The Committee observed that the Department of Women in the Presidency (DWP) had tabled its annual performance plan (APP) late, which would result in a finding against the Department, as confirmed by the Auditor General, and it wanted an explanation for this. The DWP had also not implemented some of the recommendations from the 2017 Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR), and not all of its targets were “SMART.”
On governance, the Committee enquired about the investigations that had been completed in the Department, and how many were under way. They asked about the situation in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), where there were allegations of corruption and fraud related to the sanitary dignity drive. Why had the DWP commissioned service providers to review the inter-ministerial committee on the integrated plan of action to address violence, and what were the costs involved? They also wanted to know why the Department was reporting a vacancy rate of 10%, although it already had many employees.
The Committee was concerned about the proposed amalgamation of chapter nine institutions and the implications for the CGE, which was currently providing an invaluable service. It was under-resourced, but was managing its finances optimally to deliver its targets. The Committee enquired whether the Commission had any targets that had not been met in the 2017/18 financial year and if so, how they would be achieved in 2018/19. The Commission was requested to assist political parties in ensuring that women with disabilities were on party political lists. The Committee recommended that the CGE prioritise government departments that performed poorly in terms of gender transformation. It commended the Commission for its work, and encouraged it to work hand in hand with the DWP.
The Committee asked for details on the alleged corruption in KZN related to the sanitary campaign. What would be done to deal with such corruption issues? Why were consultants being used? What oversight was the DWP conducting over the Departments of Justice and Police, because vulnerable women were being evicted all over the country, especially in Gauteng and the Western Cape? Was the Department doing anything to highlight the problems and inefficiencies?
Ms Kashifa Abrahams, Committee Researcher, reflected on the annual performance plan (APPs) and budgets of the Department of Women in the Presidency (DWP) and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) for 2018/19, which had been considered by the Committee on 24 April as well as 2 May. The 2017 estimates of national expenditure had indicated that the DWP had received a budgetary allocation of R206.2 million for the 2017/18 financial year. Of this, R78.3 million constituted the transfer payment to the CGE, leaving the Department with an operating budget of R127.8 million. This was an R800 000 increase in the Department’s operating budget, compared to the previous financial year. The 2018 estimates indicated that the Department had been allocated R230.2 million and of this, R80.7 million constituted the transfer payment to the CGE, leaving the Department with an operating budget of R149.5 million. This was an increase of R21.7million in the Department’s operating budget compared to previous years. Despite a nominal increase of R25 million in the allocation between 2017/18 and 2018/19, when inflation was taken into account, the Department had R13 million more to spend than it did in the previous financial year.
- The Committee had noted that the DWP had tabled its APP late, which would result in a finding against the Department as confirmed by the Auditor General (AG), and it had requested an explanation for this.
- The Department had not implemented many of the recommendations from the 2017 Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR), and the Committee questioned how the APP had been tabled if compliance was lacking.
- Not all the DWP’s targets were ‘SMART’, and lacked the requisite details even in the technical descriptors of the APP.
- The Committee sought clarity on what the actual changes to the Department’s vision, mission, strategic plan and APP entailed.
The Committee queried how many investigations had been completed and were currently under way, and the outcome of the investigations that had been carried out in 2017. It had noted with concern the corruption allegations in KZN related to the sanitary dignity drive, and asked the Department how it would deal with such matters.
The Committee had commended the Department for lobbying National Treasury to allocate more funds for posts in its core programmes, but was still concerned that it had received the smallest allocation when comparing all votes, and that the allocation was even smaller when removing the transfer to the CGE.
Programme two encompassed the core of the Department’s mandate. This programme, however, had once again received the smallest operating budget, which was concerning for the Committee because it wanted to see the Department deliver its mandate.
Use of consultants
The Committee had noted that the Department would commission service providers to review the inter-ministerial committee on the Integrated Plan of Action to address violence, and had asked for reasons as to why service providers were commissioned, and the costs thereof.
The Committee noted that the Department had a vacancy rate of 10%, and had requested a breakdown of these vacant posts. Even though programme one still consumed the largest portion of staff within the Department, the Committee appreciated that the National Treasury had allocated a further R110million to fill posts in programmes one and two, and had requested the Department to furnish more details in this regard.
Commission for Gender Equality
The Committee was concerned about the proposed amalgamation of chapter nine institutions and the implications for the CGE, which was currently providing an invaluable service. Although it was under-resourced, it was managing its finances optimally to deliver its targets. The Committee indicated that the AG had recommended that the CGE should address the indicator related to the handling of complaints in 2017/18 financial year, and had requested a progress report in this regard. The Committee had enquired whether the Commission had any targets that had not been met in 2017/18 financial year and if so how they would be implemented in 2018/19. The Commission was requested to assist political parties in ensuring that women with disabilities would be on party political lists.
Having considered the APPs, strategic plans and budgets for both entities, the Committee recommended the following:
- The Department should forward all outstanding documents to the Committee;
- It should submit all completed reports, investigations completed and progress reports on new investigations;
- It should submit its latest organogram;
- It should work with other departments and avoid duplication;
- The Department should inform the Committee on all its planned events for the year in a timeous manner so that the Committee was aware;
- It should submit a detailed report on its vacant posts;
- The Department should engage with National Treasury regarding its actual budget allocation, which was small within Vote 13 after the transfer of CGE funds
- The CGE should prioritise government departments that had performed poorly on gender transformation at the senior management service (SMS) level, and should strengthen its relationship with the Department of Women in Presidency.
Mr M Dirks (ANC) said that he was happy with the recommendations, but they were not very strong and lacked detail. The Committee should tell the CGE to involve both the private and public sector.
Ms Kashifa said that the Department should be detailed in its reports and express what it planned to do and how it was going to do it.
Mr T Nkonzo (ANC) asked about the alleged corruption in KZN related to the sanitary campaign. What would be done to deal with such corruption matters? He also wanted to know why consultants had been used.
Ms Kashifa answered that the consultants had been used for technical support and were paid for by the USA. On the KZN allegations, when the Department had been asked about the matter, it had not given a straightforward answer. However, it had mentioned that it was not the Department’s fault.
Ms D Robinson (DA) asked for details on what had happened in KZN.
The Chairperson said that allegedly there had been corruption and fraud in the distribution of sanitary pads.
Ms P Bhengu (ANC) said that she was concerned about the composition of the DWP’s personnel. The vacancy rate was 10%, and the Department already had many employees. How would this be dealt with, considering the fact that the Department had not performed well?
Ms G Tseke (ANC) said that those posts were funded by the National Treasury, and added that the Department had been asked to submit its organogram.
Ms Robinson said that she was concerned about violence. What was the oversight from the Department on the Departments of Justice and Police? Was the Department doing anything to highlight the problems and inefficiencies?
Ms M Khawula (EFF) said that the Commission should invite the police to see how they could work together. What was it doing to combat violence, because women had been subjected to violence and were getting killed all over South Africa, and their cases vanished and no one knew how they ended. The Committee wanted to see the justice system work for women, because the Members could not be gathered here as a Committee and produce no results. When they spoke, they also had to take action. She mentioned the eviction of elderly women from their homes in Worcester -- what was the Commission doing to combat such issues?
The Chairperson said that it was upsetting how public officials were the ones who did this to people, and it was a crime. This Committee should be responsible for such things. It was a recurring issue that affected coloured and black people, and it would no longer be tolerated. The Committee should have oversight on those areas, as well as the police.
Ms Bhengu agreed. She said people were being evicted because private people bought land that was occupied. Human settlements had to be monitored because corruption ensured that people who hd signed up for houses did not get them.
Ms Robinson said that the blame should not be shifted to municipalities, because gentrification meant that the disadvantaged would be evicted because people bought property and land.
The Chairperson disagreed with Ms Robinson, and said that officials were the responsible for this because they authorised the sale of these houses. They ignored all policies that people should not be evicted. One had to admit that municipalities promoted this.
Ms Kashifa said that in order to monitor the Department of Justice and other departments, a framework was needed and this was linked with treaty compliance. Another challenge was that the Department kept doing research on matters that already have been researched -- for example, the top 100 women in business -- and that was wasting resources.
Mr Nkonzo said that the Committee should come up with a mechanism which ensured that the Department actually committed to the targets that it had set immediately, and not wait only for the irregular meetings of the Committee. The Department had said that some reports would be sent in within a week, but the week had ended and had it actually done so?
The Chairperson said that the problem had started before the current Minister took over. She could not be penalised for inheriting problems that the previous Minister had not fixed. The previous Minister had to account for some of these problems. Could the Committee summon both of them to come and answer?
Ms Tseke responded to Mr Nkonzo, and said that the Committee had called the Department last week so the week ended today. On the amalgamation of chapter nine institutions, could the Committee not make a recommendation on it? On gender-based violence (GBV), there was a recommendation which stated that the Department of Social Development was the custodian, so it should be notified that this should be part of its report.
Ms Khawula said that the Department’s plan needed to be detailed. On projects for which they received money, they did not tell the Committee which projects these were. R1.53 million had been used, but there was nothing to show where it had been used. One never saw women taking part in anything, but one saw money going out. Unfortunately, the Ministers did not care about this Department. There needed to be less talk and more action.
Ms Robinson said that it might help if the Department gave a tabulation of deadlines. The Committee should not allow the amalgamation matter to slip and had to press the CGE, because not much time was available. The matters should involve public participation as well.
Ms Bhengu added that the Department must indicate how it planned to do monitoring and evaluation.
Ms Kashifa asked the Committee for guidance on the CGE and amalgamation.
The Chairperson said that the mandates were different, so it did not make sense to amalgamate.
Ms Dirks said that the Committee should adopt the report, with additions.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.