A member of the Committee on the Multiparty Women’s Caucus highlighted crucial organs of the CPA, including the different regions that these organs were a part of. Thereafter she took members of the Women’s Caucus through the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarian’s report where she underlined the various gender-based prejudices that women experienced during elections in the various countries such as Sierra Leone.
The Women’s Caucus was informed about the CWP workshops that took place on Gender Sensitisation. These workshops had as themes the promotion of gender equality and empowering women and young girls.
Regarding preparation for the CPA Africa Regional Conference, it was stated that the focus would be on combating human-trafficking, modern day slavery in Africa, the promotion of human rights and cybercrime inflicted on women.
Members of the Committee raised concerns about the importance of receiving feedback on the outcomes and the discussions that took place in Women’s conferences as well as regarding the lack of attendance at the Women’s Caucus meetings.
The Committee was informed about the Sanitary Pads Initiative, specifically on the intent to promote the zero-rating of sanitary products. In addition, Members were informed on the progress and further steps that would be taken to enforce the initiative. They should suggested and insisted that the Sanitary Pads Initiative should be focused on creating job opportunities for women in South Africa as the manufacturing of the sanitary products would take place in South Africa. However, members stressed that this initiative should be inclusive of other African countries. This suggestion was based on the issue of steering away from the state of dependency and poverty in the country. Although Members were impressed with the initiatives on sanitary pads they expressed concerns about the impact that sanitary pads would have on the environment. Members were assured that their concerns would be relayed to the relevant committees leading the initiative.
The Committee asked for a plan of action to ensure that there was no negative impact on the environment.
The Honourable Khunou was elected as the Acting Chairperson. The Chairperson indicated that during the Women’s Conference that took place a week ago, women had raised various concerns on gender and violence against women and children. She encouraged Members to propose solutions to any matters raised, and advised that they send a clear message to every one about the repercussions that would follow regarding the matter of the exploitation of women and children. She confirmed that a Member from Treasury would brief the Caucus on the matter of VAT free sanitary pads. The Chairperson also apologised for the confusion caused regarding the cancellation and reinstatement of the meeting which was based entirely on the unavailability of Minister Bathabile Dlamini.
Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians Report to the 49th Annual General Meeting, August 2018, Gaborone, Botswana: Briefing
- Ms L Maseko, Member of the Committee on Multiparty Women’s Caucus
confirmed that the CWP was part of the organs of the CPA; others included the
Coordinating Committee, Regional Representative Subcommittee, Programme
Planning and Finance Subcommittee and the Commonwealth Parliamentarian
Committee. The Steering Committee consisted of the Chairperson and
Representatives from four Regions which were:
- Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho)
- Central Africa (Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana)
- East Africa (Khenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Seychelles, Mauritius and Uganda)
- West Africa (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone
Nigeria had 36 branches with its states. Within the CPA there were six Representatives for each sub region, this was based on the number of branches Southern and West Africa had. Thus, there were two Representatives for West Africa, two for Southern Africa and then one each for Central and East Africa.
Southern Africa had the speaker of Lesotho Mr Mutanyane and the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Nambia, Mr Bernard Songo Sibalatani. This meant that when there was an activity in Southern Africa Honourable Sibaltane and Siphiri would attend.
Ms Maseko took Members through the report. She began by taking the members through some of issues African women were faced with during elections that took place this year. The first one focused on the July 2018 Zimbabwe elections that showed that a higher indication of gender-based prejudice was still rife amongst societies regardless of the efforts that have been made towards the promotion of gender equality. Secondly, the same prejudices were experienced leading up to the Sierra Leone elections in April this year. As a result of that, women representations declined in Sierra Leone by 2.4 percent from 2013 to 2018. Lastly, based on these prejudices women were reminded that their main objective should be to increase women’s representations in Parliaments and legislatures, and to ensure that they could change societal stereotypes through the use of more strategic interventions. Thus, the gender agenda would remain central in the work of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and not only the CWP.
Regarding activities that will be taking place by Chapters, Ms Maseko informed Members that during the CPA Executive Committee meeting which took place in Nigeria, a communication was sent to all Chapters to provide reports of activities that would be carried out to celebrate International Women’s Day. These reports were received from Zambia, Rwanda and Zanzibar.
