Department of Women Quarter 2 performance; with Minister

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

13 November 2018
Chairperson: Ms TC Memela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Women in the Presidency in its Quarter 2 performance achieved 20 (69%) of its 29 targets, while nine (31%) were not achieved. There was an improvement by 9% for targets achieved from Quarter 1. The Department spent 44.9% of the adjusted annual budget by end of Quarter 2.

The Minister said the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) and the Department itself were underfunded. Violence against women and children was a crisis area. Government had to consider how institutionalised patriarchy would be dealt with differently as it was a basis for poverty and violence against women.

The Department said that as the end of the Fifth Administration was approaching it remained focused on its priorities under the leadership of the Minister. Advances had been made despite a serious mismatch between the Department’s mandate and resources. There was a clear mandate to revive the National Gender Machinery (NGM), achievements in the Sanitary Dignity Programme, a Gender Response Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Summit would be held and a 25 year review was also being undertaken on the status of women since 1994.

Members were concerned about the suspension of officials and the related costs, violence against women and children, outstanding legislation on the decriminalisation of sex work, Traditional Courts Bill and delayed legislation on forced marriages and child marriages. Members urged the Department to complete the Framework for Sanitary Dignity before the end of the Fifth Term even if outsourcing had to be utilised.

Members asked questions about the improvement in the Department’s performance since Quarter 1, the status of its organogram, the collapse of the National Gender Machinery, its collaboration with CGE, the impact of the vacant posts and how the Department assisted women economically.

Meeting report

Minister’s opening remarks
Ms Bathabile Dlamini, Minister for Women in the Presidency, said the Quarter 2 report was important as it highlighted areas that would assist the next administration to better understand the challenges for women. Government had to try and consider how structuralised institutionalised patriarchy would be dealt with differently as it was the basis for poverty and violence against women. Women could not make decisions about themselves due to this. Patriarchy made women have to account for wrongdoing against them instead of the perpetrators doing so. Things that were not part of culture became culture but culture was dynamic. Women passed norms and values of society to coming generations. Women could not impart certain things to the next generations because they did not agree with it and were therefore stuck.

Violence against women and children was an area of crisis. The arms of state had to lead by example in this area. What had been done to ensure that these arms accounted to the country? The real causal factors of the challenges had to be considered. Structures related to women were not funded properly such as the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), the Department of Women (DoW) as was implementation of legislation meant to protect women. There was also a lack of preventative measures. The socialisation of children both girls and boys was very important as the starting point for this. The strengthening of the family structure was important to address challenges as women needed support.

There was a lack of planning for the life of the girl child from her birth to education and life thereafter. These were the things that had to be addressed but not only by government but by the private sector as well. The emancipation of women was a big issue. Equal pay for equal work shook some people. Once one said that the work women do on a daily basis had to be in the GDP and had to be paid for, there was upset. What was happening right now was that women’s services were not recognised, acknowledged and made formal. Women made life move for everyone and that made people think women’s services were free of charge when it was not supposed to be. These were the issues that needed to be addressed.

Working with the Committee assisted the Department in doing its work. The Department’s work cut across each and every department which had to understand its role in improving equality and the lives of women. The Constitution was also very clear about equity, equality, non-sexism and sexual orientation. The Constitution gave very clear marching orders and the Department had to ensure that everyone was part of changing the quality of life for women. Government had to lead by example.

She noted that the Department had reduced its delegation size based on the Committee’s previous comments.

Department’s opening remarks
Ms Annette Griessel, Acting Director-General, DoW, said the Department welcomed the oversight of the Committee to strengthen it in carrying out its mission. The Department was aware that it was very close to the end of the current financial year and the Fifth Administration. They were very focused on their priorities under the leadership of the Minister.

