Approximately 40 women Members of Parliament were in attendance at the start of the Joint Multi-Party Women’s Caucus meeting, with numbers swelling to about 50 as the meeting progressed. The establishment of the Joint Multi-Party Women’s Caucus as a member of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Chapter had been initiated by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
The Deputy Speaker, Mr L Tsenoli, presented a report on the amalgamation of Chapter 9 institutions as he was responsible for the review of Chapter 9 institutions. In addition to the interest that the Women’s Caucus had in the proposals regarding the Commission for Gender Equality, he believed that there were other Chapter 9 Institutions that could play a major role in the issues of concern to the Women’s Caucus. The possibility of uniting those institutions that had to do with human rights had been considered and there was a proposal that the buildings alongside the Constitutional Court could be refurbished to create a Human Rights Centre. A report would ultimately be sent out for public feedback on the matter. The presentation engendered an animated discussion and it was decided to place the item on a future agenda for further discussion.
Presenting a report on trafficking in persons, the Hawks declared that it was a global phenomenon and a pernicious form of modern day slavery. It was high on the global agenda and included crimes against women and children. South Africa was targeted for large scale human smuggling activities, as compared to human trafficking, where illegal immigrants were seeking better economic opportunities. Human trafficking with South Africa as a source, transit and destination country, was a relatively new crime in South Africa. The majority of the victims were adult females and teenage girls. In-country trafficking of females from rural areas into urban areas was widespread.
The Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, noted that a load of work was being done when it came to violence against women and children but it was not coordinated and was not sustained. Listening to the Deputy Speaker, she had realised that they needed to go back to the issue of the gender budget and needed more time to discuss issues of violence against women and children, especially new experiences. Ten years ago, they were speaking about how the system did not favour women as women had to account for why they were raped and killed and other people did not have to account, and they were still complaining today. Minister Dlamini spoke of the recent instance of the Deputy Minister of Higher Education. The young brother of the victim had threatened the women in the Deputy Minister’s life so women were victims on both sides.
The Deputy Director General, Department of Social Development, reported on progress in the implementation of the Programme of Action for Violence against Women and Children (2013 -2018). The main challenges continued to be the rendering of services in silos and the lack of coordinated implementation, as well as poor reporting from cluster departments. There was a limited budget and no dedicated personnel for specialised services such as trauma counselling. Civil society organisations and all stakeholders had to be consulted in order to ensure buy in on their part.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini reported on progress in regard to the implementation of the South African Social Security Agency mandate. The issue had started when Minister Molewa was Minister of Social Development. The issue of the Post Office was not a new thing but had been decided by the ruling party at its conference. Another point that had to be raised was that when the Department of Social Development had issued the tender for the current payment service provider, they were paying up to R45 for administration costs per recipient. In the new tender, it was agreed to reduce the transaction fees to R15 or R16.
The CEO of SASSA informed the meeting SASSA would open a bank account and send direct transfers to beneficiaries using commercial bank accounts, where possible. They would use a biometrics identity user management system to minimise fraud. SASSA would engage with SA Post Office but if the Post Office were unable to offer all services required, then an open tender process would be followed. SASSA was doing all that it could in order to meet the Constitutional Court deadline.
Apologies were received from the Minister of Home Affairs, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, and Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu
Members were concerned about the South African Sign Language rights of people on the ground. For example, nobody monitored interpreters provided by the courts and the courts seemed to think that, because someone could finger spell, they knew sign language. But that was not the case. When deaf people went to court they took a DeafSA sign language interpreter but the courts would not allow the use of that interpreter and they were forced to put up with the finger speller.
Another concern was that the Women’s Caucus had to ensure that every cent was spent as it had been budgeted; there were alarming amounts of money going down the drain in Treasury, especially in the Integrated Financial Management System.
The idea of a Human Rights campus on Constitutional Hill was supported; as well as the notion that the IEC should ensure that all parties were split 50-50 in respect of gender.
It was asked what was the difference between prostitution and human trafficking? If prostitution was to be legalised, how would that impact on human trafficking?
A Member was disturbed when it came to convictions the court sentences were inadequate. The sentence for the trafficking of young girls of 12 to 14 for prostitution was unbelievably lenient.
The Chairperson noted that it was a very important meeting as Members had just come back from an International Women’s Forum, where the role of Women’s Caucuses was highlighted. Members had been galvanised and refreshed by the entire conference. She was also pleased to announce that the Joint Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (JMPWC) would be permitted to meet at least once a month on a Thursday, which was a day generally set aside for caucus meetings.