Ms Maseko stated that workshops held by the CWP this year pertaining to the matter of gender sensitisation were successful. These workshops were held in different regions and were as follows:
- The CWP Regional Sensitization Workshop in KwaZulu-Natal was held under the theme ‘Mechanisms to Strengthen Gender Equality’. The theme was in line with Goal 5 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal which was to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
- The CWP East Africa Sub region in Kampala Uganda was held under the theme ‘Mainstreaming Gender in Parliamentary Business”
Ms Maseko informed members about visits to Sub-National Chapters which had taken place or were still to happen, particularly the one that took place in the Eastern Cape from the 19 to 20 June 2018. This conference was held under the theme ‘Women at the centre of radical economic transformation’. The objectives for this conference were as follows:
- To facilitate the increase of women representation in parliament, government, private sectors and churches;
- To interrogate the role of women in Africa Agenda 2063 to mainstream gender policy, planning, budgetary and the programme implementation process;
- To mobilize active participation of women in government programmes; and
- Improve the status of women representation in leadership across society.
In preparation for the CPA Africa Regional Conference, Ms Maseko stated that it would mainly focus on combating the issue of human-trafficking, modern day slavery in Africa, and the promotion of human rights and cybercrime on women.
Ms Maseko informed Members about the proposed plan of action and budgeting of activities that would run from August to December 2018. This plan was developed during the CWP Steering Committee Meeting held in Kampala Uganda in July 2018. The key results areas and there objectives were as follows:
- Key result area: Improved monitoring of implementation of international and regional instruments relating to improved gender parity at national level;
Objective: To develop a database of relevant international and regional instruments and actively monitor the implementation of instruments producing a regular report for consumption.
- Key result area: Reduction of Cultural and Religious practices that were harmful to women; and
Objective: To advocate for legislation and programs against child marriages, female genital mutilation, etc.
- Key result area: Development of a mentorship program for women Parliamentarians, Legislators and Councillors.
Objective: To ensure that newly elected women leaders could be mentored by those who have been there before so as to improve their effectiveness in their responsibilities. This could happen through an annual seminar held at National level for women Parliamentarians, legislators, councillors and female students studying political science at university level to share experiences on matters affecting women public representatives.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Maseko for the briefing on the Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians Report, and stated that the Caucus would be waiting to receive a copy of the report from her. She mentioned that she was pleased with Ms Maseko’s efforts in Nigeria as they were based on what was said in the report. The Chairperson proceeded to congratulate the members of the Caucus and mentioned how proud the Members should be of themselves as women who could elevate themselves.
Ms T Chiloane (ANC), said that the conference acknowledged and appreciated the work done by Ms Maseko as the Chairperson of the CPA Africa. She highlighted the matters that were elevated to the CPA conference which should be discussed by the Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians (CWP). On the topics of Gender and Equity Budgeting in Parliament as well as the Women Caucuses and Gender Perspectives in Parliament, the strengthening of the use of ICT and Media by women Parliamentarians and the empowerment of rural and young women were the issues that were elevated at the conference as a whole. These matters were to be discussed and resolutions had to be made. Ms Maseko had mentioned that the report was still being processed and would later be provided to the Women’s Caucus. She placed emphasis on the matter of strengthening the use of ICT and Media by women Parliamentarians. This was mainly due to concerns around cyberbullying against women who were in Parliament. This matter was discussed further and it was evident that when women were contesting higher positions cyberbullying came into play. Then pictures of women would go viral. This was a way to discourage women from participating in elections. She also emphasised the matter raised concerning the incident that took place in Rwanda where a woman contested that she met the requirements for elections. This woman was later arrested by the sitting Government. The woman was still in prison right now, she had not been charged and 378 days had passed. She was arrested alongside her mother and one of her nephews. Therefore, this matter was discussed further in terms of how imperative it was to support women in commonwealth countries.
Ms Chiloane, also highlighted the urgency of talking to political leadership or different political parties that were represented in Parliament pertaining to the matter of emphasising the need to have 50/50 representations in these parties. South Africa and Rwanda (which was currently sitting at 64%) were appreciated in terms of the representation of women in leadership positions. She further underlined the importance of women playing the role of being members of parliament.
