Status of Women Report 2018; National Strategic Plan on GBV Shadow Framework by Stop Gender Violence Campaign; Sanitary products zero rating

Multi-Party Women’s Caucus

17 May 2018
Chairperson: Ms N Khunou (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The Multiparty Women’s Caucus met to discuss the report on the 2018 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the zero-rating of sanitary products and a presentation of the Stop Gender Violence Campaign.  Members were taken through the CSW report in relation to what the 62nd session fo the CSW session addressed, identified priorities for the parliamentary agenda and implications of the CSW for the work of Parliament.

Members noted that women expressed the same problems globally, the need for clear programmes of actions especially given that the Fifth Parliament was drawing to close, women and girls with disabilities, shelters in rural areas and working with provincial women’s caucuses. It was suggested the outcomes of the CSW be taken up in the work of political parties. Members discussed ensuring the focus was on young girls to ensure they valued the notion of education as a means of empowerment such as girls who had dropped out of school or child-headed households. Another topic discussion was the need to encourage mothers to love their children to ensure the children grew up empowered, independent and with self-confidence. For women to be empowered, there must be mobilisation and participation. Members asked whether the gender machinery was being implemented. In future CSWs, a country report was required with an agreed programme for implementation. Members should use the constituency period to mobilise women and see what could be done for them.

National Treasury then briefed the Caucus on the zero-rating of sanitary products. An independent panel of experts was appointed to look at zero-rated items after the increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) was announced earlier this year. These items currently focused on food stuffs but this did not mean other items could not be included. The panel was considering public submissions and would then make a recommendation to the Minister of Finance.

Members were concerned about the regulation of standards and quality involved with the manufacturing of sanitary towels. There were also concerns about the possible exploitation of the production because it should be women and women-owned cooperatives that benefited from this. Members were concerned that rural women were not aware of the call for submission on zero-rated items and emphasised that this call should be published in local newspapers and heard on community radio. Sanitary towels needed to be zero-rated because women could not be blamed for menstruation. Coordination in making this submission to the independent panel was required. The Minister of Small Business Development said Members should mobilise their constituencies to make submissions.  The call for gender-sensitive budgets was also made. A report from the Minister of Women on the interdepartmental task team dealing with the provision of sanitary towels was required. The Minister of Finance would also need to brief the Steering Committee on the zero-rating of sanitary towels.

The Caucus was then briefed by the Stop Gender Violence Campaign – Members were taken through the mandate of the Campaign, its background and grounding. The Campaign called for no one to be left behind in the definition of gender-based violence as addressing gender-based violence needed to be holistic and multi-sectoral, existing laws needed to be revised to ensure they were adequate, provision of psycho services needed to be expanded to survivors of gender-based violence, research and intervention programmes needed to be prioritised and the plan for implementation needed to be fully-costed and funded.

Members reiterated the need to act on the chronic epidemic of gender-based violence. There were questions on the funding of the NGOs involved in the Campaign and research on the real of cost of this violence. It was said there needed to be programmes of how to deal with gender-based violence. The Multiparty Women’s Caucus was the platform to advocate for this. The Fifth Parliament needed to come up with a programme to ensure these problems in SA were dealt with

The Caucus made it clear the time for talking was over and there was now a need for concrete actions. Members said that plans must be realistic and devoid of theory on paper – real differences needed to be made in the lives of women and girls in SA. There was a clear need for a programme of action on women’s issues involving strategic planning sessions with key role players. With this programme, a budget could be lobbied for and departments could adopt the issues relevant to them. It was also important to have an assessment of the impact all departments had on the lives of women. Women’s issues could not be dealt with ad hoc. Women on the ground expected Parliament to lead in this regard.

Meeting report

Nomination of Acting Chairperson

The Committee Secretary called for the nomination of an acting Chairperson.

Members moved for the nomination of Ms N Khunou (ANC).

Committee Business & Apologies

The Chairperson was proud of the Fifth Parliament and the Programming Committee afforded the Caucus a day to meet. This was fought for for many years.

Members applauded this.

