The Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities (DWYPD) presented South Africa’s Report on the Progress made on the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action 2014-2019. It gave an overview of the National Review Process; progress across the 12 critical areas of concern; and data and statistics. The Report focused particularly on women and poverty, women and the economy, human rights of women, education and training of women, women and health, violence against women, women and the media, women in power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, women and armed conflict, women and the environment, SDGs and the girl child.
The Department’s second presentation on the Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, dealt with background; certification of the agreement; proposed amendments; and a summary of the process.
The ensuing discussion dealt with Beijing+25 and its implementation; policy and research; primary, secondary and tertiary sectors; interpretation of graphs; Presidential Review Committee; engagement with stakeholders; effective interventions; gender-based violence; challenges and achievements; marriageable age; data collection; outcome of Beijing+25; lived realities of people; accountability; gaps in the Beijing+25 report; effective public participation; graphs and statistics; intersectionality; default on agreements; amendment process; effectiveness of public servants; binding nature of the SADC Protocol; and the engagement with women in judiciary.
The Special Advisor to the Minister said that the Committee needed to assist it on the matter of consent. This included consent to marriage, consent to sex, consent to abortion, consent to voting. Why could a 16-year old child not consent to sex, but a 12-year old child could consent to an abortion without a parent? It did not make sense that a 12-year child could have an abortion without the consent of a parent.
Apologies were provided for the Deputy Minister and Minister who were attending other meetings.
Country Report on Progress on Implementation of Beijing Platform for Action 2014-2019
Ms Ranji Reddy, Chief Director: Research and Policy Analysis, DWYPD, led the presentation on the evidence-based country report on the Beijing+25, which was a report that had to be presented every five years. The report contained facts and figures which the Department was able to pick up through research, to illustrate whether progress has occurred over the past 25 years.
The initial review, called Beijing+5, occurred in 2000. The year 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China as well as the adoption by world leaders of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995. It will assess five years of the adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The world will review the progress made on its accelerated realisation of women and girls‘ empowerment and the achievement of gender equality. The timing of the Beijing+25 review coincides with the 25-year review of democracy in South Africa. The Government has undertaken its 25-year review process towards emerging with a set of priorities for the country going forward. Thus the 25 Year Review Report on Women‘s Empowerment and Gender Equality: 1994-2019 has been the base document chiefly informing this Beijing+25 report. The level of poverty in women have consistently been higher than the level of poverty in men and the national norm.
The Department spoke to the background of the report. The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has reviewed the progress made by Member States in implementing the Platform for Action on a five-year basis following the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action in 1995. CSW had issued a Guidance Note on how the review was to be conducted at national levels. The 25th anniversary will be used as an occasion to bring together a younger generation of gender equality advocates and those who remain on the sidelines into the centre of a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach. The review provides the opportunity to strengthen gender-responsive action and implementation of global commitments.
The report is structured as Part 1: Comprehensive National Level Review, and Part 2 National Report on Beijing+25. Part 1 included: background; and National Review Process. Part 2 included: promises, achievements, challenges and goals; Progress across the 12 critical areas of concern; national process and mechanisms, as well as SDG five on women’s empowerment and gender equality; and highlights on progress on availability of data disaggregated by sex and gender statistics. The South African context started with struggles faced by women over centuries resulting in important strides towards a non-sexist society. Thus, women played a leading role in the Defiance Campaign.
The National Review Process was initiated through the establishment of an Interdepartmental Task Team coordinated by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in 2018. Each sector was required to undertake a review of the progress made, assessing the extent of implementation of legislation, policies, strategies and programmes in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), Medium-Term Strategic Framework and the Constitution. The Beijing+25 reflects evidence, data, statistics and trends that covers 25 years and does not confine itself to the last five years only. The intention is to show the progress in real time over the past 25 years. The report has been consulted and validated at a National Consultation Meeting on 29 June 2019, and inputs have been captured into the Beijing+25 report. The Beijing+25 report covers progress across the 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action. To facilitate the analysis, this has been clustered into six overarching dimensions that highlight the alignment of the Beijing Platform for Action with the 2030 Agenda on SDGs.
On inclusive development, shared prosperity and decent work, the Country Report spoke to progress made on Women and Poverty and the Economy, Human Rights of Women, and the Girl Child.
• Women and Poverty required an understanding of the interface between poverty, high levels of unemployment and persistent increasing inequality. The 2017 Poverty Trends Report states that there is still a significant disparity in poverty levels between population groups and sex of individuals. A higher percentage of females lived below the poverty line than men and the national norm. There was a higher incidence of poverty for female-headed households than for male-headed households.
• Women and the Economy: The democratic government inherited an economy characterised by very high inequality and poverty co-existing with conspicuous affluence. In comparison to other countries, South Africa had amongst the lowest male and female labour participation, with 52.2% for women. South African women had a higher nature of unemployment than both men and the norm. In the 2018 employment sector mostly occupied by men, women held 76.5% of private household jobs, 60.9% of services jobs and 47.6% of trade jobs. In comparison, men held 88.9% of construction jobs, 86.6% of mining jobs, and 68.3% of finance jobs. Although women were occupying more jobs in the tertiary sector, they only occupied one in three managerial positions. In 2017, of the employment population, fewer women were found in CEO positions. On gender pay gap, data demonstrates that fewer women were earning salaries equal to men, and remained at the bottom ranges of earnings. In 2016 most self-employed women were found in the wholesale and retail trade industry. The gendered barriers to credit for women included: legal constraints; employment and income limitations faced by women; exclusion from policymaking, decisions and influence in financial and economic decision-making; attitudes towards women; lack of information and exposure to business and finance environments; and business maturity and financial institution policies. Women showed declining labour participation in agriculture from 2000-2018, whilst trends showed higher employment as domestic workers amongst women than men.
On poverty eradication, social protection and social services, the County Report spoke to progress in Women and Poverty, Education and Training of Women, Human Rights of Women, and Girl Child.
• Women and Health: Trends showed that more male-headed households had access to improved sanitation at 2012 andmore female-headed households received a government housing subsidy. Only 34% of individual land owners are female and males owned the largest size landholdings. Prior to 1994, the South African health system resembled the fragmentation of apartheid. However, in 1994 South Africa introduced the policy on Universal Access to Primary Health and the National Health Act now provides an overarching policy framework of the entire health system. The life expectancy of both men and women has increased from 2005-2016, with females holding a higher percentage than males. As at 2018, women held an increasing rate of HIV prevalence, especially as seen amongst antenatal women. From 1998-2016 there has been an increase in reported maternal deaths as the maternal mortality ratio increased. Whilst the use of contraception has increased from 1980, there has been a decreased prevalence over the period of 2008-2016. There has been an increase in pregnancy terminations in designated South African facilities from 2014-2017 and on average, 3% of females aged 14 and older reported being pregnant yearly.
• Women and Education: South Africa has introduced policies to facilitate gender equality and equity in education over the past 25 years. This includes the South African Schools Act and Employment of Educators Act. Trends showed that for functional literacy, a higher percentage of males had no formal education than females. In 2016, most men and women obtained less than matric, and more men obtained education beyond matric. Men achieved generally higher percentages in the National Senior Certificate Results than women, as well as specifically in maths and science. After Grade 10, more females reported being pregnant from 2013-2017. Whilst women had a higher percentage headcount enrolment in Public Higher Education than men, men and women continued to study in gender-typical fields of study. A higher percentage of women were awarded Diplomas, Certificates, Undergraduate degrees and Honours degrees in 2016, whereas a higher number of Masters and Doctorate degrees were awarded to men. In 2014, more women were NSFAS beneficiaries than men, reflecting the fact that there are more women at universities than men.