DoW believed it had made important advances and this would be spoken about but it was also aware that there would be those that did not want to recognise the achievements of women. The Department was not exempt from this despite its position but the Department’s staff was very determined to push forward with the achievement of its goals. Advances had been made despite a serious mismatch between the Department’s mandate and resources. There was chronic underfunding of the Department with a lack of basic posts which allowed it to do compliance work. For example, there was no Director of Supply Chain Management which other departments had nor a Director of Human Resources. The Minister had asked the Department to consider the balance between the administration and the core staff. Due to the requirements of compliance unlike in other departments its administrative function outweighed the allocation to core staff and the impact of this was important. DoW ’s core function related to a government wide and societal mandate as the issues of women and gender affected government as a whole.

The Department had prioritised its interventions under the leadership of the Minister and the details would be discussed by the different programme managers. There was a clear mandate to revive the National Gender Machinery (NGM). There had been achievements in the Sanitary Dignity Programme including the announcement on the zero-rating of sanitary products. The programme was expected to launch before the end of the financial year.

The important role played by the Department at the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Summit had to be acknowledged on the establishment of a multi-sector structure for GBV as well as a fully funded National Strategic Plan. Under the leadership of the Minister, the Department had multiple dialogues where the voices of ordinary women from farms, rural areas, mining, trade unions, faith-based organisations, traditional leaders and intellectuals were heard. This gave an opportunity for the ordinary voices of women to be heard and their needs and concerns incorporated into the policy documents and frameworks not just of DoW but the country in general.

Strides had been made in budgeting, planning and evaluation. It was no longer just looking at gender based budgeting because the gender response had to be integrated across the policy cycle. It could not only be about money but also the inclusion in planning instruments of government which had to be very specific on gender. The Minister had called a Gender Response Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Summit on 29 and 30 November. A 25 year review was also being undertaken on the status of women since 1994. This would inform the policy priorities for 2019-2024.

Department of Women Quarter 2 performance
Ms Valerie Mathobela, DoW Chief Director: Office of the Director-General, noted that in Quarter 1 18 (60%) of the targets were achieved. There was an improvement by 9% in Quarter 2. Out of 29 targets for Q2, 20 (69%) targets were achieved, while 9 (31%) were not achieved

Programme 1
Out of 13 targets planned, eight (62%) targets were achieved, while five (38%) were not achieved.

She provided reasons for the targets that were not achieved and the interventions put in place.

The target to produce one quarterly report on Gender communications and information made available on DoW media platforms was not achieved. This was because the post of the Director: Communications was vacant in Q2 but it was being filled for Quarter 3.

The target for 100% payment of all valid invoices paid within 30 days was not achieved. 99% of the invoices were paid but the challenge was human resource capacity challenges. Staff had been appointed on a contract basis to attend to the process to ensure compliance.

The target to maintain less than 2% underspending against quarterly projections was not achieved as DoW had 5% underspending. This was due to a delay in the commencement of the research on the Sanitary Dignity Framework and development of the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework due to poor responses from the market to requests for quotations. The Department decided to recruit contract workers who would conduct the research on the Sanitary Dignity Framework and develop the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework in the beginning of Q3.

The target to implement 95% of audit recommendations was not achieved. The final management letter was issued in August which meant by close of Quarter 2, this was still a work in progress. There were weekly meetings by the audit steering committee to ensure this work was completed.

The target to resolve 100% of all disciplinary cases internally within 90 days remained problematic to achieve. The target was not achieved due to cases being postponed for various reasons which were out of DoW ’s control.

Programme 2
Dr Nontsikelelo Manzini, Chief Director: Social Empowerment and Transformation, DoW, said that of the five targets for Programme 2, four (80%) targets were achieved, while one (20%) was not achieved. The target for the revised Draft Framework for Sanitary Dignity was achieved as it was revised and consulted. The target for consultation on the Draft Women’s Financial Inclusion Framework with stakeholders was achieved. The target for the number of programmes in 365 days Programme of Action (POA) coordinated was achieved with one programme in the Western Cape. The target for the development of the Interim National Gender Machinery (NGM) Diagnostic Report was not achieved as the literature review had not been undertaken. There had been interventions and the literature review had been completed. The target for the revision of the Inter-Ministerial Committee Integrated Plan of Action (IMC-IPOA) for addressing Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) was achieved.