The Committee Secretary noted the apologies of the Chairperson of the Multiparty Women’s Caucus, Ms E Prins (ANC, NCOP), Minister and Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Susan Shabangu and Ms Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Minister of Police, Ms Maggie Sotyu, Minister of Higher Education and Training, Ms Naledi Pandor, Ms D Magadzi (ANC), Ms C Labuschagne (DA, NCOP), Ms T Didiza (ANC), Minister of Women in the Presidency, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, and Ms L Maseko (ANC).

Overview of CSW 2018 and its implications for the work of Parliament, dated 24 April 2018

Ms Joy Watson, Senior Parliamentary Researcher, provided Members with an overview of the report from the side of the parliamentary delegation. Minister Dlamini had also reported on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and it appeared there were some synergies between the two reports.  The 62nd CSW session addressed:

  • attaining the right to an adequate standard of living
  • ensuring the rights of rural women to land and land tenure security
  • strengthening food security and nutrition for rural women and girls
  • addressing violence and harmful practices against women and girls
  • ensuring access to health-care and sexual and reproduction health and rights
  • providing quality education for rural women and girls

The parliamentary delegation attended a number of formal CSW sessions and some side events. From this, priorities for the parliamentary agenda were identified , namely:

  • greater investment in the education of rural girls: Girls born into situations of poverty are more likely to not complete school, to marry earlier and to continue in cycles of poverty. Access to school, education and literacy is often limited for rural women and girls. Worldwide, rural women and girls have lower levels of literacy. School attendance for girls is often impacted by the double burden of domestic care responsibilities, long distance to schools and the fear associated with sexual abuse when travelling to school. Investment in technology and digital literacy is a critical part of the education process of rural women and girls. There is a need to strengthen parliamentary oversight in this regard.
  • narrowing the gender pay gap: The empowerment of rural women and girls is one of the most critical areas of focus in taking up issues of poverty. Worldwide, an estimated 400 million women work in agriculture with little or no social protection. Millions of rural girls and women worldwide contribute to the economy and to sustaining the world of work with labour that is either unpaid or poorly remunerated. Globally, only 13 percent of women own the land that they work on. Even though it is mostly women who are involved in food production, they are more likely to face food insecurity. An estimated 15 million girls, located largely in rural areas, are not enrolled in primary school, an indictment against taking them out of situations of poverty. A recent report on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) is concerning in that is shows that progress towards meeting the SDG targets is slow. The World Economic Report reported in October 2017 that it will take an estimated 170 years to close the gender pay gap. The report found that the economic disparity between men and women worldwide was rising, notwithstanding the fact that the education gap was narrowing.
  • role of information and communication technology: The role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in supporting rural women’s economic empowerment is critical in expanding rural women’s opportunities in value chains and enterprise development, as well as in expanding their access to education and information. Many women, particularly young rural women, lack access to productive resources such as land, credit and technology. Women generally have less access to ICT, with only 41 percent of women in low and middle income countries owning mobile phones compared with 46 percent of men. The global rise of information technology has significantly deeply affected rural women and girls who find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide.
  • access to land: Access to land is key to eradicating poverty. With secure land rights, rural women usually have a greater say in their household investments and in community matters. As a consequence, land tenure security makes societies more stable with less conflict and with more opportunity.
  • progress on eradicating violence against women and girls has been slow and inconsistent: Globally, the levels of violence against women and girls are still unacceptably high. There is a need to ensure that the state has clear plans to address such violence both at the level of service prevention and in investing in the prevention of such violence. The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women noted that work is afoot to include femicide as a measure of reporting on levels of violence against women in nation states. The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women has called for a database on the status of shelters of victims of gender-based violence. This is because it has become apparent that, globally, many states see the provision of shelter services as an optional service
  • Impact of HIV/AIDS on rural women and girls: Data from UNAIDS shows that there is still much work to be done in reducing the rate of HIV infections globally. In addition, there is a need to ensure the provision of comprehensive services that scale up both prevention and support. Globally, it appears that the political will to implement CSW Resolution 60/2 on Women, the Girl Child and HIV seems to be waning. The HIV epidemic is the largest in the world and there is a great need to upscale resources to address the extent of its ramifications. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS estimates that there are approximately 700 000 new infections amongst young girls every week. There is therefore a great need for accelerated intersectoral interventions that seek to turn this situation around.  There is a need for states to affirm and ensure women’s sexual and reproductive health rights.

