The Committee expressed its deep concern about the escalating violence against women and children in the country. The case of a raped and murdered student had shocked the country. Members of the Committee demanded a ‘business as un-usual’ approach, and radical intervention. The fight against gender-based violence (GBV) should be the government’s priority. The Committee was in agreement that the Chairperson should call upon the President to declare a state of emergency.
The Committee also condemned the on-going xenophobic attacks in Gauteng as unacceptable. Xenophobia was damaging the country’s international reputation and had negative economic effects. Investors were scared off by the unstable situation.
The Chairperson reported from last week’s Women’s Parliament. She said Members should discuss the resolutions to help the government and responsible departments deal with GBV. It was a serious issue that needed to be addressed by everyone.
The Committee’s Content Advisor briefed the Committee on the revised annual performance plan (APP). The briefing summarised and highlighted the issues that Members should be aware of, such as the annual transfers to and oversight mandate of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). The Committee would discuss the recommendations and corrections to see if they were now incorporated into the revised APP.
The Department said a national strategic plan was currently being developed in partnership with members of civil society to address GBV. It presented a summary of the revised APP, clearly describing the key performance indicators, annual and quarterly targets, and indicated where revisions had been made. It also gave a detailed overview of all past and scheduled events, campaigns and international commitments. Next to addressing GBV, the protection of persons with albinism was identified as a priority area. The Department cooperated with other departments, civil society organisations, the private sector, faith-based organisations and traditional leaders and healers to achieve its objectives.
The Committee expressed concern about the lack of funding for the national strategic plan. The Department was talking and holding meetings, but no results were visible. The government’s approach had to change from a focus on women towards a focus on men, since men were the perpetrators of GBV. It was not a personality issue, but systematic oppression and abuse of women in South Africa. Members demanded radical action and stricter law enforcement, including longer prison sentences.
They also raised the issue of the funding of the presidential committee. The Department’s funds would be quickly depleted if it was financing this committee, as it should be funded by the President. The legislative procedure surrounding the Act for persons with disabilities was taking far too long. So far there had been no tangible results, and the Committee was concerned about the proposed 2024 timeline for finalising the legislation.
Chairperson’s Statement on Gender-Based Violence and Women’s Parliament
The Chairperson stressed the urgency of dealing with violence against women in South Africa, referring to the recent rape and murder of University of Cape Town (UCT) student, Uyinene Mrwetyana. Given the high number of missing women, existing laws had to be enforced to ensure safety and justice for children and women. She recommended the Committee to write to the Minister of Police to intensify the search for Uyinene’s body and her murderer, to give the family closure. Justice should prevail.
Last week, in the Women’s Parliament, many speakers had raised concerns about gender-based violence (GBV) and human trafficking. She was confident that the government, police and intelligence services were working on solutions, such as detecting underground missions of organised crime networks. People did not recognise the on-going crisis until it affected their own families. Even old women were at risk. The country needed strong prayers and trust in God for the protection of children. The South African Police Service (SAPS) must be commended for their work. Especially in Cape Town, many girls and women had gone missing without anyone being held accountable for the disappearances. Uyinene was just one out of many. It was unfortunate that children could not be “bugged” and tracked down to know their whereabouts. Law enforcement agencies were responsible for dealing with these issues.
The Chairperson gave a report on the Women’s Parliament last week, in which Ms N Sharif (DA) and Ms F Masiko (ANC) had actively participated. For the first time, she had assumed the position of the Speaker in a session of Parliament. It had been a learning curve for her. She praised the Committee’s contributions to the Women’s Parliament and expressed her confidence in the responsibility and commitment of Committee Members in general. She applauded the Committee for speaking out and raising critical questions within its oversight mandate. Members should have a vision and follow their dreams. She thanked all Members who had attended the Women’s Parliament. Hopefully, the draft resolutions would be presented tomorrow and taken forward by the Multiparty Women's Caucus. Members should discuss the resolutions to help the government and responsible departments to deal with GBV. It was a serious issue that needed to be addressed by everyone.
Ms Sharif thanked the Committee for the opportunity to participate in the Women’s Parliament as a young coloured woman. However, the country was in crisis and she was an emotional wreck because of the number of women murdered by men. The problem was that men were killing women. The Committee should write to the President to declare a state of emergency. It could not just sit back and allow women and children to live in constant fear. She herself was afraid of harassment and catcalling when walking to the nearby coffee shop. Even in the Parliamentary precinct, police officers harassed female Members of Parliament. Women were not safe at home because of their abusive husbands and boyfriends. Women were nowhere safe. The police might be commended for their work, but the Committee needed to create safe spaces by calling for a state of emergency.