Programme 3
Ms Griessel said that out of 11 targets, eight (73%) were achieved and three (27%) were not achieved. As indicated earlier the Department had commenced on the 25 year review. Research had been completed on the gender analysis of incentives schemes. There were six public participation outreach initiatives as part of Women’s Month and the Department was also part of the organisers for the dialogue on Gender Based Violence in the Western Cape. The target for consultation on a conceptual framework for Young Women’s Socio-Economic Empowerment was not achieved but a draft concept document was developed. The target for the production of one report in fulfilment of international treaty obligations was achieved. The target to collect data on existing gender indicators on Outcome 14 was achieved. The target for the development of an inception report was not achieved. The Department had planned to do an evaluation on Technogirl Trust but experienced some obstacles. She added that the Department did not have a single evaluation official but the organisational structure would be improved in this regard.

The development of the M&E Framework for the Sanitary Dignity Programme, as mentioned, was not achieved due to challenges in finding a service provider.

A key project part of the Gender Response and Budgeting was the Country Gender Indicator Framework which was aligned with the incorporation of gender indicators into all government planning. The target was achieved as an analysis report of existing country gender indicators was developed. The target for consultations on the Draft Gender Responsive Planning Framework was achieved.

It was noted that a Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) report for the Department had been compiled and the results of the term assessment was included for the Committee’s information.

Ms Nondumiso Moema, Acting Chief Director: Corporate Management, DOW, presented on Human Resources. DoW had managed to keep the vacancy rate at 6.2% therefore achieving the target. There were 12 vacant posts which would all be filled in Q3 as the Department was at advanced stages of filling the posts. There were two service terminations in Q2.

On labour matters, the Department had five disciplinary cases, three employees on suspension, three employees whose suspension exceeded 30 days and the cost of suspension was R2 million. The Department would meeting the next day to discuss matters concerning suspension and uplifting suspension while cases were pending. It wanted to do this legally and would consult legal advisers on the matter.

On ICT challenges, an official said it helped to meet with junior officials as they dealt with these challenges first hand. The previous Friday a meeting was held with these officials. Some concerns had been addressed and it was agreed that other issues would be addressed as soon as possible. The Department would also work with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to deal with these challenges

DoW’s information and communications technology (ICT) had passed their warranty year and there was an arrangement with a particular company to extend the warranty but there were disagreements. Other companies were refusing to touch its ICT. One server had crashed and the person responsible for ICT, who was about to leave, had only written a report then left.

For financial accountability, DoW had been using manual note logging and it did not have licences for its systems as well. It was agreed in the meeting that the licences, the server and replacement of some hardware in the office was important. As DoW worked with SITA, it had asked it to do a proper analysis and evaluation. Some of the things that had to be done for ICT had been moved to Finance and it had been asked that either everything goes to Finance or it moves back to ICT. The reason for mentioning this was that it might have an impact on the Department’s work but it was also considering remedial action to accelerate the correction of the plans.

The balance of 62% administrative staff and 38% core staff was worrisome because the issues of women were very sophisticated and a core staff was needed that understood the work that had to be done. She was concerned that the structure itself was the cause for this outcome and some of the approved posts were not for core staff but were increasing administrative staff.

The Department had the Sanitary Dignity Programme and Cabinet had given it a mandate to deal with the framework for it. Frameworks were not policy and there had to be legislation to sustain the programme of creating frameworks. The team that deal with ensuring job creation, investment and stimulus packages had earmarked this programme for the value chain that would improve the quality of life of women. When the Committee on Finance met it decided that this would be divided between provinces and there was agreement on the piloting of it. This meant that money would go straight to provinces and DoW was not sure what would happen to these funds. These were the kind of things done to make the Department look inefficient. It had come up with a framework that had to be adjusted and when it was revised it was told that it was irresponsible and underspending when there was a particular line of marching to follow. These were all the matters that had to be considered.

The Department spent 44.9% of the annual adjusted budget for Q2 amounting to R230 million.