Ms Watson outlined the implications of the CSW for the work of Parliament. She said the time left for the current Parliament was limited so whatever was addressed must be realistic in terms of these timeframes. In addressing the issues raised at CSW 2018, it is suggested that the work of Parliament is centred around the following three pillars:

  • Strengthening normative, legal and policy frameworks by monitoring implementation of legislation and policy aimed at improving the lives of rural women and girls.
  • Overseeing government service delivery to rural women and girls aimed at improving the quality of their lives.
  • Strengthening the collective voice, leadership and decision-making of rural women and girls through public participation in legislative and oversight processes.

Within this framework, specific areas of work on the subject areas raised at the CSW should be taken up by the relevant Committees in Parliament.


The Chairperson said women had the same problems globally. It was upon women legislators to find a way of helping each other. Women were in majority in most parliaments and governments but the complaints remained the same year in and out. It was about time there was a clear programme of action which spoke to societal ills and ways to resolve these problems.

Ms A Mfulo (ANC) was concerned that the report did not make reference to women and girls with disabilities. What was currently being done did not make much impact – perhaps reassessment of how things were done was needed. When she was younger, her grandmother used to call the girls and instruct them how to behave regarding sex, menstruation etc. This was missing, especially among Africans. The culture of teaching young girls and women should be encouraged when it comes to violence, HIV/AIDS etc. Similarly, young boys should also be taught. Resources available were not used correctly to deal with the core challenges and communication around these challenges. Instead, things were run according to occasion, e.g. June was Children’s Month – a strategy was needed to change this.

Ms G Boroto (ANC) appreciated the report. On the matter of shelters, it was well known the rate of femicide was escalating but how could Parliament encourage that more shelters be established? The report spoke to the role of NGOs but what was the role of the Department? The recommendation was for a database but more information on this was required. There were also very few places where women could go in the rural areas except to social workers – NGOS were not very visible in these areas.

Ms J Basson (ANC) asked how shelters are supported – NGOs running these shelters always complained that they were not supported. Direction was also needed on government oversight – was the Caucus able to visit or oversee what was going in the shelters and rural areas?

Ms B Dlulane (ANC) agreed with the need to look at what was happening with shelters in rural areas. For this, the Caucus needed to work with its provincial counterparts. There could be a programme of visiting the provincial caucuses – this would also assist with oversight and implementing some of the proposals.

DPSA Deputy Minister C Pilane-Majeke thought the outcome of the CSW should be taken to political parties for infusion into their work. The outcomes of the CSW report could also be brought into the National Assembly during the Women’s Day debate.

Ms E Coleman (ANC) said women in rural areas were used to doing things on their own and all they needed was the assistance of Members to maximise what was being done.  The problem was that women were associated with minor, simple things. The correct things were not being focused on. Young girls should be brought into what was important. One could start with girls who were out of school and have “bring back” programmes with night schools for example. This would ensure women knew how to read and write - this was most important. This would assist with women owning their own businesses – this started with knowing how to read and write. There should not be programmes which further degraded women and acted as a handout. This was an appeal to whoever had the power. Families headed by young girls also needed to be identified to ensure they were educated – education was something which could not be taken away. These girls needed to be helped to understand the importance of education and the difference it made in one’s life. This would be a sustainable intervention and make an impact on the lives of girls.

Ms D Raphuti (ANC) said there were other issues which could also be raised in terms of empowerment. This included empowering pregnant women to love their children and themselves as it brought a sense of self-worth. Sometimes gender-based violence happened to people who were dependent on others. Therefore pregnant women must be educated to love and shower their children with love. This will result in self-confident and independent children – children who were not empowered in this way became dependent on other people.