On the matter of budgeting, Ms Chiloane stated that South Africans were applauded for having a separate budget to support women related programs. With regard to elections, she said that it was resolved that the CWP should be able to send women delegations to primary elections which took place in primary countries such Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Furthermore, the CWP should have the ability to support women that were contesting. She suggested that this election was similar to the conferences held in South Africa which had to ensure that women politicians had a greater voice in all countries. In addition, she emphasised the importance of all departments being able to support and encourage young women from rural areas to participate in the economy, specifically in food security. On the matter of human trafficking, she stated that the most affected people were children and women.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Maseko and Ms Chiloane for briefing the members on the report. She wanted to ensure that all the items that were raised would be part of the program of action in parliament and that all the members should be part of it. She emphasised the importance of attending these conferences and the ability to report back. She then gave members the opportunity to make comments, suggestions, additions and to put questions to the CPA.
Ms P Ngwenya (ANC) commented on the importance of getting feedback on the outcomes and discussions of the women’s conference. She raised concerns on the attendance of women at the Multi-party Women’s Caucus meetings. She questioned why the attendance was so low because all the members were aware that the meeting would take place on this day during a time-frame of one to two hours. She also pointed out that they were given this day to discuss women related issues. That said, judging by the attendance, this was not the supposed Committee meeting that should have taken place. This assembly should have reflected a better attendance. She suggested that the Committee should conduct an assessment to determine why members were not attending the Women’s Caucus, as these meetings were intended for addressing issues and concerns that women had.
On matters raised by Ms Chiloane, she said that outside the meetings people said that there was no need to attend these Caucus meetings because when it was time for Summit trips to take place, it was usually the Executive team that needed to be there. As a result no rotation took place, therefore suggesting that other women were not exposed to those meetings. She believed that raising the issue in the meeting would make the Executive eager to conduct an assessment on what exactly demotivated women to not attend these meetings. Furthermore, according to her understanding, CPA and CWP had initially decided that at every delegation there should be women and these women had to be rotated. This suggested that the Executive should have a register to monitor the number of women that attended and were part of the delegation, and to ensure that in the following year other women could be also be exposed.
She questioned how Committee members could be exposed when it was only the same group of people that attended these Summits. Therefore, the lack of exposure discouraged women from attending these Caucus meetings. An assessment had to be conducted to ensure that rotation took place, and to ensure that these meetings were taken seriously in order to improve the attendance at the Women’s Caucus meetings. She also underlined the importance of having set programmes that would be used to run the meetings in the essence of addressing public issues that affected women, and how they could assist these women as parliamentarians.
The Chairperson confirmed that members of the Steering Committee who were present at the meeting would be responding to the questions and concerns raised.
Ms R Bhengu (ANC) commented on the efficiency of the report and emphasised the importance of receiving feedback on what was happening in other areas as well as in the way South Africa was represented. She referred to herself as one of the people who understood cooperatives. She pointed out that she had been working in Parliament since 1999 but still emphasised the need to empower women. She said that cooperatives were instruments used to organise communities and to establish Community Enterprises and Worker-Owned Enterprises that included women. She further stated that members of Parliament were not guaranteed to serve in Parliament for more than 5 years. When members of Parliament left Parliament, outside employment was not guaranteed. During the period of serving in Parliament women were empowered to understand how to organise themselves into cooperatives while using their constituency offices to organise other women. She further stated that this Women’s Caucus would have to contribute to radical economic transformation in the context of transforming the ownership of the economy. She had been dealing with cooperatives for a long period of time and the failure rate of cooperatives in South Africa was 88%. As the Committee they were expected to provide leadership to other women and assist in the transformation of the economy. How were they expected to give other women knowledge without being given the platform to do so? She stressed the problem of not being given the opportunity to share her knowledge on cooperatives with other women.