Programme 1: Administration
The Programme budget is R78.7 million with actual expenditure of R42 million which translates to 53.4%. The overspending of R1.5 million is mainly due to the following:
- Legal fees for disciplinary hearing cases that were paid in the current financial year.
- Leave gratuities paid for officials who resigned.
- Claims against department for disciplinary hearing case amounting to R343 000.
- Unrecoverable debts written off for previous financial year.

The presentation was curtailed at this point as a Member interjected asking that more time be given to Members' questions rather than covering the information contained in the presentation. The Minister had raised the predicaments that had to be addressed.

Ms M Chueu (ANC) asked if DoW had the capacity to create the required legislation as it was needed between now and January. If it did, it had to create the Framework so that National Treasury could assist in ring fencing the funds for sanitary towels. The legislation had to guide DoW and provincial governments in ensuring that funds were spent correctly and that there were deliverables. If it did not have the capacity, did it have the funds to outsource and have the work done quickly so that it could be taken to the National Assembly by January 2019?

A Committee Member welcomed the report and said she agreed with the Minister about reconsidering how DoW was working because the violence against women was beyond reproach. She agreed that the legislation had to be done as soon as possible. A 25 year review was mentioned and that was important for guiding DoW on the issues of women.

She noted that DoW had performed better in Q2 than Q1 in achieving targets. The Department had only achieved 18 out of 30 targets in Q1. What was the reason for this? There was an Acting DG for only six months. What was the impact of this on Programme 3?

Ms M Khawula (EFF) spoke in her vernacular (01:01:11 – 01:02:09).

A Committee Member asked if DoW had an organogram. He asked who the individuals were facing disciplinary cases and what had they done. He was concerned about the R2 million paid to those officials on suspension. DoW still had to consult with legal advisers on this – did it just suspend people without legal certainty?

Ms T Stander (DA) said that the report referred to 'service providers' but were these not in fact consultants? Why was a settlement of R365 000 paid out to a former employee? Why was the NGM allowed to lapse in the first place as it was something that was instilled many years ago? Why did it collapse?

She encouraged DoW to work closely with CGE as it did not have the capacity to develop frameworks and legislation and do all the things it was trying to do such as the Country Gender Indicator Framework, reestablish the NGM and create frameworks. CGE had already done a lot of work and in partnership with it, DoW could meet many of their shared objectives and at least get something done that would put women forward.

She was concerned as there was outstanding legislation on the decriminalisation of sex work, the Traditional Courts Bill and on forced marriages. She had spoken to people in Cabinet and had asked where this legislation was but the response she received was that it was sensitive and it would not be dealt with during an election time. She was serious. How could political parties or whoever say that legislation should be delayed because it was an election year and it did not want to upset traditional leaders or voters? She asked if there was anything DoW and the Minister could do to ensure that these bills, which had been outstanding for years, were dealt with.

Ms P Bhengu-Kombe (ANC) said that decriminalisation of sex work had been with the Department of Justice for 10 years and the Bill still had to be brought to Parliament. It was a Bill that affected women and it had been taken back and forth deliberately.

On partnership with CGE, she said for the last four years the previous minister had worked apart from the CGE but at least DoW and the CGE were working together during this period.

Last time the Committee met with DoW, it was established that there had to be an organogram and the Committee had to ensure DoW develop it. The Committee had given DoW the task to create an organogram and strategy. What was the date determined for this?

Ms D Robinson (DA) asked for an indication on what had happened to the previous Director-General, Ms Tshabalala. The current acting DG had been appointed at the end of 2018/19 and was also the Deputy Director General (DDG) for Programme 3. She asked for clarity on this.

Minister’s response
Minister Dlamini said she would respond to some questions and management would respond to the rest. Ms Tshabalala was an Acting DG and rotation of acting positions was allowed. Ms Tshabalala was responsible for the Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment (STEE) Programme and Ms Griessel had other responsibilities as well.

A proposed date had been determined but it did not fit everyone. The strategy meeting could be held between the 10 and 16 December.

