The Committee and the Department of women (DOW) met to discuss the questions the Committee had for the DOW regarding the 2017/2018 Annual Report. The Committee asked for explanation on points that lacked clarity as well as points of inquiry. The meeting with a prayer at the request of the Chairperson, followed by opening remarks by the Minister that included;
The Minister gave an overview of what the Department has focused on during the 2017/2018 year, and the challenges it has encountered. She began by commending Cheryl Zondi for her bravery throughout the Omotoso trial and mentioned that South Africa needs more women like her. She added that South Afrca (SA) needs more legislation and a well-funded Gender Based Violence (GBV) counsel as the job is far too large and complicated for the Commission of Gender Equality (CGE) and DOW alone.
The Minister added that the police and the courts operate from a patriarchal lens that views victims as guilty, further traumatising and victimising survivors of rape. Operating in this manner deters victims/survivors from coming forward with their rape experiences.
The Minister stated that the configuration of gender mainstreaming is imperative. She added that those in power have been complacent for too long. She stated that women in male dominated work spaces such as mines must feel safe.
The Minister stated that the department has been working towards gender equality in issues of land expropriation without compensation because within a patriarchal system the land is distributed amongst men and excludes women, therefore women must be prioritised in land issues.
The Minister added that food security is another area of importance as the government must ensure that women are studying fields such as agriculture so that they may be part of land, production, and secure livelihoods.
The Minister stated that government held a Job Summit, and the DOW must enquire as to how many of the created jobs have been designated for women. She proclaimed that ‘women’s free work’ in the home must be added to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). ‘Women’s work’ takes time, energy, commitment, and effort. If women were to stop working for free, the economy and society will fall apart, therefore society and government must recognise and understand ‘women’s work’.
The Minister added that investment must resonate and be accessible to ordinary people. She explained that investment that is only focused and accessible by the bourgeoisie is unequal and unjust. She added that investment that adds to class stratification and the wage gap is unprogressive.
The Minister stated that the departments’ mission is difficult because it is regularly met with animosity, mistrust, and push back as well as trial and error. She added that the department must make sure that its employees are well educated in gender issues, and skilled to deal with them. The Minister concluded by saying that the DOW welcomes constructive criticism as it builds, and women must cooperate with one another to progress towards gender equality.
The opening remarks by the Minister were followed by six presentations by members of the DOW.
The presentations were based around explaining the decisions made and not made, exploring the achieved goals and giving justifications for the departments failed goals. After the presentations by the DOW, the Committee asked questions, and included a hand out with pre-scripted questions from the week before.
The meeting’ discussions was based on questions asked by Committee members and answered by the DOW. The questions mainly centered around the sanitary and dignity initiatives, irregular expenditure, high use of consultants, the DOW’ core function, under capacity, a lack of skilled employees, notch increases, missing frameworks, and a lack of information and reports.
The meeting began with the Chairperson requesting a prayer, which was done by the Minister. After the prayer, the Chairperson requested that the meeting proceed with maturity and respect between all attendees.
Ms Welhemina Tshabalala, Acting Director-General (DG) thanked the Chairperson for requesting a prayer and stated that it was needed because President Ramaphosa was unwell.
The Minister, Ms Bathabile Dlamini began by thanking the Chairperson and the Committee for allowing them to present their report and justify decisions taken and not taken.
The Minister added that it was important the meeting begin with paying respect to Cheryl Zondi, the survivor in the Omotoso rape trial who gave evidence in court in the Eastern Cape. She stated that the Omotoso rape trial highlighted the work the department should be endeavoring upon.
The Minister exclaimed that the work of the DOW and the Committee does not end in meetings but must spread across all the departments. She added that both entities must be strong in monitoring the work done by other departments in changing the quality of lives of the people.
The Minister asserted that women being taken as statistics and being silenced and “ghettoised” must stop. She added that the pushing and rushing of targets is counterproductive as it homogenises women and therefore “invisibilises” those women most in in need.
The Minister added that in the past, the justice system and the police was trained to deal with Gender Based Violence (GBV) appropriately, but that has since changed. She added that the Courts are supposed to be safe spaces for those seeking justice and declared that the way women are treated when giving evidence against their rapists is shocking and disappointing.
The Minister said that women and the girl child must break the silence. But breaking the silence must not cause further trauma and victimisation because it deters other victims from speaking out. She added that the court and its lawyers must be understanding, accommodating and respectful to women. The Minister proclaimed that this is an area the DOW should focus on and define how women want the process to work going forward.
The Minister congratulated the Commission for the Promotion and the Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) for taking the initiative and supporting Ms Zondi. She added that the department spoke to various pertinent individuals because the DOW must give support to women in need but in a way that does not alienate, undermine and overstep them
The Minister stated that the department and the Committee must cooperate with the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). She added that Parliament and the Executive must develop concrete legislation regarding GBV, and that it is clear that the resuscitation of a well-funded GBV council is necessary. The Minister stated that the CGE and department are not enough to embark on changing the nation and that it needs more legislation and the counsel. The Minister added that gender issues are complicated as they permeate every crevice of society.
The Minister added that responsibility rests with the department and the Committee to work with all governmental departments to ensure Gender Responsive Participatory Budgeting (GRPB). The department has started working with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in the Presidency, and they have presented on ways in which government departments can move towards gender equality or socio-economic empowerment of women can be achieved.
The Minister added that the gender missionary is an imperative. She added that the women in Parliament, including the DOW have been silent for too long. She stated that the DOW is criticised for having a large budget and having little progress, but this is untrue. She added that there have been discussions about the disbandment of the DOW. The Minister declared that women fought for the gender ministry, and only women will decide when it should be disbanded. She stated that the department does not merely pay lip service but seeks to show quantifiable outcomes of progress.
Women in male dominated work spaces such as mines must feel safe. She added that she is unaware of any effort by the Committee to hold the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and the Department of Energy (DOE) accountable for the reports of abuse by male employees toward female colleagues.
The Minister stated that the department has been working towards gender equality on issues of land expropriation without compensation because within a patriarchal system, the land is distributed amongst men and excludes women, therefore women must be prioritised on issues of land.
The Minister added that food security is another area of importance as the government must ensure women are studying fields such as agriculture so that they may be part of land, production, and secure livelihoods.
The Minister stated that government held a Job Summit, and the DOW must enquire as to how many of the created jobs have been designated for women. She added that ‘women work’ must be taken into consideration because this free at home work is excluded from the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and it takes as much effort and commitment as any paid work. She warned that if women were to stop working for free the economy and society would fall apart.
The Minister added that investment must resonate and be accessible to ordinary people because investment for the bourgeoisie is only unequal and unjust. She argued that investment that adds to class stratification and the wage gap is unprogressive.
