Commission for Gender Equality on its quarterly reports July 2018-June 2019

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

10 September 2019
Chairperson: Ms B Maluleke (ANC) (Acting)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Content Advisor presented an analysis of the Commission for Gender Equality quarterly reports from October 2018 to June 2019 as matched against the CGE Annual Performance Plan (APP),  before the Commission was invited to present an overview of the progress that CGE had made over the three quarters.

Members were particularly concerned about GBV and femicide and asked about the impact of the CGE campaigns on gender-based violence and the markers of success for the campaigns. Femicide and GBV had to be dealt with. The non-availability of rape kits and the list of police stations with the highest number of reported rape cases were discussed. The police report on the Top 30 Rape Police Stations was inadequate as it did not capture data from all the other police stations in South Africa in showing how rape is rife in South Africa. Members asked about the causes of the delays in pending court cases.

Members suggested that when they are in their own constituencies they should verify the information they are given about police stations. Current circumstances call for Members to deal with these challenges on the ground and not just in Parliament. CGE was asked why the Department of Correctional Services failed to permit CGE into its correctional centres to assess the conditions for women and babies. How many babies were in Correctional Services facilities? Members complained about how the police were handling GBV cases in poor communities, failing to make arrests and even protecting perpetrators.  How was CGE collaborating with other stakeholders on forced marriages?

CGE was asked if it had a marketing strategy as it felt like CGE did not have a strong media presence. How did CGE plan on increasing their media presence? Had CGE been interviewed during the current protests about the recent tragic femicide cases? The CGE's choice of radio stations was discussed.

The Committee asked CGE to be clearer on its progress with unachieved targets.


Meeting report

Commission for Gender Equality (CGE): pre-briefing by Committee Content Advisor
Ms Kashifa Abrahams, Committee Content Advisor,  said that the Committee had not been receiving information about the work of the Commissioners as previously had been done. The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) would previously inform them about the work being done provincially and nationally and CGE would submit a detailed list of what each Commissioner had done for each key strategic objective. In this way the Committee was able to understand what CGE was doing.

Ms Abrahams reminded the Committee that in the previous meeting, the Committee had recommended that the Department engage with the Department of Justice and the Law Reform Commissioner, both at a portfolio committee level as well as at a departmental level, on the activities of the SA Law Reform Commission, particularly regarding pending legislation that impacts directly on Women and Girls. The Department still has to do a follow up on that.

In response to a committee member asking if the  third bullet on page 7 which stated, “the Committee should engage”, was referring to the Portfolio Committee for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities or if it was a committee of the Commission, Ms Abrahams clarified that it referred to a Commission committee.

Quarter 2 performance in 2018
Ms Abrahams highlighted some key concerns raised by the Committee such as the Parliamentary Liaison Officer had been placed on suspension and the Committee needs to know what progress had been made and whether it has been resolved. Also noted were outstanding matters on Q2 of 2018.

Ms Abrahams moved onto the BRRR 2018 which noted the Fifth Parliament Committee’s recommendations for CGE on finance, governance and programme matters. The Committee needed to ask if CGE had implemented all the BRRR recommendations and if anything was outstanding. She emphasised the importance of follow-up of the BRRR for ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

Linkages between APP and NDP priorities, MTSF Outcomes and SONA priorities
Ms Abrahams emphasised that CGE does not work in a vacuum, the Committee has to constantly check how the work of CGE as well as its findings bring it closer to achieving the priorities of the National Development Plan (NDP), MTSF outcomes and State of the Nation Address (SONA) Priorities.

Ms Abrahams explained that by the end of Q4, CGE gives the Committee a table providing an overview of the met and unmet targets. The Committee needed to know the number of targets carried over from 2018/19 into 2019/20 and how many of these targets were fulfilled by the end of Q1 of 2019/20 or unfulfilled.

CGE and Mining
CGE had done work on mining which was commendable. However, it was unclear by the end of Q4 if CGE had actually conducted a policy dialogue based on its work done in the mining sector. Previously CGE would engage in a sector, have hearings and report based on the engagements it had with a sector.

