Video: JM: PC on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and SC on Health and Social Services, 5 May 2020
Audio: Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities 2020/21 Annual Performance Plan
The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities began to function as a new Department on 1 April 2020.
The reconfiguring of government departments (involving mergers of departments, name changes and transfers of functions) was announced by the President on 29 May 2019. The functions of the rights of persons with disabilities were previously part of the Department of Social Development. The national youth development programme was previously part of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.
The purpose of the meeting was to assess the Strategic Plan 2020 to 2025 and the 2020/21 Annual Performance Plan for the new Department. The Acting Director-General clarified the role of the Department in its expanded mandate and discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the Department’s operations, interventions and regulations.
The Department indicated that it had already experienced budget cuts from National Treasury and was anticipating even more cuts as funds are being reprioritized because of the COVID-19 crisis. It had to scaled down and attempt a more realistic plan.
Members of the Portfolio and Select Committees were concerned about the Department’s use of the word ‘oversight’ to describe its role as this was the core function of Parliament and the Committees. The Department was questioned on its expanded mandate in action and the mainstreaming of issues of women, youth and persons with disabilities across government and, now in particular, within the COVID-19 regulations. Members raised concerns about the impact of COVID-19, particularly looking at the national coordination of action to combat femicide and gender-based violence. In addition questions were raised on homeless communities in Cape Town and rural areas; the supply of food parcels, water and sanitizers; and who, numerically, is benefitting from COVID-19 interventions in terms of gender, age and disability. Members asked for clarity on reprioritized funds. They asked that the Department’s views on COVID-19 be backed up by a portfolio of numerically tabulated evidence in future.
The Minister and Deputy Minister were available to respond to Members’ questions. The Department assured Members that their concerns regarding the National Youth Development Agency would be addressed in the next week’s presentation.
The Chairperson asked the Acting Director-General (ADG) to present highlights from specified slides in light of the two-hour time constraint on the meeting. The ADG, Ms Welhemina Reshoketswe Tshabalala gave the briefing on the Department’s Annual Performance Plan (APP) and Financial Management Plan for 2020/21 and on its Strategic Plan for 2020-2025.
The role of the Department is not on implementation but rather on advocacy, mainstreaming, facilitation, policy and strategy formulation, government wide planning, monitoring and evaluation as well as research.
On slide 3, the Department highlighted that since the President announced the national executive and the respective portfolios of the sixth administration, the Department has adopted an extended mandate being women, youth and persons with disabilities. The Department has embarked on a series of strategic planning sessions bringing about the Strategic Plan for the five-year period and the APP.
Looking at slide 4, titled ‘transitional arrangements’ the DG confirmed that consensus was reached in consultation with the Minister of Public Service and Administration for the Department to receive the two additional functions on youth and persons with disabilities. The transfer was effective April 1st, 2020. The Department was given twelve months from September 2019 to start working on the Department’s realigned structure and align it to the Department’s strategic priorities. This process has since been disrupted by COVID-19. The Department can confirm that they will be receiving assistance from Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), from June 1st, 2020 until early 2021 to manage the disruption.
Looking at slide 7 and 8, the ADG highlighted the impact of COVID-19 and the consequent disruption of normal working arrangements. The ADG confirmed that the Department has since redeployed senior officials to participate on a daily basis at the Covid-19 National Command Council Centre. The ADG confirmed that she is participating in four clusters daily including the Social Cluster; the Economic Cluster; the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, and the Governance Cluster to make sure that to make sure that issues of women, youth and persons with disabilities don’t fall through the cracks.
The provision of Gender Based Violence (GBV) services was a challenge. Initially it was not categorized as an essential service in the regulations [issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act, No. 57 of 2002]. Through the advocacy role played by the Department, the second round of regulations have since classified GBV services as a permitted essential service. The challenges on access to information for persons with disabilities have been alleviated as the Department worked with Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) to create a platform where information has been loaded so it can be accessed by persons with disabilities.
The COVID-19 situation necessitated that the Department realign the way it did business. It had to scale down planned activities particularly in relation to public participation, community organisation, stakeholder coordination and international relations work. The travel ban meant that the Department could not attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York. The Department has since engaged in virtual meetings for stakeholder coordination.