The Minister concluded by stating that the department has a difficult task and functions, and when change is taking place it is met with animosity, mistrust, and push back, as well as trial and error. She added that the department was working on cementing a concrete direction.
The Minister stated that the department will ensure that all DOW employees are well educated in gender issues and skilled to deal with them. She added that the DOW welcomes questions, suggestions and recommendations because constructive criticism builds. She stated that womens forums must not operate like patriarchal structures where those in power are not held accountable and do not accept help and criticism.
The Chairperson added that women are always deprived of their homes and it is worse in urban areas compared rural areas. As a result, children are displaced. She added that displacement is traumatic and destroys the family fiber.
Ms D Robinson (DA) added that socialisation takes place within the family and that the government needs to work on the quality of parenting. She argued that young mothers do not have enough emotional and practical guidance throughout the parenting journey. She adds that the family unit is an optimal space to deconstruct patriarchy as this is where it is engrained and reconstructed. She added that change needs to start at the early stage of development because any other avenues will surely fail. She concluded that government should guide citizens in responsible parenting for men and women to ensure good upbringing of their children.
Ms P Bhengu-Kombe (ANC) answered the Ministers enquiry on the Committee working with DMR and DOE by stating that the Committee had in fact visited mines in Limpopo along with the Committee on Mineral Resources and the CGE. She added that the Committee observed a lack of women leadership and unsafe working conditions for women. The CGE followed up on the complaints and observations that were raised, and some of the mines have since partnered with the CGE in providing a safe space for women. The CGE has reported that some mines are adhering to their recommendations. The Committee also accompanied the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on sight visits to farms in the North West. The Committee found that the farms lack government assistance as well as a lack in skills and training. Ms Bhengu suggested that the DOW attend site visits with the Committee.
Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) thanked the Minister for speaking on Cheryl Zondi and added that the way in which the trial was conducted was highly problematic. She added that the defense treated Ms Zondi as a perpetrator, adding that the line of questioning was dismissive and aggressive. She argued that women will not gain equality if those that are supposed to protect them continue to attack. Ms van der Merwe suggested that the Committee and the DOW issue a statement in solidarity with Ms Zondi.
Ms M Chueu (ANC) thanked Ms van der Merwe for highlighting patriarchy in the legal structure. She added that the media and social media are necessary in exposing the courts. She stated that women have been attacked and humiliated in courts since its inception as the courts are made to protect men. The police, judges, lawyers and prosecutors are there to maintain a system that oppresses women. She added that as women in power, it is imperative to fight problematic prosecutors and judges. She added that all women must openly condemn the trial process.
Ms Chueu added that the same patriarchal structures that operate in the legal system are present in education. She added that the onus is on women in power to change the curriculum. She echoed Ms Robinson and added that the change must begin with CGE.
Ms Chueu argued that patriarchy must be challenged if we are to see any real change because capitalism oppresses women and views them as commodities. She added that gender inequality goes beyond education and the legal system as it is an international structure of oppression. She added that patriarchy is but a mere pillar of capitalism. She concluded by stating that the President and all statesmen must stand beside women if any true change is to take place.
Ms T Stander (DA) said that broadcasting the Omotoso rape trial was necessary in highlighting these challenges brought on by patriarchy to the South African people. She added that all pertinent parties involved in the trial were male and all worked to humiliate Ms Zondi. She stated that the prosecutor treated Ms Zondi as a hostile witness.
Ms Stander firstly suggested that the DOW engage with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and urge them to address gender inequality. Secondly, she suggested that the DOW review the BRRR reports from other governmental departments to assess the incorporation of GRPB. Thirdly, she suggested that the department take part in other government departments’ budget meetings. She argued that the DOW can change gender inequality and government by monitoring and evaluating other departments to ensure a commitment to the socio-economic empowerment of women.
The Chairperson added that in the past, social workers had to be present in courts when young children were giving evidence, and the trials were closed. She urged the DOW to help boys being assaulted and raped. She added that the Minister should organise a dialogue with the DOW, CGE and others because little has been done to address the treatment of women within the justice system. She stated that the negative treatment of women within the court has racist undertones.
The Minister stated that the suggestions were welcome. She added that communication between the DOW and DOJ must begin immediately.
Department of Women 2017/2018 Annual Report
Ms Tshabalala highlighted the challenges hindering the DOW’s progress in realising the department’s mandate as well as clarifying the department’s strategies going forward. She added that the department accepts responsibility for the lack of progress. She added that the department has progressed since 2014 but lacks adequate funds and human resources.
Ms Tshabalala added that the departmental structure needs to be strengthened. Stating that the current structure is an anomaly to the structures of chief directories and is not fit for purpose. She added that the department’s structure is not hierarchical like other departments in that it does not have a chief directorate.
Ms Tshabalala added that restructuring the department was discussed with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and National Treasury (NT). She added that the department decided to focus a solid strategy before embarking on a solid structure.
Ms Tshabalala said that the country should focus on gendered issues; as a developmental accelerator, integral to the country’s vision of economic growth redistribution and transformation.
The DOW requires repositioning as a center of government departments to ensure gender mainstreaming and improved quality of life. She added that the department requires adequate resources to fulfil the government wide mandate.
Ms Tshabalala gave an overview of the women in society stating that the country is in a gender equality recession. She added that majority of women and girls are subject to poverty, unemployment, GBV, discrimination and economic exclusion. She explained that the department is mandated to lead the fulfilment of the Constitution on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. She added that women are mostly affected by unemployment which was confirmed by Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA) quarterly labor survey. The survey reflected that 28.8% of men compared to 25.1% of women are unemployed which leaves women vulnerable. Stats SA also indicates that women are the highest percentage of discouraged work seekers.
Key challenges that hinder the department’s performance; in 2017/2018 99.9% of the budget was spent but it was insufficient. She stated that the department was funded for 120 posts but realised it was inadequate. Ms Tshabalala confirmed that once the department has a clear strategy it will advocate for more posts that respond to its needs. She added that the department does not have additional funds to foster growth. She explained that public service compliance places a burden on the department regarding the compliance with entities like Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). She added that compliance comes at a cost such as adequate and well-trained staff.
Ms Tshabalala stated that chronic under resourcing of the department and over successive budget cycles have resulted in an under capacitated as well as an overburdened work force and an unsatisfactory organisational arrangement of scarce human resources. The inadequate baseline allocation has resulted in numerous mandated functions not being effectively delivered such as government wide GRPB, policy, knowledge and information, GBV initiatives, and sanitary and dignity programmes. She stated that these focal points will be added to the five-year plan.