The Chairperson noted the importance of having cooperatives as a topic of interest in the next Caucus meeting and suggested that Ms Bhengu had to prepare a presentation on that topic.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) added to the issue of people expressing their concerns outside these meetings. She suggested that these concerns should be addressed during the Caucus meetings. She reiterated the matter raised by Ms Ngwenya on the lack of exposure to attend conferences. She also expressed concerns about Committee members not providing feedback on what took place during these women only conferences. She emphasised the importance of giving feedback to the Committee members. She also hoped that members of the Steering Committee would respond to the points and concerns that were raised during this meeting. Ms Tsoleli highlighted the importance of having a set programme for every Woman’s Caucus meeting that would take place in the future. She argued that as Women Parliamentarians they had a lot of issues to address as there were various atrocities that women faced on a daily basis. An example here was the number of killings of young girls that had taken place in universities which had not been addressed in any of these meetings.
There was a great deal of things that should be done by the Committee as a way of empowering other women and it was the Committee’s responsibility to assist all women where necessary. Ms Tsoleli also added that, in different legislatures the Committee used to have a vibrant Multi-party Caucus which often travelled to other provinces to observe what was being done to assist women in those provinces. Thus, she argued that these provinces could only prosper if the Committee was taking the necessary steps to aid women in need of assistance and support. She urged the Committee to implement a program that would not only target women but should also target young girls and boys as they too are suffering.
Ms MN Oliphant, Minister of Labour (ANC) suggested that the Committee should examine how they could interlink these International Fora where they participated as Parliament. She based this suggestion on what had been said by Ms Maseko pertaining to the matter of how people communicated at the United Nations Commission on the status of women and the CWP. Given that the IPU itself had a Subcommittee that dealt with women related issues, the Committee should look into how they could integrate these issues so that they were not viewed differently when discussing matters of either the IPU or the UNCSW.
The Minister commented on the issues raised by Ms Ngwenya and suggested that maybe the best way forward for the Forum was to approach the Parliamentary group on International Relations. She suggested that the Committee (CWP) should integrate this programme to ensure that they were empowered as women specifically those from Parliament.
Additionally, she also suggested that they share some of these concerns whenever these programs took place whether it was nationally or internationally. Lastly, she suggested that the Committee should propose to the House Chair that was responsible for International Relations to brief the Women’s Caucus alongside the International Relations Office as they were the ones who advised the Presiding Officers on who should be part of the delegation in order to understand how they had dealt with matters pertaining Focus Groups. On the point of Focus Groups, she said it was easier to note which members were mainly focusing on the Commonwealth and those that focused on areas in which the CWP participated.
Ms PM Chueu (ANC) expressed that she understood most of the frustrations that Members were experiencing. But they were however blaming the wrong section. She reminded the Committee that they were sacrificing their lunch to attend these meetings for the past 4 years and that they had to force programming to allocate this day to them. The Committee also had to put in a request to be given ample time in order to discuss women related issues. Furthermore, she mentioned that in the previous year after the 2016 elections, Comrade Didiza came to them as a Committee to suggest that they apply a section of the Commonwealth Women into the Caucus as a way to allow the CPA Women’s section to report in the Caucus. She expressed that the Minister had clearly stated that it was a matter for the International Relation Office (Chair of Chairs), as it was the one that decided who attended which trip. Not everyone was given the leeway to participate or attend these trips regardless of attendance or participation in these Caucus meetings. She insisted that the Committee’s frustrations were the frustrations of the Steering Committee too. She clarified that they had made efforts to invite different Departments to attend meetings. She confirmed that the Committee had however managed to have some leverage on the matter of sanitary towels and products which was an achievement as this matter had been included on the Agenda and was being discussed in Presidency Panels. Ms Chueu applauded the Committee for such an achievement as they were still dealing with the issue of patriarchy in Parliament, which made it difficult for women to be granted the space they needed to discuss women-related issues. She also reiterated the suggestion made by Ms Ngwenya on the importance of applying programmes for these Caucus meetings. She reemphasised the necessity to raise concerns during these meetings as she also encouraged members to continue raising their frustrations. She also suggested that the report be relayed back to the CPA Branch and not only the Women’s Caucus.
