The Portfolio Committee considered and adopted the Committee Report containing comments, observations and recommendations about the Annual Performance Plan and Budget of the Department of Women (prior to its being joined with the Youth and Persons with Disabilities portfolio after the 2019 elections).
The Department thus has an operating budget of R159.210 million - an increase of R9.7 million. With inflation taken into account, the real increase is R2.2 million. The Department’s budget remains the smallest budget across all departments and it also received the smallest increase. The CGE budget allocation of R85 million was a R4.4 million increase which was insufficient to cover inflation.
The Department has three programmes. It was a concern that the Administration Programme had the largest budget allocation. It was alarming that the budget of the core programme, Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment, had decreased to R24 million for 2019/20 from R28.8 million. Such an important programme should not receive less money. About 50% of the budget of the third programme, Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management, is spent on travel and subsistence.
The Committee requested the Department organogram and set a deadline for this, as it had not been received yet. Members raised concerns about the high costs for staff compensation and consultants, asking if employees are paid so much, why is there a need for consultants. The Department was reminded to provide its briefing documents a week in advance. The Committee will talk to National Treasury about the small amount allocated to CGE.
The Chairperson said the Committee would look at the Committee Report to ensure it captures all the comments and recommendations raised in its previous meeting. Members can still add to the report should they feel that something relevant was left out. It is important that the report reflects the level at which the Committee would like to see the department operating. The Department of Women (DoW) needs to be able to deliver. She wants to see monitoring and evaluation being reflected in the APP. She wants to know how the DoW will implement their strategies and how they will monitor the progress of the implementation.
The Chairperson noted that some committee media statements presented inaccuracies. These statements reflect on the Committee and the work that they do. There seemed to be too much negativity in the media statements. Media statements need to reflect both the positives and the negatives, and not just the negatives. Important items that should be included in the media statements include the transitional proclamation by the President of the Youth and Persons with Disabilities components to the Department of Women and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) vacancies.
The Chairperson said that during Women’s Month, the provincial premiers should have their own provincial celebration programmes, but they must not do it the old way. There needs to be new ideas and innovative ways of celebrating such as seeing young people and people with disabilities being empowered and getting opportunities. It is the Committee that will shape the Department to do things. She requested that this be included in the media statement and instructed that the statement be rewritten to properly reflect the Committee and their work.
Ms Kashifa Abrahams, Committee Content Advisor, said the Committee Report covers the DoW and CGE Annual Performance Plans and the Budget Vote. The plenary debate on it will be 9 July. Members’ inputs on its observations and recommendations are key.
Department of Women in the Presidency
The DoW Annual Performance Plan document was tabled on 1 July and the APP for the Commission for Gender Equality was tabled on 2 July in Parliament. The Committee meeting was held on 2 July and the briefing was based on the previous Department of Women in the Presidency Budget Vote. The report noted the Department mandate and strategic objectives to champion gender equality and the achievement of women’s empowerment and rights. Highlights of the Strategic Plan 2015-2020 include: promotion of strategic leadership, good governance and the effective, efficient and economical use of public resources for the socio-economic empowerment of women, promotion of gender mainstreaming of government programmes and promotion of public participation through outreach and advocacy work.
The Department has three programmes: Administration; Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment and Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management.
DoW priorities in 2019/20 include the Sanitary Dignity Framework to be submitted to the Cabinet for approval, monitoring the implementation of the Women’s Financial Inclusion Framework (WFIF) and facilitate interventions and economic opportunities for women, performance monitoring review on women’s empowerment and gender equality and establish the National Council on Gender Based Violence.
The Committee Report provides information on the financial standing of DoW so as to give the members an idea of what has increased and decreased, and what the money is being spent on. The Committee mandate includes the duty to hold DoW accountable and every quarter it needs to present to the Committee their financial records and account for the money spent and whether they have delivered on their targets.
The budgetary allocation 2019/20 is R244.398 million of which R85.188 million is transferred to the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). The Department thus has an operating budget of R159.210 million - an increase of only R9.7 million from 2018/19. With inflation taken into account, the Department has R2.2 million compared to 2018/19. The Department’s budget remains the smallest budget across all departments and it also received the smallest increase. The CGE budget allocation of R85 million was a R4.4 million increase from 2018/19 which was insufficient to cover inflation and demands for service delivery improvement.