Ms Masiko confirmed the achievements of the Women’s Parliament. She thanked the Chairperson for being a good leader and ensuring the Women’s Parliament’s success. It was the Committee’s responsibility to take the draft resolutions forward. The Women’s Parliament should not be degraded to a mere talk-shop. She acknowledged the attendance of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities last week, as they had raised issues that dealt directly with irresponsible governance. On Uyinene’s murder, she was in pain and shattered over what had happened to the innocent student, especially since the Committee had touched upon the matter during last week’s meeting. There was a public outcry – by men and women – on how the country dealt with GBV. Finding a solution for GBV should be the Committee’s and Department’s priority. It could not continue with ‘business as usual’. The existing interventions and programmes against GBV were seemingly not working, so there was a need for a ‘business as un-usual’ approach. Young women within the ANC were currently running a campaign to call upon the President to declare a state of emergency on the issue of GBV and femicide.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) addressed the meeting in Zulu, which was not translated.
Ms N Sonti (EFF) addressed the meeting in isiXhosa, which was not translated.
Chairperson’s Statement on Xenophobic Attacks
The Chairperson reminded the Committee of the xenophobic attacks in Gauteng. The killing of foreign nationals was brutal, unexplainable and unacceptable. She referred to the methods of ‘necklacing’ and the burning of cars and garages. As the attacks were happening all over Gauteng -- in Germiston, Thembisa and Johannesburg -- she assumed they were planned attacks, not mere coincidences. No explanation, such as unemployment or poverty, could justify the brutality. As a consequence, people were gambling with the safety of South African citizens in other African countries. It would be a danger now to go to Zimbabwe with a South African passport. Xenophobia also affected the country’s economy. Through the destruction and vandalism, jobs had been lost in the targeted shops. The only solution would be to arrest the perpetrators of these criminal activities, rather than to generalise xenophobic sentiments on to innocent people. Eventually, women and children would suffer the most. The Committee must condemn xenophobia with contempt.
On GBV, she agreed with the Committee to call upon the President to declare a state of emergency. She asked upon Dr Herman Tembe, Legal Advisor: Parliamentary Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy, to advise on that. She was taking precautions in her own family, for instance, by raising awareness of GBV among her female relatives. Women were confronted with GBV in daily life situations, like TV shows. There was something wrong in the country.
Department’s Revised Annual Performance Plan
Ms Kashifa Abrahams, Content Advisor, briefed the Committee on the revised 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan (APP) of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, including recommendations and resolutions requested by the Committee. The Committee had received all the relevant documentation beforehand, except for the draft national strategic plan (NSP). Since the APP had basically remained the same in respect of targets, figures, budget, etc, she summarised and highlighted only the key issues that Members needed to be aware of. (See attached document)
Ms Tasneem Matthews, Parliamentary Researcher, clarified that the Department had maintained the original version of the APP, for which the Committee had voted. The targets for programmes one, two and three had been reset to the ones voted for by the Committee.
The Chairperson asked for clarification on the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and its annual transfer report.
Ms Matthews explained that within today’s presentation, the annual transfer report on the NYDA needed to be removed because it would be included only in the next financial year. She added that the Committee had argued at a previous meeting that the Department did not have oversight over the NYDA. That would be the Committee’s responsibility. Therefore the wording needed to be changed, for example, into ‘coordination.’
The Chairperson inquired about the financial coordination of the NYDA task team. While the team was appointed by the President, monetary issues had to be approved by the Department, which was responsible for its coordination. The task team’s strategy to deal with GBV must eventually be implemented by the Department. This needed to be clarified. Since the Department covered the costs, its finances could be depleted. She wanted to raise this concern in the Committee first before confronting the Department.
Ms Abrahams referred to one of the documents that addressed the finances of the task team. The task team had to declare if it received money from the National Treasury or if it used the Department’s budget for certain meetings or transport, because if it used the Department’s funds, that would affect its activities.
On GBV, she said that the Committee had lobbied for an inquiry into violence against women and children in the Fifth Parliament. The intention was to bring all relevant committees together that conducted oversight. From a parliamentary perspective, there was no proper coordination. Hence, it was important to lobby again and bring the committees together. On this matter, Parliament’s primary roles were oversight, legislation, public participation, treaty compliance and inter-governmental relations. It was crucial to include not only committees from the National Assembly, but also from the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). She offered to compile a document listing all relevant committees available. She also emphasised that lobbying needed to be done at various platforms, as it was difficult to bring committees together. Portfolio and Select Committees had to meet in order to process adopted recommendations and resolutions directly. The absence of a relevant committee in a discussion was the key challenge, because it prevented the implementation of resolutions. Therefore, relevant committees had to be brought together for them to speak with one voice to enable legislative change. Joint oversight could be realised only by extensive lobbying.