Looking at slides 9-15, the Department highlights the interventions it has managed to succeed on. Because of the increase in GBV, the Department has consulted civil society organizations to collaboratively come up with a safety plan for women to know what to do when they are being abused. A pathway for victims has been developed to create a smooth referral matrix as and when they attend to centres such as hospitals or social workers in an effort to avoid secondary victimization of the client.
The Department has partnered with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), WaterAid, and Footprints Foundation to alleviate the issue on lack of access to sanitary ware for young learners after the closure of schools. The UNFPA has donated sanitary pads and the Minister and Deputy Minister have begun distribution in shelters and other places where people in need of this assistance are located and will coordinate this together with the supply of food parcels and sanitizers.
The Department has convened the first Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) meeting after the handover of the IMC to the President. Their term of office has expired and the Department has had a session allowing the IMC to hand over the National Strategic Plan (NSP) as approved by cabinet and the Emergency Response Action Plan Report, which has since been handed over by the President to the Department so that the Department in partnership with the relevant departments can begin to implement.
The Department has achieved a great deal in supporting the IMC. The Department has developed terms of reference for the IMC, a document to be used for the recruitment advert for the National Council for Gender Based Violence and Femicide, and the tentative draft terms of reference for the council, which will be debated by the council members.
The Department has since engaged National Treasury to access funding from the R500 billion of the economic stimulus package and the ADG noted that the NSP has not yet been funded. High-level costing was done and cabinet recommended that the Department refine the costing with National Treasury. This process was halted by COVID-19 and has since been rescheduled for early in the week beginning 10 May 2020. The Department has accessed funding from the European Union for the implementation of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Programme, Gender Based Violence Programme and Sanitary Ware Framework Programme.
The Department has sign language interpreters and influenced the Covid-19 regulations from a disability perspective. It crafted disability directions which are awaiting approval by the Minister of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA). The Acting DG said the Department has done some work to influence the Domestic Violence Act and she will speak to this when time permits.
As key projects, the Department is conducting surveys to ascertain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is supporting work through UN Women [the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women] so that there is a gendered analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on women.
Looking at slides 28 to 30, the ADG highlighted the work that the Department is doing on policy and legislative intervention. The Department is bringing to the fore the Disability Rights Bill, the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, the National Youth Policy and has informed the leader of government [business in Parliament].
Looking at slides 32 to 46, the ADG highlighted the five year plan, the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), and the Department’s mandate, vision and mission. She explained why the Department decided to use the wording ‘oversight over other government departments.’ The Portfolio Committee had asked the Department to refrain from using the language of oversight in reference to the NYDA as that is the Committee’s role. She explained that the Department is looking at the oversight in terms of the monitoring work the Department is doing with all the government departments including provinces and municipalities. This is aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP), MTSF and the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the Department followed government’s planning template in this regard.
The Department has looked at priority 1, where focus is on strengthening gender machineries. The Department has also looked at priority 2, where focus is playing an advocacy role for financial inclusion of women, noting that the various economic cluster departments have developed interventions aimed at managing the negative impact of the pandemic and to support economic recovery. This speaks to a lot of issues around the work that the Department is doing on Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), the financing schemes, informal work in that sector, and financial and non-financial support.
Priority 3 covers education, and the Department is mainly focused around the retention of girl learners and learners with disabilities. The ADG confirmed that issues of sexual and reproductive rights are being promoted by the Department.
Looking at priority 4, the Department is consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services. This is the whole basket of services for psychosocial support as well as norms and minimum standards in the interface of GBV and substance abuse.
Looking at priority 5 on spatial integration, the focus is mainly around ensuring disability inclusive buildings for ease of reasonable accommodation.
Looking at priority 6, where focus is on social cohesion and safer communities, the Department is bringing to the fore the national strategic plan (NSP) to end GBV with an emphasis on the issues relating to changing norms and behaviour in prevention work more than being reactive.
Looking at priority 7, a better life for Africa, the ADG clarified that the focus here is the work that the Department is doing in reporting internationally, regionally, and to the African Union (AU).
Turning to slide 48, on the structure of the Department, the ADG said that the Department has three divisions reporting directly to the DG and four branches reporting directly to the accounting officer. Slides 49 to 51 present the detail of the structure. The post of the DG is to be filled soon and the Department also indicated that it has 130 filled posts and 27 vacancies which have mostly been advertised. Due to COVID-19 the Department could not embark on the filling of these posts. The Department has since been guided by the Department of Public Services and Administration so that it can embark on virtual interviews and this process has begun. The ADG warned that there may be a delay around the competency tests because the Department is still establishing with various companies whether they are open. Most of the posts are at the level of director upwards and Senior Management Service posts [all of which require candidates to complete competency tests before they can be appointed].