Women in Correctional Centres
It has been difficult for the Committee to establish what CGE had done in Q3 and Q4. For Q4, CGE provided a list of findings from the CGE report based on three correctional centres they had visited. Ms Abrahams acknowledged that this was a good thing, however, CGE had to put forward explain whether they would be engaging with the Department of Correctional Services or coming to Parliament to engage with portfolio committees on this and if so when would these engagements take place. CGE needed to be clear about what the intention of their report was, whether it was to raise awareness of changed policy. It was not enough to simply do research and produce findings without these findings being directed at something.

Ms Abrahams highlighted that in the findings, CGE does not mention women and children in correctional centres even though they touched on medication for women living with chronic illnesses and sexual reproductive health.

CGE had done a lot of work on maternal health and has gone into hospitals. Ms Abrahams told the Committee that CGE had faced immense problems from the Department of Health. The issue here was that CGE did not offer a strategy for their findings or put forward the different engagements that CGE intended to have with different constituencies.

Elections Project
CGE had spoken to the Committee before about this project as well as the 50/50 Electoral Amendment Act. Here again CGE had not touched on what the strategy would be and they had not indicated whether, based on the report, they would approach the Electoral Commission or present the findings to Parliament.

Forced Marriages and Child Marriages
CGE had said that forced marriages and early child marriages were a focus area in its 2018/19 APP but has not reported on this in Quarter 3 and 4 of 2018/19 nor Quarter 1 of 2019/20. Child marriage had come up as an issue when the Committee had looked at Beijing +25 and in the SADC Gender Protocol Amendment. This was important because previously CGE had said that they were working with the Law Reform Commission on a discussion paper on child marriage. Child marriage is a topical issue for now but there seems to be nothing in the CGE reports that speak to this.

Gender Based Violence
Ms Abrahams commended CGE for this work. CGE’s work with the National Council on Gender Based Violence was centred on setting up a task team for monitoring and evaluation. It was important that Members find out clearly from CGE what their relationship is with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and the Presidential Review Committee and what exactly CGE is going to monitor and evaluate.

Moving to case management and complaints, CGE gave a table for each month except for Q3 and 4. These tables explain the number of complaints across provinces and GBV has always come up. Someone always goes to CGE to lay a complaint about GBV. However, the Committee needs to ascertain what exactly these complaints are about GBV and protection orders and more specifically - if these complaints are consistent across provinces. The Committee needed to find out what are Commissioners actually doing, both provincially and nationally, to deal with systemic issues at a provincial level. There are the Civilian Secretariat of Police, IPID, Provincial Commissioners, Social Development and Health who have inter-ministerial teams that deal with GBV. It is important to understand what provincial commissioners are doing to take up GBV cases brought to CGE through legal clinics or through a complaint. The Commissioners need to be held accountable and not just CGE administration.

Ms Abrahams referred to a table of Top 30 Police Stations for Reported Rapes and Rape Cases. the figures on the table are based on information derived from statistics. When she cross referenced with the Advisor for Police if these police stations had adult and paediatric rape kits for the months noted, it was discovered that these police stations did not have rape kits which means that evidence could not be collected at the time the cases were reported at the police stations. SAPS had said that they are dealing with the rape kits. However, when taking the role of CGE commissioners into consideration, Members could ask CGE if provincial commissioners are keeping tabs on the availability of rape kits at the listed police stations and if CGE is working with provincial police commissioners considering that CGE commissioners receive complaints about various police stations.

Ms N Sharif (DA) asked if the zeros on the table were indicating the lack of availability of rape kits at particular police stations for the mentioned month.

Ms Abrahams replied that they had looked at information about rape kits for the period 31 March 2017 where Orange Farm did not have rape kits and this was a trend that continued to 31 March 2018 and 31 March 2019. SAPS had come out to explain that there was indeed a problem with rape kits, which they said was being resolved. Her question for the provincial commissioners is how they are using their power to deal with the provincial police commissioners to resolve the problem of a lack of rape kits at different police stations. Ms Abrahams suggested that CGE Commissioners and Police Commissioners could have conducted spot checks and visits and reported back to the Committee if the situation has improved at these top 30 police stations for reported rape.

Ms M Khawula (EFF) referred to the table of the top 30 police stations reporting rape, and asked if the many zeros on the table were referring to no rapes reported. She suggested that something was very amiss based on the numbers and asked where the statistics were taken from.