Ms Crystal Levendale, Parliamentary Researcher, highlighted the need to review the current APP. For instance, three targets around youth mainstreaming had to be removed. Her other points were already covered.
The Chairperson called in the Department’s staff and introduced the Committee. She welcomed the Director General (DG) and her team, and apologised for the delay. She explained that the Committee had discussed the urgency of GBV in South Africa and had decided to call upon the President to declare a state of emergency. Something had to be done. The Committee could not be quiet when it saw that something was not right.
Director General’s Opening Remarks
Ms Shoki Tshabalala, Acting Director General, said a media statement had been released by the Department on the urgent matter of GBV. Victim support responses on the ground would be activated for affected families. At the same time, the Department had deployed staff and members of the criminal justice system to form a panel on e-News Channel Africa (eNCA) to talk about the progress so far, particularly on the National Strategic Plan (NSP). Radical interventions were necessary to avoid ‘business as usual’. These should be integrated into the NSP. The NSP was not a government-led document -- it had been crafted in partnership with members of civil society. This implied collective responsibility. She announced that the Department had engaged in a debate today with the Deputy Minister. The Deputy Minister’s choice of words demonstrated the mood and climate among women in the country. Women’s concerns and fears would be taken into account.
Ms Masiko said that the whole country was in mourning and in shock. However, one could not be shocked forever -- something radical needed to be done. She argued that all attempts so far in dealing with the matter had borne zero results. This was also due to the dominant government’s approach, which focused on women, rather than on men who were the perpetrators. The dominant approach implied that women must not find themselves in situations where they could become easy targets. Women must not do this and women must not do that. What was actually being said about the perpetrators? This needed to be addressed. The problem was not with any animal -- the problem was men!
She agreed to a ‘business unusual’ approach, with less talk and more action. A state of emergency was needed. Women were afraid to go to the shops, libraries, or to step out of their rooms. This was not because of what they were wearing or what they were saying, but because they were female and young. They were just easy targets. Society had to come together and act radically against these violent acts, starting from homes and communities. Civil society organisations had to work together with the government and the legislatures towards a radical strategy. More focus was also required on the sexual offenders’ register. How was it monitored and where could it be found? How was it used to assist in curbing such things? Some good stories needed to be told, such as the Pinetown court’s sentence of 405 years for the M19 highway serial rapist. This story should be told to help society to heal. More sentences like this had to be passed on perpetrators of gender-based violence.
Mr L Mphithi (DA) said that since yesterday, it had been very hard. He personally felt that it had been pointed out correctly that men were the perpetrators and that men were guilty. The conversation always changed to “tweets” claiming it was not all men. Yet it was all men, because it was not a personality thing but systematic oppression and abuse of women in this country. He personally felt that the men in the room and in the country must keep quiet and listen. Ultimately, however, men needed to stand up. Even though it was a very tough time for the Department, he believed that it could provide the necessary leadership. The Committee would support the Department in any way needed. As a man, he volunteered himself to be part of whatever solution the Department came up with. The responsibility was primarily on men, who had to organise themselves around this issue.
The Chairperson commented that indeed it was not a good day. Even in Johannesburg, women and children would be those who were most affected by xenophobic attacks. On top of this, xenophobia rendered South African nationals vulnerable in foreign countries. Members of Parliament in Cape Town could not imagine what was really happening on the ground, since they could see it only via the media. Xenophobia affected the country negatively, especially economically. The instability would scare investors off, and South Africans would lose their jobs due to the destruction and burning of shops. People needed to find a way to deal with these problems as human beings. Despite her own strong character, she was afraid nowadays of being hijacked when driving late or even worse, being raped. She could not cope with the trauma of being raped. She hoped for a solution for this urgent matter by the DG. The Committee would offer the Department its support.
She asked about the progress of the committee appointed by the President on drafting the NSP to combat GBV. Results were needed, as the committee had been drafting a strategy since March 2018. A report was required. She also called upon the DG to check the effectiveness and efficiency of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that dealt with GBV. Were they effective? Did they provide assistance? Despite the large amount of existing and newly created NGOs, results were not visible. She requested the Department to build closer relations with the NGO-sector to oversee their activities and improve their performance.
On the APP presentation, she reminded the DG not to present the whole content, but to focus on the interventions, corrections and revisions as requested by the Committee. Strategic plans should also be included to see what the Department intended to deal with. The NYDA’s transfers should remain under the Treasury Department’s accountability. She noted that the Department had received transfers, which it should not have done. Rather than presenting the whole APP again, the DG should go straight to these controversial issues. The Committee wanted to discuss its recommendations and corrections to see if they were now incorporated into the revised APP.