Slides 71-74 speaks to the Department’s financial management plan. The presentation depicts the budget for the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the economic classification in terms of the work that the Department is doing. Looking at the MTEF allocation, the ADG noted that Treasury introduced direct budget cuts at the planning phase. An amount of about R6 million was taken from the NYDA budget and an amount of about R108 000 was taken from the youth section. The Department anticipates further budget cuts as a result of the anticipated impact of COVID-19 for reprioritization purposes. The Department indicated the money they have remaining has been classified as compensation of employees, goods and services, transfers and subsidies (to the Commission for Gender Equality - CGE - and NYDA), and machinery and equipment.
Slide 74 presents a narrative on the finances and outlines a budget increase to R850 million in 2022/23 over the MTEF period. The Department has also received an additional allocation of R15 million for the National Council on Gender Based Violence and is still seeking additional funding through the European Union. The Department is making certain that the compensation of employees is not compromised, the posts are filled and that money is being transferred as and when it is required.
Turning back to the APP, the presentation is very clear on the Department’s outcomes, on its indicators, on its targets annually, on research, on exactly how many research projects the Department will conduct, on issues relating to events and campaigns, including a breakdown of what activities will be conducted in all four quarters. The presentation demonstrates which policies will be crafted and which period applies. The presentation also provides some narrative on the Department’s work and milestones as the Department will be working with the various bills already tabled. The five-year plan depicts the Department’s five-year targets referring back to all the programs the ADG had mentioned from a mainstream perspective, from a research perspective, and from a policy perspective. The APP also shows the events and campaigns and the overall figure for the entire five-year period. The APP is very clear and through operational plans the Department will be in a position to translate all of that into practice and implement. In saying all this, COVID-19 can affect this plan in many ways. At this stage the Department has tried to scale down and be realistic in its implementation approach.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee asked if there is information in the presentation on finances.
The Acting DG confirmed that the last three slides 71 – 74 include the finances including the allocation per programme, allocation per economic classification and the entire allocation in the narrative form. In total, the budget for 2020/21 is R778.49 million spanning the MTEF period. The Department is anticipating some budget cuts due to COVID-19. At this point, the Department is treading carefully until they get guidance from the National Treasury.
[This was a virtual meeting involving two committees – below, only party affiliations of National Assembly Members are indicated, while party and province affiliations are given for Members of the National Council of Provinces.]
The Chairperson said that in the Portfolio Committee’s understanding, portfolio committees do oversight over a department and the department should come to Parliament and account on the money that has been allocated to it and the programmes planned for. This is the Portfolio Committee’s core function. Instead of using the language of monitoring and evaluation for issues of women, youth and persons with disabilities, the Department insists it is doing ‘oversight’. This suggests that the Department will be sitting and waiting for other departments to come to the DWYPD to account instead of actively going to monitor and check what and how work is being implemented. The DWYPD is not a service delivery department and so its role and responsibility is to go and monitor whether there is implementation as per plans and whether communities of women, youth and people with disabilities are benefitting from the said implementation. The Chairperson noted that she cannot find monitoring and evaluation strategies in their strategic plan.
The Chairperson asked for clarity on what the difference might be from the previous departmental mandate in terms of the vision and mission. How are all the Department’s activities going to be coordinated as some of this Department’s services are operationalised by other departments?