The key cost drivers for the DoW are compensation of employees, goods and services, travel and subsistence, property payments, consultants, external audit costs, transport, venues and facilities. These key cost drivers all increased this year except venues and facilities which decreased. A lot of money is spent on compensation of employees and on goods and services. When removing the CGE transfer from the allocation, the inflation-adjusted real increase in the DoW budget is only R1.9 million. Programme 3 sees the most significant increase.
On Compensation of Employees, it was noted that the greatest proportion of staff fall within the level 13-16 salary band (senior management), at a combined cost of R46.7 million or a unit cost of R1.2 million per person. DoW had not provided an organogram so it is unclear exactly how much they are paying on salaries.
The 2019/20 APP states that as of 1 October 2014, the Minister of Public Service and Administration approved the organisational structure for the Department of Women in Presidency with an establishment of 1221 posts of which 107 are filled posts. The DoW presentation to the Committee stated that the approved staff establishment is 124 posts of which 107 are funded and 17 remain unfunded. There is thus a discrepancy in the actual number of DoW employees, given the differing information from the Department of Public Service and Administration.
The Committee Report gave an overview of the DoW programmes. Programme 1: Administration provides strategic leadership, management and support services and consumes the largest proportion of the budget. This remains a concern as the DoW core mandate is carried out by the other two programmes.
Programme 2: Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment facilitates and promotes the attainment of women’s socioeconomic empowerment and gender equality. Its budget for 2018/19 was R28.8 million and for 2019/20 is R24 million. This is concerning as Programme 2 is the core programme so it is alarming that such an important programme would receive less money that the previous year.
Programme 3: Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management undertakes research, policy analysis, monitoring, evaluation, and outreach. The budget increased form R41.3 million in 2018/19 to R50.9 million in 2019/20. About 50% of this budget is spent on travel and subsistence.
Ms Abrahams reminded the Committee to ask for detailed breakdowns of DoW travel and campaign expenses.
Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)
The budget allocation is R85.177 million which is a R4.442 million increase from the previous year. This is not sufficient to cover the growing spending pressure due to inflation and demands for service delivery betterment. The biggest proportion of the budget is spent on compensation of employees due its work carried out by internal personnel thus the large amount spent on personnel is justified. The CGE has 110 employees distributed at head office and the nine provinces.
Ms Abrahams said that the Committee might want to think about including in the debate that DoW has more employees than CGE, yet they do not have offices in all provinces like the CGE does. CGE meets its targets with few employees compared to DoW which sometimes does not reach its targets. CGE has four objectives with Objective 1 allocated R13 million, Objective 2 about R21 million, Objective 3 about R8 million and Objective 4 R41.6 million.
The Committee’s observations included:
▪ DoW submitted its presentation only at the meeting which disadvantages Members from being adequately prepared.
▪ DoW tabled an APP which did not include its expanded mandate for youth and people with disabilities.
▪ The APP had inaccuracies and the Committee questioned if it was edited before being tabled.
▪ The key performance indicators in the APP 2019/20 were not SMART and lacked the requisite detail to effectively hold DoW accountable.
▪ The indicators measured only outputs and not outcomes.
▪ Certain targets were repeated from the first to the fourth quarter and that was unacceptable.
▪ The 5th Parliament Committee’s observation that DoW had an overall lack of understanding of its mandate appeared to still be the case as the targets identified in the APP would not give full effect to the mandate.
▪ There is a lack of policy certainty on women’s empowerment and gender equality given that the National Gender Policy Framework was outdated. The absence of a finalised monitoring and evaluation framework by DoW is a consistent concern raised by the 5th Parliament Committee.
▪ The 5th Parliament Committee’s observation that DoW took two years to deal with transitional arrangements of the 2014 proclamation which directly impacted on DoW functioning was a concern. The Committee is keen to understand what mitigating factors DoW has in place to prevent a prolonged transition as happened in 2014.
▪ Programme 1 receives a higher budget allocation than the core programmes 2 and 3.
▪ The DoW budget cannot be increased if it continues not to deliver on its targets and give effect to its mandate.
▪ DoW’s use of consultants is a concern as the largest proportion of its budget is compensation of employees.
▪ DoW took an entire year to develop a framework and the Committee questioned when the policies will be implemented.
▪ Did DoW have more employees in its Administration programme than its core programmes? What is unclear in human resources is the discrepancy between the Estimates of National Expenditure for staffing structure and the numbers presented by DoW.