Ms P Semenya (ANC) was pleased that Members could come together today to discuss issues that affected women. For empowerment, there must be mobilisation of women and participation to allow women to liberate themselves. When the Steering Committee last looked at the structure of the office of the Ministry of Women, it was found there was a missing link in terms of how the office would lead everyone in participating in ensuring women emancipated themselves. There was also no link with provincial women’s caucuses. The time left did not enable the Committee meeting with all the provinces so there might be a need for a strategy in this regard. This included looking at other machinery such as the Gender Commission. In terms of education, the Caucus should work with the Education Committees to look at data available – this would assist in moving the Caucus forward. 

Deputy Minister Pilane-Majeke asked whether the gender machinery was being implemented. Was it the responsibility of the Caucus or the Gender Commission to ensure the gender machinery was running actively? The gender machinery also included the Ministry and civil society. A number of things were not going correctly because of matters not being as organised as they ought to be. Her plea was to reenergise the gender machinery to see it working and helping to push the agenda of South African women forward.

The Chairperson said that given that the end of the current Parliament was approaching, the Caucus needed to streamline what it was doing. Women could not complain year in and out about things which could be changed. This requires real organisation. Parliament was there for the people. As such, the views of the people must be represented at the next CSW. There should be a country report where all could agree on programmes to be implemented. Not implementing these reports amounted to failure. Rural women often voiced their problems through the provincial caucuses. During constituency periods, Members needed to be active in seeing what could be done for women – before anything, Members were women first and if these issues were not fought for, no one would fight for them. Was it possible for the Caucus to come up with a programme based on the timelines of the end of the term?

Ms Watson found it unfortunate that the issue of women with disabilities was really lacking in some of the sessions of the CSW but she would work it into the report as it was an important issue. A decision was taken last year that the Steering Committee would look at trying to reignite the gender machinery – the argument was that if this was right, everything else would fall into place. A proposal could possibly be developed to bring the national gender machinery together during Women’s Month. Suggestions tabled would be taken up with the Steering Committee.

National Treasury Briefing

The Chairperson noted that this was a very emotive topic as many girls did not attend school due to menstruation because they did not have pads.

Ms Yanga Mputa, National Treasury Chief Director: Tax Policy, noted that when the Department last appeared before the Caucus, on 2 November 2017, Members were informed of an interdepartmental tax team with the focus on indigent women and girls for the provision of sanitary towels. A policy framework was being established. On Budget Day, the Minister of Finance made an announcement to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) from 14% to 15%. Since this increase was announced, concerns were raised about its impact on poor households. On 25 April 2018, the Minister of Finance established an independent panel of experts to review the current list of zero-rated items. Currently there were only food items that were zero-rated. There was a call for submissions on the list until 24 May 2018. The independent panel will make recommendations to the Minister.


Ms L Mabija (ANC) supported the idea of visiting the provincial women’s caucuses to be able to explain, discuss and lead on gender-based violence and other issues. There were also causes in local municipalities but they were not functional. Because municipalities were on the ground, they had direct contact with issues of violence. Factors contributing to gender-based violence were not the same everywhere. Plans needed to be realistic for them to work. It was time to be real and genuine and not theoretical by doing things on paper without implementation to assist young girls and women. 

Ms C Majeke (UDM) noted that sanitary towels provided should not contribute to irritations, itching etc. Sometimes the synthetic fibre place in menstrual pads were not good enough and some did not have brand names which enabled tracing and checking. How would one ensure the good quality of these products to be delivered to schools? It could be false information, but there are some ovarian cancers caused by these sanitary pads because of certain chemicals. How would one ensure the matter of sanitary pads was not exploited? For example, a massive sanitary pad drive and delivery took place in KZN but some were delivered to primary school where girls were not even menstruating yet.

A Member said now was the time to make submissions to the independent panel on behalf of women.

Ms Mfulo asked about how the call for submissions was made. Input from women was needed. Was the call for submission made on community radio to ensure everyone knew? Should the Departments of Health, Social Development and Education be applying for free distribution? A society of dependency should not be established. Sanitary products should be free from VAT so that everyone benefitted. Was there assurance that the manufacturer of these pads was accredited and that the products were SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) approved? How would government partner with these companies?

