The Commission on Gender Equality made presentations on the Employment Equity Report for 2015/2016, and the 2015 research report assessing gender mainstreaming in the public service.
The first report was based upon the employment equity hearings conducted by the Commission. The intention of the study was to assess the impact of the Employment Equity Act on women in both the public and private sectors. A total of 79 entities had been assessed and requested to complete questionnaires. The key findings were that 57 institutions were progressive in terms of implementing the Commission’s recommendations, while the others were found to have made minimal progress in transforming their institutions. The findings revealed a more progressive picture in the public sector than in the private sector. The report highlighted several recommendations that had been made. These were related to funding, the placement of women and people with disabilities, capacity building programmes, and gender-balanced interview panels.
In discussion, Members said the Commission was dealing with a big issue, and if they wanted to change matters they needed to deal with the root cause, which was education. South Africa’s education system enforced patriarchy. There were not enough women with the skills to be able to compete, because women were not adequately trained. This all went back to the whole education system -- women were not being encouraged to go into the technical field, and needed to be encouraged. It was also asserted that an area that contributed to gender stereotyping was the media.
The assessment of gender mainstreaming in the public service report focused on two government departments -- the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Department of Arts and Culture. Both were rated a level five for gender representation and participation at the internal decision-making level. Both departments succeeded in mainstreaming gender in their organisational culture and systems, with measures to create an enabling environment for gender mainstreaming and budgeting for gender mainstreaming. In the findings for the provincial departments, the gender profiles of provincial departments were found to be marked by an over-representation of females among the Members of Executive Councils, and five of the nine provincial departments were headed by women. Most of the departments performed well in terms of their employment equity targets for women in senior management, but internal processes, systems, policies and practices were lagging behind. Most departments had some of the critical policies in place, but the existence of these policies did not guarantee effective implementation and compliance. A majority of the departments failed to develop the necessary gender-responsive budgets, and the amount of funds set aside were insignificant.
The Department of Public Service and Administration made a presentation which highlighted the process and framework needed to produce departmental employment equity reports. The main focus was on how the Department supported the meeting of equity targets through various initiatives such as reports, action plans, awareness campaigns and performance agreement commitments.
The Committee commended the Department for its grasp on the issues. There was agreement that women in senior positions should help to uplift other females. A major concern for the Committee was that gender was not a priority in South Africa. Exploitation of women happened within government departments -- a matter that was raised a number of times throughout the meeting. It was felt that while progress was being made in racial transformation, this was not the case with gender transformation.
Commission for Gender Equality: Employment Equity Report 2015/2016
Ms Nthabiseng Moleko, Commissioner and Acting Chairperson: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) apologised for the absence of the Commission’s chairperson and provided background to the presentation. The Employment Equity Act (EEA) allowed the status of women in the workplace to be looked at. It also allowed for the CGE to mediate with many organisations turning for help after being subpoenaed for violations.
The Commission has decided to use the 2014/2015 report because of the programme’s popularity, and it has been used by the departments, public service, private sector, mining and universities to look at the status of women in the workplace. The Commission has been looking at the wage gap, women’s promotions, women in senior management positions, childcare facilities and women’s safety at work. This is done by using instruments available in South Africa such as the Employment Equity Act (EEA), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and statistics from the Department of Labour.
Ms Moleko acknowledged that the Committee had been working hard with the departments. Members of the Committee had previously raised the issue that the Commission was not a training programme or a capacity institution due to lack of funding. Additionally, the women’s ministry had agreed to formulate a proposal for budget increases to be presented to Cabinet, but the CGE was unsure of what had happened to that initiative.
Ms Marissa van Niekerk, Head of Department: Legal Services, CGE, said the report was based on the employment equity hearings conducted by the Commission that placed a focus on the public and private sector during the 2014/2015 financial year. For the purpose of the report, a “green card” category reflected the institutions that had complied with the majority of the CGE recommendations, and a “red card” reflected those who had not complied.
The intentions of the transformation hearings were to:
Assess the impact of the EEA on women both in the public and the private sector, and address institutional and systematic barriers to their economic progress;
Hold public and private sector directors and heads of departments (HODs) accountable for non-compliance with the Act;
Raise awareness of relevant international commitments and the importance of compliance;
Assess what measures have been put in place in the workplace to bring about transformation in terms of gender and disability;
Share experiences and identify challenges faced by CEOs and HODs in the implementation of the Act;
Strengthen the working relationship between constitutional bodies and civil society in raising awareness about South Africa’s compliance with international instruments, and about support and capacity interventions provided in this regard.