▪ The 5th Parliament Committee’s Budget Review Recommendations were not adhered to nor were they incorporated in the DoW 2019/20 APP.
▪ DoW had been requested to provide detailed information on Community Outreach Programmes as the indicators and technical descriptors provided no detail on the number of intended beneficiaries to be targeted and where exactly these initiative take place.
▪ The Committee had asked when the draft policies would be finalised and presented to the Committee and why DoW intends taking so long to establish the National Council on Gender Based Violence.
▪ The CGE provincial offices are located in urban areas and questioned how it renders services to the rural areas.
▪ The Committee noted that the Commission was allocated a very small budget and was concerned as to how CGE would give effect to its mandate.
▪ More information was requested on CGE youth programmes as this was not apparent in the APP. ▪ The CGE did not include anything about the LGBT community and this was a concern.
▪ The Committee noted the importance of collaboration between the CGE and key stakeholders.
▪ The Committee asked if CGE had a relationship with the House of Traditional Leaders on culture, tradition and religious thematic areas.
▪ The Committee asked how CGE will ensure gender mainstreaming in government departments.
The Committee recommendations included:
▪ The Committee receive DoW documentation a week in advance for meetings.
▪ The DoW present its organogram to the Committee.
▪ The new APP must include targets and indicators that are SMART. These targets should not only reflect outputs but outcomes as well.
▪ The new DoW APP and Strategic Plan should take into consideration the Fourth Industrial Revolution; green economy; LGBTQI+ persons; unemployment of youth, women and persons with disabilities; homelessness; female headed households and the sexual reproductive health of women and youth.
▪ DoW must give the Committee a detailed breakdown of consultants budgeted for in 2019/20.
▪ The Committee noted the very small CGE budget and resolved to approach National Treasury.
The Chairperson commended Ms Abrahams on the report, especially the way it was structured as it made it easier for Members to navigate it when analysing it.
The Chairperson pointed out that the Committee had asked for the DoW organogram and the Committee Secretary must follow up on this as it is important to have this information. The Committee is concerned that so much money is being spent on employee compensation. This should be brought up during the budget debate on 9 July.
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) suggested that they write a formal letter to DoW requesting the organogram be provided by 8 July 2019.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) noted that the budget allocated to the Ministry is quite exorbitant and in the future, the Committee would like a detailed breakdown noting how this money is actually spent within the Ministry, especially the compensation of employees in the Ministry. She is concerned with the budget cut to programme 2, which is one of the core programmes, especially since it was already allocated such a small amount in the previous financial year.
The Chairperson asked if Ms F Masiko wants this to be included in report as the budget allocations cannot be changed now. Some of the points she is raising will be relevant for the debate.
Ms Masiko asked that the Committee note it in the budget debate. She also raised concern at the budget increase for DoW International Relations, which more than doubled from 2018/19. She noted that the appointment of CGE Commissioners has not been included in the report.
Mr L Mphithi (DA) asked for clarity on the terminology used as the APP is for the old Department of Woman in Presidency while the new department is called the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. When it comes to CGE case management, targets for case resolutions are shown only for quarter four.
The Chairperson replied that the Committee needs to check how the Chapter 9 Institutions report as she is confused by their reports as they refer to ‘strategic plans’ rather than ‘programmes’.
Mr Mphithi said that even though the CGE is a Chapter 9 Institution and reports to Parliament’s Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy (OISD), they still have to report to the Committee and the Committee has a right to question them. On the recommendation that documents should be sent a week in advance, the Committee needs to make it clear that DoW sent their report late and that this does not happen in future. The Committee has evidence of them having done it before thus showing a trend. He suggested a deadline of 30 days for mitigating factors to improve the speed of transitional arrangements.
Ms P Sonti (EFF) noted that the budget for consultants has increased yet the previous Committee had questioned why it seems that consultants are working more than the actual DoW employees. The budget for travel and subsistence has increased yet DoW has not accounted for its travelling and they do not have reports to help the Committee understand what all this travel is for. DoW needs to focus on skills improvement projects aimed at uplifting women. Women’s Month in August needs to be celebrated accordingly. Celebrations should branch out to all women and not just a select few.