Ms Abrahams replied that the information directly from SAPS. The Portfolio Committee for Police asked for information about the availability of rape kits dating back to 2017 for the all the police stations across the country. This was in response to a question raised in that Committee meeting. Ms Abrahams offered that the technical explanation why some police stations did not have rape kits was that these kits were being held at provincial offices however, that answer was not good enough considering that the victims reporting rapes were scattered over the different regions. Ms Abrahams concluded that the Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities had been told that the situation had improved.

Ms B Maluleke (ANC), Acting Chairperson, asked Members not to dwell too much on the rape kits considering that this was just the statistics and the duty of the Committee was to find out what CGE is doing about this. This was a challenge for the Department of Police and the Committee’s duty during this meeting was to find out from CGE if they were monitoring police stations and if they conducted visits to ensure the problem of rape kits had actually been resolved.

Ms Sharif raised the point that the role of the Committee needs to go further than asking CGE what they have done. The Police Minister had said that they had to stop the contract for rape kits because of corruption. The Minister had said that the rape kits would be delivered by 14 October. The message that this statement by the Minister of Police was sending out to victims was that they should not get raped until the 14 October due to unavailability of rape kits at police stations. The Committee’s role needed to go further than asking CGE what they had done because the unavailability of rape kits directly affected the members of society that the Committee is meant to serve. Perhaps the Committee needed to have someone explain what is really going on because this is truly unacceptable. Perhaps the Committee should have a cross cutting cut approach across departments had have different ministers, such as the Minister of Police, account to the Committee.

The Chairperson agreed with Ms Sharif and the Committee does indeed have the power to call upon the ministers of different departments. Perhaps the Committee should call upon the Department of Police to come and account.

Ms N Sonti (EFF) understood the statistics on police stations and rape kits. However, she believed that the statistics were not enough. There were many more police stations in South Africa and in every city and town there are many victims of rape. Ms Sonti agreed that the Department of Police needed to come and account before the Committee.

Ms F Masiko (ANC) added that their oversight role needs to go beyond this Committee as the different Committee members have their own constituency offices and within their constituencies there are police stations. She suggested that when Members are in their own constituencies they should take it upon themselves to verify the information they are given. Current circumstances are calling for Members to deal with such matters on the ground as well and not just in boardrooms.

Complaints Received
These complaints are not only to do with GBV. It was important to consider how many cases are new, closed or pending cases and how many cases were carried over from the previous quarter.

Treaty Compliance
CGE does a lot of work compiling reports however, the information that CGE writes their reports on needs to be monitored and evaluated all the time and not only during the periods when reports need to be produced. CGE must explain how they are collaborating with the Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities to come up with a country gender indicator framework as this is the same work that CGE is supposed to be verifying and collecting.

CGE did not mention anything about the Amended Gender Protocol of SADC in Q4 or Q1 which needs to be ratified by Parliament.

Performance of Commissioners
To summarise, the provincial gender machineries are to hear what the role of the CGE commissioners are in those machineries. The Department wants to revive the Gender Machineries and the Committee would want to find out if CGE is involved and if so to what extent they are involved

In Q1 CGE speaks about wanting to do work on socioeconomic empowerment. Considering that the Department has already come up with the Women’s Inclusion Framework, how is CGE going to link to the already existing framework by the Department to avoid duplication.

Ms Abrahams commended CGE on the work that they have been doing with municipalities, where CGE has identified the municipalities that they would be working with as well as started to provide training. It was important to find out how did CGE decide on which provinces and municipalities they would work with as well as how they would decide on which municipalities they would work with next. What is the CGE strategy when they work with municipalities, who are the targets when working with municipalities and how do they coordinate their work at a district municipality level?

Ms Abrahams asked about the role of Commissioners when it comes to having the face of CGE at a national and provincial level for media campaigns. How are the Commissioners used when it comes to events and the consistent key messaging across the country, especially on GBV, the services offered by CGE and how people can contact CGE?

Ms Sharif raised a question about CGE’s media presence. Had CGE said anything in the past significant week about GBV and femicide as she did not recall hearing anything from them?