Ms Tshabalala concluded with the focus of the department’s key strategic priorities for the next five years;
- The department needs to be a center department in government;
- Facilitate the revitalisation of the GBV counsel;
- Ensure the revitalisation of the National Gender Missionary (NGM) through promoting sanitary and dignity;
- The GRPB will compel entities to respond to the relevant indicators and resourcing of them;
- To facilitate the development of a government gender responsive policy in cooperation with DPME and NT on GRPB;
- A focus on women in rural areas locating them at the center of radical economic transformation to ensure access and control of land;
- To recognise the burden of unpaid labor and care work on women;
- To eradicate discriminatory laws such as not inheriting land;
- To reverse patriarchal and harmful practices like child marriage;
- To develop rural gender strategy to improve access to education for women and girls;
- To implement measures to eradicate trafficking of women and girls;
- To elevate women’s role in conflict resolution and peace building; and
- To strengthen the CGE to play a strong oversight role in advancing the gender.
Ms Tshabalala concluded that the above strategic priorities would be part of repositioning the department.
Ms Valerie Mathobela, Chief Director: Office of the DG, DOW reported on high level reporting issues. She added that the strategic objectives remained the same as in 2016 as referred to by Ms Tshabalala. She highlighted that a significant change in 2017/2018 has been the combining of two sub-programmes. Knowledge management has been combined with research to develop gender sensitive research and position the department as a knowledge hub. She added that the department developed a new sub programme concerned with international programmes such as oversees departments, international engagements, and international treaties and reports.
The Department published an erratum to align the work of Programmes two: Social Empowerment and Transformation with the new Cabinet decision imperatives on the annual target on the policy framework for sanitary dignity. The changes lead to a revision of the key performance indicator and target in the 2017/18 Annual Performance Plan (APP) included in the Annual Performance Report on slide 22. Sanitary dignity has moved from a policy to a framework.
Inadequate baseline allocation has resulted in numerous mandated functions not being effectively delivered, such as government-wide gender-responsive planning and budgeting, government-wide gender-responsive policy, knowledge and information management, gender statistics, gender-based violence and sanitary dignity.
The challenge remains to maintain a balance between effective administration and the ability to deliver on the core functions.
In the period under review, out of 27 planned targets for the year, 16 (59%) targets were achieved while 11 (41%) targets were not achieved. There is an increase of 20% for the year under review compared to the 39% achievement for 2016/17 financial year.
The not achieved annual targets will be monitored and the report will be presented to the Portfolio Committee during the quarter two presentation on the performance information.
The final appropriation of the department for the 2017/18 financial year is R206 163 000.00. This appropriation included an amount of R78 266 00.00 which the department transferred to CGE.
The Department is not a revenue driven department. The department estimated to generate revenue amounting to R576 000.00 for the 2016/17 financial year. The actual collection amounted to R31 000.00 for recycled paper for the period under review.
The department disclosed irregular expenditure amounting to R 1 419 000.00 in the 2017/18 financial year relating to non-compliance to Supply Chain Management (SCM) applicable regulations. The transactions were referred to NT for an investigation; these investigations were still in progress as at 31 March 2018.
The department identified fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R32 500.00. The amount involved relates to payment for services not rendered during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism campaign. The matter is referred to NT for investigation; the investigation was still in progress as at 31 March 2018. The department did not incur any unauthorised expenditure for the financial year under review.
The mandate, vision, values (Strategic Plan) and mission of the department remain the same. The organisational design of the Department is structured into four components reporting directly to the Accounting Officer; ODG, Ministry staff, Communication, and Internal Audit. Three Divisions reporting directly to the Accounting Officer; Departmental Management, Corporate Management, and Financial Management. Two Branches reporting directly to the Accounting Officer; Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment; and Policy Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management.
The budget programme structure for the 2016/17 Financial Year reports on three programmes:
2. Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment; and
3. Policy, Stakeholder and Knowledge Management
In Programme one: Administration, out of 13 targets planned for 2017/18 financial year, seven targets (54%) were achieved while six targets (46%) were not achieved. Ms Mathobela focused on the unachieved targets;
- 85% of high rated risks in the DOW risk profile reduced in risk rating, however, the department managed to reduce 85% of the highly rated risks and has a 5% variance due to capacity challenges to implement projects.
- 29 internal audit projects were planned for the financial year. 22 (75.86%) audit projects were completed; six (20.70%) audit projects are still in progress. One (3.44%) audit project was not performed. The department managed to complete 75.86% of audit projects and has a variance of 24.14% due to capacity challenges to implement planned projects.
- 38% of the audit recommendations were implemented and 41 % were in the process of being implemented due to inadequate implementation of the audit improvement action plans by responsible managers.
- 87.72% of invoices were paid within 30 days. Out of 4 927 (100%) invoices received, 4 322 (87.72%) were paid within 30 days, and 605 (12.28%) were paid outside of 30 days – to Vodacom invoices which relates to 2015/16 financial year.
- Out of the 34 findings relating to Financial Management and SCM, 29 findings have been cleared. Out of the 34 findings, 29 (85.29%) were cleared, and five (14.71%) are in progress. The target was not fully achieved due to inadequate human capacity at management level in SCM.
- 80% of disciplinary cases resolved (20% or one disciplinary case is at advanced stages of completion). Delays attributed to the hearing endured for 18 months because of various postponements at the request of the department and mostly the employee, and at times due to unavailability of the parties including the chairperson.
Ms Mathobela stated that the strategies adopted to overcome areas of underperformance include;
• 100% payment of all valid invoices paid within 30 days. The office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) administers registers of valid invoices and ensures that they are paid within 30 days. The invoices which are found not to be valid are immediately referred back to the service provider for correction. However, they are recorded in a separate register to ensure that the inconsistencies are resolved speedily.
• Disciplinary cases resolved within 90 days. The department has addressed the capacity challenges on labour relations by appointing a contractor on fixed-term contract for the 2017/18 financial year to provide technical support for the labour cases to ensure that internal disciplinary cases are resolved within 90 days from the day of initiation to conclusion as prescribed. The department will in future prioritise establishing a labour relations post as additional funds become available.
• 90% of high rated risk profiles were reduced. The Key Performance Indicator for Risk Management has been adjusted for 2018/19 financial year to be in line with the 2018/19 annual risk plan.
• 95% of internal audit recommendations implemented and 95% of external audit findings cleared. The target on 95% of internal audit recommendations implemented and external audit findings cleared have been adjusted for 2018/19 financial year to be in line with the audit action plan with clear targets and timeframes. The Key Performance Areas (KPA) will be included in performance agreements of responsible managers to assess the implementation of audit improvement action plans. Furthermore, the audit action plan will be a standing item of the executive management meetings to ensure that progress on addressing the matters raised by the Audit are monitored.