Ms Raphuti asked who was going to supply these pads. Women should be responsible for manufacturing – men could not benefit from this. There should be cooperatives to maximise benefits. The specifics of how and when should come from the Committee. Women should not be failed in this regard.

Ms Y Phosa (ANC) said the bottom line was that there was no programme of action. If women issues were taken seriously, the Steering Committee would see it necessary to coordinate strategic planning sessions with key role players in women issues. All the needs of women could then be identified and prioritised to be put into a programme of action. A proper programme of action could be used to gain financial resources and a budget. Departments could then be motivated to adopt relevant issues. The Caucus could then oversee implementation of these issues. It could not be that women issues were dealt with ad hoc. Matters needed to rise to the next level. Members represented women and these women were waiting for Parliament to support programmes which would make an impact on their lives and change their lives for the better, especially rural women. A programme of action should be left on the table for the new administration to run with and adopt. Short, medium and long term goals would be identified in the programme of action. The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation should bring a report on the impact all departments had on the lives of women. From this, gaps would be identified along with areas of underperformance. This would assist in ensuring the Caucus made a meaningful contribution towards the lives of women.

Ms N Gina (ANC) said it was important to ensure sanitary towels were zero-rated. It was important for these products to be produced by women and cooperatives. The benefit of women needed to be included in the programme of action.

Ms Semenya noted that the distribution of sanitary towels focused on young girls in quintile one, two and three schools and those that could not afford to buy these towels. VAT should be removed from sanitary towels because women could not be blamed for menstruating – it was a natural process. There should be coordination in ensuring women participated in the independent panel and made input on these issues of zero-rated products.

A Member noted that the issue of quality should be looked into.

Ms Semenya said the interdepartmental task team should include the Minister of Small Business Development to take the matter of cooperatives onboard for manufacturing – women knew what was best for them. In this way, more jobs for women could also be created. In 2011, former President Zuma pronounced that girls in primary schools and rural areas should get these sanitary towels. However this was not being implemented by any department. Treasury was called to provide an update on the matter and its implementation. Unfortunately the Minister of Women at that time did not do anything until Parliament spoke up on implementing the issue in the Women’s Caucus.

Ms Mputa said the policy framework was located in the interdepartmental task team which was coordinated and led by the Department of Women. Unfortunately the Department could not present to the Caucus today because it was delivering its Budget Vote. It was said that once the framework was finalised, it would be published for public comment. The policy framework would include the value chain and all other aspects affecting the issue of sanitary towels. The Department of Women would advise the Caucus on the progress of the policy framework.

The call for submissions to the independent panel was done online (National Treasury website) and there were discussions on community radio like Power FM. Issues of quality and manufacturing would be contained in the policy framework.

The Chairperson asked how many women had made submissions. The timeframes were not realistic.

Ms Mputa did not know about the submissions because Parliament said the panel must be independent of Treasury – Treasury would not be able to access the comments. Treasury could not determine the VAT rate and then also decide on zero-rated products.

A Member said there were girls and women still lacking education. Who listened to Power FM? What if the woman was from the Northern Cape and spoke only Afrikaans? Why was government’s free newspaper and local community stations not used? Government was still too high in certain respects when everyday people needed to be reached. The way things were done needed to be reassessed. Systems could not discriminate against rural girls and women.

Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development, said the production of sanitary pads had become a contested money-making scheme. Many Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and cooperatives asked the Small Business Department to assist with the machines that make the sanitary pads. The reality was that everyone looked for a way to make money off of something. In contested areas, it was difficult to instruct someone not to do something if they had the capacity to do so. The Department could however opt to only fund women, and women-owned cooperatives, for the production of sanitary pads – she would return to her Department with this message. SABS must ensure sanitary towels produced did not have the effects Members raised earlier. Pre-1994, the Multiparty Women’s Caucus used to be so vibrant, out on the streets and mobilising – more of this was needed and less of the talking. Members were also responsible for their constituencies and should mobilise women in their constituencies to make submissions. Members were responsible for knowing about the independent panel and lead in this regard, as expected. Members should have informed Treasury to ensure it advertised the call for submissions on TV and popular and community radio stations listened to by the majority. Capitalism was exploitative and it should be fought in a way to empower women. 