Ms Abrahams responded that three weeks before the new Commissioner Nthabiseng Moleko had spoken broadly about GBV. However, Ms Abrahams acknowledged that from the interview she did not get a sense of what the role of CGE was in GBV as well as how people could reach out to CGE to lay a complaint. It was important for CGE to establish which Commissioners are going to be spearheading the different issues within provinces.

The Chairperson asked if there were any more questions before calling in CGE. She reminded Members not to get derailed and to, by all means possible, ask questions on the different quarterly reports as well as try to establish why CGE targets were not clear enough. She noted that CGE did release a media statement on the 5 September about the President’s announcement on GBV.

Ms Khawula asked if the information on rape kits was going to be left as is and not be commented.

The Chairperson replied that it was not that the information would not be discussed. CGE would be asked to explain what they are doing with this information and whether they have gone to these police stations to check if progress has been made to correct the challenge and to verify that the Police Minister has been fulfilling the commitment that they had made publicly. Members should take it upon themselves in their constituencies to make visits to various police stations to verify this information.

Ms Khawula replied that she was angry because police officers seem not to be doing their jobs well. They should be questioned about the accuracy of the information on rape and GBV that is brought to the Committee.  There are incidents that took place in places such as Dundee that are not represented in the information provided. Many elderly women have been raped and have reported these cases and nothing has come of it. She again referred to the zeros in the top 30 police stations for rape reporting and rape kits sheet indicated such incidents. The Committee needs to find out if Commissioners do indeed conduct checks to confirm whether any progress is being made to acquire new rape kits in the police stations that have been without rape kits since 2017.

The Chairperson clarified that the document speaking to rape kits was not from the CGE but from SAPS.

Ms Khawula voiced her frustration at the terrible things that are currently happening in the country. She believed it was counterproductive for the Committee to meet in boardrooms when things such as femicide and GBV were rife on the streets. Even the government is complicit in some instances and different departments needed to band together to work on solutions to these problems.

Ms Khawula asked the Chairperson to resolve the translation matter. She had requested her documents be printed in isiZulu and for there to be translation devices during meetings.

The Chairperson assured Ms Khawula that the matter would be resolved.

Commission for Gender Equality presentation
The CGE Chairperson, Ms Tamara Mathebula, said that this presentation was happening at a time where the statistics for GBV, femicide and abductions of women and children were alarmingly high in the country. Everyone has been looking to CGE and suggesting ways in which CGE could better respond to these matters. She assured them that CGE was indeed looking at innovative ways to better respond to GBV.

The Commission’s quarterly activities for the 2018/19 financial year have been included in its Annual Report which is currently being finalised. All Commissioners’ activities for 2018/19 had been adopted at a plenary meeting on the 5 September. Due to the changes in CGE Commissioners it would have been untenable to present the activity report prior to this. The CEO and CFO would provide information on how the past three quarters had fared against the Annual Performance Plan (APP) for 2018/19 and 2019/20 according to the four broad categories of CGE’s strategic objectives.

Ms Mathebula said CGE’s annual budget allocation was R80 million for 2018/19 and R85.2 million for the current financial year. Given CGE’s broad mandate, the overall budget allocation has remained inadequate. CGE cannot adequately cover their human resource needs and as a result has had to scrap some positions. CGE will continue to fight against practices that go against the founding values of Constitution, both in rural and urban areas.

Ms Keketso Maema, CGE CEO, requested she give an executive summary for Q3 and 4 while putting more emphasis on the first quarter of 2019/20 to try and stay on schedule.

The Chairperson asked that she highlight critical issues to allow Members to establish if CGE had achieved set targets, if not, why they were unable to as well as the remedial action for the unachieved targets.

Quarter 3 2018/19 performance
Ms Maema said Quarter 3 coincided with 16 Days of Activism. CGE had been able to achieve 64% of their targets. There was deep work that needed to be done and CGE had to undertake disciplinary processes. Some of the work they were meant to do was affected by these disciplinary processes and referred to the work being done by the CGE parliamentary unit. By Quarter 4 some improvements had been made due to the measures put into place by CGE to address the disruption of activities by the disciplinary processes.

Ms Maema said that in Quarter 3 CGE had put systems in place to ensure that they were able to do service delivery much more quickly and efficiently. The first system was CGE’s own performance management of CGE employees and addressing weaknesses found after conducting assessments. CGE will be providing an update on how that is doing currently. Weaknesses were related to CGE finance and HR departments. CGE was piloting the complaints management system as well.