Co-Chairperson Gillion highlighted that the Select Committee is serving in many other Committees. She agreed with the Chairperson of the meeting that this Department is supposed to do monitoring and evaluation on all different departments. The Acting DG is sitting in the National Command Centre where the influence for the rights of women, youth and persons with disabilities are being discussed and also to influence issues surrounding COVID-19. As a chairperson of the select committee and a Western Cape NCOP member, she highlighted that 70% of positive COVID-19 are in the Western Cape as the epicentre. She urged the Department, as part of the National Command, to do oversight specifically in the Western Cape when it comes to gender, youth and people with disabilities. Ms Gillion mentioned the report by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on the City of Cape Town and the treatment of homeless people in Strandfontein. She asked that the Department look into this for the City of Cape Town and in rural communities. She highlighted that the frontline staff of the retail stores is mostly women and youth. Retail centres are the epicentre of the spread of virus in the Western Cape. Secondly, the farmworkers in the Boland areas have been exposed to high levels of risk to COVID-19. Taking all of this into consideration, together with the issue of social development, this Department should conduct thorough oversight over the Social Services Department when it comes to pension and grant queues, food parcels and the period it is taking to for food parcels to reach people. She raised a concern on the presentation, saying that slide 13 on the assistance to spaza shop and informal trading omits the Western Cape. She urged the Department to continue with the work being done within the short period.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee asked that since the Department is sitting in the COVID-19 Committee on a daily basis as part of their advocacy work, it should report how many cooperatives as women, youth and persons with disabilities have benefitted from the economic opportunities arising from that.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) commended the report and the work the Department is doing during the COVID-19 crisis. She raised a concern similar to the Chairperson, on the economic stimulus package. She asked whether the Department is able to track how women, youth and people with disabilities are benefitting from the economic stimulus package. She also asked for clarity on the impact of COVID-19 on the staff of the Department, if there are any challenges relating to working arrangements of the staff during the COVID-19. She highlighted that the gendered analysis is welcomed as well as the gendered tracking system, however, this tracking system seems to leave the programmes of youth and persons with disabilities behind. She also asked about the coordination of the Department with other stakeholders, since there has been a steep rise in Gender Based Violence. How is the coordination of the CGE, non-profit organisations (NPOs) and other stakeholders being managed, specifically through the national gender commission?
Ms P Sonti (EFF) stated that she was not able to receive the documents made available electronically but would speak to the COVID-19 issues. She raised that there is a crisis particularly with youth and persons with disabilities in rural areas as she notices this in her area of Marikana in North West Province. It is said that people should sanitize, wash hands and use masks but water, sanitizers and masks are hard to come by. She also raised a concern on food parcels not reaching hungry people. The people on medical treatment plans requiring food for their medication schedule have no access to this. She also highlighted that as mines have been reopened and travel been allowed for this, this increases the risk of COVID-19 for her community.
Mr L Mphithi (DA) was concerned that many of the responses of the Department to COVID-19 aren’t backed up by background documents with evidence tabulated numerically. He asserted that the function of oversight obscures the Department’s actual roles and responsibilities. He also spoke to the budgeting and raised a concern on the increase on expenditure on consultants (7.34% increase). Is the Integrated Youth Development Strategy in line with the national youth policy? He was aware of many youth-focused non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that were left out of that policy and did not have the opportunity to comment on the Department’s process. He also raised a concern on security within the Department as recently a virtual meeting was hacked and pornographic material projected. He wanted to know what are the issues contributing to this breach, whether this was connected to the Information Technology and Communication (ITC) system falling apart and what measures have been taken since to ensure that this does not happen again. Finally, he asked about an economic stimulus package for those women, youth and persons with disabilities not covered by social relief packages.
Ms T Masondo (ANC) asked about the process to draft legislation on women, youth and people with disabilities and why it is taking an entire year to develop a legislative report even before the disability grant can commence.
Ms N Ndongeni (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked whether the Department can report on how many strategic vacancies it has and the relevant timeline. She asked also about the Department’s role on issues of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS prevalence amongst youth.
Ms A Maleka (ANC, Mpumalanga) welcomed the presentation and raised a question on education. She asked what the Department’s response been in terms of phasing in of schooling particularly for learners and educators, and what, if any, specific interventions have been proposed for learners with disabilities.
Ms S Luthuli (EFF, KZN) asked the Department to explain why its new title excludes children. She stated further that there should not be a blanket approach when it comes to GBV as she is observing that GBV in rural areas in KZN has also increased. She asked further that the Department clarify what work it is doing for HIV/AIDS and substance abuse by youth, particularly in rural areas.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee clarified that the configuration of the Department [i.e. excluding children in the name of the Department] is the President’s choice.
Mr M Bara (DA, Gauteng) raised two questions. He asked whether the Department has done anything to verify the facts on the alleged GBV spike since the lockdown so that government can work with hard facts. He noted that the term of the NYDA board of the has lapsed and asked if any steps had been taken by the Department to cover all the bases. Since youth unemployment is most steep, what interventions has the NYDA embarked on during this period to ensure unemployed youth are assisted?