Ms G Ntseke suggested that the Committee be consistent with these reports. She added to what Ms Chueu had said about not downplaying the work the Committee has achieved, especially in Parliament. She further expressed how unfortunate it was that members of Parliament were not attending this Caucus, but was mindful of the reasons why members were not attending. She clarified that Ms Maseko could attend the CPA because she was elected as the CPA Chairperson in Africa, therefore she was obligated to attend these meetings, just as Ms Didiza was elected as the CWP Chair in Africa which meant that she was also obligated to attend these meetings. She confirmed that the Steering Committee would be given the report at the next Multi-party Women’s Caucus meeting. Matters regarding the National interest should be discussed further by the Steering Committee and they should come up with a plan of action. She confirmed that the Steering Committee managed to call Minister Bathabile to brief members of Parliament on the matter of grants. She also encouraged the need for improvement when discussing matters regarding the National interest.
Ms D Tsotetsi (ANC) reminded members of the Committee to not think of this as a proud moment as men still dictated where and when these Multi-party Caucus meetings would take place. She then suggested that the Leadership of the Women’s Caucus should nominate and select people that would attend international meetings. She made a proposal to Ms Maseko and Ms Didiza, suggesting that the Committee should try organising their own trip to go visit other women in the continent before the year ended, maybe around December. She suggested that the trip could be done at their own expense; however they should consult with the necessary people to meet them halfway financially.
The Chairperson pointed out that there had been budget constraints around the planning of trips and programs. She reassured Members that the Steering Committee had nothing to do with international trips as it was completely out of their hands. She and added that they were also never fully aware of who got to attend these international meetings. She also confirmed that the proposal would be discussed with Ms M Boroto the House Chairperson: International Relations in the National Assembly. The Chairperson also mentioned that during Minister Oliphant’s time, there were Focus Groups that dealt with International Relations. However, things had changed as Parliament had acquired problems much more serious. She thanked the Members for the contributions that they made and assured them that their concerns would be taken into consideration. She once again apologised on behalf of the Steering Committee for cancelling and then reinstating the meeting.
The reason for the cancellation of the meeting was based on the unavailability of The Minister of Women in the Presidency Ms Bathabile Dlamini Minister. it was however discussed with the Leadership of the Women’s Caucus that the meeting could not be cancelled as there were various issues that needed to be addressed during this meeting. She also emphasised the importance of receiving and providing mandates on what needed to be addressed during meetings, whilst she also suggested that the Women’s Caucus should consult with the relevant powers to ensure that their concerns were taken seriously. The Chairperson also underlined how crucial it was for women to represent the country and for them to support one another. She also confirmed that at the next Caucus meeting they would be discussing a plan of action. Furthermore, she said that as the Women’s Caucus was part of the CWP chapter they should ensure that Africa became a better continent to live in, as well as to be able to change the image of women in Africa.
Ms Y Mputa, Chief Director of Tax Policy National Treasury, briefed the Women’s Caucus on the sanitary pads initiative. She confirmed that the last report on the initiative took place on 17 May 2018. She confirmed that there was an intergovernmental task team that was leading the provision of sanitary pads. The task team was led by the Department of Women who had to produce a policy framework.
A VAT panel was appointed to overlook the current zero-rated list on which other products could either be removed or added. The report was handed over to the Minister of Finance on the 6th of August who then published the report for public comments on the 10th of August. The last day for public comment would be on the 31st of August. Thereafter the Panel briefed the standing Committee of Finance on the report, thus confirming that the Panel did have recommendations on the report. The Panel indicated that the zero-rating for sanitary products would have a limited impact on improving the conditions of women living in low-income households. She stated that the Panel recommended that sanitary products should be zero-rated and should be done on the basis of having free access to these sanitary products for women earning a low income.
The panel also recommended that government should be responsible for the provision of free sanitary products to the poor. By implementing this zero-rating initiative for sanitary products, it would cut costs for all households. The panel’s next step regarding the report was to convene public hearings in the next two weeks. Thereafter the National Treasury would have to respond on the progress of the report. VAT exemption on sanitary pads would not assist the poor at all because the cost of buying sanitary products still held. Ms Mputa assured the Caucus that after the National Treasury had responded to the report they would only then present it to the Women’s Caucus. Thereafter the Minister would have to present the report to the Cabinet as it was part of the Money Bill.