CGE had looked at the representation and participation of women in political parties. This particular project had two phases and fell between the two reporting years.

During Quarter 3 and 4, CGE had looked at the Plight of Women in Correctional Services Facilities. CGE had to threaten the Department of Correctional Services with a subpoena to gain access to the correctional facilities. There was a reluctance of the part of the Accounting Officer of Correctional Services to grant CGE access to the facilities which caused a delay in the process. Last week CGE had been called by the Committee to present their report findings.

The Gender Transformation Investigations hearing in 2018/19 looked at procurement policies that state that 30% of procurement budgets need to go to women-led service providers. CGE selected a few departments to check if they abided by the rules and had chosen Rural Development and Land Reform, Health, Social Development and Basic Education.

In Quarter 3, they looked at systemic violations at shelters, specifically iKhayalethemba in Gauteng due to a number of complaints coming from shelters. Members of the LGBTI communities had complained that they received secondary victimization at these shelters. In the Quarter 3 CGE did a lot of work with shelters and that is why in Quarter 4 they were able to finalize a report on this work.

A report on the work done in institutions of higher learning such as Sol Plaatjie University, Nelson Mandela University and the University of Zululand was finalized in the Quarter 4.

They had held a number of outreach and advocacy clinics where complaints such as domestic violence, criminal justice delays and the withdrawal of cases came up. These issues were the reason CGE had subpoenaed the National Police Commissioner and Provincial Commissioners to engage with them on these matters and to monitor them.

The Chairperson noted that the APP and what was being reported did not match. CGE had been asked to state what the targets were, which ones were unachieved and how CGE plans to deal with these in future. Which document was she presenting on so that Members could follow as there were so many documents which do not seem to be speaking to Ms Maema’s presentation?

Ms Maema apologized for the number of documents that had been handed out to Members. She indicated that the beginning of the presentation noted the targets CGE had not met as well as given reasons as to why these targets were not met.

Quarter 4 2018/19 performance
Ms Maema referred the Committee to the Quarter 4 Report and the Annual Performance Information table which showed how far CGE was with their work. CGE was able to achieve 81% of its planned targets. CGE had to put teams together to ensure that projects for specific Commissioners were achieved despite the problems that CGE faced internally. They highlighted the collaborations CGE had throughout the term with various institutions. CGE had produced an African Gender and Development Index Report previously which the UN Economic Commission for Africa invited it to present to it. The report examined population trends, age and structural transitions in South Africa with a particular focus on gender.

In Q4 a lot of work was done on Women, Peace and Security as government had not come up with a plan about Women, Peace and Security during the time CGE had produced its CEDAW Report. The only thing government was doing on Women, Peace and Security was to send 50/50 women and men to peacekeeping missions. CGE wanted to meet the stipulations of UNSCR Resolution R1325 and the CGE report allowed DIRCO to put forward a National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security.

CGE produced its report on Women’s Political Representation and called on all parties to appear before the Commission to allow CGE to engage on some of the issues that they had. The biggest concern CGE had when engaging with political parties was that most political party leaders did not come to engage with the Commission. In Quarter 3 CGE had analysed party manifestos and in Quarter 4 had called upon party leaders to engage with CGE and finally produced a report. What CGE uncovered in the process was that parties did not have policies in place for sexual harassment. Party leaders came forward or sent representative to engage with CGE. The FF+ did not send anyone to the engagement.

CGE assessed traditional leaders and the report was finalized and waiting to be launched formally in September. It was important to remember that traditional leaders were a part of the broader society. There were many cases of sexual harassment picked up and the CGE legal team was in the process of assessing such cases. She spoke to the cultural hostilities that exist towards sexual harassment. The report did reveal a number of things which she was willing to take questions about. CGE was still having trouble with quotas for traditional leaders as well as traditional leaders who were still not familiar with the idea of sexual and reproductive rights and how these affect the communities of these leaders.

Plight of Women in Correctional Services
One of the biggest concerns was the overcrowding in correctional facilities and officials in these facilities were still unable to deal appropriately with the health and reproductive health matters affecting female prisoners. Nor were they able to deal with mental health problems affecting prisoners.