Ms N Sharif (DA) said that the Committee needs DoW to explain the Department’s interim structure. The Committee Report needs to include the concern previously raised by the Committee about DoW taking a full year to put together its policies. On the LGBTQI+ community, there needs to be collaboration with Department of Justice, the police and nurses. What frameworks are in place to guide this collaboration? There needs to be social upliftment projects for the boy child and mentorship programmes such as “take a boy child to work”. A breakdown of spending on travel and subsistence is a must so to help eliminate wasteful expenditure. This is a matter arising as the Committee has not got this from the previous fiscal year.
The Chairperson said that it would be unfair if they do this because they need to formally receive the 5th Parliament Legacy Report and once they have that, the Committee will take it from there. If they bring up things that have not been formally presented to them, it will be as if they are engaging in rumours.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) commended Ms Abrahams as it shows in her work that she wants to see this DoW and Committee succeed. At provincial level, even though the budget received is small, it is shocking that implementation of projects and strategies is not taking place. At ground level, nothing is actually being done. When it comes to the promotion of gender knowledge and policy implementation for the socio-economic empowerment of women, there needs to be actual practical work being done and not just theoretical policies. Women need to be taught how to plant their own food. Agricultural skills are important for uplifting women. She suggested a session with the Departments of Agriculture and Small Business Development on how many of their projects and policies are aimed at uplifting women. The same should be done with DoW and CGE to ensure that implementation at ground level is happening. She noted how rape cases and cases of ‘ukuthwala’ are not followed up. She raised a complaint about “Moja Love” and how it often depicts foul language that is dangerous to the youth. She suggested the implementation of unannounced visits when performing their oversight role. This will ensure that they get the best picture possible of the true state of affairs.
The Chairperson noted that some points Ms Khawula raised were not meant for the report but acknowledged that they are of importance and will need to be discussed by the Committee. She states that it seems that Committee members are happy with the report. Points raised by Ms Sharif must be included in the 9 July budget debate as these are very important points
Ms Abrahams did a final run through the amendments to the Committee Report to ensure that she had captured everything correctly. Ms Masiko’s question about the breakdown of costs for the Ministry will be noted. However, the costs include those of advisors. The recommendation is that more detail must be provided.
The Chairperson suggested that this is something to talk to National Treasury about and to establish how they allocate money to the office of the Minister.
Ms Abrahams continued that the Committee would like clarity on the appointment of CGE Commissioners. On Mr Mphithi’s comment on KPIs for CGE case management, the Committee can ask the Commissioners to provide details of what is happening at provincial level on how those cases are going, as it is the Commissioner’s job to know this information.
The Chairperson noted that this will not be included in the Committee Report and that the CGE Commissioners should be invited to present to the Committee.
The Chairperson noted that the parents of children belonging to the LGBTQI+ community must not be forgotten when implementing strategies. She has personal experience of this and knows the importance of educating parents as well.
Ms Abrahams replied that she will ensure that the Observations captures that DoW briefing documents have arrived late as well as the mitigating factors for timely transitioning to the Department mandate change. Programmes aimed at the LGBTQI+ community must include the parents of children who belong to this community. She clarified for Ms Khawula that compensation of employees means salaries for the employees and that instead of saying money spent on office stationary, they refer to this as goods and services. The Recommendations to CGE and DoW will include that their programmes must look at how agriculture pertains to women, youth and persons with disabilities. Drug abuse, as mentioned in the previous meeting, should be included in the new APP and this matter will be raised. She mentioned that CGE has done a lot of work around ‘ukuthwala’ and CGE was working with the South African Law Reform Commission on a draft Bill on forced child marriages.
Ms Khawula asked if a child aged 15-16 is legally allowed to get married because on a recent episode of ‘Moja Love’ a child was getting married where one could clearly see that this child was unsure of the decision they have taken. She mentioned the One Home One Garden Campaign and the importance of agriculture among women and the youth. On the matter of ‘ukuthwala’, she noted that this is not a practice found only in the Eastern Cape. In KwaZulu-Natal, during the reed dance, once the king has chosen your daughter as his new wife, you as a parent cannot refuse otherwise that would be seen as disrespectful. Parents who choose to protect their children often have to run away to avoid repercussions.
The Committee adopted the Committee Report.
Mr Mphithi said that the DA reserves its right to vote once its caucus has had a chance to consider the report.
The Chairperson noted that the report has been adopted and adjourned the meeting.
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