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee confirmed that the term of the NYDA board lapsed the day before this sitting and that there is no guidance on the interim board. She asked that the Department clarify on the next steps in the meantime, as the sub-committee is still in good position to fill in those vacancies.
Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC, Limpopo) asked how ready the provinces are and how are they responding to interventions being put in place. He asked further what kind of support is being provided to both basic and higher education departments in relation to learners and students with disabilities.
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) welcomed the report. She raised a concern on the response to COVID-19, asking how ready the Department is in terms of rolling out the shop support programme, especially since 70 if not 75% of the spaza shops in South Africa are owned by foreign nationals. She raised a concern to say that she cannot see the person with disabilities in the presentation. In terms of COVID-19 response, she said she understands that there will be much realignment and scaling down of planned activities. How will the Department be reallocating and reprioritizing the allocated human and financial resources? On programme 5, the NYDA, the Department always produces four quarterly NYDA assessments annually. She asked who exactly is responsible for compiling these reports and what is specifically recorded.
The Chairperson raised that since the President addressed the skilling of young people during the SONA, she does not get a sense of what the Department is going to do in this regard in the APP and the strategic plan apart from the NYDA. She clarified that she is raising the Presidential Youth Employment Interventions.
Mr S Ngcobo (DA) asked what the disability rights directions waiting approval from the DPSA entail and also asked what the tangible outcomes of the Department’s participation in the workstreams were, what recommendations the Department had put forward, and which of these recommendations benefitting women, youth and persons with disabilities have been adopted.
Ms N Sharif (DA) asked about the GBV command centre. She said that a Committee staff member sent statistics giving the number of calls to the command centre have been made but it seems to be difficult to get the stats updated. When she looked at the report by the Minister of Police, it shows a decrease in rape and an increase in GBV under the lockdown and it is important to get the correct statistics. She asked that the Department clarify its role in the GBV command centre. She also asked, since the term of the IMC on GBV has ended who will now be responsible for the establishment of the council. She asked for clarity on how the R5 million requested for the council will be spent. Finally she asked for a report detailing what the role of the Department is and what has been implemented and suggested by the Department on femicide and GBV in the COVID 19 command council. What exactly does the Department’s safety plan entail and how different is it from the NSP and the Emergency Reaction Plan.
Ms D Christians (DA, Northern Cape) asked, regarding the programme and budget, what has been reprioritized, how are funds being redirected and what specifically is being done by the Department to address GBV and femicide. She also commented on the Sanitary and Dignity programme, asking how the Department is monitoring and evaluating this programme since R209 million has been provided to provinces. She asked that the Department clarify what the impact of COVID-19 has been numerically for young women targeted by this programme. She also asked that the Department clarify the timeline on establishing the national council, the names involved and the plan around the R5 million regarding the establishment of the council.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee echoed the concern on the lack of clarity in terms of the R5 million. The Department did not take the Committee on board when it was busy with the NSP and she asked that the Department clarify how the council was going to account. She asked the Department to clarify why the establishment of a council was preferred over a secretariat. She further asked what the criteria will be of establishing the council. She said she does not get a sense of who the officials deployed are, whether by the Minister or the DG with regards to reserve bank meetings on COVID-19. The Chairperson said that she has not seen any regulation outlined by the DWYPD and so would like clarity on the Department’s contribution in the COVID-19.
Co-Chairperson Ndaba allowed the Co-Chairperson Gillion to read an email from Ms S Lehihi (EFF, North West). Ms Lehihi was concerned that women and children with disabilities are vulnerable in terms of safety. She asked the Department to clarify how the government will ensure that their safety is priority, including their guardians/nurses and that proper assistance is given to women, the elderly, children and people with disabilities. Does the Department know of centres that accommodate person with disabilities and has the government offered assistance to these centres, if yes how, if no, why?
Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, noted that it seemed that the Minister was struggling with connecting to the virtual meeting and so might not be available in the meeting.
The ADG responded to some of the questions. She said she did not get the last question and confirmed that the Department will be responding to some questions in writing.
On persons with disabilities, the ADG affirmed that because they are located in provinces, the Department works through its disability focal points, particularly the offices of the premiers, which assist the Department in extending help to persons with disabilities. The Department has mobilized support from the private sector and development partners. Distribution of food parcels, sanitisers in Gauteng province was happening that very morning and she confirmed that the Department will continue with this as and when they receive resources and work out mechanisms to reach those in other provinces.