CGE's programme of action is that they publish the report and then go back to engage with the different constituencies assessed in each report. She gave the example of the report published on the mining sector. They engaged with the systemic violations throughout the whole financial year and advocated for transformation of the judiciary. However CGE struggled very much with the Department of Justice and the Department of Women in the Presidency to take forward some of the recommendations.

Sex Workers
CGE had released a report on sex worker abuse by the SAPS. CGE had released a paper on the Decriminalization Of Sex Work Report. CGE spent a lot of time in the previous financial year engaging with the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus and all other relevant portfolios on the South African Law Reform Commission had put out as a position the country should follow.

The report on the shelter investigation was finalised in the Quarter 4.

Maternal Health & Women with Disabilities
CGE had received complaints that when women with disabilities went to health centres they were forced to be sterilized. CGE had been investigating the issue for some time and that CGE initially had a preliminary report. On seeing it, the Department of Health demanded to conduct their own investigation and confirm the facts presented by CGE. The Department of Health did indeed conduct their investigation. CGE has finalized its report and handed it over to the Department of Health to look at.

LGBTIQA+ and Shelters
The complaints received from members of the LGBTIQA+ community caused CGE to investigate what was happening at these shelters and look into DSD to establish its mandate nationally. CGE had produced a report and in October CGE was planning on calling National Treasury, DSD and Human Settlements to establish what everyone’s role is. CGE had issued recommendations in the report stating what all the different stakeholders should be doing.

Legal and Outreach Clinics
CGE was still looking at the legal and outreach clinics for establishment. CGE was engaging with municipalities from a gender mainstreaming perspective and outreach programmes were conducted throughout the year as well as broadcasting on radio. CGE had ensured to gather information on how many people were reached through broadcasting.

Reviewing and Evaluating Legislation
CGE had done some work around submissions however, due to elections; CGE was not able to engage with Parliament.

There is a specific indicator for the legal department on how many complaints the Commission had responded to per quarter. The Committee need not worry about CGE not seeing its work through because CGE would keep revisiting its reports to see if the relevant constituencies were doing work in the areas that CGE had recommended they do. Each quarter CGE is meant to have 36 stakeholder engagements and in Quarter 4 CGE had managed to reach that target.

In 2018/19 CGE only had three strategic objectives, two were service delivery related and the third was an internal looking one. The one target CGE did not achieve was coming up with a knowledge management strategy, due to the realisation that CGE was not able to handle it all by itself properly.

The Chairperson requested that Ms Maema try to summarize as the Committee was strapped for time.

Ms Masiko asked that CGE assist the Committee by submitting its documents on time so that Members have enough time to go through them prior to the meeting. Secondly, she suggested that perhaps Commissioners, especially those based in Cape Town, should attend such Committee meetings as it would assist Members to better engage with CGE. She requested that moving forward, information presented to the Committee be packaged better. The Committee needed clear explanation as to why unmet targets were not met and whether targets were carried over to the current financial year. Lastly, was CGE measuring impact in terms of the outreach programmes around GBV?

Quarter 1 2019/20 performance
When the Sixth Parliament started, CGE was called to present its APP.  The change this financial year was that CGE had four strategic objectives instead of three. CGE only managed to achieve 76% of its planned targets as a lot of the work that CGE could not do in Quarter 1 was its submissions to Parliament. The APP was very specific on the number of submissions CGE wanted to undertake each year but Parliament had opened only after Quarter 1 was over and the remaining bills had lapsed.

CGE was continuing with engagements about transformation with institutions. CGE had uncovered a lot of work needed on GBV in institutions of higher learning. This financial year CGE had decided to look into TVET colleges. CGE believes that there is impact from the work CGE has done in institutions of higher learning as they were seeing other institutions approaching CGE to ask for assistance on GBV matters.

CGE had been working with a black owned mining company called African Rainbow Minerals. It had been disheartening to discover that this company was not doing anything about gender mainstreaming or gender transformation. By the end of the project they saw the company include some of its subsidiaries and put in a lot of work into the project. The company gave feedback to CGE this quarter.