Ms Mmabatho Ramagoshi, Special Advisor of the Department, commented on the issues raised in the discussion about GBV. She was a member of the committee responsible for the development of the NSP. The biggest challenge had been to install unusual interventions which were out of the norm, like the established gender response team. South Africa talked a lot about human rights, but the focus would be only on human rights for men, not women. At the moment, there was no budget for the NSP. The Department had even been told to reduce its programmes.
She gave the example of missing women’s shelters, to which women could turn in case of emergency. Despite a Supreme Court ruling in Bloemfontein forcing the government to ensure a sufficient amount of shelters, many shelters were missing. A comparison between the amount of money required for a single woman in a shelter to the amount required for an inmate in prison, revealed that a woman in a shelter was given R70 per day whilst an inmate was given R200 per day. How could the government be held accountable to protect women and children?
She asked the Committee for its assistance in convincing the Department of Correctional Services to reduce all costs for higher education for inmates. If that budget was secured, the NSP could be funded. Why did tax payers have to pay for higher education for inmates who had killed people, while victims within households were left to fend for themselves? She asked the Committee to assist the Department with the reprioritisation of money to survivors and victims of GBV.
The Chairperson demanded clarification on the funding of inmates. Why did inmates who served life sentences get bursaries for degrees? What would they do with a degree in jail? Would they get parole?
Ms Ramagoshi argued that South Africa was a victim-centred nation that should not budget for perpetrators. Access to basic education in prison was reasonable, but the provision of higher education to inmates was not justified considering the limited access for children to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. Inmates should not get degrees while children did not get the opportunity to go to university. There was a need to reallocate higher education bursaries. Inmates who served a life sentence must not receive bursaries, as they would not have the chance to use the learned skills in jail. Besides, the diets for inmates had to be discussed. Dieticians had advised that a proper meal could, for instance, consist of pap and beans. Why were resources stretched for inmates? The current criminal justice system was not a deterrent. Prisoners were not afraid of going back to jail. She asked for radical intervention from the Committee.
She sensed that some Members were in shock, just like after the death of Karabo Mokoena. Statistically, more than 30 women had been killed in August 2019. However, Uyinene’s death had intensified the urgency of the issue. In Rustenburg this morning, there had been a notification that a missing minor had been found, but only the torso could be recovered -- the limbs were missing. In her opinion, life sentences were not sufficient, since they required taxpayers’ money to feed inmates. Sentences had to shock perpetrators. She knew the death penalty was unconstitutional, but perhaps the Constitution needed to be changed.
Ms Sharif said that it would be an understatement to say that she was shocked. The Committee and Department always spoke about making plans for women who were being killed every day. However, now the Committee was being told that the NSP was not even going to be funded. What was the point of having the NSP? Money was spent for committee meetings, but there was no plan to actually deal with GBV and femicide. Women were being murdered every single day. She did not understand how this situation could be allowed.
The Chairperson asked what exact assistance the Department expected from the Committee. What should the Committee do? The lack of funding for the NSP was a major problem. It should be further discussed at the meeting next Tuesday.
Ms Tshabalala reminded the Committee that after the women’s march against GBV, a declaration with detailed demands made by women had been handed over to the government. However, these new demands were not funded at the current stage. The Department planned to have a costing exercise for the NSP. In addition, staff members had travelled to provinces to ensure inclusivity in the consultation phase. Without public consultation, society would not accept the NSP. The Committee could assist the Department by persuading the Ministers' Committee on the Budget to reprioritise funds. The Department had made it unequivocally clear to the National Treasury that it should not reduce any budget allocated to the tackling of GBV. The budget could be cut in any other sector, but it should not dare to reduce any funds responding to GBV. The Committee could help by constantly sending that specific message to the Treasury.
On cooperation with NGOs, the Department first had to get an overview of existing non-profit organisations (NPOs) to see what available resources and funds were already in NPO sector. The biggest challenge with NPOs was there was competition for funding, as they did not raise funds as a collective. They all approached the same companies for funding. Only the ones that had access to the internet and were able to write business plans received money, regardless of their actual work on the ground. The DG pleaded with NPOs to group themselves as one collective -- for example, all NPOs falling under the category of Early Childhood Development. They could then apply for funds from companies together, and divide the money among themselves according to a mechanism. At the current stage, it was survival of the fittest. This idea of collective funding should be promoted at a higher level to assist the reform of the NPO sector.
Another way for the Committee to assist the Department would be to channel public works funds into the building and maintenance of women’s shelters. She was not sure if the Minister of Public Works approved of this, but public funds should not be used only to build schools and hospitals. Many women’s shelters needed maintenance, as they had leaks and the gutters were dysfunctional. She asked the Committee to advocate for more funds for women shelters by approaching ministers and the private sector. The raising of funds was of utmost priority. NPOs were helpful and they played a valuable role. However, their structure posed challenges.
Revised Annual Performance Plan
Ms Tshabalala presented a summary of the revised APP. In a nutshell, the foreword, vision and mission had been revised and aligned to the content of the APP. The situational analysis remained the same because it was based on data from the government department, Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). The performance environment had been altered and adjusted to the key performance indicators (KPI). The KPIs of the administration programmes remained the same. The science, technology and innovation KPIs were replaced with the ones in the original APP. The quarterly targets of the economic empowerment had been revised to include focus areas of the women’s financial inclusion framework, which was also updated in the performance environment and the technical indicator descriptors. The sub-programme financial management had been approved internally without going to the Cabinet, as advised by the technical working group.
The Department had cooperated with the economic cluster -- for instance, in the case of women’s shelters. The skilling and re-skilling of women was key. She referred to a programme in partnership with the private company ‘Edcon’, in which women were trained for the fashion industry. This initiative should be supported by Members of the Committee.
The technical indicator descriptors’ definition, the capacity building workshops, transformation of the broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) and supply chain management practices had also been changed. The governance KPIs had been revised in regard to the Inter-Ministerial Committee and Istanbul Programme of Action for addressing GBV. The policy unit KPIs had been replaced by the ones in the original APP. The quarterly targets were also revised slightly. All in all, the APP was aligned with government’s plans, like the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).
The need to implement gender responsive planning and budgeting was emphasised. In future, the monitoring and evaluations (M&E) system would include youth and persons with disability, with special focus on young women, women with disabilities and the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, asexual and more (LGBTQIA+) community. The KPIs on the promotion of women’s empowerment and gender equality had been addressed, and two performance review reports indicated that the KPIs would be met. The youth KPIs were the same as the ones of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). The targets for persons with disabilities were the same as the ones of the Department of Social Development. On administration, the Department had to align the start-up structure with its structure and its sub-programmes. The revision of legislative and other mandates had been removed.
Ms Tshabalala explained that this was just a very brief overview. For more detailed information, all documents had been submitted to the Committee. Any further questions would be directly answered.
She declared that the Department had done its level-best to merge the three units that had now become one department.
To avoid skipping information, she offered to take the Committee through the PowerPoint presentation on the slides called ‘Background’. The listed frameworks were presented. A list of the annual international engagements of the Department was provided. The DG offered to send an updated list with all the dates to the Committee to allow Members to attend as well. She presented scheduled events and campaigns, including estimated costs and numbers of attendees, such as the International Women’s Day in March, Africa Month in May and the Women’s Month Programme in August. She also described the international commitments of the programme for persons with disabilities in 2019.
She highlighted the official visit of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism. The Department had prepared a report on all programmes in the country and the state of persons with albinism. This was another priority area. The expert group would come to assess South Africa’s approach and interventions to address discrimination of persons with albinism and to assess the magnitude of the problem. The DG stressed that nothing could be hidden, as everything was in the public domain, published by the media or academia. The role of the Department was to indicate the challenges, to demonstrate the interventions, to educate the communities and to play an advocacy role. Persons with albinism were at risk and needed more attention in the country.
Besides these planned events, there were also some ad hoc international engagements with the Minister, for which the Department could not yet give any dates or cost estimates. The Department’s attending delegations were expected to give a report highlighting the issues of national importance and outlining how these could be turned into a programme of action. The Department’s priority was currently the preparation of the review of the Beijing Declaration and platform for action.
At last week’s Women’s Parliament, the Department learned a lot. Ms Thandi Modise, Speaker of the National Assembly, had affirmed that country reports had to identify the issues and challenges of that country. The Department intended to abide with this advice and to endorse reports as a representation of the country.
The presentation listed all the meetings that the Department had participated in. It described the interlink between the Department’s sub-programmes to ensure efficiencies and optimise the collection of performance information. Sub-programmes were coordinated in an integrated manner, inclusive of all segments of women including young women, LGBTQIA+, disability and youth. The DG also gave an update on progress with the key policies for women and persons with disabilities insofar as what needed to be finalised/reviewed/updated within the next five years.
In the DG’s view, the Department had done its best. She also referred to the amendment of the NYDA Act. The Department was in constant engagement with the NYDA, and aimed to elevate its monitoring mandate to ensure the translation of recommendations into practice. Without further going into detail about the NYDA, the DG presented the project plan and a progress update. She demonstrated the Department’s activities, responsibilities, timelines and draft policy documents. The list also included the bills that had been submitted to the Cabinet or that had been published for public comments. It would enable the Committee to monitor the Department’s work.
Other topics covered were the events, campaigns and international activities that would be hosted over the next five years. The list included an estimation of the costs, beneficiaries and attendances. Committee Members would be notified if there was a need for them to attend. The DG indicated how these events would be monitored and evaluated. Compiled reports would be shared with the Committee and other relevant stakeholders.
The Department’s mandate, vision and mission were clarified, and the strategic priorities of all programmes and sub-programmes were identified. It described its priorities and the action plans on how to achieve them. The organisational environment was outlined, including all divisions and branches, and the budget programme structure for 2019/20. This was the off-structure -- the final structure and strategy were still in process. When finalised, it would be made available to the Committee. The key performance indicators (KPIs), annual and quarterly targets were described, and the technical indicator descriptors were also included to allow an exact measurement of the Department’s performance.
The Chairperson said that where trhe presentation had referred to support for the national youth development programme, the Committee and its researchers were satisfied by the new choice of words, as the word ‘oversight’ had been removed.
Mr S Ngcobo (DA) said that the country was facing a difficult time. He hated himself for being a man because of what other men were doing to women. There was a need for radical interventions. It was important to call on all churches, synagogues, mosques and other institutions of faith in the country to continuously pray for the nation. He asked what the timeline was for the planned legislation for persons with disabilities.
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) urged that for the next presentation of the APP, the Department should keep up the good work. She was happy that the Department had captured the Committee’s concerns. The Department had taken a good direction. On reporting on quarterly activities, the it should stick to the APP. The Committee would check what it had done in the respective quarter. She hoped that the self-set targets would be achieved. She wanted an assurance that it would monitor and evaluate the international treaties. Were the treaties bearing fruit or not?
The Chairperson commented that only monitoring was not enough.
Mr Mphithi welcomed the presentation, saying there had been an improvement in the documentation. The Committee’s raised concerns were now included in the revised APP. How had the Department conceptualised its working relationship with the NYDA? Referring to the national youth development programme in the APP, how would the linkage work? How would the Department align its own goals for the programme to the objectives that the NYDA had for itself? How would these goals be synchronised, and did the documents speak to each other? He wanted to check if the structure of the private office would be included or not.
Lastly, he said that sometimes there was a lack of defined policies addressing the challenges faced in this country. In the next financial year, the approach should change towards projects on the ground. The feeling and anger of the people would come to the doorstep of the Department. It was important that it would be able to respond with tangible, practical ground work, in line with the policies that it was preparing.
Ms Masiko asked how the Department defined its working relationship with the NYDA. What was the synergy in relation to the sanitary dignity campaign? The NYDA had presented its grant system and work last week, but she had not seen any linkages between the Department’s sanitary dignity programme and what the NYDA was providing for young people, specifically relating to grants and the provision of sanitary towels.
The Chairperson referred to the transfer payments to the NYDA. Could the Department offer an explanation? What money had been received? This was not supposed to be included in the report. It must be removed. Besides, since the NYDA task team was appointed by the President, who was responsible for monetary issues? If the Department was responsible, it would run out of funds because it had not budgeted for this. This matter needed to be raised with the President. The Department’s funds for other programmes would be depleted if it financed the NYDA task team. The Department could work with the NYDA, but it should not be responsible for its finances. The Department should advise on that.
She thanked the Department’s for the good work done so far. It had tried its level best. She asked the DG to respond to the Members’ comments and questions. However, the Committee hoped for a better strategic plan and APP next year.
Ms Tshabalala said that all raised issues and comments would be taken into consideration. They would be taken up as interventions. The call on churches and synagogues to pray and to raise awareness was a valuable point. A structured way of cooperation with faith-based organisations (FBOs) needed to be established. FBOs could include the issues of GBV and xenophobia in their work and come up with programmes of action, as violence was also taking place in churches. Another good point was to reach out to traditional leaders and healers, particularly in regard to persons with albinism. These issues would be taken into consideration when the Department engaged with the respective sectors.
On the land issue, the Department would play its advocacy role when engaging with the Department of Land and Rural Development. It had made a very clear strategic input into the document. Everybody had to recognise that it was time to incorporate women’s issues in the various programmatic interventions and policies of government. The Department would continue its on-going advocacy role.
On child support grants and women skills, she recommended liaison with the Department of Social Development, which had started a good programme that could be replicated by other provinces. The programme had managed to exit more than 36.000 young women who were recipients of child support grants, and link them with developmental programmes. If all provinces followed this route, the state would be relieved of a huge amount of money spent in child support grants. She acknowledged the importance of the child support grant as a poverty measure, but she also wondered how many fathers of these children were alive without maintaining their children. The state was the father to these children. This programme should be further advocated, because if the mothers passed on, the fathers would not cope. If the fathers were not employed, they must be pulled into the programme and given assistance to be able to take care of their families. Mothers must participate in programmes to become self-reliant and not be dependent on the state. As her background had been as a professional social worker and former Head of the Department of Social Development, the DG saw the developmental angle of social development. Without such programmes, the state would develop more and more into a welfare-state.
On albinism, there was a programme in Gauteng in which children were given sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses in addition to the sanitary dignity pack. It was a way of saying that they were a part of society. It helped them to engage with other kids and to have a meaningful life.
In reference to older people, there should be programmes to adopt the homes of the elderly and improve their security, as they were vulnerable. The Department’s approach was that all women, from girl child to young women to older women, were important. In Gauteng, there were security upgrading programmes that could be revised and revisited. Older women in the community should be known, to assess their vulnerability. What had happened to civil education? How was the civil society being educated about taking care of the elderly? In other countries, older persons were a priority and remained untouched. This should be part of the culture, the way people did business.
The KPIs for persons with disabilities remained under the Department of Social Development. Therefore, two KPIs were not included. They had a specific role according to their core business. The Department had to ensure that there was a distinction between the two departments
.The Department was in the process of reviewing the presidential committee to align it to the Sixth administration. It was checking how relevant it was in response to the work of the Sixth Parliament. It should engage the Minister and the Deputy Minister with its proposals, and then, reprioritisation could take place. The matter had already been discussed with the President. The Department now had to give inputs on the form and shape of the presidential committee, in line with the current administration and its priorities. The Department would inform the Committee once it was ready.
The Special Advisor of the Department clarified that the presidential committee had not been budgeted for in the Department at all. This was a reaffirmation of internal confusion. It had written a report to the Minister indicating that the work of the presidential committee was taking from the programme of the Department. The Minister had had a meeting with the President regarding the committee, indicating the challenges. The President had clarified that even though the committee was called the presidential review committee, the request to establish it had come from the Department. The launch of the committee had happened without the terms of reference. Since the Department had requested this specific committee, it could also review it. The Minister had asked the Department to explain the need for, and the role of, the committee. However, there was no money from the President, as the President had not requested the committee.
The Chairperson asked to leave the financial issues of the NYDA aside, since the board was not complete.
The DG said that the Committee was heard in this regard. The message had been conveyed to all the team members that the actual finances for youth and social development for persons with disabilities remained untouched. It would be left there until the end of the year, and be taken over next year. Nothing had changed. It was a mere technical transaction that should be authorised by the Department.
Ms Desree Legwale, Chief Financial Officer of the Department, explained the relationship between the Department and the NYDA. The NYDA reported to the Cabinet and Parliament through the Minister. The role of the Department was to provide technical support to the Minister by ensuring that the work of the NYDA, including its report, was quality assured and that its plans were aligned to the national priorities. Another role of the Department was to develop national policies on youth development, the monitoring of its implementation, as well as the development of national legislation. Therefore, the Department was currently involved in amending the NYDA Act.
Mr Benny Palime, Director: Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the Department, talked about the issue of legislation for persons with disabilities. The basis for implementing the policy on disability was the White Paper on the rights of persons with disabilities, which had an implementation matrix. This should answer procedural questions in the legislation process.
There were two protocols that had to be domesticated. The first was the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which had been ratified in 2007, and the second was the African Union (AU) Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa. The latter had just been signed, and the Committee should assist with the ratification thereof. The protocols would be domesticated through the method of legislation. There were two parallel processes. One was run by the South African Law Reform Commission, together with the Department. Currently, the Department was developing an issue paper which would develop into a discussion paper and then a legislative report before moving towards a bill. In the second part, the Department was working with a presidential working group. A work stream within this working group would develop two things. One was the domestication process on the conventions, and the second was the aspect of access to justice and provision of law. The process was guided by the Constitution. Since the process had just started, it could be finalised by 2024. In the meantime, existing laws were being reviewed and checked for necessary amendments. It was an on-going process, which included the Department of Justice.
The Chairperson disagreed with the Director. The Committee was not satisfied by a mere White Paper -- it demanded a legislative Act. The presented White Paper had been in existence for years. She had hoped for a strategic plan on how to accelerate the legislative process. The Director had given only basic background information. Persons with disabilities had been raising this matter for years. Something had to be done during this term!
The Chairperson agreed with a point made by Ms Khawula. In fact, these people were not disabled but abled. Persons living with a disability had taught her new things -- they were able. She was pushing for an Act, because she was engaging with these people and realised the importance of dealing with their issues. An Act was required to address these matters within the next three years.
Ms Legwale explained the transfer of quarterly tranches to the NYDA. The budget was currently within the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation. The youth programme would conduct a monitoring and evaluation procedure on progress made by the NYDA for each quarter. Thereafter, they would make a recommendation to the Minister, through the accounting officer, for the release of the next tranche. Once the Minister had approved, the documents would then be submitted to the DPME for its accounting officer to grant an approval for the actual release of the funds. Once the funds were released to the NYDA, the DPME would recognise the expenditure in its books.
Ms Ntsiki Sisulu-Singapi, Acting Deputy Director General (DDG), tackled the issue on the country’s gender indicated framework, together with the treaties and their role, since they were not mutually exclusive to each other. The country’s indicator framework was derived from global, regional and national level indicators, including signed regional and continental treaties of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the African Union. The indicators could not be separated from that. The indicators, the medium strategic framework as well as the sustainable development board were derived from global indicators and frameworks. Therefore, the Department reported against the backdrop of these treaties. The indicators were developed to collect data from key departments. Currently, there were 44 indicators, while previously there had been over 800 indicators, which were not manageable in the medium strategic framework. Thus, the indicators were aligned with the seven projects of government and were now contributing to the 14 outcomes. After the alignment with the government’s projects, they could be classified into five categories.
Data from StatsSA was a collection source, since the data was collected to ensure that it was desegregated. The Departments of Health and Basic Education, as well as the National Treasury, also provided data to the Department. The guideline on how to develop the APP was received from the DPME. Data gaps had been identified, for which a separate set of indicators had been required. The country’s gender indicated framework had been developed because of the identified gaps. Some of the new indicators were integrated into the APP and the National Treasury’s frameworks. Currently, the Department worked with the DPME and the National Treasury to ensure the full integration of gender segregated data into the APP. In the quarterly reports to the Committee, the new indicators would be included. She knew that there was a reporting burden in the Department, but once the indicators had been fully integrated, it would become a norm and a practice. A full integration into the APP, the budget and the plans and implementation of programmes was necessary, as the indicators created relevant data. The gender indicators closed the existing gaps within the StatsSA. The new data that would be collected from a number of departments was focusing mainly on women’s human rights, education and health.
The treaties were monitored by different bodies, whose task was to report on the country’s achievements. The Department monitored the domestication process of those treaties. Once the treaties had been signed, approved, adopted and come through Parliament, they could be domesticated and enter into effect. The reports to the Committee would include the progress of the domestication process.
On the sustainability of the programmes, there was a partnership with all levels of government, established through regular visits to the provinces. The Department cooperated with people at the local level to implement the programmes. The engagement at community level facilitated the success of the planned interventions. The Department also worked with civil society organisations that had been established a long time ago. While funding continued to be a serious issue, there was a memorandum of understanding with other civil society organisations. Regardless of the internal changes in the Department’s structure and administration, these organisations continued the work in partnership. The Department also engaged in dialogues and consultation with stakeholders involved in the development of the NSP, or development partners like the United Nations. When cooperating with civil society organisations, the Department did not allow them to work independently. The work – especially the implementation -- was always done together in partnership.
The DDG said that the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture was the custodian of social cohesion and nation building. The Department wanted to work as an integrated government and thus welcomed more inter-departmental cooperation. This also included the engagement with faith-based organisations, traditional leaders and healers on issues related to GBV. The issues of the LGBTQIA+ community would also be addressed within the faith-based organisation sector, to raise awareness of the violation of human rights. However, the Department was not necessarily dependent on StatsSA for that. The Deputy President had been charged with the responsibility of creating a social compact that was needed to resolve the challenges in the country.
The Chairperson requested the submission of a list of the country’s gender indicated framework, including all indicators so that the Committee could familiarise itself with the content of the framework.
She encouraged everyone to wear orange as a symbol of solidarity with GBV victims.
To answer the question on how to conduct oversight over the activities of the NYDA, she said she and the legal unit of Parliament had had a closer look at the legal rules. They had discussed the NYDA Act. She would finalise today with the Speaker on how to move forward with the issue.
She suggested advertising all seven vacant posts at the same time. This would help to reduce the waste of resources. There was progress, and the feedback would be received the following day.
The meeting was adjourned.
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