She was also pleased to announce that there would be a presentation on the Consideration of the Ad Hoc Committee (Prof Kader Asmal) Recommendations by the Deputy Speaker as the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) was a Chapter 9 institution. The meeting would be addressed by the Minister and Department of Social Development on Violence against Women and Children and SAPS on the issue of Human Trafficking. The Caucus had identified violence against women and children as its focus point for the current term. At the conference, they had shared best practice with other countries on how they were dealing with violence against women. She encouraged every woman in Parliament to attend the Caucus so that they could have a stronger Women’s Caucus.
Apologies were received from the Minister of Home Affairs, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, and Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu
Approximately 40 women Members of Parliament (MPs) were in attendance, swelling to about 50 as the meeting progressed.
Consideration of the Ad Hoc Committee (Prof Kader Asmal) Recommendations by the Deputy Speaker
The Deputy Speaker, Mr Solomon Lechesa Tsenoli (ANC) presented a report on the amalgamation of Chapter 9 institutions as the Speaker had delegated the responsibility for the review of Chapter 9 institutions to him. In addition to the interest that the Women’s Caucus had in the proposals regarding the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), he believed that there were other Chapter 9 Institutions that could play a major role in the issues being discussed by the Women’s Caucus. By 2014 the Chairpersons of Chapter 1, 9 and 10 Institutions had begun working together because they provided oversight and were a mechanism for recourse for people who had problems. When the Chairpersons of the institutions were called upon to examine their roles, they were doubtful that they were making an impact or that they could continue working in the way that they had been, considering the high cost of the institutions. It was discovered that the structure, budget and reporting lines of similar institutions varied widely. The possibility of uniting, in some way, those institutions that had to do with human rights had been considered. A survey had been conducted with Members of Parliament and members of the public in which the question of a single human rights body was put to them. The review contained the results of that survey.
The findings showed confusion over the line of reporting for Chapter 9 institutions and the consequences of their findings. If the merger route was chosen, there might be a feeling that the government was not committed to the Human Rights in the Bill. However, certain Commissions could merge because they served the same arena. In other cases, the cost of infrastructure was more than the organisation could afford. There was a proposal that the buildings alongside the Constitutional Court, which were owned by the Department of Public Works, could be refurbished to create a Human Rights Centre. The next step would be to invite the Ministers who would be affected by the survey to discuss the matter. At the end of that process, there would be a report for public feedback on the matter.
Any merger that might occur would have to be sensitive to the organisations and no recommendations could undermine the institutions, especially as underfunding had affected their ability to perform, although they had to remember that the entire public service was under-resourced. The effectiveness of the working of the organisations would not undermine the political intent of the institutions.
The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Speaker and invited questions and comments.
Ms N Mente-Nqweniso (EFF) said certain things had to be considered. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) could not be given additional funding unless it ensured the 50/50 gender equity requirement in Parliament. The IEC had to regulate the 50/50 split in all parties that they register. Women needed to have their own budget. When women went to police stations, etc, they did not get the comfort and care that they required because the Public Service Association (PSA) was unable to exercise oversight over the different departments and enforce the Batho Pele principles as they did not have money to do so. If they received an adequate budget, it would assist women to protect themselves and their children. Batho Pele principles were undermined and the public did not want to go to police stations because they feared the unknown. The public did not even know how to hold the police accountable. The merger of the Pan-South African Language Board (PANSALB) and the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) was strongly supported. Ms Mente-Nqweniso believed that PANSALB had long been dissolved and they did not advocate for anything, especially relating to women. Whoever was there at that time did not do what they were supposed to do. The CRL had been carrying the mandate of PANSALB on its own. Section 181 (5) of the Constitution stated that all Chapter 9 institutions were responsible for reporting to Parliament and she did not remember them reporting to Parliament, and reporting on, in particular, what they had done for women. What did they do, in particular for women? What was the Gender Commission doing for women? Nevertheless, they expected Parliament to be giving them money. A way had to be found of slotting them into Parliament. Money could not be given to people who did not account for it. She understood that some reported directly to the Committees, but, at least once a year, they had to report to Parliament and give detailed account of the activities that they were engaged in, especially in respect of women and children.
The Chairperson asked for shorter questions of clarity as the meeting was just addressing Chapter 9 institutions in relation to the CGE involvement in the merger. They would have further opportunities to discuss the Chapter 9 issues.