Ms Dlulane was pleased to hear the comments of the Minister because she was worried about how rural women would be able to do the job of producing sanitary pads. Were rural women in the various constituencies ever mobilised to participate in cooperatives? The mandate for participating in the CSW must come from Parliament. The former Speaker of the National Assembly called all nine provincial Speakers and NGOs working in this space, to account to Parliament on the CSW. It was important that all Chief Whips were also consulted to ensure all meetings of the Multiparty Women’s Caucus were attended – the current attendance was not ideal.

Ms D Senokoanyane (ANC) thought that the Caucus had almost missed the boat. The timing of the meetings was also problematic because it was too late. Some provincial legislatures had solid and concrete women’s caucuses with clear programmes. Publicity around the submissions on zero-rated items was not done well particularly for women on the ground – these were the women to target because they were affected. Treasury should also be looking at gender-sensitive budgets for departments because this was how departments could be compelled to implement gender mainstreaming in their programmes.

The Chairperson said the Department of Women was dealing with this – it was raised by the Portfolio Committee on Women.

Ms Coleman was worried about regulating the production of sanitary pads. She recommended Minister Zulu run the business of coordinating the manufacturing. Cooperatives did not just appear – they were a deliberate act that national government initiates. Unless someone actually took this step it would not be done. These cooperatives must be coordinated by the lead Department which is Small Business Development.

Ms M Khawula (EFF) said she was happy seeing women discussing how they had to proceed as suppression and discrimination started from the home and went towards the workplace. Entrepreneurship was very important to women as the Minister would recall, most rural women did not work but had land that was not being utilised. Those women could be gathered and be assisted to plant, harvest and produce for subsistence and the market. In Nquthu, KwaZulu Natal (KZN), women who had no formal education currently were producing clay pottery and cutlery that they sold.

Indeed sanitary towels were needed but in the recent past when women gave birth in hospitals they used to remain there for afterbirth care which no longer happened. Women were being ostracised for being unemployed and giving birth to fatherless children at clinics and local hospitals.

There were struggling cooperatives in communities but the challenge was that people running cooperatives programmes in departments had a selfishness that made whatever beneficiation would have been planned as assistance to never go to its intended beneficiaries.

In the Western Cape (WC) it was painful to watch how women were abused and man handled for failing to keep up with rental of their homes.

Ms Semenya felt it important for the Chairperson to guide the debate, in terms of time, so that Members did not end up discussing everything without finalising the agenda for the day – Members should stick to what was on the agenda. Women should make recommendations on the items which should be zero-rated including sanitary towels. It was urgent for the Minister of Women to give a report on the task team as it has already been working for a year. What were the bottlenecks? The matter of doing something on sanitary towels should be part of the legacy of the Fifth Parliament.

Ms Mputa said Treasury was communicating with the Department of Communication on advertising the call for submissions on zero-rated items. The mandate of the independent panel was to look at food items but this did not mean other products could not be recommended. The panel would then advise the Minister.

The Chairperson said anything produced in bulk was open to exploitation and young women should not be exposed to effects this could have.

Stop Gender Violence Campaign

Ms Sizwe Gxuluwe, World AIDS Campaign International, presented on what was being done to fight gender based violence in SA. Stop Gender Violence was a national campaign of civil society and NGOs – there were 92 member organisations throughout the country in all nine provinces. The mandate of the campaign was to create a public and political will to develop and implement a fully-costed national strategic plan on gender violence. The campaign was formed in 2014. The secretariat of the campaign was based with MOSAIC (Western Cape) and Mpumalanga. There was a task team consisting of Mosaic, Grape, Sonke Gender Justice, Access Chapter 2 and an independent researcher, amongst others. There were two working groups, one focusing on advocacy and another on technical assistance such as developing the framework.