A total of 79 entities from both the public and private sectors had been called to appear before the CGE. The entities were required to complete a questionnaire that sought to establish the extent of compliance with the EEA. After analysis, the CGE had conducted hearings. Both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies had been applied to the report.
The key findings were that a total of 57 institutions were progressive in terms of implementing the Commission’s recommendations, and received a ‘green card,’ while 21 institutions received a ‘red card,’ as there was minimal progress in transforming their institutions as per the Commission’s recommendations. The findings revealed a more progressive picture in the public sector than in the private sector.
Ms Van Niekerk concluded with a list of recommendations:
- There must be adequate funding for transformative projects in the workplace.
- Management positions need to be ring fenced for women and persons with disability.
- Institutions need to head hunt at universities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for persons with disabilities.
- Institutions need to have succession plans that seek to address the representation of women in top management positions.
- The contracts of human resource (HR) personnel must include the attainment of gender targets as part of their performance reviews.
- Institutions must establish mentorship or capacity building programmes to accelerate women and persons with disability to top and senior management positions.
- The interview panels at the institutions must be gender balanced.
The Commission held follow-up hearings to track the progress of compliance with the recommendations in the CGE report. Subsequent to that, there were supplementary hearings with those institutions who had failed to appear when subpoenas were issued.
The Commission noted the progressive steps embarked on by some of the institutions. These included the provision of empowerment programmes to upskill employees, a comprehensive set of policies (including flexi time policies), and compliance with the legislative prescripts such as the designation of senior managers to oversee gender transformation. An immense amount of work had taken place in respect of raising awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace, and the CGE had participated in these workshops. The contracts of HR managers were amended to include gender targets as part of their performance reviews. The amendment of recruitment and selection policies included clauses that specifically targeted women and persons with disability.
The private sector companies fared well in respect of racial transformation, but lagged in terms of gender transformation. There was some resistance to change in the private sector and it was still very male dominated. Overall, the majority of the institutions that appeared before the Commission had made significant progress in complying with the recommendations of the CGE Report. The Commission would continue to work with all the institutions to ensure that all recommendations were adhered to.
Ms Moleko clarified the CGE’s process, saying that it took the necessary reports from the Department of Labour. The Commission looked at the different levels in the institutions to find inequalities before beginning the questioning process. To assess the statistics on gender transformation, the Commission used the EEA and their mandate. The main issue was that institutional transformation units or selection panels members were not adhering to the EEA.
She ended with a few requests, including the need for a clear maternity leave policy for women in the private sector and for the sexual harassment policy to be taken seriously, specifically in the public sector.
A Member said the CGE was dealing with a big issue, and if they wanted to change matters they needed to deal with the root cause, which was education. South Africa’s education system enforced patriarchy. The pillar of capitalism was the oppression of women, and removing this pillar by forcing women into the economy would end capitalism -- and this was unlikely to happen. The service sector ensured that women got part-time contracts, and this happened everywhere in the world. Men had privileges, so they would not help the gender issue. Women had fought for the right to childcare facilities in the workplace. She was concerned that the Commission had reported on these facilities, but had not stated whether this occurred in institutions, and she requested that this information be provided. She asked that when the Commission reported, they should not give details but rather provide a summary in order to show progress. The Commission’s first point of reference should be this institution. The Commission needed to look at its own working conditions.
A member of the CGE replied that the Commission had gone to universities which were experiencing fundamental problems of gender and racial diversity. The CGE recommendations on pages 22 and 42 in the report were read out. The universities needed to have some form of intervention to retain female graduates. The CGE was busy developing a framework to deal with this. The manner in which the presentation had been done did not show all of the detail, but did reveal the interventions that needed to occur. Targeted interventions were needed at the universities, the private sector and government, and monitoring frameworks had to be present.
Ms D Robinson (DA) thanked the Commission member for providing more “meat of what happens”. She said that time was a factor that had inhibited its presentation, and it needed to present its verbal presentations with the details. There were not enough women with the skills to be able to compete, because women were not adequately trained. This all went back to the whole education system -- women were not being encouraged to go into the technical field, and needed to be encouraged.