The Department was working with CGE and a lot of work had already been done to address challenges. One important issue was that there was a suggestion that DoW had to reconfigure this and it had to be a senior official from DoW that was appointed in these positions because junior officials did not even meet with the CGE as it worked with the Minister. Having a Chief Director would put DoW in a better position in this regard. There was a suggestion in the beginning that it should be a DDG and then later the suggestion was that it had to be a Chief Director in DoW to ensure that the programmes of gender were followed up.

The NGM was not funded therefore it was difficult to coordinate meetings. Meetings were held but the issue was that the concerns did not reach the right place.

DoW had an organogram and it had been sent to the Committee. The issue with having 68% administrative staff was made easy as it was said that some of the administrative staff had to be moved to core staff. Core staff was about content and being able to come up with framework, policy and research and many other things. People moved to other parts of the Department while the organogram was being defined but it had to wait until the entire organogram was changed to move staff back to where they were effective.

The Department would try and ensure that decisions taken at the GBV Summit were implemented. It had to try to do this as there was a suggestion for a committee . There was an outcry about the lack of progress with the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence. The Council had to be funded by government and if it had been started long before as planned, it would have progressed far by now. As the GBV Council had not been funded from the beginning, it had collapsed.

The Department would consider the framework and outsourcing the work in order to deliver legislation. It could also work with the Portfolio Committee because the Committee could come up with a Committee Bill or Members could come up with a Private Member’s Bill. These were the possibilities that had to be considered.

Department’s response
Ms Griessel said that the Minister had spoken on legislation and the Department would certainly provide the technical support.

On its Q1 non-performance, the underperformance in Q1 was to do with compliance in Programme 1 Administration to do with risk management, MPAT, communications, audit and ICT. There was persistence of the very same issues from Q1 to Q2 but some matters were dealt with in Q2. The NGM target was a problem in Q1 and Q2 but DoW had now taken decisive action to appoint someone to work on this deliverable. It was confident that in Q3 there would be a turnaround for the NGM as well as the Young Women’s Framework targets. A lack of sufficient capacity was a consistent challenge DoW faced but it was taking steps to address this.

She noted that the Acting Chief Director on Corporate Management would address the disciplinary cases.

Ms Griessel said that the Minister had spoken about why the NGM had collapsed but DoW was working closely with CGE on many issues especially on all priority programmes. CGE was also part of the sub-committee working on the Country Gender Indicator Framework. This was a very broad project that required cross-governmental work.

Ms Moema replied that DoW did have an organogram and approved structure. Certain posts mentioned had been occupied but were vacant due to resignations and retirements. Some posts were also unfunded

On the suspended officials, the main reason for suspensions was due to contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA) in supply chain management. Many were from the supply chain unit which included a deputy director and two other officials. The former acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and one chief director from core management was also suspended. Reports were created on the suspensions.

The Department did follow the correct procedure when officials were placed on suspension. The main reason it was considering uplifting the suspensions was because two directors had been suspended and it was affecting DoW’s performance and secondly it was costly. The correct procedure had been followed but it now had to consult on how to uplift the suspension so that it complied with the law.

Ms Moema replied that in July 2017 there was a case where an official took DoW to the bargaining council for unfair suspension. Before the case commenced, the official had been suspended for more than 60 days. It was ordered that the official be compensated with six months’ salary as the suspension was determined unfair.

Further discussion
Ms Stander said she would not advise allowing the suspended officials to return to work. If someone was placed on suspension it was due to a serious offence. Should the Department tell the official to return, the Labour Court or Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) would say if the suspended person could return, then what was done was not that serious.

Ms Moema replied the cost of suspension was growing as it was paying people who are not at work but in such a small department there were not enough human resources. That was why it would ask the state law adviser about the matter. There had been an investigation and this had ended and the case was supposed to have started. The case could drag on due to non-appearances at hearings. Whether the officials came back or not, DoW might be sued as this had happened before.

Ms Bhengu-Kombe asked if the suspended officials would still continue to be paid in the Sixth Term.