Mr Prince Booi, Chief Director: Economic Empowerment and Participation, DOW presented on programme two: Annual Performance for Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment. He stated that the department achieved three targets (50%), while three targets (50%) were not achieved. He added that there were three Chief Directorates within the branch.
Mr Booi explained that in the sub programme: Economic Empowerment and Participation there were two targets. An analysis report on progress and impact on empowerment of women was done on Women’s Access to Credit, Land and Property of the Nine Point Plan. He explained that this target was not achieved due to the amount of work within each component of the Nine Point Plan. He added that it was not possible to do each component, hence the department had to re-plan.
Mr Booi explained that the department focused on unlocking economic opportunities in an attempt to rectify the exclusion of women in the value chain. He added that they analysed focus on what was impeding the economic inclusion of women. The analysis was separated into four focus areas; access to credit; land and property; access to enterprise; and access to incentives by women from development financial institutions and entrepreneurial skills development.
He added that the department commissioned a study using the University of Cape Town (UCT) to investigate how women access financial and non-financial incentives. The study focused on government institutions such as the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC), Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), and the Public Investment Cooperation (PIC). He added that the study gave the department a basis of understanding concerning accessibility for women in receiving financial and non-financial support in advancing businesses. They were looking at women owned and led Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) and cooperatives.
Mr Booi stated that the second target planned to build a framework on Women’s financial inclusion. This target was achieved, and the framework was developed. The framework aimed to address the perpetual challenge of the inadequate progress that women are faced with in terms of socio-economic empowerment and participation within the country’s mainstream economy. Mr Booi explained that the envisaged outcome was to understand how the framework would benefit women in terms of economic inclusion and empowerment. He added that implementing this framework would improve access to financial management information, skills, and access to financing institutions. He concluded that the governments’ criterion for financial assistance is not different from banks stating that the Financial Inclusion framework will provide a standard way of approach by government funded institutions. He added that the framework is not to replace department initiatives, but to strengthen them.
Dr Nontsikelelo Manzini, Chief Director: Social Empowerment and Transformation, DOW presented on the Sanitary and Dignity initiative. She stated that this was one of the targets that were changed due to a cabinet directive from a policy to a framework. She explained that a framework is concerned with implementation, whereas a policy is conceptual. She added that the department included the Sexual Reproductive Health policy in its development.
Dr Manzini stated that the developments that have taken place since October 2017 include;
- Moving the framework from a conceptual foundation to an implementation plan that would be rolled out and costed.
- Incorporating Sexual and Reproductive policies into sanitary and dignity initiative, which looked at the International Conference on Population Development, the Population Policy of South Africa, and the Sexual and Reproductive Health Framework, National Adolescence Sexual and Reproductive Rights Framework strategy.
- Adding the Development National and International Policies so the framework would align with the National Development Plan, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Integrating the SADC protocol on gender and development. She added that sanitary and dignity goes beyond the buying and distribution of pads and requires enabling environments. The department has termed it menstrual health management because it goes beyond providing pads, but the education, disposal and ensuring a value chain which involves procurement.
Dr Manzini added that the department has undertaken steps to make sure that it is able to respond to cabinet, namely;
- Embarking on creating an enabling environment by ensuring the institutional arrangements were in place including coordination and integration.
- Developed the Inter departmental task team called the Sanitary and Dignity Oversight Committee.
- Created technical working groups that inform the implementation of the framework.
Dr Manzini added that the second part of the Sanitary and Dignity initiative was undertaking research. This included a national Indaba in July 2017 where provinces were asked to present on sanitary and dignity programmes and to assess the status quo. She added that the information from the Indaba was insufficient, therefore the department conducted situational analysis in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga following a Cabinet directive to pilot the initiative. The research informed proposals and the development of an implementation plan and a budget. She concluded that the department began to plan the pilot and draft the implementation plan.
Ms Esther Maluleke, Chief Director: Governance, Transformation, Justice and Security, DOW stated that the department reviewed the National Gender Missionary (NGM) formation and found weaknesses. She added that the Chief Directorate has a major task of looking at Governance and Transformation to ensure that gender mainstreaming mechanism structures and systems that are established in government function effectively and efficiently.
The department focused on gender focal points because it is one of the pillars of the national missionary. The mechanisms that were established years ago to assist government in gender mainstreaming are ineffective. Ms Maluleke added that there is a lot of literature that describes the weakness, and this is why the department intends to refocus the gender missionary to improve effectiveness. She added that the department has worked with other departments to ensure the implementation of this policy.
Ms Maluleke said that the National Gender Missionary Task Team composed of multiple government departments including the NT has been established. She added that the department has a draft guide literature reviewing the gender missionary to highlight its weaknesses. The DOW and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) are working on a memo that is intended for tabling in cabinet. Ms Maluleke added that gender focal points do not work on their own, they are strengthened by a system over whole.
The department has been conducting dialogues with communities in the North West, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. Ms Maluleke added that the department has written provincial reports in regard to the dialogues. She explained that the department had to consolidate the reports and draw up an analysis report. The analysis report is in draft form and is awaiting the Ministers approval.
She concluded that the department can not only focus on dialogues as they are insufficient, therefore the department looked at current mechanisms that exist and respond to gender. She added that there are many efforts in government and civil society to redress gender inequality, but they are not well coordinated, therefore there is little impact. The GBV counsel must be resuscitated.
Ms Annette Griessel, Deputy Director: Research Policy Coordination and Knowledge Management, DOW clarified that programme three is termed Stakeholder and Knowledge Management. There is no post for Knowledge Management, neither is there a post for GRPB. She added that within the structure, there are three chief directorates; one left and one is suspended. The department has had a significant turnaround despite limited capacity.
Ms Griessel stated that the graph on slide 29 in the DOW presentation indicates that out of eight targets planned for 2017/18 financial year, Programme three: Policy, Stakeholder and Knowledge Management achieved six targets (75%), while two targets (75%) were not achieved. The following targets were not achieved; four country reports for international Multi-lateral Forums; four quarterly monitoring reports on progress against the Nine Point Plan and Outcome 14. Both targets which were not achieved because they depended on information to be submitted to the department by other government departments.
Ms Griessel highlighted the departments’ strategy to overcome areas of underperformance. The Department will work with other relevant departments to improve the gender-responsiveness of the country’s planning, monitoring and evaluation systems. This includes the development of a country gender indicator framework.
Key achievements include:
- Organisational structure redesigned based on new mandate and revised strategic intentions.
- four quarterly performance reviews conducted as planned, and reports submitted to DPME and NT.
- The department complied with 80% of the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) required standards, and the status report was approved by the Accounting Officer, and managed the MPAT improvement plan.