On freedom from violence, stigma and stereotypes, the County Report spoke to progress made on Violence against Women, Human Rights of Women, Women and the Media, and Girl Child.
• Violence against Women: In 2016/17, more women than men were victims of sexual offences, fraud and theft of personal property. Whilst the number of South African women murdered was higher than global average rate, the rate had been declining from 2000-2015. The rape trend has generally remained the same from 2003-2018 despite some fluctuation whereas the number of sexual offences has decreased – rape constituting 80% of all reported sexual offences at 2018. South Africa’s trial-ready docket and conviction rate for sexual offences has increased to almost 80% in 2018. In 2016, around 20% of women were subject to physical violence and 5% of women to sexual violence. The most common crimes against women included common assault, sexual offences, and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The most prevalent crimes reported for violence against children included murder and common assault. For child marriages, 3% of the population aged 12-17 years old had lived together as husband/wife/partner/divorced/widowed, and of the 3%, 55% were female.
On participation, accountability and gender-responsive institutions, the County Report spoke to progress on Women in power and decision-making, Institutional Mechanisms advancing Women, Human Rights of Women, Women and the Media, and Girl Child.
• Women in power and decision-making: More females were registered voters than males. Representation of women in cabinet and parliament, the percentage of women has increased from 1994-2019, finally reaching 50% female Ministers and 46.1% women in National Parliament. There was an increasing number of female Deputy Ministers, as well as an increasing representation of females in local government. More men held positions of Executive Mayor and Mayor from 2010-2017. Although there was an increase of female representation at SMS level in Public Service from 1994-2018, the representation was still lower than men. More men were represented in Workforce Top Management Level and SOEs than women. There has been an increase of women in the judiciary. On the JSE listed Companies of 2019, 80% of the non-executive directors and 72% of the Chairpersons were men.
On peaceful and inclusive societies, the County Report spoke to the progress on Women and Armed Conflict, Human Rights of Women, and Girl Child. South Africa‘s attempts to centralise gender mainstreaming in peace missions is premised on both the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; and the African Union‘s constitutive elements of a Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD). South Africa revised its White Paper on participation in international peace missions.The country has put in place a draft Plan of Action on implementing UNSCR 1325 and is currently initiating a national implementation framework. For the last few years, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) conducts Capacity Building on Conflict Resolution, Negotiation and Mediation for women and since 2017, for youth leaders as well.This aims to create a competent pool ofwomen who can be drawn on as mediators from local to international level. South Africa has the highest number of women in the Defence Force. South Africa recruits 30% women for Military Skills Development annually and are found in the core mustering such as anti-aircraft, Infantry, Armour, and Combat Navy.
On environment, conservation, protection and rehabilitation, the County Report spoke to the progress on Rights of Women, Women and the Environment, and Girl Child. Over the period 2014-2019, South Africa has taken several measures to integrate gender perspectives into environmental policies, including: supporting women’s participation and leadership; promote the education of women in disciplines of the natural environment; increased access to or control over land or other natural resources. South Africa has taken action to integrate gender perspectives into policies and programmes for disaster risk reduction, climate resilience and mitigation. These include: supporting women’s participation and leadership; strengthening the evidence base; and introducing, strengthening and implementing gender-responsive laws and policies.
The Department spoke about National Institutions and Processes. South Africa developed the National Policy Framework for Women‘s Empowerment and Gender Equality adopted by Cabinet in 2000. The Policy outlined the National Gender Machinery (NGM) in the country as and comprised four arms: Government, Legislature, Commission for Gender Equality and Civil Society. The central point was the Office on the Status of Women located in the Presidency. It was established in 1997 and reported to the Minister in the Presidency, In 2009, following national elections and the reconfiguration of Government, it evolved into the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities and reported to a Cabinet Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities and the Department. A dedicated Ministry for Women located in the Presidency, under the stewardship of the Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women was announced in 2014. In May 2019, a Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities was located in the Presidency, under the Minister who is now the head of the National Gender Machinery in the country.
On data and statistics on women’s empowerment and gender inequality, the Country Report responded mainly to the UN Guidance Note. The top three areas in which South Africa has made most progress over the past five years at the national level include: Conducting new surveys to produce national baseline information on specialized topics; Produced knowledge products on gender statistics; and used more gender-sensitive data in the formulation of policy and implementation of programmes and projects. Other areas were implemented or initiates to ensure that the generation of relevant data and statistics are strengthened. These include: Promulgated new laws, regulations, or statistical programme/strategy setting out the development of gender statistics; and established an inter-agency coordination mechanism on gender statistics. The Department had to provide the UN with South Africa’s SDG Indicators and which indicators had been domesticated. All 17 SDGs had to be mainstreamed with gender however, in South Africa, only four SDGs were gender responsive. On the indicators that South Africa was looking at for SDG 5, the particular goal related to women empowerment and gender equality.
At the start of the meeting, Ms M Khawula (EFF) asked, since the other languages had interpreters, why the isiZulu interpreter was not present. Ms Khawula spoke in isiZulu [14:39 – 15:02].
The isiXhosa interpreter, Language Services, responded that he had received a call from his Unit Manager saying that the isiZulu interpreter was on the way. In the meantime, as he was isiZulu speaking, he would try his best to help Ms Khawula.
Ms Khawula asked for an explanation on differences between primary, secondary and tertiary sector. The interpreter explained that Members had black and white copies of the graph, meaning that there was no colour to define a particular category.
Ms Reddy explained that the primary sector included fishing, mining and agriculture, where natural products are drawn. The secondary sector is where manufacturing and production occurred. The tertiary sector included professions such as financial facilities.
Ms Khawula asked a question [1:24:47 – 1:33:11].
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) welcomed the presentation, especially the statistics. However, the Presidential Review Committee (PRC) had been lodged by the President in January 2019 to work towards the 25-year review. After it was lodged, what is the Department’s relationship with the Committee led by Prof Vivienne Taylor? What was the progress? It is understood that part of the PRC’s scope was to engage women in different areas – especially women in rural areas, informal settlements and mining sector. Also, the PRC was to get submissions from other sectors, like the LGBTQI+, so that by March 2020 there is a consolidated report to the Department and President on the collected issues for the 25-year review. What was the relationship and status of the country report with engagement with stakeholders, especially in the rural sector?
Mr L Mphithi (DA) said there was reference to the men’s sector and youth’s sector as one of the groups that had been consulted. Who was part of these sectors? Sometimes, the word “consultation” pushed the Committee to believe that they had consulted everybody when they had not. To bring some strength into a document it needed to be holistic and consultative of all people. The men’s sector was a very important sector missing in this discourse on gender inequality and how to create adequate and meaningful women empowerment in the public and private sector. There was really not enough done in engaging men, including the youth and men in rural areas.
Mr Mphithi had spoken at a women’s event the other day and there was a group of people at the event who felt that he should not be a speaker at the event as it should just be women. Although he agreed, at the same time he wondered if men were being given the space to speak about gender inequality, to hear the views that exist within the space as well as correct them where needed. Could the document try to expand so that it is not a blanket approach? Blanket approaches were killing the Committee and Department as it made it seem as though they were on the right track when they were actually not. He understood that the information that had been presented to the Committee had taken a lot of time to put together.
On the research done, how much is centred on traditional leadership? How much is centred on rural areas where the bulk of the information is not accessible? One could come from what is deemed to be an affluent province and be able to access this information. However, in rural areas, Gender Based Violence (GBV) was still taking place not because people had the wrong information but because there were wrong stereotypes and learnt cultural practices that needed to be corrected yet still exist. How much consultation has taken place so that this is not missed?