The ADG provided some of the names of the officials attending the Council [National COVID-19 Command Council] including the DG, the DDG (Co-chair of Social Impact cluster), saying they all participate to influence high up the net joint view of Ministers.
On the issue of the IMC, the Council [National Council for Gender Based Violence and Femicide] will be established in phases. It will be established by the IMC and will be accounting to the IMC. The IMC will then account to the President. The Department will be tabling a few documents in the coming weeks for approval. This includes the advert for newspapers, and the list of competencies required for people in the Council. After approval the Department will publish and then start sieving through submissions, making sure that the relevant structures are represented.
Co-Chairperson Ndaba interjected with a concern on the establishment of the Council. She said that as long as there is money that is coming from government, in this case there is R91 million that Treasury has allocated for GBV, this means the council must come to Parliament to account. The mere fact that there is R5 million allocated for GBV issues in the Department, means that the Department should also account. She said that it suggests arrogance and disrespecting Parliament’s role of oversight over the GBV Council. Similarly to when the Department was doing the NSP, the Portfolio Committees were not consulted and were shocked to see the process move forward without this accounting.
The ADG clarified that there will be a GBV Council that will report to the IMC and the IMC will account to the Presidency for the work done by the Council. The money that has been allocated is mainly around catering to the needs of the board, the secretariat and administrative costs but it is not programmatic costs. She said that nothing stops the Portfolio Committee from inviting the Council to present and account to the Committee. Looking at the way the Council was structured, the Department felt it was more desirable to follow these aforementioned pathways of accounting.
The ADG indicated that the GBV services were not initially classified as essential services in the COVID-19 lockdown regulations, which made it difficult for civil society to reach out. The Department has since issued permits for them to do the work and reach out, particularly in removing women from abusive environments and transporting women to shelters. The Department has made sure that work being done in the command centre is monitored and correct any blockages through the Justice cluster where the ADG sits. The Department is supporting processes led by the South African Police Services (SAPS) to ensure that as and when the calls are being received at the command centre, they can be directed to other call centres be it CGE, or ChildLine.
The disability rights directions are clarified somewhat on slide 10 of the presentation. One of the things is reasonable accommodation across all the work being done in government in all the clusters.
The Minister will formalise the appointments of the Chief Executive Officer and the Accounting Officer for NYDA.
On disabilities and children with disabilities, the Department is in constant liaison with the Department of Basic Education to influence that even online learning remains disability inclusive. The Department is also supporting the processes around how to have a fair distribution of the interventions. She said that there is a good example in agriculture where they target 50% women, 40% of youth and 6% of persons with disabilities. That is the influence the Department is making and are promoting this distribution across the board and has agreed that this information should be shared.
On issues of tracking, slide 26 and 27 indicates that the Department will be reporting and developing and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system tracking the disability and youth work. The Department will consider all the issues relating to water and sanitation as raised by members.
In terms of sanitary pads, the Department has managed to get sanitary pads procured through UNFPA and this will be included in the work of the Social Development department to form part of the distributed package and begin to alleviate the plight of the girl child.
On GBV, the Department has done a lot of work from a communication and awareness side. The focus of the Department has been radio and social media. She clarified that the safety plan shares what to do practically if as a woman you are being abused.
On the Western Cape, the ADG said that there is progress in influencing those structures.
The ADG said that the Department’s focus is the interface between substance abuse and GBV. Not having access to alcohol at this time has minimized alcohol abuse and domestic violence. The ADG reminded members that there will still be a presentation on NYDA next week where the Department can provide a full response in that regard.
On the ICT security breach, the ADG clarified that it was a UN-hosted website. She said that this shows how vulnerable virtual meetings can be. There was a statement issued by the UN Women on that matter.
Co-Chairperson Ndaba raised a concern on the GBV issues with the Minister, Deputy Minister and Acting DG. GBV issues were debated in Parliament and R1.6 billion was allocated for combatting GBV. She clarified saying that public funds must be accounted for. The council, one way or the other, must account for public funds in Parliament.
The ADG clarified that the R1.6 billion of money allocated was reprioritised and the IMC has also not received money. She said that once all processes are completed the Department will report on this.
The Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, clarified that there is no money received for GBV issues thus far. She said that the country is in a triple whammy situation and needs to put heads together to get solutions. The Department is working together with SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) and regions of Africa and she highlighted that the global community is impressed with what South Africa is doing. In addressing the spike in GBV, there are streams the Department is trying to come up with through the justice system so that the perpetrators are the ones to leave the home instead of the victims including children.
On the workings of the Committee post the handing over of the IMC report to the President and back to the Department, she clarified that the Department has established an IMC under the President chaired by the Minister. If there are issues that the committees would like to raise through invitations for accounting this will be welcomed so that the focus stays on challenges and not on individuals. One of the major issues now is the corona virus. The Department is told that COVID-19 issues are still at the beginning and so there is still much work to be done particularly because at the end of the day women will suffer most.
On the mention of the R500 billion Economic Stimulus Package that government is trying to bring about, all members of Cabinet affirmed that this is an opportunity that women of South Africa get financial inclusion and economic emancipation and so it should be the case that women have a big slice out of this money. If there are jobs, responsibilities undertaken, women must get a slice of that as full participants. The worst of COVID-19 is yet to come. GBV has tried to hide below the COVID-19, however the Department does not want to lose an opportunity to deal with this carnage.
On the NYDA, the Department will say more next week. By now, there was supposed to be a summit of youth employment before the challenges of COVID-19 came about.
She said that the command council started by fighting for women to get special permits to be able to be mobile as essential services. In terms of communication, television is focused on the delivery departments but the Department focuses on radio. The Department is for monitoring and championing the work being done for alleviation of poverty and employment as far as women are concerned.
The Department is going to continue working together with UN Women to ensure that there are more virtual meetings and the security breach has not been a deterrence. The work with the Social Development and UNFPA is trial project that will continue.
As far as the Western Cape is concerned, the Western Cape was a debateable matter on their response to COVID-19. She reminded members that even before COVID-19, soldiers were deployed in Cape Town dealing with issues of thuggery and GBV. At the moment the justice and correctional services committee will have to go back to continue the work being done pre and post corona. There was a ploy to say that every question that was asked by the national government was now shunted to Social Development and the Department has managed to take this back broader than Social Development.
The Deputy Minister answered the question on the difference in the mandate. There are lessons learned from COVID-19 processes where the Department plays an active advocacy role insisting on mainstreaming, policy formulation and the inclusion agenda. She said that there hasn’t been much time to present how the Department produced the directions on issues affecting persons with disabilities. The Department has noted that this was a missing word in the initial regulations and directions. The Department is no longer playing a passive role. She said that it is important for future presentations on the APP to be backed up with a portfolio of evidence.
She said that Members should be aware that there is a special programme of issuing Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) payments that is 100% run by the youth. They work in partnership with a youth group focused on work placement, Harambe. What is unique about that programme is economic inclusion based on the pandemic. The Department is aware of its limitations as it can’t go across all the provinces at [COVID-19 alert] level 4. The social partners have come on board but they are currently stuck in Gauteng. The DM clarified that the Department is committed in partnership to transparency and accountability. The mere fact that the Minister chairs the IMC, the secretariat from that Department will constantly report and so this should not be an issue. There is no intention to keep members in the dark. The Department continues to work very hard in ensuring that the Department is visible.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee said that there is still little evidence in terms of gender, youth and disability issues’ mainstreaming. The COVID-19 regulations by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) don’t depict this call for gender mainstreaming. She said that she is raising this as she follows up and listens to presentations carefully to look for this. The Chairperson appealed to the Minister and the DM to check with this mainstreaming. She further suggested that the CGE should come present to clarify the relationship between CGE and the Department.
The Chairperson said that, in light of the time constraint, some questions will be reduced to writing. The Acting Director General confirmed that the Department will respond in writing.
The meeting was adjourned
Gillion, Ms M
Ndaba, Ms CN
Bara, Mr M R
Christians, Ms DC
Hlengwa, Ms MD
Hlongo, Ms AS
Lehihi, Ms SB
Luthuli, Ms SA
Maleka, Ms AD
Maluleke, Ms B
Marawu, Ms TL
Masiko, Ms F
Masondo, Ms TS
Mgweba, Ms T
Mkhize, Prof HB
Mphithi, Mr L
Nchabeleng, Mr ME
Ndongeni, Ms N
Nkoana-Mashabane, Ms ME
Phiri, Ms CM
Sharif, Ms NK
Sonti, Ms NP
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