- Maintained a less than 2% under spending in expenditure against budget allocation as planned for 2017/18.
- Maintained a vacancy rate of less than 10% annually as planned (Vacancy rate on 31 March 2018 was 5.6% of funded vacant posts).
- Draft Policy Framework for sanitary dignity was developed and submitted to Cabinet.
- Monitoring and Evaluation Framework developed.
- Analysis on Women’s Access to Credit, Land and Property was completed, and the report is available for discussion with key stakeholders to ensure that the country improves Women’s Access to Credit.
- Draft GRPB framework was developed and approved for consultation and further refinements with GRPB specialist and the Economic sector.
- National dialogues on violence against Women were held and a report of Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and North West is available.
- The Women’s month initiatives including 16 days of Activism and Women’s Day outreach initiatives were successfully held to address the increase in GBV scourge in the country. These were done in collaboration with key stakeholders including men's organisations march and the civil sector.
- four reports on international participation on gender meetings (SADC, AU, Commonwealth and UN women’s affairs) were produced.
- The Department led the SA delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women.
- Mid-Term Evaluation Report on Nine Point Plan and Outcome 14 were produced.
Ms Griessel concluded by stating that a single deliverable the department could focus on is GRPB across the government departments. She added that the department needs to look at legislation and integrate a planning Bill. She argued that GRPB is not a political issue but a Constitutional imperative for the country, and civil society must hold government accountable in terms of GRPB. The CGE and Auditor-General (AG) will play a critical role. She informed the committee that the DOW will be hosting a GRPB summit in November 2018.
Ms Nondumiso Moema, Acting Chief Director: Corporate Management, DOW presented on Human Resources stating that while the vacancy rate at the beginning of the financial year was 4.7%, this remained stable throughout the financial year and was 5.6% by the end of the fourth quarter. The Senior Management Services (SMS) vacancy rate reduced from 14.7% in April 2017 to 11.1% at the end of the last quarter. The Department spent 99.9% of its compensation budget.
The Department has an approved establishment of 131 posts, 32 of these (24.4%) remain unfunded due to budgetary restraints. Of the 107 funded posts, 101 posts (94.4%) were filled, resulting in a vacancy rate of 5.6%. Due to fiscal restraints, the Department was not able to fund any additional posts for the 2017/18 financial year, other than those that arose due to natural attrition. On the basis of an increased 2018 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Compensation of Employees (COE) baseline allocation, a project was initiated to consider options to strengthen capacity in support of the 2018/19 Annual Performance Plan. No employees were placed on special leave while four employees are on precautionary suspension pending the finalisation of their disciplinary hearings.
Budget and Financial Planning
Ms Desree Legwale, CFO, DOW explained material variances per programme.
Programme one: Administration was allocated R773 000.00. Goods and Services amounted to R364 000.00. The underspending is mainly due to funds that would have been utilised to write off irrecoverable debts. These debts could not be written off because the department was in the process of approving the debt management policy, which was subsequently approved in the first quarter of the 2018/19 financial year. Payments for Capital Assets spent R372 000.00. The underspending in this category of expenditure is due to delayed acquisition relating to upgrading and procurement of software licences.
Programme 3: Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management. Payments for Capital Assets spent R672 000.00. The underspending is attributable to funds that were earmarked for replacement and procurement of computer equipment for existing and newly appointed officials. The department further planned to reprioritise unspent funds to fund the spending pressures experienced in the COE.
Ms Legwale provide an explanation of material variances – Per Economic Classification. Goods and Services spent R373 000.00. The underspending is mainly due to funds that would have been utilised to write off irrecoverable debts. These debts could not be written off because the department was in the process of approving the debt management policy, which was subsequently approved in the first quarter of the 2018/19 financial year. Payments for capital Assets spent R1 044 000.00. The underspending in this category of expenditure is due to; delayed acquisition relating to upgrading and procurement of software licences; funds that were earmarked for replacement and procurement of computer equipment for existing and newly appointed officials; the department further planned to reprioritise unspent funds to fund the spending pressures experienced in the compensation of employees.
Ms Legwale stated that the department incurred irregular expenditure amounting to R6 1487 000.00 in 2017/2018 and R6 305 000.00 in 2015/2016. The irregular expenditure was mainly because of partial compliance with SCM processes. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure reported for the financial year under review is R114 000.00. R81 000.00 of the reported fruitless and wasteful expenditure relates to receipts of goods delivered to the department by the service provider without a delivery note, and R33 000.00 relates to payment of services not rendered. The department developed a procurement guideline to enhance compliance with SCM processes in relation to procurement of goods and services by end users and SCM.
Ms Legwale concluded by stating that the transactions reported in connection with irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure are being investigated
Ms van der Merwe exclaimed that both the Committee and the DOW want to progress and see the department achieve its goals. Before commenting that the DOW has been criticised by civil society and that the Committee has being silent on social issues related to women such as the Omotoso rape trial. This is why she earlier stated that GBV counsel has to be resurrected and they must be vocal about the things they are doing.
Ms van der Merwe added that the department needed to amplify their voice and be proactive. She suggested that all schools implement gender equality modules to combat patriarchal views that socialise school age children.
Ms van der Merwe echoed Ms Stander and added that the DOW should focus on one single big issue and achieve it because it is imperative that the DOW leave a legacy.
Ms van der Merwe asked regarding the lack of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) skills on what basis were the employees in the M&E unit hired if they did not have the relevant skills, and how would the department address this lack of skills.
Ms van der Merwe asked how many international trips were taken, who went, for how long, and what the overall cost was.
Ms van der Merwe said the Department should have received the fifth periodic report in terms of Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and asked if the reports finalised and submitted?
Ms van der Merwe asked what steps the department has taken to remedy the lack of compliance by other government departments in respect of the incomplete report because of lack of necessary information from other departments
Ms van der Merwe said that since the Department claims that it does not take part in service delivery, why is it taking part in the service delivery of sanitary pads, why did they buy the pads, how many were bought, and where were they distributed.
Ms van der Merwe asked why consultants were necessary for a situational analysis, if they were from the same company, what their names are, and why the contract was not put up for tender.
Ms van der Merwe asked when the GRPB framework will be finalised.
Ms van der Merwe suggested that the department “name and shame” the government departments that are not adhering to gender equality. She concluded by stating that at the end of this term it would be ideal for the department to say that it held government departments to account concerning GRPB at the least.
Ms Robinson commented that the Committee was unaware that the DOW was hosting a GRPB summit. She added that in future the Department should inform the Committee of events so that the Committee is aware and can join as well as help. Ms Robinson added that Early Childhood Development (ECD) should be under education instead of social development because social development deals with statics rather than dealing with people. ECD should focus on responsibility and aid in dismantling the perceived gender roles.
Ms Robinson asked how and where the pads were distributed. She added that she heard of schools in KwaZulu-Natal that were given substandard pads.
The Chairperson interjected Ms Robinson stating that everything said must be verifiable therefore in future she must bring evidence and facts.
Ms Robinson responded stating that she will find the evidence to support her claims on the distributed substandard pads in Kwazulu-Natal.
Ms Stander began by thanking the DOW for taking the responsibility of lack of progress. She added that through the presentations the department has found its voice and direction.
Ms Stander commented that the DOW’s presentations were very detailed and informed. She asked why in the last four years the Committee had not been privy to this high level of information.
Ms Stander reiterated that the Department needs to focus on one core gender issue, given their limited resources. The APP must be relevant to that core issue and objectives, and that the indicators have to show that the Department is progressing. She added that the APP is currently inadequate and fraught with irrelevant jargon and information.
Ms Stander suggested that, in future, the Department’s APP and reports should be within the reports detailing what the plans are, how they plan on achieving them, and the anticipated direct impact on women. She asked what the Department’s methodology was going forward to indicate progress and how they decide its indicators, and the reporting of outcomes.
Ms Stander asked who is responsible of managing the recommendations made in the ‘Status of Women’ report within the DOW in terms of implementing and tracking the progress.
Ms Stander asked if all senior/executive employees of the DOW have performance management agreements.
Ms Stander acknowledged that the department is under-capacitated and lacks funds and reminded the Department of the restructuring it underwent two years ago, and the strategic planning breakaway of the previous year. She repeated Ms van der Merwe’s question based on under capacity asking how employees with irrelevant skills were employed.
Ms Stander asked how the Department decides on an organogram based on a strategy, and how employees are appointed to certain positions given that the consultants found that many of the DOW employees were underqualified.
Ms Stander asked what the justifications for the 66 employees that received notch increases was, and who received them.
Ms P Bhengu-Kombe (ANC) added that the Committee has been requesting for the DOW’s organogram and has not received it. If the DOW has it, they should hand to the Committee.
Ms Bhengu-Kombe asked why there is a R6.1 million irregular expenditure, and what management level was responsible for the irregular expenditure, and what consequent management was taken.
Ms Bhengu-Kombe asked what the department is doing about sub-standard record keeping.
Ms Bhengu-Kombe said that given that there was no CFO in the 2017/2018 financial year, who had the signing powers in the SCM process as well as the Accounting Officer?
Ms Bhengu-Kombe asked what the department’s plan on preventing fruitless and wasteful irregular expenditure was.
The Minister asked the department to answer questions before she gave her response.
Ms Tshabalala stated that all present DOW members would answer relevant questions and that she would be answering questions on sanitary and dignity, ‘naming and shaming’, ECD, on why the department is finally giving full information, the APP and reporting, on performance management agreements and the notch increases.
Ms Tshabalala said that buying the pads was part of outreach, which is a core function of the DOW. The DOW’s responsibility is to raise awareness, to advocate, to mobilise resources within communities, and educate women and girl children on gender issues as well as using pads. She added that they use consultants on these issues to expand their reach due to its limited capacity. The DOW entered a cost initiative with NT and will ensure that the sanitary dignity is a funded mandate for which ever department that will be responsible for is.
Ms Tshabalala said that this is counterproductive and that the department does not want animosity with other government departments, but the upcoming 25-year review of GRPB will highlight those departments that are committed to the socio-economic empowerment of women and those who are not. She added that the department is working towards educating all CFOs, DGs and DDGs on GRPB.
Ms Tshabalala acknowledged that it is important for the Committee to be involved in DOW events and that the department will keep them informed of all events in future. She clarified that the Gender Summit is co-led by the Presidency and DOJ, and that DOW was merely invited but plans on giving feedback to the Presidency informing them that the Committee should have been a key entity in the Gender Summit.
Ms Tshabalala stated that the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) are both concerned with ECD, but the DSD is concerned with norms and standards while the DBE is concerned with curriculum and the training of educators. She added that in future the DOW will engage with DOE in reviewing and transforming the ECD curriculum to include gender sensitivity/awareness and substance abuse. She added that these are issues that have been discussed and have been implemented by some schools, but it must be nationally institutionalised.
Ms Tshabalala commented that the level of information they have been providing to the Committee these few past years was due to their lack of direction and added that the information given has since improved because they have now found direction and focus. She urged the Committee to be aware that the DOW has only been in power for less than a year and were “finding their feet”. She concluded by stating that the DOW saw the meeting as an opportunity to give a well-rounded and detailed presentation of their work and progress.
Ms Tshabalala stated that the 2016/2017 review was not based on the five-year plan but the APP and added that this looks at indicators as opposed to reviewing strategic plans. They now plan on working at the ‘five-year strategic plan’. In future, the Department will consult the AG before finalising the APP.
Ms Tshabalala stated that there were no performance management agreement contracts outstanding in 2017/2018.
Ms Tshabalala said that the DOW sits with a team comprising of HR, and expert external individuals and discusses all notch increases on the basis of the individuals’ ratings as well as their supervisor along with all relevant evidence, and if all relevant parties and evidence occurs, the individual in question is given a notch increase. When an employee receives a notch increase it is because the targets agreed upon would have been reached. She added that in cases where the individual is level four or five, the process of notch increases is more difficult, and the individual must demonstrate above and beyond progress on targets set.
Ms Tshabalala concluded by stating that the CFO would answer the finance questions and clarifying that the organogram had been finalised and would be given to the Committee.
Ms Mathobela stated that she would be speaking to the methodology that the DOW utilises when setting targets. She added that all government departments are regulated by the DPME concerning performance and information. What goes into the Departments plans is determined by the framework of managing performance programmes and performance information, and through this they identify the service delivery the Department requires and the performance gaps that are related to the Departments mandate. They then identify what they aim to achieve as a Department, and then specify activities based on inputs and outputs that they need to achieve the set indicators and, and then they select the most important indicators related to the DOW’s mandate.
Ms Mathobela said the Department is also guided by other documents such as the National Development Plan (NDP) as well as unmet targets from previous years.
Ms Mathobela agreed with the Committee and stated that the DOW should set realistic targets and focus on a core issues, but every department needs performance policy which includes the standard operating procedures. When the AG come they audit everything to see if the departments are complying with their own frameworks and how they do their work. She added that the Department in the past years has tried hard to comply and not move away from the systems that are necessary and in place.
Ms Mathobela stated that in 2015 the Department launched the Status of Women report on Women’s day and following that it was the mid-term review of the Department. After the mid-term review they came back and tabled an erratum which changed half of the Departments targets due to the outcome of that report. To answer the question, everything they do is supervised by the AG and internal audit unit. Ms Mathobela concluded by stating that she disagrees with the Committee position that the Department has not progressed. The problem with being under-capacitated and under-skilled is partly because when individuals are hired it is based on qualifications, but once they start the work they are unable to implement what they were taught.
Ms Legwale began by echoing Ms Mathobela and stating that the problem was not that the DOW was hiring unskilled persons but that the individuals were educated/skilled but were unable to implement learned skills.
Ms Legwale stated that the irregular expenditure was acquired due to non-compliance of SCM regulations; the department utilised the appointed service providers who were non-compliant – service providers not registered with Central Supplier Database (CSD; receiving of goods without acknowledgement by the service providers by not signing delivery notes; service providers were appointed while quotations were being sourced and the proper division approval was not given from the relevant accounting officer.
Ms Legwale said officials responsible for irregular expenditure were the manager and the procurement officers. The department made a procurement mandate that was issued to all staff members in terms of providing guidance on how to comply with requesting procurement of goods and services. The department also developed an internal check list which is utilised by SCM officials when expediting requests for procurement. They also started training officials in SCM. Supporting documents for procurement are reviewed by delegated officials which are herself and the CFO before financial orders are issued to service providers to ensure that compliance is not compromised. The department also contracted three contract workers to strengthen capacity in the SCM unit as a result of an official being on maternity leave and another being on suspension. Yesterday they shortlisted candidates for SCM Director. Interviews will be held on the 1st of November 2018, and they plan to fill the post by 1st of January 2019.
Ms Legwale stated that all funds were shifted in accordance with the requirement of the PFMA and were audited by AG.
Ms Moema answered questions on performance management agreements and notch increases. She stated that all officials must sign and submit performance agreements by 21 May every year and non-compliance with this provision results in consequences such as not qualifying for performance rewards. After signing the performance agreements, performance is assessed twice per year, at the end of the first semester and at the end of the year, then it is assessed based on the performance management and development policy. The policy uses a scale of one to five where by a rating of three qualifies a person for a notch increase within the same salary level, there is no promotion or bonus. A rating of four or five qualifies them for a performance bonus, of which they did not have in the 2017/18 financial year. The 66 employees that are referred to in the Annual Report as receiving notch increases were all rated a three.
Mr Booi answered questions on the status of women report. He stated that it was necessary to explain the core duty regarding the Nine Point Plan in terms of operationalizing the department against the backdrop of the Presidential Directive to ensure that gender mainstreaming is taking place at government programme and project level. He stated that the Department wrote to 22 asset cluster departments. Upon consideration the Department decided that economic exclusion is not merely an economic concern but a social one as well. Therefore, the DOW expanded its scope – focusing on the asset cluster on the economic structure in departments. The Department focused on 22 other government departments, and out of 22 they observed nine departments who were working towards the socio-economic empowerment of women by incorporating the Nine Point Plan. This demonstrated that within government department there are on differing levels regarding the implementation of the Nine Point Plan. And this gives them a firm grounding in terms of necessary internal interventions.
Mr Booi stated that the goal for programme two was to communicate with programme three concerning Monitoring and Evaluation. Mr Booi stated that the challenge is the way in which fellow colleagues in other departments view gender mainstreaming. He added that other departments view gender mainstreaming as a ‘women issue’ and therefore, the DOW should be concerned with it. He explained that gender mainstreaming is a societal issue and it should be a societal agenda. He concluded that this understanding will inform departments to engage seriously with gender mainstreaming.
Dr Manzini answered questions on the high use of research consultants. She stated that after the presentations at the Indaba in various provinces, the Department did not have enough information to write a full and detailed report or to develop an implantation plan. She added that the Department then sent questions to the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu-Natal provinces and the response was insufficient. The Department decided to use research consultants to supplement the information to write detailed reports and develop adequate plans.
Dr Manzini explained that the Department has two qualified researchers. Therefore, the expertise was insufficient to conduct the necessary research. Furthermore, the areas that needed to be covered were too large for the DOW to do the research alone in a short timeframe. She added that the Department managed the entire research process. Different researchers were used in each province and were paid under R500 000. Therefore, a tender was not necessary. Dr Manzini concluded by stating that the department will work to decrease the number of consultants used.
Ms Griessel answered questions on the M&E framework and lack of skills. She stated that it is incorrect that Department only became aware of a lack of skills through an external audit. The consultants were an objective view. When restructuring takes place in government, some officials are relocated into positions that are different to posts they were originally hired for, which leaves a gap and skills get displaced.
Ms Griessel added that concerning a lack of M&E proficient employees, at times recruitment fails when people have the degrees but lack implementation skills. She added that recruitment is underway and M&E posts should be filled in 2018/2019 financial year. The department is small therefore if an employee is moved, suspended or fired its output is greatly affected. She added that the department does not have the information on international engagements on hand and will look it up and send it to the Committee.
Ms Griessel stated that regarding the treaty compliance, the Department submitted the fifth periodic (CEDAW) report in October 2016 but it was found that there were technical issues, so it was not accepted. It has since been resubmitted and was published so they will give it to the Committee
Ms Griessel stated that regarding international reporting, the Department has enlisted assistance from the Governance and Administration (G&A) cluster to acquire the necessary information.
Ms Griessel said that concerning record keeping, getting information on GRPB and gender indicators cannot be acquired retrospectively. Provisions for such specific data must be made in anticipation of it. She added that the Department looked at the APP drafts of five departments and looked at what was achieved regarding the socio-economic empowerment of women.
Ms Griessel stated that research has found that compliance does not work so they are working with self-assessment.
Ms Griessel concluded by informing the Committee that the Department is lobbying for gender performance agreements between Ministers and the President.
The Chairperson thanked the DOW for answering the questions and commented that the Committee has confidence in the Minister and the Department. She added that the concern was the possibility of reducing the use consultants given the under-capacity and lack of skills.
The Minister referred to the earlier question of the DOW organogram and clarified that her secretary would hand out a hard copy of it while mentioning that there was not enough time to discuss it.
The Minister said that the Cabinet decided that the DBE be in full control of ECD and that the process has begun. She further added that the DOW is working on its record keeping.
The Minister stated that the Department met with NT and NDP concerning GRPB, but the entities did not receive the Department well. She concluded by stating that the Department has given the President names of women that are experts in gender issues within differing sectors.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) further enquired on the notch increases that 66 DOW employees received. She asked what criterion was used in deciding which employees did not receive notch increases, and which employees received notch increases.