Ms Moema replied that the officials were still DoW employees as nothing had been proved against them and the outcome of their cases were still outstanding. The allegations were deferred except for the supply chain cases which had resulted in irregular expenditure.

A Committee Member noted that there were officials who were charged who did attend hearings but there were changes in the disciplinary hearing chairpersons.

Members spoke in vernacular 01:30:19 – 01:31:42.

Ms Stander said that if this was off the record then the meeting should be adjourned.

Ms Khawula spoke in vernacular 01:32:45 - 01:40:57.

The Chairperson spoke in vernacular 01:41:01.

A translator translated Ms Kwawula’s comments. She was happy to see the Minister. She had a problem because women were being abused and even if they tried to work as hawkers they were being arrested in Durban, Ethekwini. Women who sell mielies could not survive without this work as it provided for their children but they were arrested and had their pots destroyed. Which women had ever been assisted economically? Where was the money to develop these women other than doing work like beadwork? She referred to page three of the presentation which was about violence. Women on farms were severely abused and their livestock was being taken away. Was DoW aware of Enduduzweni where multiple families were living in one facility? This was totally unacceptable but was happening in Durban. She knew that the Minister had trust in her officials. Could something not be done about sex workers who were killed by their clients?

Members spoke in vernacular 01:43:43-01:44:20.

Minister Dlamini (01:44:20) spoke in vernacular. Secondly, men did not get arrested as it was the women who were arrested for sex work. Thirdly, most of the studies said that young people ended up in this position because they could not look after their families or children. Therefore there had to be agreement on the approach that had to be taken.

The Justice Committee had to be pushed because the more the Committee remained quiet on the matter, the more young women would die. It could not support continual exploitation of women by people who wanted to buy but not pay. If there was not proper legislation those in the peace and justice cluster like the police would contribute in the killing of young people. There were many approaches that could be put forward. Firstly, there had to be agreement that there should not be discrimination, men had to be arrested as well if women were. Secondly, as the reason given for sex work was poverty, a programme had to be created which gave women a choice, job opportunities, training as well as counselling. She agreed fully that this was not an easy subject.

She said Ms Khawula was correct about women being abused on farms. It was always said that women who stayed on farms were abused by their bosses as well as their colleagues. There had to be coordination with other Ministers, Mayors as well as Members of the Executive Council (MECs) so that the matter was dealt with. The case of Durban had to be considered as well. If hawkers did not have permits they had to be assisted. There had to be a follow up on the case of Enduduzweni as it was a very sad case. She would talk directly to the MEC for Social Development in KZN to find out what was happening. She knew that by now the renovations of the original place should be completed and she would be shocked if renovations were incomplete as there was a full budget.

Ms Robinson said that she wanted to pick up about women being arrested for sex work and not men. She thought all had agreed that there had to be some form of decriminalisation of sex work because of the abuse suffered particularly from the authorities. She thought it was part of the Multi-Party Women’s Group view as well. She pointed out that if the path for partial decriminalisation - which was the Nordic Model - then the men would also be targeted and arrested because they were purchasing illegally. It was interesting as she had heard from Swedish and Norwegian people that the entire culture was changing. Instead of expecting men to go to brothels, it was now saying that this was incorrect. It was almost as if society itself was censoring itself.

She did not want to say that the decriminalisation would not happen before the next election as she knew it was a touchy subject for all Members of Parliament. She would be very sorry if she were not there to continue fighting on the matter but she wanted to caution against blanket decriminalisation. Aspects of partial decriminalisation had to be considered so that those who preyed on vulnerable people were held accountable as well. Perhaps the Committee had to go and see what was happening overseas and how it worked as there was still a plan for this.

Members spoke vernacular 01:52:57-01:53:51.

A Committee Member said that she was happy to see the Minister. There was a grandmother in East London who was being raped every day by her family. She believed that the Minister would help. She gave thanks.

Members spoke in vernacular 01:54:20 – 01:55:48.

The Chairperson said that the meeting time had ended.

The meeting was adjourned.


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