Ms Bhengu (ANC) commented that the sanitary pad initiative was worth celebrating. She encouraged the Women’s Caucus to align matters relating to poverty with the matters of development. She expressed that as every woman used sanitary pads there was a sensible market for the development of cooperatives. Furthermore, there was a need to drive/push the agenda of who would supply sanitary products. She asked if this initiative would be used to provide employment for women in poverty in order to reduce the number of women who were passive recipients. Therefore, she suggested that if they were to intervene in matters related to poverty, they should do so in a developmental manner as a way of ending the poverty cycle.
Ms A Mfulo (ANC) wanted to understand the relationship between the Social Development Department and the Department of Health. She argued that when it came to young people, schools knew who needed what. On the issue of development, she asked about the availability of people that the Caucus was prepared to train in order to push through this initiative. She emphasised that as much as they were trying to assist, the Caucus should also ensure that they could promote people to take on business roles as a way of ending the poverty cycle. She also underlined the importance of acknowledging that South Africans were not being taught to rise above dependency as the majority of them were heavily dependent on the Government.
Ms Ntseke suggested that the Women’s Caucus should invite the Department of Women to come and brief the Caucus on the Sanitary Pad Policy Framework for their next meeting as they were the people leading the task team. She suggested that the Caucus should retrieve the mandate from the Multiparty pertaining to the public comments on the sanitary pad initiative.
Ms Chueu underlined that sanitary pads were a woman’s right and therefore nothing to do with welfare. She argued that South Africa should by all means remove VAT on necessities such as sanitary pads just as other countries had done so. She further argued that VAT was institutionalised by the Government to make South Africans poor. Therefore, poor people needed to be catered for by the Government. On the basis on the sanitary pad initiative, the Government was encouraged to put the needs of women first and was also urged to ensure that these products would be manufactured here in South Africa in order to create job opportunities for women. Ms Chueu applauded the Treasury for pushing this initiative forward, as many school girls were faced with the challenge of not being able to go to school when they were menstruating because of the lack of access to sanitary pads.
Ms E Thabethe, Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Republic of South Africa (ANC) commented on the sanitary pad initiative by stating that it was a major achievement as it had been an issue that members had been discussing for years. She reiterated the point made by Ms Bhengu on empowering women to participate in the manufacturing of the sanitary pads and to move away from a welfare state situation in the country. She highlighted that it was not sustainable to provide people with free housing, etcetera and then to still advocate that the nation had to do things on their own. She stated that the problem was that the South African Government had various impediments that were against this developmental state regardless of the Government being responsible for the creation of this dependence. Therefore, she stressed the point of having an exit strategy to shift away from this dependency i.e. the Grant System.
Ms D Raphuti (ANC) asked how conducive was the environment to the use of sanitary pads. Is the environment clean? Is there any privacy? She suggested that with the implementation of this sanitary pad initiative they should be mindful of the right to privacy and the right to a healthy and clean environment. Regarding the issue of a developmental state, she urged Members to think of solutions that could be used to get the communities involved for development to take place. She also stressed the importance of understanding that sanitary pads went hand-in-hand with the environment.
Ms M Semenya (ANC) stated they had given the Minister of Business a mandate to explore the concerns and suggestions that were made by Ms Bhengu. She advised that the Women’s Caucus should have access to the report so they could follow up on the task team’s progress on the sanitary pads initiative. She also suggested that the Members concluded their statement for the report as the 31st of August would be the last day for public comments.
Ms C Mjeke (UDM) asked how possible it would be to have non-disposable pads. She argued that these pads could be used and re-used over a longer period of time. She based her argument on the fact that disposable sanitary pads posed an environmental hazard. She reiterated what had been said about the empowerment of communities to participate in this initiative to manufacture sustainable sanitary pads that could be recycled.
The Chairperson assured the Members that the manufacturers of the sanitary pads would be women. She agreed with Ms Mjeke on the matter of the threat that disposable sanitary pads posed on the environment, but felt that it should be explored further.
Ms Mputa made a clarification that the Panel had recommended to the Minister that sanitary pads should be zero-rated, and advised that the Women’s Caucus should submit comments regarding the report to Treasury the following day.
The Chairperson confirmed that the report had not been finalised as yet as the President had stated that it was an ongoing process. She urged Members to submit their statements and comments regarding the zero-rating of sanitary pads using the available forums. She also stressed the importance of receiving the mandate from Parliament.
The meeting was adjourned.