The Minister stated that a staff meeting was held, and the DOW employees raised issues concerning back-dated awards and notch increases in previous years. The staff was “bitter and angry” therefore to ease the tensions and increase employee satisfaction within the Department, decisions were made to give notch increases to those that were deserving but were not awarded in previous years.
Ms Tshabalala added that there are performance bonuses amounting to R44 000 in the Annual Report because these were employees that were due to be paid by the previous department but were not. These outstanding awards were taken from our budget.
Ms Legwale explained that when an employee leaves a department and joins another having been approved for a bonus, the onus is on the new department to pay the employee the performance award previously agreed by the former department. Therefore, the R44 000 is concerned with the officials that joined DOW before they received their bonuses from the previous departments in which they were employed.
Ms Mathobela added that a payment was made based on leave gratuity policy. She stated that an employee passed away in the Department and had leave of approximately 150 days; it was the Department’s responsibility to pay out that leave gratuity to the deceased family from their budget.
Ms Tshabalala stated that the Minister asked why there were still issues around leave management. Ms Tshabalala explained that there was an introduction of a new policy that ensures all employees utilise all leave days throughout the year.
Ms van der Merwe said that out of 112 personel, is the department sure that all employees are fit for purpose, if not, how many are fit for purpose, and what will the Department do to address the skills shortage.
Ms Chueu added that the Department must plan and share ideas with the Committee including developing the strategies, an organogram, and APP. She added that the building in which the DOW is housed is substandard. The lifts rarely work and the building lacks disability access. Ms Chueu concluded by stating that the R15 million the Department is paying for rent is too high.
The Minister stated that the building they are housed in is safe as it was checked after a fire. She agreed and commented that the location of the building is unsafe for women as many employees leave late and the only parking is on the street. As a result, women employees have been mugged. She explained that the rent was an agreement between the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the landlord, but she added that she will request the rent to be reduced.
The Minister stated that the DOW is planning on having two days during the 16 days of Activism to discuss gender with government departments.
Ms Stander enquired about the strategic planning, sanitary and dignity, dialogues, M&E and reports.
Ms Stander asked how much it cost, and if there was a report.
Ms Stander asked why the AG was the one to identify fruitless and wasteful, irregular, unauthorized expenditure.
Ms Stander said there was an employee who failed to declare an interest in a company being used by the DOW. She asked who the employee is, and who the supplier.
Ms Stander said DOW’s mandate states that the Department will lead, coordinate and oversee the agenda on socio-economic empowerment of women, not to do service delivery. She asked why the department spent R80 000 on sanitary pads.
Ms Stander asked why the department is fast tracking distribution of sanitary pads if it is not a service delivery entity.
Ms Stander asked why the DG is still in acting capacity, and when would the position become permanent.
Ms Stander asked how the Nine Point Plan was evaluated for the mid-term report without an M&E framework.
Ms Stander asked how much the total costs for each dialogue in each province was.
Ms Stander asked where the provincial reports were.
Ms Stander asked how participants are invited to the dialogues because it is essential that the information is organic and unbiased.
Ms Stander asked if it is necessary for the Department to be a knowledge hub given that this is not part of the DOW mandate.
Ms Stander echoed Ms Chueu stating that the Committee should be included in the strategic planning processes. Ms Stander suggested that the DOW keep its mandate simple and clear while focusing on restructuring, specifically skill transfers and skill development.
The Minister stated the DG had previously explained the funds used on sanitary pads. She added that dialogues are the best means of reaching the people and giving them a platform on which to voice their grievances and develop answers to their problems. She explained that the dialogues are a space for the people to claim their power given that in their lived experience they have little of it. Communities must have their own tools to deal with their problems. The Minister concluded by stating that a debriefing programme must be developed for DOW officials as going out and speaking to suffering communities can be traumatic.
Ms Legwale clarified concerning the failure to disclosure interest by suppliers. She stated that the department is required to utilise service providers that are registered on the CSD. She added that when the department identifies suppliers, it confirms that the suppliers are not restricted from working with government. Ms Legwale explained that the Department confirms whether the supplier’s status is in good standing, banking details, and whether the company’s Director(s) or any employees work within government. All due processes were observed by the Department, however, the AG found that the owners of the company failed to disclose interest when they registered with CSD. She concluded by stating that the DG wrote to the involved Departments DG informing them that their employees had failed to disclose interest when they registered on the CSD.
Ms Tshabalala added that they do not have the information on strategic planning costs on hand, but they will send it to the Committee once it is available.
Mr Booi began by explaining how the Nine Point Plan was analysed/evaluated in the absence of an indicator model (M&E). He said that this happened in the backdrop of the Presidential initiative which stated that the DOW had to monitor and report back on the implementation of the Nine Point Plan regularly across government departments. The Department then agreed to develop transversal indicators in the interim and focused on four focus areas; preferential procurement; access to jobs; enterprise and supply development; and entrepreneurial development.
Ms Griessel concerning mid-term evaluations reports stated that there is vast literature on how to conduct different types of evaluations without an M&E framework. She added that better performance is linked to better knowledge. Part of development is deepening and acquiring knowledge, and this has been seen nationally and internationally. She concluded that research and knowledge is necessary in implementing the best programmes, hence, the move towards cementing the Department as a Knowledge hub. Ms Griessel added that a knowledge hub is a readily available central place where research, knowledge and evidence is kept and accessed. She suggested that every project manager in government conduct research within every project.
Ms Bhengu asked the Minister when the debate will be held during the 16 days of activism.
The Minister responded that the DOW is in the process of applying for a date.
Ms Chueu added that the Committee engaged 10 departments in its gender responsive policy, and none had it in place therefore the Department must monitor other departments. She added that knowledge is important, therefore, research must be a priority for the Department so that they can educate other departments.
Ms Chueu asked what the consequences are for employees that do not comply.
Ms Chueu concluded by echoing Ms Stander’s earlier point, she stated that the DOW’s reports, along with other government departments are vague and fraught with unclear technical jargon. She suggested that the DOW change the way in which they report. The DOW must take full responsibility on women’s issues and be proactive because if they do not, no other department will.
Ms Tshabalala stated that the Committee should continue to ask questions and the DOW will answer them. She explained that at times answering the Committee’s questions might take time as there are hierarchies in receiving and obtaining certain information and therefore, pleaded with the Committee to exercise patience.
Ms Tshabalala explained that the officials that incurred the irregular expenditure based on failure to disclose interest are from other departments not the DOW, therefore, the Department was unable to reprimand those officials. Ms Tshabalala confirmed that she wrote to the officials DG to inform them of the officials’ failure to disclose.
The Chairperson concluded the meeting by thanking the DOW and the Committee for their cooperation. She stated that the Committee understood the Department’s challenges, but the meeting was held because the Committee needed clarity.
The meeting was adjourned.