Climate Change
CGE had done a lot of work in anticipation of the Climate Change Bill that would be tabled in the Sixth Parliament. CGE was working with many communities on climate change projects. This would allow CGE to have something substantial and based on the real life experiences of women when the time came for CGE to make a submission on the Climate Change Bill.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment, especially in the work place, has been coming up a lot. Reports of sexual harassment came through when CGE was doing its investigation into the mining sector. Due to the rife nature of sexual harassment in the workplace, CGE thought it would be a good idea to come up with a sexual harassment guide for employers to deal with such matters. CGE has already grafted the guide and was planning to work with people in the sector during Q2 to ensure that nothing was left out before engaging with stakeholders.

The report on Women’s Participation in Political Parties was completed and CGE was ready to engage on it. CGE might have to start lobbying for the amendment of the Electoral Act to ensure that all parties abide by the 50/50 gender parity.

CGE would be producing a report, at the end of the financial year, looking at women’s economic empowerment initiatives in South Africa. At the moment, CGE was busy analysing a number of frameworks that are in place for women’s empowerment, the purpose of this was to allow CGE to understand and report back to Parliament on whether or not these frameworks are serving their purpose.

CGE was in the process of coming up with its own CEDAW Report so that when government produces its reports, CGE is able to check Parliament’s reports against CGE’s own primary report.

CGE was dealing with issues of gender discriminations faced by women, children and by members of the LGBTIQA+ community.

CGE was seeing a new trend of women coming directly to CGE for maintenance issues because they were aware that they would get assistance, this indicates that there are some issues with the justice system, CGE had engaged with the justice cluster and gained an understanding that the budget constraints restricted the maintenance officers from doing their job properly.

The biggest issue that CGE was faced with was the young women who are married off, in Limpopo, so that they can bear traditional leaders and once these sons are born, the women are discarded or being forced to sleep with a number of men.

Expenditure Report
Mr Moshabi Putu, CGE CFO, explained that CGE had been appropriated R80 million for the previous financial year and R85 million in the current financial year. CGE was not experiencing any financial problems and by the end of the previous financial year, CGE had a small surplus of R750 000. For Q1 of 2019/20, R21 million was allocated by Treasury and they spent R19 million. The surplus was a result of unfilled vacancies.

In the past CGE has had a history of irregular expenditure but measures have been put into place to ensure that this does not happen again. The Auditor General checked their spending and needless to say, the audit outcomes have been positive but he will wait for the Auditor General to report on that.

Ms Khawula thanked the Chairperson and asked CGE team why some targets had not been achieved in the various quarters and wanted to get an understanding of when these unachieved targets would be addressed.

Ms Khawula referred to the Top 30 Rape Police Stations and asked if those missing rape kits were for adults or children. Orange Farm and Tsakane were the biggest problem because it seemed that there were never any rape kits since 2017. She asked what exactly the cause for the missing rape kits was.

Ms Khawula raised the point that the Committee was speaking about the abuse of women and children but the same Committee was failing to look into the type of housing that these people were living in.

Ms Khawula was unhappy with the how the police were handling GBV cases in poor communities. In some instances the police failed to make arrests. She said it does not make sense that the Committee is sitting discussing this in boardrooms while people are living under terrible conditions.

The Chairperson acknowledged Ms Khawula’s grievances and agreed that Members need to go out and look at these challenges on the ground too.

Mr Ngcobo (DA) raised concern about the late submission of documents. He asked if CGE had a corporate brand/marketing strategy because it felt like CGE did not have a strong media presence. How did CGE plan on increasing their media presence? He asked CGE what the role of Provincial Commissioners were.

Ms Sonti felt the report from the police on the Top 30 Rape Police Stations was inaccurate as it did not capture data from all the other police stations in South Africa. What was CGE planning on doing to ensure that the report presents a much more accurate picture of the state of South African Police stations as well as how rife rape is in South Africa?

Ms Sonti asked about outreach advocacy. There was teenage pregnancy, abuse of women working on farms and victims withdrawing cases and the failure of courts in dealing with maintenance cases, GBV and femicide and she spoke to the interconnectedness of these issues. How was CGE planning on dealing with such challenges?

In Quarter 3, CGE had produced a booklet and she asked why this booklet was not translated into other languages. How was CGE going to deal with Correctional Services’ denial of access to centres? Why did the Department of Correctional Services fail to permit CGE into these facilities?

Ms Sonti asked CGE please to act against GBV and femicide in the country.