The second EFF speaker thanked the Chairperson for explaining that it was just a briefing on Chapter 9 institutions as there was no presentation before them. It was a shock to receive the information. The Deputy Speaker needed to provide full details because there were different roles that the Chapter 9 institutions fulfilled. However, she would wait for the processes and she understood there was still a long way to go.
Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) asked when the survey that the Deputy Speaker had mentioned would be available? And when would the deadline be or had to the deadline already passed? She pointed out that deaf people were often left out and did not get the information but they also needed to participate. She was becoming increasingly concerned about the South African Sign Language rights of people on the ground. For example, nobody monitored interpreters provided by the courts and the courts seemed to think that, because someone could finger spell, they knew sign language. But that was not the case. When deaf people went to court they took a DeafSA sign language interpreter but the courts would not allow the use of that interpreter and they were forced to put up with the finger speller. Were PANSALB and the CRL doing monitoring? She did not know. She needed to know how they would educate the community to know that they had a right to choose an interpreter that they understood and that DeafSA, as an organisation which lobbied for the rights of deaf people and sign language rights, could bring their interpreters to the courts.
The fourth speaker was impressed by the Deputy Speaker’s last words in which he had said that the Women’s Caucus had to ensure that every cent was spent as it had been budgeted. She noted that there were alarming amounts of money going down the drain in Treasury, especially in the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS). If the Women’s Caucus could ensure that all that money was put back, then the Caucus could do everything that women wanted. They could not pretend that they did not know what was happening. Between 2002 and 2013, R1billion went down the drain and there was nothing to show. Between 2013 and 2017 R4.3 billion went down the drain and they did not talk about it. It was time that, as women, they made sure that those monies were collected and put back into the coffers. It did not matter how good the programs were because, without resources, nothing would happen.
The fifth speaker welcomed the report which was long overdue. She supported the idea that the Remuneration Committee should look at the remuneration of the Chairpersons of the Chapter 9 institutions. She supported the idea of a Human Rights campus on Constitutional Hill. The amalgamation was cost-effective and, on a common campus, some of the services could be shared in order to reduce costs. The idea of Chapter 9 institutions reporting directly to the Office of the Speaker could be supported. They needed to ensure any possible debilitating factors were addressed, especially as nothing could be done with an inadequate budget. When the Women’s Caucus looked at the budget of the CGE, they could see that it was actually very small and it had to come from the small budget given to the Women’s Ministry. Women’s issues were cross-cutting. There should be proper monitoring to ensure that gender transformation did take place in South Africa, but it was not possible on the budget allocated. The Women’s Caucus needed a session to talk about the issue of amalgamation and to determine the position of the Women’s Caucus. The CGE was against amalgamation as it had a specialised function and the focus on women’s rights would be lost. She noted that the issue of women had actually been removed from the mandate of the Human Rights Commission. She understood that CRL would welcome the amalgamation because it did not have a provincial presence and that problem could be solved by amalgamation. She did not believe that amalgamation would work positively when it came to gender transformation. She supported the notion that the IEC should ensure that all parties were split 50-50 in respect of gender.
The Chairperson noted that the issue had to go back to the Multi-Party Caucus so that people could ask questions and express their views.
The sixth speaker agreed with amalgamation but the issue of women was critical and the expression of women’s equality and women in power might be negatively impacted. What had happened to the Gender Equality Bill? It had disappeared, and maybe after amalgamation, more women’s issues might disappear. She shared the concern about the inadequate budget to perform the expected functions. Sending reports to the Speaker’s Office would enable Parliament to have better oversight over the institutions than the oversight currently managed by government departments. She requested copies of the Kadar Asmal reports so that they could go through the findings and make recommendations. The briefing notes were inadequate. She appreciated the promised discussion on amalgamation in the Women’s Caucus.
The following speaker noted that it was only a briefing but further discussions were necessary for women to develop their position. She recalled that at the Conference, they had been informed that they should look at everything with a gender lens. She had not heard about local government and the traditional leadership had not spoken on the issue so she supported further discussion.
Minister Naledi Pandor noted that it was too early to reach conclusions. They had received a briefing on a process and needed to do much more thorough work and investigation of the issues before arriving at a perspective. They would have to look at how budgets were used at present because it was a problem when the entire budget went solely on operational costs and not on investigations and projects. The calls were for more operational money rather than funds dedicated to the advancement of women. They had to study legislation and see what the current statutes provided for each of the bodies. She had thought that the point of the briefing was to suggest that the Woman’s Caucus had work to do. In response to the comment by the EFF Member she pointed out that, when she had been a Commissioner, the Human Rights Commission had, on more than one occasion, written to Parliament to ask for an opportunity to come before Committees and Parliament to present their Annual Report, so the failure was theirs as parliamentarians and not that of the body. Another issue that had not been addressed was the question of whether the Justice Committee should have oversight of the bodies or whether there were more appropriate Committees, or perhaps there should be a diverse Committee made up of a range of expertise. Parliament should also examine its own structures and practices. She noted that every year Members asked for copies of the Kader Report and received them, so the suspicion was that Members were getting them, but were not reading them.
The Deputy Speaker thanked the members for the observations and comments and questions. He informed the Caucus that the survey had been completed as it had been intended as a short survey to establish where people were at. They currently had a great deal of investigative work to do based on those responses and other reports that had been sent to Parliament. He noted that the Speaker from Malawi at the International Conference had spoken extensively on the issue of resources and how it affected the lives of women and children. In the next two weeks, the panel of experts were going to be reporting to the Speaker’s Forum and Parliament would get that report. The panel had selected about 100 Bills in an attempt to establish why they had not been implemented. He agreed with Minister Pandor about the reports but he promised to provide further copies. One recommendation had been to create an office in the Speaker’s Office to deal with Chapter 9 issues. That office had been created and was currently dealing with those matters. Their reports were available on the parliamentary website. He congratulated the Caucus on an exciting International Conference.
It was noted that the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill had lapsed during the Fourth Parliament but needed to be revived. It was decided to hear the presentation on Human Trafficking before the presentation by Social Development as the information on human trafficking would give context for the Social Development presentation.
Presentation by the Hawks on Human Trafficking
Major-General Mdwaba from the Hawks presented a report on trafficking in persons, which was a global phenomenon and a pernicious form of modern day slavery. It was high on the global agenda and included crimes against women and children. South Africa was targeted for large scale human smuggling activities, as compared to human trafficking, where illegal immigrants were seeking better economic opportunities. Political asylum, refugee status and marriages of convenience were mechanisms used to remain in the country. However, human trafficking with South Africa as a source, transit and destination country, was a relatively new crime in South Africa. The majority of the victims were adult females and teenage girls. Trafficking of females from rural areas into urban areas was widespread.
Questions for clarity were invited
The first speaker welcomed the presentation but she had a different understanding from the General about the role of Labour inspectors because she had understood that their job was to enforce labour laws and ensure compliance, so she did not understand how it could be in their mandate to take into custody those involved in human trafficking. Even when they dealt with immigrants, they had to rope in Home Affairs and SAPS before they could take someone into custody. She asked for clarity.
The second speaker asked whether human trafficking and human smuggling were both crimes. She believed that the issue of Ukuthwala should receive more emphasis. It appeared that the police were scared of the zama zamas as they were not arrested. What did the General want the Caucus to help with? She suggested the crimes should be unbailable with long prison sentences with no option of a fine. On the recommendation to strengthen border control, she thought that it was important for SAPS to work with the SANDF.
A comment was made suggesting that more specific recommendations were needed as those presented were too big. Members of the Caucus needed to know how and when things would be done. The recommendations were too big for them to monitor. Border control was important. A country was a country because it had borders.
Ms L Theko (ANC) asked why sentencing was inconsistent. What was the difference between prostitution and human trafficking? If prostitution was to be legalised, how would that impact on human trafficking? They had wanted to assist prostitutes but now they were sending another group of women to jail.
Ms D Robinson (DA) was sure that everyone agreed that human trafficking was very bad and the violence suffered by sex workers was appalling so she was sure that they all the supported the decriminalisation of sex work. It was unacceptable for women to be further abused, sometimes by the police, when they had already been by those who had paid for their services. She was wondering about the General’s view on the de-criminalisation of sex working and whether it was going to help the problem, including the smuggling.
Another speaker noted that it was quite important, although it might be on the website, to get a copy of the human trafficking strategy so that they could see details of the strategy. She was interested in the partnerships noted and was interested in how they worked. The Women’s Caucus might be a partner in the fight against human trafficking. She knew that it was not the business of the Hawks to get convictions but she believed that a 5th pillar for conviction would strengthen the strategy as they would shape cases in a way to get convictions. She referred to the figures provided on victim analysis and convictions which suggested an extremely low level of conviction. There was a need for strategy to ensure a higher level of convictions. The recommendations were broad but maybe the Chairperson could be informed as to how the Women’s Caucus could contribute towards ensuring convictions. The forum could help to close some of the loopholes, even if it was just a body that could make recommendations, suggestions or even lobby, where required. She trusted that the Department of Social Development would respond to some of the information in the presentation, especially in respect of the victims centres, et cetera.
Ms T Memela (ANC) was disturbed when it came to convictions. She stated that the court sentences were inadequate. The sentence for the trafficking of young girls of 12 to 14 for prostitution was unbelievably lenient. People were dying while being shipped out of the country in containers, but those records were not in the presentation. Someone was thumb sucking. The presentation was not a true reflection of what was happening. She said that the Hawks should not fail them. If they were not going to do better, especially with children, then someone else should do the job and they should close shop.
The Deputy Minister of Labour, Nkosi Holomisa, noted that Ms Memela had covered some of her points. She agreed with the Major General that Labour inspectors were not trained on human trafficking. They were specifically trained on the legislation administered by the Department of Labour to ensure enforcement of compliance by employers. The Department of Labour had an MOA with SAPS and Home Affairs, particularly its Department of Immigration, so that the labour inspections were able to deal with issues of child labour from a labour perspective. They worked in conjunction with SAPS and Home Affairs to deal with human trafficking.
Ms Bhengu (ANC) had heard the General say that in 2015 all police had been issued with an instruction by the National Commissioner to comply with the execution of their duties, but the challenge faced was the inability of the police to take statements from the victims of rape and abuse. Cases were being thrown out of court because of lack of evidence and inadequate statements taken from victims. What were the police going to do to deal with the problem?
The Chairperson noted that the issue of trafficking was important to women but they had not addressed it for some time so the Members were allowed to speak out on their experiences. Once at a summit in another African country, people there had denied trafficking but the South Africans had known that people were being trafficked from there into Johannesburg. She noted that it was important for members of the Women’s Caucus to discuss those issues in SADC and PAP so that the issue could be discussed in other countries.
In response, Major-General Mdwaba informed the Caucus that the Hawks did not work alone. They worked with several other departments. They could not do it alone as they needed facilities and colleagues from various departments to assist. The cases were prosecutor-guided by specialist prosecutors in human trafficking. She pointed out that human trafficking and smuggling were both illegal. During the raids of brothels, the Hawks had found that many prostitutes had been forced into the situation. One advertisement drawing young women appeared on Facebook, calling for young women interested in Maths and Science. The traffickers even paid the bus fare for young girls. They promised students internships. The children were even kept under churches because they were supposedly building their faith. The Hawks did everything in their power to make sure that harsh sentences were imposed. Some of the sentences were 30 years’ imprisonment. Parents had to take responsibility for ensuring that opportunities offered were genuine, and partnerships with other role-players were necessary.
Presentation by the Department of Social Development
The Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, stated that Connie Nxumalo, DDG for Social Services would give an overview of the work that Social Development was doing as the convener of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Violence against Women and Children and also on the work that they were doing as the Department. A load of work was being done when it came to violence against women and children but it was not coordinated and was not sustained. Therefore, they kept going back and were not moving forward. When the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DME) did a diagnostic review of the Programme of Action, they had found that there were more than 50 structures that were dealing with the issues of violence against women and children but they were not coordinated. The Thuthuzela Care Centres were recognised by the United Nations but were not being used properly and were no longer friendly to women. Those Departments that were supposed be participating were not there and were not playing their part. They had ended up as the responsibility of the Department of Justice. Secondly, the statistics that there being used were not adequate and so they needed to look for other indicators. The police statistics showed those who had reported cases but everyone knew that not all cases of violence against women and children were reported. That needed to be changed. Another issue that required focus was the strengthening of families. They needed to focus on making change within a whole household. In 1994 the gender budget had been an issue but it had been dropped. When she was listening to the Deputy Speaker, she realised that they needed to go back to the issue of the gender budget. More time was needed to discuss issues of violence against women and children because they had new experiences.
A radical programme of action was required that would bind all of the role players. The issue of violence against women and children was a societal issue. Governments and Departments should make commitments and stick to those commitments. Ten years ago, they were speaking about how the system did not favour women as women had to account for why they were raped and killed and other people did not have to account, and they were still complaining today. They were still complaining about the police that they had been told were trained. Unless something was done, they would continue to have meetings and talk energetically but after a while all that energy would subside. They needed to be the bridge for young women and they needed to have a single platform of action that would bring them together as women. Women should not be used for political reasons, nor should women be treated as objects when people want to fight.
Minister Dlamini spoke of the recent instance of the Deputy Minister of Higher Education. The young brother of the victim, speaking on radio, had said that he would get the family of the Deputy Minister. So, women were victims on both sides. They were being used for retaliation. South African society needed to put women at the centre and to respect them as they deserved. It was necessary to break the chains of patriarchy as all the things that she had spoken of were linked to patriarchy.
Connie Nxumalo, DDG for Social Services at the Department of Social Development presented a report on the progress of the implementation of the Programme of Action for Violence against Women and Children (2013 -2018). She spoke on the background of the programme, the pillars of the programme, progress in 2016/17 and the Department’s plans for 2017 2018. She presented the challenges that had been experienced during implementation and made some recommendations for the way forward.
Main challenges continued to be the rendering of services in silos and the lack of coordinated implementation as well as poor reporting from cluster departments. There was a limited budget and no dedicated personnel for specialised services such as trauma counselling. She recommended that civil society organisations and all stakeholders be consulted in order to ensure buy in.
Presentation by SASSA
Minister Bathabile Dlamini, thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to report on progress in regard to the implementation of the SASSA mandate. The issue of SASSA had started when Minister Molewa was Minister of Social Development and had formed a committee to look into the demands of grant recipients and to redirect their mandate to take into account the human rights of grant recipients. Secondly, she had wanted to ensure systems to pay social grants as Social Development or SASSA and how, working with the Economic Cluster, they could assist young people to become entrepreneurs and to assist women in cooperatives. Thirdly, she had wanted to find officials to service the new SASSA. Following the work of the committee appointed by Minister Molewa, an Advisory Committee was formed to try and come up with a way for SASSA to take over the payment of grants. At the time, all the work was done out of the environment. The issue of the Post Office was not a new thing but had been decided by the ruling party at its conference. Therefore, it should not look as if it were a new thing. Another point that had to be raised was that when the tender for the current payment service provider was issued, the administration costs per recipient had been up to R45. A new tender had reduced the transaction fees to R15 or R16. The amount that the service provider was paid was not a new amount. It was something that had been with them for many years and had come out of reductions made from calculations. Other things on the side-lines that they thought would be very easy had proven to be difficult, but they were still trying to deal with the issues.
Ms Pearl Benghu, CEO of SASSA informed the meeting that the presentation would provide the Caucus with progress on the implementation of the legislative mandate of SASSA but she would focus more on how SASSA would ensure the continuation of social assistance grant payments beyond April 2018. It was the responsibility of SASSA to manage all aspects of the benefits process and so SASSA sought to develop a payment solution for the future that would be wholly controlled and managed by SASSA. There would have to be an incremental transition. The hybrid payment model would include in-sourcing certain components of the payment process, procuring the services of a payment provider, engaging with other organs of state involved in the payment status, and continuing to build internal capacity. SASSA would open a bank account and send direct transfers to beneficiaries with commercial bank accounts. They would use a biometrics identity user management system to minimise fraud. SASSA would engage with SA Post office (SAPO) but if it was unable to offer all services required, an open tender process would be followed. SASSA was doing all that it could in order to meet the Constitutional Court deadline.
The Chairperson indicated that the meeting had run out of time. It was a very important item but the Members would be given the email addresses of DSD and SASSA so that those who would like to make input would be able to do so via email or to the Steering Committee.
Minister Pandor proposed that when the Steering Committee met, it should look at the impact on women and children and whether developments at SASSA would have a positive or negative impact on women and girls. Another proposal was made that the following meeting include a discussion on the International Women’s Conference that had been held and that agenda items be limited to allow sufficient time for discussion and input.
The Chairperson explained that she had a report on the establishment of the Joint Multi-Party Women’s Caucus as part of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Chapter whose purpose was to further the work of women in Commonwealth Parliaments, as required by the Commonwealth Parliament Association Constitution. The report was adopted.
All meetings of the Joint Multi-Party Women’s Caucus were to be recorded live on the parliamentary channel.
Meeting was adjourned.
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