Ms T Stander (DA) complimented the Commission on the work it had been doing. One area that contributed to gender stereotyping was the media. The media industry needed to be challenged to "push the boundaries" and place women in positions that broke these boundaries. She commented on the verbal reports, saying that it would be helpful to act as an auditor general, so they could tabulate the people they had met with to simplify the reports they presented to Parliament. She did have general questions that would go out to every department, such as "when was the last signed sexual harassment policy".
Ms P Bhengu-Kombe (ANC) agreed that the CGE needed to start with inequality in Parliament, because there was a lot of exploitation of women there. For instance, Parliament was not employing cleaners but rather used labour brokers so they did not get benefits. On the issue of employment of people with disabilities, this institution had only one disabled person -- what about the others? She asked about the targets of 2% disabled people in public institutions that were meant to be met. What were the issues? Had the Commission seen any transformation changes in these institutions from the meetings they had had? How were women meant to reach high positions if they were sitting at home because they had dropped out before matric?
Ms G Tseke (ANC) said the budget of the CGE was very low compared to the other chapter 9 institutions. How did the CGE manage to provide training to public officials? The other issue seemed to be the regression of women in top management in government and the private sector. The Committee was of the view that there needed to be legislation that compelled departments to address these issues of gender inequality and women's representation in public and private.
Ms Stander said one had to acknowledge that gender discrimination was there even before racial discrimination because it was the first basis on which someone could discriminate against another human being. First it was gender, then race, and then language, and so on. Discrimination in the country would not be fixed unless gender inequality was fixed. The EEA was a piece of legislation that was "slapped up and passed," but had done very little for gender, race and age. She ask if the CGE had looked at the Act’s effectiveness and the issues involved.
Ms Moleko replied that the EEA was not being monitored, and this was the problem. The Act was very broad and had not been monitored by the Department of Labour, as they looked only at race. The Act did expect people to be trained in gender equality. Surveys were meant to occur in order to address the issue, but it had not been fully functional.
She agreed with the Committee, and said the CGE would try to use more graphics and summarise the presentation in future.
A CGE Commissioner responded on the education system issue, saying that the policies of the Department of Education were a huge concern and needed to be addressed. The Department recruited women, but these women did not rise to leadership positions. The public service needed to be accountable. The Departments of Education and Health had not followed the requirements of the Act.
The CGE commended Engen for its progressive actions in holding 108 gender transformation workshops.
Ms Van Niekerk said that Parliament should be called upon to address questions on employing people with disabilities, and why the 2% targets were not being met. All of the responses by institutions as to why there were no people working with disabilities were that they could not find people with disabilities, but these people did exist and were qualified.
She replied to the training question, saying that they had an allocated budget for training.
Ms Moleko said the Commission had gone to all the provinces to find out who was coordinating gender mainstreaming, only to see that it was varied. The Eastern Cape had its own social development office, while the Western Cape had no gender specific office, but had a human rights body. Gauteng had the Premier of the province focusing on the issue, which was a bonus for the CGE when it came to addressing issues. The national gender framework had collapsed, and the Commission could not cover all positions.
Assessing Gender Mainstreaming in the Public Service Report
Dr Thabo Rapoo, Director: Research, CGE, explained that the report on gender mainstreaming in the public services had been published in 2015. The study looked at the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), as well as the provincial departments responsible for sport, arts, culture and recreation. It looked at gender mainstreaming in these departments, and the CGE mandate allowed the Commission to assess the country’s effective compliance with national policies and legislation, and regional, continental and global instruments for gender mainstreaming.
Qualitative and quantitative information had been collected to determine the extent to which departments were advancing towards the goal of gender transformation and equality through internal and external gender-mainstreaming policies, programmes, strategies and projects. For the purpose of the study, a five-level gender representation rating scale had been developed to rate performance of participating departments, with level five being balanced and level one being failed gender representation.
Constraints on the study included limited information and in some cases poor quality information provided by government officials, and many officials took far too long to respond. The guiding frameworks were the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Commission on the Status of Women, the EEA, the National Policy Framework for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality, and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA).
Both COGTA and the DAC were rated a level five for gender representation and participation at internal decision-making level. Both departments succeeded in mainstreaming gender in their organisational culture and systems, with measures to create an enabling environment for gender mainstreaming and budgeting for gender mainstreaming.
In the findings for the provincial departments, the gender profiles of provincial departments were found to be marked by an over-representation of females among the Members of Executive Councils (MECs), and five of the nine provincial departments were headed by female HODs. Most of the departments performed well in terms of their employment equity targets for women in senior management, but internal processes, systems, policies and practices were lagging behind. Most departments had some of the critical policies in place, with the sexual harassment policy being the most common. However, the existence of these policies did not guarantee effective implementation and compliance. A majority of the departments failed to develop the necessary gender-responsive budgets, and the amount of funds set aside were insignificant.
It was noted that KwaZulu-Natal was not included in the provincial report because the Commission did not get cooperation, and the province refused to provide information on the matter.
The presentation ended with recommendations:
- Government departments should develop clear, practical and implementable gender equity policies and implementation plans with clear and achievable targets as part of their annual strategic planning sessions.
- The CGE should hold discussions with the Department of Public Service Administration (DPSA) and the Public Service Commission (PSC) to develop a common approach that ensured that government departments and other public entities were compelled to put in place effective systems, including employment contracts and performance agreements for senior managers to incorporate Key Performance Indicator (KPIs) related to gender mainstreaming.
- The National Gender Policy Framework (NGPF) should be reviewed, with particular emphasis on the position of a Gender Focal Point (GFP) in the public service to be reconceptualised to ensure that the functions and responsibilities for gender mainstreaming are clearly defined and assigned to a senior manager within the senior management service (SMS) of every government department
- Government departments should be required to incorporate gender mainstreaming into their annual programmes of action with clear, specific and dedicated budgetary allocations.
- Government departments should develop annual internal gender mainstreaming awareness-raising campaign programmes for staff, accompanied by skills development programmes for department officials responsible for gender mainstreaming
DPSA Monitoring Report on Employment Equity
Ms Fanani Manugu, Director: Transformation, Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), thanked the Committee for the opportunity to respond on the findings that had been presented by the CGE.
Ms Rhulani Makhubela, Chief Director: DPSA, reintroduced the departmental members and apologised for the absence of the Director General responsible for this function, who was abroad.
Ms Manugu presented an in-depth report on the DPSA’s reporting requirements submitted to the Gender Equity Strategic Framework (GESF), which became operational in April 2009. Annually, on 28 February, departments submit plans and reports on the implementation of the GESF, and since implementation a vast number of departments had established gender units. Although the majority struggled to report on the economic empowerment of women, gender indicators were being included in the departmental strategic and annual performance plans, and the monitoring and evaluation process had gender indicators.
The following matters were presented:
- The overall findings from the analysis of the 2017 gender equality strategy framework;
- The findings from the 2016 the Public Service Women Management Week (PSWMW) reports;
- The submissions of sexual harassment reports analysis; and
- The status of representation of women at the SMS level in 2017.
All of these reports assisted the DPSA in supporting the meeting of equity targets.
Ms Manugu described the ways in which the Department supported the meeting of targets. Sensitisation workshops on the GESF were held for provincial and national departments, and one of the points of focus of the GESF in public service was women’s increased access to management and leadership. In the 2012-13 financial year, the DPSA had produced a gender mainstreaming report. The GESF had institutionalised the Head of Department’s eight-principle action plan for promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality within the public service workplace launched in 2007, and to track this, the PSWMW offered departments an opportunity to monitor themselves.
The DPSA had provide additional support in the following ways: the policy on reasonable accommodation and assistive devices, which aimed to create uniformity in approach, had been approved; it provided support to departments with regard to compliance; from April 2018, HODs had a commitment on meeting equity targets as part of their performance agreements; and an accredited training course based on the GESF had been developed with the National School of Government in 2008.
The Chairperson briefly left the venue, and Ms Bhengu-Kombe took over as Acting Chairperson.
The Acting Chairperson apologised for abruptly ending the presentation due to time constraints and said that the Committee would have to arrange another time to meet with the Department.
Ms Stander addressed the two presentations, and said that gender transformation was obviously not a priority in South Africa. There had been a good effort on racial transformation, but if gender transformation was a priority, then the information needed for these reports would be readily available. The fact that they were battling to get the information meant it was not being monitored. Had there been any research into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) equality? This Committee needed to "get over the political correctness" in order to help. This was in reference to the KwaZulu-Natal official who had refused to provide the CGE with information, because without this information the issue could not be fixed. What could the Portfolio Committee do for the DPSA? She commended the DPSA speaker for having a clear grasp of what the Department was doing.
A Member asked what women in high positions did to get other women into similar positions? Women worked hard to reach the SMS level, but once they were in a high position they did not uplift fellow women. The constitution did not help women to be a collective – they thought as individuals. It was their responsibility as females in power to help with gender equality. Anyone who did not hire women or disabled people must be fired.
Ms Stander was concerned about whether women placed in senior positions actually did anything. There was a lot of “tokenism”, and the EEA was an example of this. She was not sure how one could legislate to address this. Did the DPSA have any ideas on meaningful ways to implement gender equality? Gender inequality had increased, so what was being done at the moment was clearly not working.
The Acting Chairperson said the departments were not receiving the services necessary from government. This was why there had been so many protests. What mechanisms did the DPSA have to monitor these departments and their reports? What did the DPSA think could be done? Most of the budgets were being spent on administration, and few funds were being spent on service delivery. What was being done to look after civil servants? She agreed with Ms Stander that most people who had salaries thought only about themselves and did not care whether the people on the ground were serviced. This was why these problems existed. She asked whether the department had a gender focal point dealing with the issues of women. At what level was this person? What percentage of people had disabilities in this department? She requested statistics from each department in future.
Ms Manugu replied that their presentation covered all levels when it came to information, but they believed this meeting was focused solely on women. The statistics on disabilities were available. The DPSA had a gender focal point who dealt with internal problems at director level. Statistics on people with disabilities for the DPSA, as at 1 December, stood at 3.1%. The mechanism for monitoring service delivery was done by a unit that focused specifically on that, but she believed that over the years the public service had been trying to deal with this. This aspect could be followed up with a written response from the people who deatl specifically with that work.
At her last meeting before the Committee, she had challenged the Committee to look at appointments because they were made by Cabinet. The Committee had to speak to their peers about appointments made in Cabinet, as they did not match what had been advised. On the issue of patriarchy, women were finding themselves where they are today because of the women who had fought for them. She acknowledged that the Committee could not necessarily help with the issue raised about other departments. She always left departmental meetings with the saying, "lift as you rise," and questioned what legacy the women of today had left behind them.
She addressed the issue of political correctness raised by Ms Stander, She hoped that one day one would be able to call an HOD and take a task to them, and suggested this was something the Committee could do for the DPSA.
She referred to the LGBTQ issue, and said that there was no specific research, but there had been recent situations where people were “waking up” to understand that the world of women was broader than they assumed it to be. She could not promise such a big research project due to the amount of resources necessary.
Regarding the ready availability of data, the Department needed to have information that was de-segregated to make it easier to breakdown, but gender was not a priority in the country. Using the Auditor General (AG) approach would scare people, causing them to "jump" just as any finance-related issues tended to do. These issues were the same as all the other issues raised, but one did not get the same type of response.
Ms Makhubela added that if the way in which Cabinet made decisions continued, they would not help women to get to levels 15 and 16. The Department made recommendations, but politically this was where it ended. The Committee should address this issue on how the Cabinet could change when making decisions.
On budgets and service delivery, President Rhamaphosa had mentioned reducing the number of ministers and government departments. This made sense when looking at service delivery struggles, as the administration was too large. This was not because public servants get paid a lot, but rather because there were so many public servants.
An ANC Member responded that the Department should not put all the blame on the Cabinet, as there were other levels involved. There were very few women at levels 13 and 14. It was the responsibility of the public servants to speak up. Everyone had to engage in this. Even political parties needed to uplift women and have female candidates. The FF+ did not bring in women candidates, and this was not acceptable. She noted that the DA had also tried to bring in women. The patriarchal issue always superseded what was wanted, and this issue was the responsibility of everyone.
Ms Moleko commented on the report, and said that all of the provinces were below 50%. This showed that monitoring was not taking place, and there were no consequences. What made her comfortable was that chapter 9 was aligned with these reports. The CGE must get monitoring and get the departments to comply. Looking at the Free State, if they had 12 departments, 11 of them did not comply at all. There was no compliance across the provinces. She suggested the Committee and Commission should figure out a way to support the Department.
- Analysis of GESF Implementation
- Analysis of sexual harassment report 2017
- Annexure C HOD PA Government Priorities
- DPSA: Performance Agreement for Heads of Departments of governments and government’s components
- Department of Public Service and Administration: Monitoring report on employment equity presentation
- CGE: Employment Equity Report 2015/2016 Presentation
- CGE: Assessing Gender Mainstreaming in the Public Service Presentation
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