The conversation on pay-gaps was very interesting. How much is being done, if any, in addressing pay-gaps in the private sector? What happens to the country reports and do they become meaningful in the communities?
Mr S Ngcobo (DA) asked about women with disabilities as he had not seen statistical information on this group of women in the 12 critical areas as they faced a number of challenges.
Ms T Marawu (ATM) appreciated the report as it was very informative. Looking at the report South Africa was at 0 in implementation. Looking at poverty and unemployment, the South African economy was down. What is it that South Africa was not doing right? Looking at SDG Data Availability, South Africa was 0000 – only four out of 17 whereby the data was available. This oversight Committee and had to assist because, looking at the report, the Committee was not doing what was expected. There were policies and a beautiful Constitution in place but, looking at the report, South Africa implementation of the Beijing platform resolutions was a disaster. The Committee needed to come up with a way to assist going forward.
Ms B Maluleke (ANC), who had been asked to be Acting Chairperson until the Chairperson returned from an emergency meeting, asked why the this five-year report had to start at 1994? Why is the report being compared to other countries? She was under the impression that the report was to stick to one country – South Africa. What is it that South Africa has done? What are the challenges and achievements? This was so South Africa could be looked at without comparing it to other countries and the comparison would come in when reporting at the Beijing Platform. For now, they needed to concentrate on South Africa. Why are women in the media and women in the environment not being spoken about? Who is collecting the data and statistics? There is a problem with 12-year olds getting married - how was this possibly happening in South Africa. This raised uncertainty as there are policies in place. Facts were necessary so that they did not report about things that were not happening in South Africa. This report was going to be presented to other countries. In which areas are 12-year olds still getting married? Whilst this occurred in the past, South African policies no longer allowed this.
In response, Ms Marawu pointed to the practice of Ukuthwala in areas such as the Transkei.
Ms Khawula spoke in isiZulu [1:48:45 – 1:50:00].
Ms Shoki Tshabalala, Acting Director General, DWYPD, said that the Department would be responding as a collective. On churches abusing women, her understanding was that the Cultural, Religious and Linguistic communities (CRL) Rights Commission had been very vocal on this matter, addressing the affected churches, releasing media statements, condemning the acts, intervening through courts and consulting with pastors. Even though the Committee may not necessarily have seen the Department deal directly with this, the CRL Rights Commission has done substantial work in this area – although not in isolation of working with the Department.
The Department was concerned about child marriages, which was why they were presenting the amendment to the SADC Protocol. DWYPD had conducted dialogues in various communities and the one community in which this was actually confirmed was in Mpumalanga. In Mpumalanga, girls of 12 years old were found being widowed. The Department realised that there was a gap in the legislation and it was being addressed by the Department in partnership with the Department of Social Development (DSD) and Department of Home Affairs. There were two Acts which were not speaking to one another and the Acts required a process to harmonise them. The Child Care Act is clear in defining who qualifies as a child and until what age. The Marriage Act says that a child can marry provided there is consent by the parent. These two sections were already in contravention with each other. The Department sought legal advice, received legal opinions and sent the information to the relevant departments. The Department would be meeting the Department of Home Affairs and DSD at the ministry level. Engagement at Director-General level had already occurred, and they had agreed that it needed to be addressed. This meeting would be confirmed soon. It was definitely a practice that needed to be capped as soon as the Department could.
Ms Reddy would explain the role that the PRC played in the report, but in light of the Sixth Administration the Department had deemed it fit to review the mandate of PRC so that it is aligned to the sixth administration priorities. The Department had already engaged the chairperson, put forth a report for further discussion with the Minister to consider the alignment. As soon as the Department concluded this part, they would inform the Committee on the form and shape the PRC would take after the consultation session.
On what happens with the country report after the meeting, the report had gone through the relevant clusters of government and would still be tabled to the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD). At FOSAD, the Department would be in a position to highlight areas that talk to the Directors-General' departments specifically. It will assist them in looking at what interventions needed to be put in place, how they would be measured, and which indicators would take South Africa to the next level.
Ms Reddy said several issues were raised on the challenges facing the Department. As an individual it would be difficult to say what the answer is. However, she would answer the questions that could be answered and jointly look at some of the issues that needed to be covered. On BRICS, unfortunately when the Department did international reports there was never really solid data and data would need to be searched for. The good thing over the last few years was that StatsSA was beginning to put these issues into their surveys so that they can begin to get this kind of data – one of which is child marriages. The community survey released in 2016 had tremendous data which shocked the Department and was why they decided to do the analysis. However, this data could be found and was even given provincially. The data that was now becoming available is much better. Thus, DWCPD was able to evidence-based reporting so policy planning is based on exact findings. Planning should be informed by data and the weakness in the previous reports was the kind of data.
There were a lot more policy issues being raised and thus the reports about South Africa were really good as they spoke about the policies, legislation and what they contained. Now, 25-years later because the evaluation had been completed, a lot of negativity was being shown although not bad news or 0. Why DWCPD decided to show the trend from 1994 to 2019 was because, if only the last five years are looked at, most of the graphs do not provide a very good picture. When looking at it as a trend, growth can be seen except in the area of violence against women. If South Africa does not portray violence against women realistically, South Africa gets attacked on an international platform because the world has an opinion of how South Africa is doing.
The Department may want to dispel certain myths and decide not to show some of the evidence in the Beijing report, but this came from the discussions in various forums. The Department would thus take advice on what should be included in the report and what should not. Should the Committee strongly feel that DWCPD should not show the trends they would remove them. Many of the graphs in the presentation were not actually included in the report as there were individual areas which DWCPD pulled together to demonstrate the graphs.
Where a weakness had been mentioned in comparison to a country causing a negative focus on South Africa, DWCPD could remove this – as is seen in the exclusion of maternal mortality. The Department would go back through the report and double-check. The Department had been asked to compare South Africa. It was number 79 on wage inequality and number 17 on representation in parliament. Thus, sometimes the comparison painted a good picture and other times they were not so good. The Department did not go to any other country to do research as they did secondary research. The reason being that DWCPD needed to rely on StatsSA. Going to grassroots would be a good thing for DWCPD to do, but to do so meant that primary research needed to be done which required a lot of money. As DWCPD gained more money for its research, it could begin to do primary research.
The Chairperson said that DWCPD dealt with policy and research so there was no way that it could say that this required a lot of money. What DWCPD should avoid was desktop research as, when the Committee spoke of evidence, the evidence that was expected was evidence done by DWCPD themselves. How could it guarantee that evidence was accurate if they did not do it themselves? There was a problem in government departments as people were hired to do certain jobs, but instead of doing their job they depended on others to do it. The Committee was expecting DWCPD to do the research as they dealt with policy. The Department was to give the Committee evidence that they had researched. The Department did not always do research practically, but they had to try to do it themselves sometimes.
Ms Reddy noted the Chairperson’s point and said that it was true. From a holistic point of view, in reporting against the commitments, it would not be possible for it to report based on research that DWCPD had done alone as they would not be able to provide data on all categories. Certain research was being done for the Department. On providing information for an international report, official sources of data such as StatsSA are needed. In certain cases it turned to other sources such as the South African Police Service. The PRC was envisioned to add benefit to the process that DWCPD had started towards a 25-year review. The idea was that working in line with government processes, DWCPD would do the evidence-based data collection. The voice of women on the ground and the challenges that women and youth were facing on the ground that was to be brought into the 25-year review done through the PRC. There had been a number of challenges since the PRC had launched. The Department was related to the PRC as those in the research unit were in the PRC Secretariat. The Department had given the25-year country report to the PRC as a base document. What DWCPD wanted in the 25-year report was the processes that the PRC could engage on in actually reaching out to women. Going forward, the Director-General had explained how this would be resolved.
Ms Mmabatho Ramagoshi, Special Advisor to the Minister, said that the Committee needed to assist in ensuring policies were implemented. Consent was an issue that DWCPD would request the Committee’s assistance. This included consent to marriage, consent to sex, consent to abortion, consent to voting etc. Why could a 16-year old child not consent to sex, but a 12-year old child could consent to an abortion without a parent? This indicated that somebody was looking after themselves and the Committee needed to assist DWCPD in harmonising the ages of consent to protect children. It did not make sense that a 12-year child could have an abortion without the consent of a parent.
DWCPD was reporting on women’s participation. Although this did not exclude talking to boys and men, the report had to capture the voices of women. DWCPD would definitely need men to work together as a country on problematic areas so it could not exclude them. When talking about violence against women, women could not be spoken to alone when trying to find out why men do certain things. Dialogue with men was needed to bring progressive men around the table to assist and determine which programmes could be worked on together. For Beijing+25 the focus was on ensuring that progress was reported on the 12 critical areas.
Ms Reddy answered the question on women with disabilities and referred to page 150 of the report. The challenge with reporting adequately on this area of evidence was the lack of information. If there was information on the number of women that had been raped, it was impossible to say how many of these women had disabilities. The Department had spoken about other categories of women in the report, and women with disabilities were brought in wherever DWCPD could get data. Even the report released the previous by StatsSA did not have that much data on women with disabilities. The report showed the number of assistive devices given to people with disabilities, but was not disaggregated into how many people were hard of hearing or had a vision problem – and once again not accurate enough to give DWCPD information. However, DWCPD had tried to bring in the sectors. Women and the environment on page 185 on SDGs. DWCPD was trying to show the Committee which of the 17 SDGs were going to be able to produce data for men and women separately at the moment. Of the 17 only four SDGs could, but this did not mean that the country was not reporting on all 17. The country had just done its 2019 SDG report. This was not meant to interpreted in the way that the Member did.
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) asked how the Country Gender Indicative Framework linked to what DWCPD had just presented. DWCPD had to assist the country in collecting and monitoring the country’s data, but DWCPD could not suddenly collect data and information to put a country report together overnight. What would the strategy be for informing all departments so that the country’s data can be collected as needed?
Ms Ntsiki Sisulu, Acting Deputy Director General: Policy Stakeholder Cooridnation and Knowledge Management, DWYPD, replied about the research and stakeholders consulted by Department. Its mandate meant they would obviously be responsible for monitoring, evaluation and baseline data. Its M&E unit had used information they had collected on the ground in rural areas in almost every district in the country. There were various consultations by DWCPD on GBV over the last couple of years and hearings held at district and local level. Thus, there was information on this. On the question of who did this work, the Committee could appreciate that DWCPD was small in terms of human capacity, thus the ability for it to be doing actual data collection and research would require that it be in partnership with others to ensure that data collection responded to the Department’s mandate and stayed in line with what needed to be done. What was important about working with stakeholders, civil society, academic institutions and others, was that they were worked in those communities and to allow DWCPD to leverage on the partnerships that they were building. The Department was thus trying to mitigate constraints through partnerships and collaborations. The Department had already begun increase their footprint with development partners such as the UN and European Union. This would ensure that South Africa could work on a continental and international level to ensure that the work DWCPD was doing was reflective of the lived experiences. Thus, the dialogue had been about the lived experiences in the rural and urban areas which were very different and which would require different interventions. The indicators were put into the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). The Department of Employment and Labour had already started engaging on the wage-gap. Government was engaging to ensure that some indicators found expression in the five-year MTSF. While others would not be in the MTSF, they were still being monitored through the M&E Indicator Framework for both gender, youth and disabilities. On other possible gaps, the 25-year review of the Disability Rights sector may be more useful as the Department integrated with this sector, to begin to be able to look at areas they covered that DWCPD may not have and find some alignment.
The Chairperson returned and thanked the Acting Chairperson.
Ms Khawula spoke in isiZulu [2:18:15 – 2:20:55].
Mr Mphithi said that Ms Khawula had taken what he wanted to say right out of his mouth. What were the outcomes of the Beijing+5, +10, +15 etc. that DWCPD had spoken about? This was fundamental as research could not just be research – there had to be some actual outcomes from it. If it could be identified and understood that South Africa had a high femicide rate, a number of women had been raped in South Africa because people did not understand consent or that GBV occurred, how was the research becoming transformative? How were the inputs made at international conferences informing DWCPD on the work it needed to do to address it? On Beijing+5, what recommendations were made, and what did South Africa do with the recommendations? How did they translate into the realities of people in South Africa? His fear was that after the Beijing report South Africa would still be stuck in the same place. What difference was this report going to achieve at the end of it all? A researcher would want their work to be meaningful somehow. After Beijing+25, what was DWCPD going to do? He was speaking from a point of privilege as he lived in Johannesburg, but he had never come across any consultation or engagement on the Beijing Report, nor had his colleague.
This meant that young people in urban areas with more likelihood of engagement with the report, had not. One could only imagine the likelihood of those in rural areas. There was obviously a problem in translating what is being researched, what is being presented with the realities and how solutions were found. Thus, the Committee needed to rethink how to make reports meaningful when going on international trips. Unfortunately, one of the arguments of having a segmented department or institution dealing with marginalised people was they were taken away from the decision-making table. In fact, they were being given a department or institution with no power or money yet expected to do miracles – which was currently happening here. This was similar to the challenge of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). The Department was going to be held accountable for things they it did not have the power to do. The high femicide rate, GBV and rape in South Africa were still prevalent, and there was a misunderstanding on consent and the roles of men and women in this discourse. The Department had to find out how to do this differently as the current way was not working and it could no longer be done the same way.
Ms Tshabalala replied that the Department took the last comment as an area of development. An example of what had been done with the Department CSW sessions was given. When DWCPD had the CSW report for the 62rd UN session and it was still compiling the CSW report for the 63rd UN session (2019), it had consulted widely on the report. The last consultation was in Cape Town and Members of the Portfolio Committee attended, made inputs on the report and came up with concrete recommendations to form a programme of action to inform DWCPD of certain areas. This had a thematic approach and the previous one focused on women in rural communities, land and agriculture. The Department has made concrete comments to the Department of Land and Rural Development about those.
Ms Tshabalala noted that Ms Mgweba had said that DWCPD needed to begin to see an alignment of the Country Gender Indicator Framework with the 12 critical areas even though they were currently condensed to six, to ensure they were not lost in the data collection. The document was still being worked on, so it could not be said that there was currently a Country Gender Indicator Framework. However, the form and shape of the framework is beginning to be seen because it departed from the MTSF document itself. The Department was able to see what the key areas of intervention were. Whilst there would not be too many indicators, two or three which related to a sector department would be identified. The Department has begun to do this alignment for the document they had been working on. Initiation into form a partnership with the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) had already begun. For example, a recent report on women's shelters had been released. Ms Reddy had engaged with the CGE CEO and proposed that it was about time that DWCPD worked with CGE as a collective as they were targeting the same sector and wanted to achieve the same objectives.
On the shelter report, the Department, CGE, National Treasury, DSD and other departments would be attending. It could not be the responsibility of DSD to deal with shelters alone, as there were other relevant departments that a critical role to play. This would ensure that the burden of funding did not lie with DSD alone. CGE and DWCPD would be working as a team in giving guidance to the other departments. The referral matrix between DWCPD and CGE was important. The Department had been to Empangeni and were consulting on the National Strategic Plan. There were two consultation sessions: one that was more rural in Empangeni and the other more urban in Pietermaritzburg.
The Department picked up many cases of incest in Empangeni after which CGE had been requested to follow up and work in partnership with DSD to intervene in the area and assess exactly why this was. These dialogues were meaningful and if DWCPD could find a way to expand the partnership with other relevant departments it would be even more helpful as this was where raw information and data was found of the lived experiences of those in communities.
The Department had been to Worcester the previous week and the problems heard from rural women were shocking such as on abuse and rape. Whilst DWCPD was compiling a report that they would share with the Committee, the message conveyed by the women was that the particular area was one of the most unequal of all areas. The Department was working with this sector and had good partners in civil society who were following up on debriefing sessions as the women engaged with were breaking down. Thus, the follow-ups and interventions were important. If there were other areas that the Committee was aware of or if there were any specific cases, this was to be referred to them. Even though DWCPD could not intervene itself, it could identify assistance.
The Department was consulting on its National Strategic Plan and it hoped to engage the Committee on this. However, it was a plan that at some point DWCPD needed to consult with the disability sector and traditional leaders on GBV. These were the areas that DWCPD would be dealing with before concluding the National Strategic Plan consultation session.
Ms Sisulu responded to what happened to the previous report findings. The Department needed to share the UN guidelines for the development of the 25-year report. One of the things which DWCPD was called upon to do was to identify the gaps and develop strategies and interventions to address these gaps. The only way that this could be done was by identifying exactly where these where happening. Part of the work that DWCPD was doing now on the amendment of the SADC Protocol was to ensure its harmonisation with domestic law and policies. The Department of Home Affairs was now beginning to respond to the harmonisation of policies on marriage as a result of the research done. This is work that has long been in the pipeline, but gender work is very slow and tedious as marginalised groups seemed to be marginalised even more.
The idea was that the necessary data and authority would be obtained so that when the Beijing+25 campaign was done as part of the UN guidelines where the Department should be going to every province. DWCPD was consulting on the National Strategic Plan on GBV. The issues that create gaps in the Beijing report would find expression in this. Thus, DWCPD would be working closely on the gaps identified in the Beijing+25 report and in previous years, so that strategies could be developed. The Department would have to ensure that the strategies found expression in the Department’s documents, as well as in other departments. DWCPD would be holding other departments accountable to know if they are making progress. The Department would be working on leveraging the Presidency to get those responses.
Part of the return of the disabilities sector into the Presidency was to address the very concern that DWCPD raised about be marginalisation. The disabilities sector became a welfare sector within Social Development when they had constantly advocated that they were not a welfare sector. Thus, DWCPD had been in this position before and if what it was doing was not working, there was a constant review to see what did work and to ensure that further marginalisation does not happen – especially for the three sectors.
The concern was noted that there may be areas that are not consulted. The Department was making a conservative effort and social mapping was done in every province. DWCPD went to look at the social, economic and political status of the province and districts to get to proper interventions on this. When an agreement took place at international level, DWCPD was required to domesticate this upon return. She mentioned the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , the AU Agenda 2063 and SADC. Implementation, reporting and domestication – this was the Department’s role. In the end, these had to find expression in the lived experiences of women with disabilities.
The Chairperson asked if DWCPD was going to report on five or 25 years? Her concern was that when looking at the statistics on GBV, it would contradict what had been presented before.
Ms Sisulu replied that while the Chairperson was away, Ms Reddy had attempted a response to this. For trend analysis purposes, the report looked at 1994 until where we are 25 years later. However, nothing stopped DWCPD from only presenting on the five years. The five-year period was short and did not give a comprehensive enough trend analysis. However, DWCPD stood to be guided and it was possible to change the report from the past 25 years to the last five years to indicate where South Africa was. The Department would be guided by the Committee on what would be most useful. Ms Reddy would be held accountable to deliver on this.
The Chairperson asked for Members' take on this as she was not sure how to guide the Department.
Ms Maluleke responded that if it was not a train smash, to change the whole report. However, the five-year report should have been chosen. Even though the Committee should know what had been done since 1994, DWCPD was meant to report on the last five years only.
Ms Reddy did not know if the full comprehensive country report had been circulated to Members. The beginning of the report had an overview of all of the challenges. Almost 30 pages of the report spoke to the priorities, achievements, challenges and gaps. The report goes into detail thereafter. What DWCPD could do was provide an executive summary to the report that just highlighted the last five years. The UN did comment on the report at the meeting and were very excited by South Africa’s report as it showed the continent how data could make a difference in how to begin to look at facing challenges against women. An executive summary would therefore help in the process.
Ms Maluleke was concerned about the marriage of children. Could the Committee be privileged with the areas where this was occurring? This would be so that the Committee could do oversight.
The Chairperson told the Acting Director-General that there would be a women’s celebration in Parliament. When checking the delegation of LGBTQI+, only one was invited. The Committee has thus recommended that the LGBTQI+ be given five. When checking the delegation of disabled people, only two were invited. They should be given five. Could DWCPD assist the Committee by identifying five people who would attend the celebration and participate? The Committee did not want people to attend meetings as just a number. People needed to participate effectively and add value to the meeting where there would be a 25-year review of the Women’s Charter. This would assist the Committee. DWCPD also needed to furnish the Committee with all international protocol activities.
Ms Sharif said government often made the mistake of prioritising only certain stakeholders. Thus, certain NGOs would be given more space than other NGOs. The Committee needed to be mindful on how they structured public participation. The Committee should ensure there is set criteria for NGOs and civil organisations from across the board to speak to the Committee, and not the same people all the time. It was not effective public participation if the Committee had the same NGOs come in all the time as different groups faced different experiences.
The Chairperson agreed.
Ms Reddy kindly asked Members to verbalise if they endorsed the Beijing report as it was a statement that she would have liked to make in the final report i.e. that it was presented to the Committee and what the outcome was.
The Chairperson asked how DWCPD was going to get the Committee’s endorsement if the Committee had not invited the Department. She asked the Members as they had engaged with the report.
The Committee Researcher advised that the Committee could not deal with this now because civil society was not involved. The only people who had engaged with the report was the Committee, thus processes did not allow for this. If DWCPD wanted the Committee to endorse it, another meeting would have to be held where civil society is invited so that they can make their own comments. Thereafter the Committee would only be able to endorse the report. This was something that the Committee could still look at as DWCPD had only just made the request. As it was not in the meeting schedule, if DWCPD wanted the Committee to endorse it, it would have to book a venue for the Committee and do the catering as it was not budgeted for. Parliament budgeted for committee meetings and an extra meeting would need provision to be made for it.
The Committee Secretary said that it would be a normal committee meeting but that the Committee would just need to look at their programme.
The Chairperson spoke in isiZulu [2:52:19 – 2:52:30].
Ms Sisulu and the Chairperson agreed for DWCPD to revert to the Committee on a meeting date.
Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development
Ms Sisulu presented on Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
The Department spoke to the background of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. According to s231(2) of the Constitution, an international agreement binds South Africa only after it has been approved by resolution in both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. South Africa signed the original SADC Protocol on Gender and Development on 17 August 2008, and therefore has an obligation to comply with its obligations. In a meeting for SADC Ministers responsible for Gender/Women’s Affairs in Gaborone, it was indicated that only ten member states had signed the Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol. South Africa, Malawi and Mauritius have still not signed with the Agreement. Mauritius indicated it is not willing to sign. Malawi is expected to sign the Agreement imminently. The Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women had stated it was the intention of South Africa to sign the Agreement. Subsequently, the Agreement was submitted to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ) and DIRCO for certification.
On 7 August 2018, DWCPD received the certification from the DOJ's Office of the Chief State Law Adviser, stating that the Agreement is in order and compatible with the domestic laws of the South Africa. DWCPD then submitted the Agreement to DIRCO for certification if it is consistent with international law and with South Africa’s other international obligations. On 6 September 2018, DWCPD received the legal opinion from the DIRCO. Given that the Agreement will impact domestic legislation, the matter falls under the ambit of s231(2) of the Constitution. The Department was advised to submit the Agreement to Parliament for approval before signing. The Agreement was tabled in Parliament on 14 February 2019 and referred to the Portfolio Committee for Women for consideration.
Proposed amendments included:
Article 4 insert immediately after paragraph 1 the following paragraph 2 – “State Parties shall develop and strengthen specific laws, policies and programmes to achieve gender equality and equity.”
Article 5 delete “affirmative action” wherever it appears and replace it with “special measures”
Article 8(2)(a) to read as “no person under the age of 18 shall marry;”
Article 10 to read as – “WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS RIGHTS
State Parties shall enact and enforce legislation to ensure that widows and widowers:
- Are not subjected to inhuman, humiliating or degrading treatment;
- Automatically becomes guardians and custodians of their children when their husband/wife dies, unless otherwise determined by a competent court of law;
- Have the right to an equitable share in the inheritance of the property of their spouses;
- Have the right to remarry any person of their choice; and
- Have protection against all forms of violence and discrimination based on their status."
Article 11 to read as “THE GIRL AND BOY CHILD
State Parties shall adopt laws, policies and programmes to ensure the development and protection of the girl and boy child by:
- Eliminating all forms of discrimination against them in the family, community, institutions and at state - level;
Ensuring that they have equal access to education and health care, and are not subjected to any treatment which causes them to develop a negative self - image;
- Ensuring that they enjoy the same rights and are protected from harmful cultural attitudes and practices; in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child;
- Protecting them from economic exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence including sexual abuse; and
- Ensuring that they have equal access to information, education, services and facilities on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- State Parties shall develop concrete measures to prevent and eliminate violence, harmful practices, child marriages, forced marriages, teenage pregnancies, genital mutilation and child labour as well as mitigate their impacts on girls’ and boys’ health, wellbeing, education, future opportunities and earnings.”
Article 12(1): “State Parties shall endeavour to ensure equal and effective representation of women in decision making positions in the political, public and private sectors including through the use of special measures as provided for in Article 5.”
Article 14 to read as: “State Parties shall enact laws that promote equal access to retention and completion in early childhood education, primary, secondary, tertiary, vocational and non – formal education including adult literacy in accordance with the Protocol on Education and Training and the Sustainable Development Goals.
- State Parties shall take special measures to increase the number of girls taking up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and Information Communication Technology at the primary, secondary, tertiary and higher levels.
- State Parties shall adopt and implement gender sensitive educational curricula, policies and programmes addressing the gender stereotypes in education and gender based violence, amongst others.”
Article 16 to read as “MULTIPLE ROLES OF WOMEN
State Parties shall:
- Conduct time, use studies and adopt policy measures to promote shared responsibility between men and women within the household and family to ease the burden of the multiple roles played by women.
- Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies.”
Article 17 to read as: “ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
- State Parties shall undertake reforms to give men and women equal rights and opportunity to economic resources, and improved access to control and ownership over productive resources, land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources.
- State Parties shall, review their national trade and entrepreneurship policies to make them gender responsive.
- State Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of special measures in Article 5, develop strategies to ensure that women benefit equally from economic opportunities, including those created through public procurement.”
Article 19(1): “State Parties shall review, amend and enact laws and develop policies that ensure women and men have equal access to wage employment, to achieve full and productive employment, decent work including social protection and equal pay for work of equal value for all women and men in all sectors in line with the SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour".
Article 20(1) and (5) to read as: “1. State Parties shall:
- Enact and enforce legislation prohibiting all forms of gender based violence;
- Develop strategies to prevent and eliminate all harmful social and cultural practices, such as child marriage, forced marriage, teenage marriage, teenage pregnancies, slavery and female genital mutilation;
- Ensure that perpetrators of gender based violence, including domestic violence, rape, femicide, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation and all other forms of gender based violence are tried by a court of competent jurisdiction.”
“5. State Parties shall:
- Enact and adopt specific legislative provisions to prevent trafficking in persons and provide holistic services to the victims, with the aim of re-integrating them into society;
- Put in place mechanisms by which all relevant law enforcement authorities and institutions should eradicate national, regional and international trafficking in persons syndicates;
- Put in place harmonized data collection mechanisms to improve research and reporting on the types and modes of trafficking to ensure effective programming and monitoring;
- Establish bilateral and multilateral agreements to run joint actions against trafficking in persons among origin, transit and destination countries; and
- Ensure capacity building, awareness raising and sensitization campaigns on trafficking in persons are put in place for law enforcement officials.”
Article 25 to read as: “INTERGRATED APPROACHES
State Parties shall adopt integrated approaches, including institutional cross sector structures, with the aim of eliminating gender based violence.”
Part Seven of the Protocol to read as: “Article 26: SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
State Parties shall, in line with the SADC Protocol on Health and other regional and international commitments by Member States on issues relating to health, adopt and implement legislative frameworks, policies, programmes and services to enhance gender sensitive, appropriate and affordable health care in particular, to:
- Eliminate maternal mortality;
Develop and implement policies and programmes to address the mental, sexual and reproductive health needs of women and men in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population Development (ICDP) and the Beijing Platform of Action;
- Ensure the provision of hygiene and sanitary facilities and nutritional needs of women, including women in prison.”
Article 27 to read as: “HIV AND AIDS
State Parties shall take every step necessary to adopt and implement gender sensitive policies and programmes, and enact legislation that will address prevention, treatment, care and support in accordance with, but not limited to, the Maseru Declaration on HIV AIDS and the SADC Sponsored United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Girl Child and HIV and AIDS and the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS.
- State Parties shall ensure that the policies and programmes referred to in sub–Article 1 take account of the unequal status of women, the particular vulnerability of the girl child as well as harmful practices and the biological factors that result in women constituting the majority of those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
State Parties shall:
- Develop gender sensitive strategies to prevent new infections;
- Ensure universal access to HIV and AIDS treatment for infected women, men, girls and boys; and
Develop and implement policies and programmes to ensure appropriate recognition of work carried out by care givers, the majority of whom are women, the allocation of resources and the psychological support for care – givers as well as promote the involvement of men in the care and support of people living with HIV and AIDS.”
Article 28 to be re-titled: “GENDER IN MEDIA, INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION” and read: “1. State Parties shall enact legislation, and develop national policies and strategies including professional guidelines and codes of conduct to prevent and address gender discrimination in the media.”
“4. State Parties shall take measures to promote the equal representation of men and women in the ownership of, and decision making structures of the media.”
Insert Part Ten after Article 30 to be read as: “GENDER AND ENVIRONMENT
State Parties shall, in accordance with multilateral, continental and regional agreements on
the environment, sustainable development and climate change, adopt measures to:
- Address the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on gender;
- Promote active participation, by men, women, boys and girls, in the protection of the environment, mitigation of climate change and promotion of sustainable exploitation and use of natural resources;
- Develop policies, strategies, and programmes to address the gender issues with respect to the environment, climate change and sustainable development;
- Conduct research to assess the differential gendered impacts of climate change and put in place effective adaptation measures.”
- The numbering of Part Ten of the Protocol and its subsequent Articles are amended by changing their numbering in a sequential manner continuing from Article 31 of new Part 10.
Article 33 Paragraph 1 to read as: “1. State Parties shall, ensure gender sensitive and responsive budgets and planning, including designating the necessary resources towards initiative aimed at empowering women and girls.”
Article 35 to read as: “1. State Parties shall ensure the implementation of this Protocol at the national level in line with SADC Implementation Action Plans and SADC Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Framework.”
ENTRY INTO FORCE to read as: “This Agreement shall enter into force on the date of its adoption by a decision of three – quarters of the Member States that are Parties to the Protocol.”
DEPOSITARY to read as: “
The original texts of this Agreement shall be deposited with the Executive Secretary of SADC, who shall transmit certified copies to all Member States.
The Executive Secretary of SADC shall register this Agreement with the Secretariat of the United Nations, the Commission of the African Union and such other organization as the Council may determine.”
A summary of the process was provided. The guidelines on concluding international agreements are provided in the 2006 Manual on Executive Acts of the President. The process of concluding international agreements entailed: Obtaining a legal opinion on the consistency with domestic law from. Obtaining a legal opinion on the consistency with international law and South Africa’s international obligations from DIRCO. The relevant department prepares a President Minute for signing by the Minister and the President. The signed President Minute, a short explanatory memorandum, two legal opinions and the copy of the agreement must be forwarded to DIRCO for certification in a prescribed format before submission to the President for approval.
The Chairperson said that the presentation was informative and detailed.
Mr Mphithi wondered about the language being used. DWCPD had to look for intersectionality as a key term. This went back to his previous point on segmenting of issues which in turn did not lead to outcomes meaningful to the people involved. In the document he would like to see the exploration of how intersectionality could be infused. It was understood that the systems and powers of society combined to oppress people who were marginalised. This was an important term that needed to start being looked at, particularly when looking at expressions. The document needed to be informed by the backgrounds of people as this was very important. When at the University of Witwatersrand, he came across this discourse, it was the first time that he had come to the realisation that men had certain privileges that women did not have. He had been educated by women who went home in December and had to assume the very same structures that they were fighting against in the affluent areas. It was these questions that needed to become more defined. Even when he went home, his grandmother would insist that she make the bed and cook and he had taken the conscious decision to say that his fight was to say that he would do it himself. However, this was not enough because sometimes cultures are infused with patriarchy. This was why consultation was necessary as these stories did not appear here, and even where they did not appear, the terminology had to be correct to cover those people who are unable to share their experiences with the Committee.
Mr Ngcobo asked about the SADC Protocol monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework, how often did a Member State or signatory report? What happens if one of the Member State signatories default on the agreement? Were there any sanctions? If there were no sanctions, it would useless and ineffective as a State knew that if it defaulted, nothing would happen.
Ms N Sharif (DA) asked if it was correct that the amendments were the South African amendments to the SADC Protocol. Mauritius does not want to sign the agreement because of its domestic laws when it came to child marriage and the age they permit a child to marry. What is the role that South Africa can play at an international level? Could South Africa condemn on an international level that Mauritius does not take into consideration the protection of children? What were South Africa’s powers in SADC? If Mauritius continues to perpetrate and oppress the girl child, surely they should not be part of SADC. South Africa should not allow this as it has an international role to play.
Ms Khawula spoke in isiZulu [3:20:15 – 2:25:50].
Ms A Hlongo (ANC) welcomed the very informative presentation. On the consultation process for the amendment, did they include civil society or society as a whole? How did DWCPD get to this point from 7 August 2018? Does Parliament have the final say of yes or no?
The Chairperson referred to Article 11 on the welfare of the child. She noted a university student had last week taken his father to court for maintenance. The father came with lawyers to contest his own son that he was not responsible to pay for his son’s university needs. The magistrate told the boy that his documents were not drafted according to the law and court processes. The magistrate was expecting the son’s documents to be drafted as if it had been done by lawyers, but the son had no representative. This magistrate was insensitive. How do you expect a student to craft their argument in a professional way as if a lawyer? The father was laughing with his lawyer. The Chairperson was touched by this story. Such events were shocking. Men were contesting their responsibility against even their own children. Women were being treated unfairly in court and it was unclear how the Committee could help them. There was no way that a poor person could go to the DOJ for assistance with maintenance, only to be turned away to find out where the man resides. If women do not know where the father of the child resides, what are they to do? How do we help our women?
Ms Reddy replied that historically the SADC process and most of its targets had the end date of 2015. In 2016 it was outdated. The SADC Secretariat had to review the SADC Protocol, which was opened for renegotiation. Since then, the language and inputs have been renegotiated. It was then endorsed by the council of Ministers. Now, countries needed to ratify it in their National Parliaments. The Department could not amend language or put in new clauses. The Department could only wait for when the document is reopened again where they could slot in intersectionality. The Department could not make changes now, but as Parliament it could say that South Africa does not agree with certain things and thus was not ratifying it. As South Africa gave leadership at SADC, if Parliament were to say that it was not signing it, this would cause a lot of issues. Some of the clauses that came in, such as the boy child, was not included in the previous protocol and this was good. In the future, DWCPD could perhaps move towards intersectionality.
In the SADC region, there is tremendous opposition to the inclusion of certain items which are a sore point. Sexual orientation created a lot of drama at SADC. However, there has been slow acceptance and it is moving in that direction. Mauritius has a problem with age as a result of Muslim marriages and did not look at it as an early marriage but rather that it is being done in accordance with their constitution. Even the Head of State was defending the stance that Mauritius took, which was that they could not sign the clause because it was against its constitution. South Africa does work with Mauritius but has issues with three countries such as Botswana who did not sign the protocol. South Africa could look at how to work with these countries, but it was dependent on their constitution. On its binding nature, the Protocol is an extremely legally binding document. Thus, any country which signs and ratifies it is legally bound by the clauses in the protocol. The reporting M&E framework, together with an economic empowerment framework, was being developed by the SADC Secretariat. They were looking at three frameworks and were moving towards a regional/sub-regional monitoring system. The framework is not absolutely finalised as yet, but SADC has been using its monitoring tool to collect data. Thus, SADC implemented a monitoring tool every two years and part of the M&E framework was implemented by them.
The Department had reported to SADC about three years ago. Towards the end of 2018, DWCPD was requested to provide information on violence against women when SADC was doing research and moving towards a framework. This was unlike the Beijing report that required a full report. SADC would measure women in decision making and produce a report for the whole sub-region.
On the involvement of civil society, the SADC protocol was adopted in August 2008 after the ratification was approved by National Parliament. For South Africa to now say that we are accepting the changes as a county, it would have to go back through this process. It would be the determination of the Committee to say what processes should happen in Parliament and where it should go. This is where the Committee could say that they want civil society to look at the changes. However, civil society was involved in all of the ministerial meetings in SADC from 2016-2019 and were part of the negotiation process. On whether this was the final say of Parliament, only Parliament could say that South Africa should go ahead and give the President a right to sign.
Ms Tinyiko Khosa, Director: International Relations, DWYPD, replied on what could be done to ensure that countries like Mauritius are dealt with in the case of violation of human rights. Every country had their own foreign policy that governs how it must relate with other countries. The South African foreign policy had its own principles and objectives and is biased towards human rights, sovereignty of every country and ubuntu. In this case, should Mauritius try to pursue foreign relations with South Africa, this was where South Africa would be able to say that they could not have a partnership with Mauritius on the basis that they violate human rights and South Africa believes in human rights. While international space is a negotiated space, it is informed by domestic priorities and principles. Before pursuing a particular relationship with a country, South Africa would look at how they treat their people and if they reflected South African principles and objectives.