In 2011, a resolution was taken to develop an integrated plan to address gender-based violence. This was approved by Cabinet. In 2012, under the leadership of former President Motlanthe, the plan was approved and inaugurated. The objectives of the national council for gender-based violence was to provide strategic guidance and political leadership, strengthening the coherence of strategies, adopt a multi-sectoral approach which left no one behind, monitoring implementation of all interventions and an inter-ministerial committee on violence against women. After the council was developed in 2013, a CEO was appointed by the national council for gender-based violence to drive the plan, or national strategic plan, on gender-based violence. The SA Human Science Research Council (HSRC) was contracted to assist the CEO in drafting work because of the challenge of a lack of common understanding or roadmap. Following the national election of 2014 and the change of administration, the council was scrapped. An integrated plan of action was then developed, focused only on women and children for 2014 – 2018. The Stop Gender Violence Campaign was then started for civil society to work with government to ensure the council for gender-based violence, roadmap and national strategic plan was established.

Civil society then developed a shadow framework on the national strategic plan. This involved many consultations such as working with university students, victims of gender-based violence, social media, provinces and other stakeholders to ensure the framework was representative of all. This framework was finalised and officially launched in October 2017. The framework was to be used as a tool to advocate the work of the national strategic plan on gender-based violence. The framework was handed to President Ramaphosa’s office, who was Deputy President at the time. There were also engagements with the Department of Social Development. The greatest challenge at the time was lack of implementation and state of readiness.

The Chairperson asked the presenter to please move the presentation along as Extended Public Committees (EPCs) would be starting soon and Members would have to attend.

Ms Gxuluwe said the Campaign was calling for no one to be left behind in the definition of gender-based violence as addressing gender-based violence needed to be holistic and multi-sectoral, existing laws needed to be revised to ensure they were adequate, provision of psycho services needed to be expanded to survivors of gender-based violence, research and intervention programmes needed to be prioritised and the plan for implementation needed to be fully-costed and funded.


The Chairperson remarked that one Member said earlier there was too much talk and now was the time for action.

Ms Raphuti asked if any research was conducted on the real cost of gender-based violence. This violence was now a chronic epidemic and problem.

Ms M Lesoma (ANC) noted that the presentation said there was only a focus on women and children so who was being left out? There were many funding priorities of government – who funded the organisations involved in the Stop Gender Violence Campaign? One must be mindful of the fact that international funding does sometimes come with conditions which might not be in line with international agreements the SA government signed.

Ms Gxuluwe replied that there were multiple research projects being done in terms of gender-based violence. This was highlighted in the framework including research from the HSRC and the KPMG report. Looking at who was affected broadly in terms of gender-based violence, there was the LGBTI community. Additionally, women were diverse.

The Chairperson said Members would look into the presentation. The question of the funding was not answered. Gender-based violence was a real problem – women were dying every day. Sometimes mere appearances in court did not help. A Member earlier spoke about the importance of love in the family unit. The problem was that families were not normal in SA – there were child-headed households.

Ms Gxuluwe replied that the campaign was sponsored and funded by NACOSA as a recipient of the Global Fund.

Mr K Ahirudhra, Commission for Gender Equality Head: Parliamentary and International Policy unit, added that there were numerous research reports based on gender-based violence such as 365 Days to Action to End Violence against Women and Children, Assessing the Effectiveness of the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Assessment of the Work of the National Gender-Based Violence Council for 2014. These research reports can be discussed in the Caucus by the CGE. This will give Members a good idea of research on gender-based violence in SA.

The Chairperson said the time was now to walk the talk and not to be reading reports – there needed to be programmes of how to deal with gender-based violence. The Multiparty Women’s Caucus was the platform to advocate for this. The Fifth Parliament needed to come up with a programme to ensure these problems in SA were dealt with. Women were leaders and made up the majority of SA’s population – women needed to guide the children. The Steering Committee would need to discuss calling the Minister of Finance on zero-rating of sanitary towels. All Members must be encouraged to make submissions to the independent panel – it should also be taken to constituencies. Sanitary pads were very expensive – one could only imagine how inaccessible they were for rural women. There was much work to do. Everyone must walk the talk, advocate for women’s rights and make a difference in the lives of women. 

The meeting was adjourned.

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