a professional basis.

The Department was not stopping the national dialogues at Limpopo. Plans were being concluded to go to Mpumalanga.

In terms of the CSW, the timelines were now short. The Department had, however, consulted with organisations from civil society and government departments in November. Consultations had also taken place with government departments, Parliament and NGOs on 17 February 2017. The Department had also consulted with organisations from civil society on 20 February 2017, since the theme of this year’s CSW was empowerment of women within a changing work world. The Department had no need of preparing a report for this CSW. The CSW report was prepared on a five-year cycle, but work was being done on the South African statement that would be delivered by the Minister. The statement emerged from the consultations already mentioned above. A meeting had been scheduled for 19 March 2017, and this would be a preparatory delegation meeting in which the content of the draft would be shared and debated upon.

In terms of the national gender machinery, the Department was in full support of the national policy framework, and had not deviated from it. However, the framework had not been implemented in the spirit or the way in which it was drafted. A consideration of the GSPs, reflecting the analytical work done by the CGE, the DPSA, various individuals and DoW itself, showed that the gender focal point in some instances was unable to do what the Committee expected the Department to do because it was now located in the human resources (HR) function. The work done by the Department was to the effect that all DGs had to have a government priority area for the empowerment of women and the promotion of gender equality as part of their performance agreement. The land issues would not be attended to unless it was driven by the DG of every Department. The gender focal point functions and competencies needed to be shifted. Gender focal points that allowed functional experts in any field, was what was needed. The Department was working towards ensuring gender focal points that could drive gender mainstreaming.

She concluded by saying a detailed response to all other issues raised by the Committee would be addressed either in writing or at the next meeting, depending on what date was agreed upon by the Committee.

The Acting Chairperson said that the Committee was yet to be informed of the Department’s preparations for the coming CSW, except for some Members who had been chosen as delegates and had been informed only on Thursday last week about their attendance at the CSW. These Members were not aware of the preparatory meetings alluded to by the DG. Furthermore, the Members could not attend these meetings without going through the report prior to attendance of such preparatory meetings.

Ms Tseke asked the DG to give a summary of the reasons behind the revision of the APP, the number of people that would attend the CSW, and the cost implications.

Ms Chueu urged the DG to be relaxed. The Committee was only concerned about the different APPs presented by the Department at every meeting. It was also concerned about receiving detailed information from the Department; and being invited by the Department to departmental events since the Committee was a stakeholder. Receiving detailed information on issues would assist the Committee in addressing such issues, while carrying out constituency work. The Department was advised to submit developed reports to Parliament for perusal and present the others before the Portfolio Committee.

Ms Pilane-Majake noted that the Department lacked capacity, mainly because it had no stakeholders. There was a need for the Department to reorganize itself, and reenergize the national gender machinery. Women were not advancing in business. There were so many other areas that should be looked into, apart from the sanitary pads projects. These areas included girl children and technology, girl children and mathematics, and so on. Flagship programmes should be held without losing focus on issues relating to women and girls.

The DG said that the number of people attending the CSW from the Department was nine, including the Minister. The cost implication for attendance would be provided to the Committee. The issues around the reviewed APP would also be dealt with in detail at the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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