Ms Sisulu referred to the background of the SADC Protocol. The adoption of the protocol only becomes binding on South Africa once it signed. Malawi was supposed to have signed in August, Mauritius had reservations, and South Africa still had to sign. It had to be approved by both the National Assembly and the NCOP and only once there is that agreement, can it be taken forward. The protocol is a negotiated text. Negotiation has been happening for a number of years. It is what gives SADC common strength for negotiating as a region at the AU and what would give strength for negotiating from the AU to the UN.
As the Committee goes deeper into what the language means there is recognition of intersectionality that exists within the document although a lot of it is underlying the text.
In terms of what happens when a state defaults, if South Africa were to default as a country the level of embarrassment as a country, Head of State, Parliament and the people of the country for whom the policy is for would be enough to ensure that the Department is held accountable. The amendments were not necessarily South African amendments but rather inputs, although not purely South African. The Department was here to say what had been negotiated over the years and to ask if Parliament agreed and if they could go ahead and adopt it.
There is a course of action for a widow to get a house in her name, and there were social challenges that needed to be taken into account because they cannot afford the transfer costs and forfeit the house. There is a national organisation of widows and there had been some discussion to ensure that DWCPD continued to engage with them as one of those stakeholders. The Department would like to hear which stakeholders Members thought were being excluded so that they could be as inclusive as possible. The Committee should feel free to share this with DWCPD so it can ensure it is reaching out to the relevant organisations and constituencies so that it does not seem as though there is a repetition on the same stakeholders engaging.
When DWCPD was in a province, they did try to get a greater number of provincial-based stakeholders and national-based stakeholders to ensure a national footprint in all consultations. This was really about the public participating. Where challenges arose was where an individual came and represented themselves rather than a particular constituency. These individuals had the responsibility of going back and ensuring that the information is translated to the constituency or the organisation of people they serve. The question was whether everyone was being reached and if the consultation was wide enough. The Department was hoping that there would be a two-way street so that when people are invited, they report back so that their people are able to hold them accountable when they do not report back.
On the case the Chairperson had talked about, the boy child was heard as he is 18 years old. Although the child is a student, the child is 18 years old and thus not technically a child but rather he is legally an adult - although the father remains the father of the young adult. On how the judiciary could be more responsive so that young adults are not burdened with the cost of appointing lawyers, this was something that DWCPD would need to work on in partnership with the DOJ. In addition, when the Department engaged with women in the judiciary on 31 August, it would raise how magistrates were treating those that came before them. Women should not be turned away to find the men who they needed to issue summons to instead of the courts doing that. DWCPD and CGE would DOJ to ensure that public servants were doing what they should rather than utilising these women.
Ms Khawula spoke in isiZulu [3:52:20 – 3:53:45].
Ms Sharif was sure that there were a lot of stakeholders in the provinces that would like to work with the Department. Perhaps the Committee could request that DWCPD provide a list of who the stakeholders on their database were. This is to ensure that the Committee does not give DWCPD the same information they already had.
The Chairperson approved the request.
Ms Tshabalala mentioned that she had just come from a meeting with the Ministers of Justice and of Home Affairs. On stakeholders, with time DWCPD may need to seek advice but they were doing their level best to see how they could deal with the non-profit organisations (NPO) on the ground. NPOs by themselves did not have specific affiliations, which in itself was a challenge because DWCPD ends up facing challenges where an individual is the sole person in an NPO. The Department was constantly addressing this, but perhaps at some point and at another level DWCPD may have to seek the Committee’s assistance. The Department did know that this was led by DSD and needed to find a way of assisting that area.
Ms Ramagoshi said that the meeting with the Ministers of Justice and of Home Affairs concerned the SADC Protocol. The Department had written to say that the country did not comply with the Amended Protocol and the Ministers called the meeting. The Department of Home Affairs was amending the Marriages Act to reflect a one marriage regime, as South Africa had various pieces of legislation talking to marriage. The Department of Home Affairs married people, but those same people could not go back to Home Affairs when seeking a divorce, as they had to go to the DOJ. Most rural women in customary marriages did not know this. There was a court judgment where the wife was in a customary marriage. According to customary marriages, one did not get all of the benefits. Now, as per the court judgment this has been deemed discriminatory and the DOJ has to amend legislation to protect married women in customary marriages. This process was to start with a consultation, however there was an agreement on supporting one age of consent for marriage as proposed in the Marriages Bill. Once the Bill is in place, all other policies will fall out of operation. Women’s Month would close on 31 August in Benoni with a dialogue with the women in the judiciary. The Department had invited judges and magistrates to share and were telling people that this would be their first free legal advice and discussion on problems experienced by women.
Ms N Ngqulunga, Director: Legal Services, DWYPD, provided clarity on the status of the SADC protocol. South Africa signed the protocol in 2008, ratified it in 2012 and it came into force in 2013. Due to emerging issues, the protocol was revised in 2016. The revision was why DWCPD was currently here. However, South Africa had signed, ratified and was party to the original protocol. There were now amendments. As a Department, the Minister was responsible for gender and human affairs in the SADC region. In a meeting in July 2018, the Minister indicated that she wanted South Africa to sign the agreement to amend the protocol. After this, DWCPD took the Draft Agreement, according to DIRCO guidelines, and asked DOJ for certification. Although it was certified, DOJ raised that a particular article was now inconsistent with South African legislation on the age of consent for marriage. The Department was proactive in sorting this out first so the agreement can be signed. Hence the request for engagement with the Minister of Home Affairs. South Africa still had laws that allowed minors to get married with the consent of their parents. This had to be sorted out so South Africa can comply with the Amended Protocol. It was certified as consistent with domestic law and when this certification was received, DWCPD sent it to the DIRCO for certification again and to check if it is consistent with international obligations. DIRCO certified this and advised that for it to be binding, it had to be ratified by Parliament. Thus, DWCPD was here to request endorsement from Parliament. After receiving this, it would go back to DIRCO and a President’s Minute would be prepared for the President and Minister to sign. The submission to DIRCO would consist of three documents: the certification from DOJ, the certification from DIRCO and the certification from Parliament. After which, DIRCO would take on the process of signing.
The Chairperson spoke in isiZulu [4:03:20 – 4:03:33].
Ms Ngqulunga said that when DWCPD submitted and tabled it to Parliament sometime last year, they had not heard anything. DWCPD followed up, only after were they invited to Parliament.
The Chairperson spoke in isiXhosa. [4:04:24 – 4:04:54].
Ms T Masondo (ANC) spoke in isiXhosa [4:04:58 – 4:05:28].
Ms Sisulu emphasised that this was an amendment and DWCPD just need input from the Committee, National Assembly, and NCOP for preparations of the amendment. Thus, while South Africa has signed the SADC Protocol, they had not signed the Amended Protocol.
The Chairperson said that the presentation had been fruitful.
Ms Masiko announced that there had been a second girl child who had been kidnapped from the University of Cape Town. They should be aware in case there was some form of syndicate operating in the area as it was a common occurrence on campus. This had to be noted and awareness needed to be spread.
The Chairperson requested that when Members submit apologies to attend other meetings, they specify which meeting they were attending.
The meeting was adjourned.
- DIRCO - Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development
- DOJ legal opinion
- South Africa’s Report on Progress Made on Implementation of Beijing Platform for Action 2014-2019
- Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Department - Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development
- Report on Consultation Workshop on Beijing +25 Report
- SADC Agreement Amending protocol on Gender and Development
- South Africa’s Report on Progress Made on Implementation of Beijing Platform for Action 2014-2019 presentation
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