Lastly she raised her concern about CGE's choice of radio stations. Its list of radio stations it broadcast from did not include popular ones such as Umhlobo Wenene and Gagasi FM.

Ms T Mgweba (ANC) asked CGE if a policy dialogue was held in Quarter 4 on the Gender Barometer Research on mining. She asked CGE to report on the progress made with Correctional Services since the release of the research study and the Elections 2019 project outputs. She asked for progress made on the amendment of the Electoral Act. She asked how CGE was collaborating with the Department and the Presidential Committee on forced marriages. She asked about the impact of the CGE campaigns on gender-based violence and the markers of success for the campaigns. She asked about the causes of the delays in pending cases in provinces. What was CGE’s protocol for media interviews and if CGE had been interviewed on the current protests about the recent femicide cases.

Ms M Hlengwa (IFP) asked how many babies were in Correctional Services facilities and what the progress is. How many houses had CGE identified in each province? Why the number of pending cases was so high in some provinces.

The Chairperson asked CGE to be clearer next time on their targets and how many unachieved targets were carried over into the next quarter. She raised a concern about whether this trend of unachieved targets would happen in Quarter 2 of 2019/20.

The CGE Chairperson assured Members that their concerns would all be taken into consideration. She apologised for the late submission of documents and promised that CGE would work on this. She asked that in future CGE be informed well in advance about when the committee meeting would be taking place so CGE could prepare itself well in advance. The meeting format was partly an issue as CGE had to report on so many quarters at one time.

On CGE’s GBV impact and strategy, Ms Mathebula explained that the reason CGE now has a fourth strategic objective was it realised that it was not doing enough intervention on GBV investigations and lobbying.

Ms Mathebula clarified that the CGE Commissioners were not provincial but national. However, they were deployed by CGE into different provinces to deal with different matters. The role of the Commissioners was to engage with leaders at different levels in the provinces.

Ms Mathebula explained that the rape kits were going to be tracked. During the engagement with the Police Commissioner, CGE was assured that the rape kits would be disseminated.

Ms Mathebula clarified that the rape kits referred to were both women and children's kits.

Ms Mathebula explained that according to CGE's understanding, the rape kits have been procured and now CGE would use its prerogative to ensure that they were indeed disseminated.

Ms Khawula asked if children’s kits were different from those of adults.

Ms Mathebula confirmed that that was the case.

Ms Khawula asked how CGE would ensure that rape kits are not hidden in police stations by police to protect perpetrators.

Ms Mathebula explained that other than the unavailable rape kits, the challenge that CGE had recognised was that cases were being dismissed because evidence was tampered with or did not reach the courts. But they had received assurance from the Minister of Police that criminals would not be allowed to get off easily. Ms Mathebula assured CGE that they would be working closely with SAPS as they had even signed a memorandum of understanding.

Ms Mathebula assured the Committee that they would work closely with the Children and Family courts.

When CGE does radio presenting, it goes to different radio stations throughout the year.

The booklet that CGE has had rolled out in Setswana was a pilot and this year CGE was looking at expanding to only two other languages, such as isiXhosa and Afrikaans, due to financial constraints.

Ms Maema replied about access to correctional centres, saying this is generally a challenge for CGE and this is why CGE ends up getting subpoenas. She could not remember the exact number of children born in correctional centres but it is stated in the CGE report.

CGE continued to engage with the mining sector and explained that CGE has been engaging with African Rainbow and that they are happy with the progress made on gender mainstreaming

With underage marriage, the CGE mandate was to get involved and engage with different sectors and monitor cases that they have taken on. One of the findings CGE had made was that cases relating to child marriage and rape often do not get big sentences due to how poorly police officers charge offenders.

There were various reasons for longstanding pending cases, mostly relating to legal reasons. The Committee was assured that CGE would continue to monitor these cases until they are ruled upon in court.

CGE has two strategies to try and reach rural provinces: firstly through radio where people are told about their rights and how they can reach CGE and secondly, CGE does outreach work by physically visiting rural areas.

The Chairperson thanked CGE for the presentation and the work that they do. He asked CGE to prepare a written report on those questions that were not answered adequately.

The Chairperson thanked the Committee and adjourned the meeting.


Share this page: