The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYD) presented its revised Annual Performance Plan (APP) and Special Adjustments Budget for 2020/21. The revised budget has resulted in a reduction in goods and services by R27.2m or 32%. Reductions have been identified in all programmes except for Programme 1.
Concerns raised by Committee Members were about gender-based violence and femicide; the need for prioritising the Disability Rights Bill and return of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) Bill; the research that DWPD has done to date this year; the lack of up-to-date statistics for GBVF; the M&E framework for the GBVF National Strategic Plan; when the adjusted APP targets will be achieved; the removal of the target for strengthening the National Disability Rights Machinery; if persons with disabilities are covered; stakeholder engagements and virtual platforms and reaching rural communities; the budget reduction on mass mobilisation initiatives; and special schools.
The Chairperson was concerned how information will reach people in all areas of South Africa. Information should be given to the public in their vernacular language for all to understand and not only in English. The Chairperson commended DWPD on its presentation and the manner in which the Acting Director General and her team had responded to the questions. It was highly informative.
[Due to delayed YouTube online streaming, the Deputy Minister's introductory remarks were not captured] With the Deputy Minister, Hlengiwe Mkhize, present, the Acting Director General, Ms Annette Griessel, and Ms Desree Legwale, Chief Financial Officer, presented on the Covid-19 revised budget impact on DWPD programmes and service delivery targets.
Impact of COVID-19 on mandate
The overall mandate of DWPD remains largely unchanged but the COVID-19 pandemic has:
• Placed additional demands on DWPD, by forming an integral component of the development of government’s interventions to mitigate the negative impacts on women, youth and persons with disabilities
• Prevented or constrained certain activities which DWPD had planned such as mass mobilisation and international travel.
• Provided potential new vantage points and opened up opportunities for innovative approaches to advance women’s empowerment, youth development and disability rights.
COVID-19 planning and decision-making
DWPD participates in the workstreams of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) which undertakes technical work to advise the National Corona Virus Command Council (NCCC).
Policy, research and regulations
• Comprehensive report on the Impact of COVID-19 on women (social, economic, health, participation and representation, communication etc.)
• Gender Tracking System
• Snap survey on the early impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown on women
• Initiation of in-depth research on the impact of COVID-19 on women
• Development of Directions on Persons with Disability in terms of the Disaster Management Act regulations
• Contribution to regulations and major interventions to mitigate negative social and economic impacts, including COVID-19 special grant and increases in other grants, access to UIF for domestic workers, inclusion of women in economic relief measures etc.
• Research on relationship between alcohol consumption and Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) in the context of COVID-19
Direct delivery interventions
• Outreach to identified institutions as part of social relief of distress
• Distribution of menstrual and hygiene products to women and girls in indigent households, shelters, informal settlements, quarantine spots and to persons with disabilities
• Inclusion of GBV as an essential service in the lockdown regulations
• Development of GBVF referral pathways and safety plan
• Webinar consultation with civil society organisations on the process towards the establishment of the National Council on GBVF
Communications and stakeholder consultation
• Ensured and facilitated inclusion of sign language interpreters in all COVID-19 related media briefings by Minister etc
• Variety of webinars led by the Minister and Deputy Minister with stakeholders, including on women, youth and persons with disabilities
• Active participation in government communications responses to COVID-19, including communications on GBVF and COVID-19
• Participation in African Union webinars, including on women and youth in context of COVID-19
Impact on budget
The revised budget has resulted in a reduction in goods and services by R27.2m (32%) from R84.8m to R57.6m. Reductions have been identified in all programmes except for Programme 1. Reprioritisation has been effected in activities directly affected by COVID-19 including venues and facilities; catering; domestic and international travel, subsistence and accommodation. There is reduction in the use of external service providers for technical expertise. There is increases in provision for tools of the trade for officials to work from home, strengthening ICT systems, including video conferencing. Traditional forms of meetings, stakeholder consultations and even interviews for vacancies have shifted to virtual platforms.
Ensuring how DWPD reaches women, youth and persons with disabilities and communities in rural areas remain critical. The District Development Model programme has ministers, deputy ministers and officials going to the districts to ensure that these communities are not left behind. Currently, a critical area of focus is the dissemination of the GBVF National Strategic Plan (NSP) so that everyone knows what it is. It requires innovative mechanisms on how to reach citizens through radio and television as the listenership and viewership for SABC has gone up massively. DWPD must ensure it uses mass communication mechanisms to reach all constituencies.
Impact on service delivery targets
These adjustments include:
Programme 1: retaining the budget given the pressures on the ICT system, particularly due to video conferencing and working from home.
Programme 2: the delivery methods use alternative, remote methods instead of physical meetings and engagements. Budgets have been retained for key priority areas such as the establishment of the National Council on GBVF and GBVF deliverables. In certain areas, the budgets for external service providers have been reduced.
Programme 3: Certain targets (knowledge hub and evaluation) have been adjusted to allow for budget reductions and the delivery of targets over two years. Targets such as community mobilization have been removed due to COVID-19 restrictions. The shift to virtual platforms may reduce the reach and impact of women’s empowerment interventions.
Programmes 4 and 5: Policy development work, stakeholder consultations and working groups have shifted to virtual platforms.
The reprioritisations for each of the five programmes were noted (see document). For example, Programme 4: Rights of Persons With Disabilities proposes the removal of the target on strengthening the National Disability Rights Machinery due to budget reprioritization. Programme 5: National Youth Development
The quarterly targets have remained unchanged including the review of the National Youth Policy and its submission for approval; National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Amendment Act; the NYDA Monitoring Report and the convening of youth machineries. Additional output indicators have also been added such as the shareholder performance agreement between DWPD and NYDA and the National Youth Machinery Framework developed.
Due to constrained resources, an important area is improving delivery through partnerships including other government departments, the private sector, civil societies and NGOs to harness existing financial and human resources for maximum impact and ensuring a wider impact.
Ms Griessel stated that DWPD has developed a concept document for Women’s Month in August. One of the proposals on consulting with government and civil society stakeholders is that the theme for Women’s Month be linked to Generation Equality. This is a global United Nations campaign. The President has been requested to lead on economic justice. Under the chair of President Ramaphosa, the African Union has declared the Decade 2020-2030 as the decade of women’s financial and economic inclusion. Some of these stakeholder engagements are on thematic areas which will be looked at during Women’s Month, including gender-based violence and women’s economic inclusion.
In international relations, partnerships and collaboration will be established through remote means. However, it should still be possible to exchange under these conditions. There will also be multilateral and bilateral engagements, such as webinars which has already been used.
DWPD Special Adjustments Budget
Ms Desree Legwale: DWPD Chief Financial Officer (CFO) spoke to the budget reductions across five Programmes. In Programme 1 there is no reduction of the budget. In Programme 2: Social Transformation & Economic Empowerment R9.4m has been identified as a reduction from R18.5m. In Programme 3: Policy Stakeholder Coordination And Knowledge Management: R11.1m has been taken from R17.8m leaving R6.7m. In Programme 4: Rights of Persons With Disabilities R5.2m has been taken from R7.9m leaving R2.7m. In Programme 5: National Youth Development R1.3m has been taken with R3.9m remaining.
The Chairperson referred to the draft National Youth Policy. Before lockdown, there was a request from the Committee that it needs to extend the closing date for public comments which was 30 April. The President announced the national lockdown on 26 March and the Chairperson was approached by youth organisations which said that they could not participate due to lockdown and wanted DWPD to re-advertise it so the youth can be given an opportunity to participate. Mr Mphithi in the meeting last week reminded the Chairperson to talk to DWPD about publishing the youth policy again with a new closing date for the youth to participate.
Organisations for persons living with disability have approached the Committee many times and have said they do not feel as if they are taken seriously. In response, the Chairperson had said that DWPD will come up with a Disability Rights Bill. DWPD therefore needs to make this a priority. When doing the shortlisting for the NYDA Board, the Committee ensured that disabled persons were part of the candidates list.
The Chairperson was concerned that there were budget reductions for mass mobilisation. The Acting DG had mentioned SABC Radio for how they will be doing mass mobilisation. However, she is concerned how they will reach people in remote and rural areas. There is a need to devise a strategy on how it will reach people from all areas as it is important to educate the public. Even the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) should reach out to people in rural areas. Talking to media is problematic because individuals use English and the message does not reach people whose first language is not English. If we started speaking to people in a language they understand, the message will be loud and clear. She requested that DWPD do something about this to reach people in every area of South Africa. We tend to take for granted that Committee meetings, the President’s speeches and the Ministers all speak in English, forgetting that these messages do not reach the ears of ordinary citizens who have never had an opportunity to go to school. It is time to change the way things are done and try to speak to people in their vernacular language.
On the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) Bill which had lapsed in the Fourth Parliament and other Bills, DWPD was meant to resuscitate those bills and bring them back to Parliament. DWPD should be prioritising this.
On the NSP, there has been a complaint that DWPD invitations are selective when inviting stakeholders. It is important that DWPD include everybody as she does not want to receive letters of complaint.
The Committee was worried about what was happening for young girls who are not receiving sanitary dignity products during COVID-19. In terms of the value chain for these products, starting from manufacturing and distribution, she asked if women are participating or utilising cooperatives for this. As DWPD does advocacy and monitoring, it needs to delegate some officials to see what is happening in the different provinces. The level of poverty will never be reduced, women will never be empowered economically if this does not change and these things will be benefitting other companies instead of our own people when it was initially created to benefit communities. DWPD should also check with the Department of Social Development (DSD) on what is happening in other provinces as she became worried when talking to the new DSD MEC. As MPs who raise questions, we are not fighting but trying to get DWPD to see the seriousness of situation. It is time that things change to better the lives of the people of South Africa.
Ms N Sharif (DA) recalled an incident in which she was called the police station because one of the police officers did not want to open a rape case because it had happened a week before. The survivor stated that when giving her statement, the police officer was not sensitised at all and even asked if she wanted to see the abuser. The officer did not take her statement or any of the evidence she had collected. Ms Sharif says that when situations like this occur, the first people she gets into contact with is the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) because it has the knowledge and expertise. She never has assistance from DWPD except in cases that involve statistics, which she finds very problematic. She often finds herself questioning the role of DWPD – if it is only advocacy and deals only on an intellectual level and is not repurposed to looking at how it can effectively help women on the ground.
Ms Sharif thought that the National Strategic Plan (NSP) is a big step and congratulated DWPD for getting it done. She thanked them for presenting to the Multi Party Women’s Caucus and for having the training. It is good to have as many stakeholders as it can because the NSP does not belong to government, it belongs to all the civil organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have worked towards this goal. How far is the Monitoring and Evaluation framework and when it will be done? She asked if the Committee can get timelines for this and reprints of the budget per department to assist the Committee on its oversight. The NSP will be funded through various partners, but as a Committee, it is important to get the information so it can do oversight. She asked for statistics and DWPD responded that the police had not supported it yet for this year so the only statistics available is what was provided by the Minister for lockdown and the statistics from the call centre. This is concerning as it is already July and if it does not know how many GBV and rape cases there are and how many of these have been prosecuted, DWPD does not know what it actually looks like on the ground. The fact that there is no list per month or per province on the statistics is problematic. How does DWPD monitor and evaluate implementation if it does not know what the statistics look like?
Ms Sharif noted the WEGE Bill and asked about the legislative programme and noted that DWPD said there were a high volume of Bills. She asked if she can get a list so that DWPD can keep them up to date with this information. It seems that sometimes Committees do not get all the information which is frustrating because they are accountable to the people of South Africa and it does not look good when the Committee cannot provide them with proper information. Lastly, the surveys will be good to help with the statistics and as it will be happening in the future, she welcomes it. What research has been done to date this year?
Ms S Hlongo (ANC) welcomed the presentation and asked when the adjusted APP targets will be achieved –will they be carried over to 2021/22? She asked for the rationale for retracting funds for the advocacy of mainstreaming as this programme plays a vital role in raising awareness for GBVF. Which policy implementations will be affected by the adjustments? Often persons living with disabilities express sentiments of exclusion. She referred to the removal of the target on the National Disability Rights Machinery being strengthened and asked if there is any evidence to support this proposed option?
The Chairperson added that next time there should be a report on what the Department of Social Development is doing and if it has finalised its measures.
Ms T Masondo (ANC) stated that the previous presentation on the February budget did not include persons with disabilities as the presentation was titled the Department of Social Development. Is this budget currently covered under DWPD as promised? On the tabling of bills in 2021/22 DWPD referred to the high volumes of legislation for consideration by Parliament, which Bills will be covered by DWPD? In Programme 2: Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment, are persons with disabilities covered? Even in DSD, there is no discussion about persons with disabilities – when one asks about food parcels for example and it seems that these people are somewhat neglected.
Mr S Ncgobo (DA) referred to the Disability Rights Bill. As a Committee, it had recommended that DWPD should finalise this Bill by the end of the 2020/21. He agreed with the Chairperson that this Bill should be treated as one of the top priorities for DWPD because the concerns about persons with disabilities are valid and must be addressed. Looking at the DWPD programmes, Programme 4: Rights of Persons With Disabilities is the second least funded which is a concern.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) programme three, policy coordination and stakeholder engagements, she reiterated what the Deputy Minister had said in her introductory remarks regarding the inequalities of the interventions and virtual platforms that are run during COVID-19. There would be inequalities in terms of who is able to access the virtual platforms and DWPD would need to support women who do not have access to data so that it can reach women from all sectors of society. In terms of community mobilisation initiatives, which has been removed, she agrees that DWPD should be able to look at other means of mobilising communities. It does not need to be in a physical way and because we are in the times of the fourth Industrial Revolution, there are other ways for example through text messages, media platforms, television, or radio.
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) wanted clarification on how DWPD monitors the process of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) so that it reaches affected parties such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities.
Ms C Phiri (ANC) spoke about GBV and illegal immigrants. She had witnessed a case where a couple who were illegal immigrants had a fight and the women was nine months pregnant. She contacted the police about the incident but could not open a case because they were illegal immigrants and did not have the necessary documents. In cases like this, it means that women will not be assisted. How does DWPD assist illegal immigrants from other African countries? If women come to the country illegally and are killed by their partners or experience GBV, do these individuals form part of South African statistics?
When doing oversight, she found that schools for the blind were not open, even though schools are meant to be reopening and operating during this time. It seems that special schools are not prioritised. This Department and the Department of Basic Education should assist these schools. She is bringing this issue to the Committee as she wants to know if funds can be allocated for the reopening of special schools.
Ms Griessel replied about the National Youth Policy, saying this will certainly be looked at as it is a valid concern that due to lockdown restrictions, there was insufficient time to make inputs. She will ask the Director of Youth Legislation and Policy, to speak on this.
Ms Griessel noted the many points raised on persons with disabilities and the need to work in a more consistent and coherent way with the organisations in the sector. DWPD does have the Presidential Working Group on Disability that plays a critical role for this consultation. DWPD is determined to ensure that the Disability Rights Bill is fast-tracked as it is one of its priority items. The Director for Policy and Legislation for Disability will elaborate on this.
On mass mobilisation, some of the activities had to be reduced due to the massive budget cut and lockdown restrictions. She agrees with the Chairperson that DWPD needs to reach people in every corner of South Africa, especially in their own language as this is important. On media reach, there are clear listenership figures such as ‘Phalaphala FM’ in Limpopo and ‘Ukhozi FM’ in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng. It is important to communicate with people in their own language as it is a fundamental constitutional right and a fundamental component of communication. DWPD will take this into account particularly when engaging with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). DWPD communicators are in daily meetings with GCIS which is responsible for working together on communication on the pandemic but also on areas such as GBV.
Community radio stations are important as they are even more geared towards communicating to people in local areas. DWPD will continue working through the District Development Model and with stakeholders. As part of the methods to reach people in all areas of South Africa it is also to work with relevant government departments. For example, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform does a lot of work with women in rural areas and DWPD would like to work with it to reach these women. Through the District Development Model, it should also work with the Department of Employment and Labour because it is involved with trade unions so that it can reach women, youth, and persons with disabilities in this way.
The Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) Bill was one of the bills that lapsed at the end of the Fourth Parliament and DWPD is prioritising this. It is a commitment by the Minister so it is something that will be taken seriously. However, she noted that there has been a number of changes since and DWPD would need to look at refining the original WEGE Bill although much of it is still valid. On the NSP and its criteria, DWPD will take this on board. There are several coalitions of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) that DWPD can work with to broaden its reach so that nobody will feel excluded. DWPD is constantly updating its stakeholder database so that everyone is invited, and that people do not feel as if it is being selective especially in critical areas of this nature.
On sanitary dignity, as part of the NATJOINTS social impact workstream DWPD is a part of, it noted the impact that the shutting down of schools had on girls that were receiving sanitary dignity products. One of the key interventions DWPD has made is talk to DSD to ensure that the food parcels being distributed needed to include sanitary dignity products as well. With the top-up of the Child Support Grant and the COVID Grant, it aimed at putting additional funds into the hands of the poorest families. It is not a direct impact on sanitary dignity, but it was in response to basic needs by ensuring a rapid cash transfer to the poorest and most vulnerable families.
It is a concern to hear that Gauteng is no longer using cooperatives because that is something that DWPD was directly involved in and did training with women and cooperatives as part of the township economy revitalisation programme. A critical component of improving procurement spending on township economies is to ensure that women owned cooperatives and businesses benefit from the procurement spend. As part of DWPD gender policy priorities, until women are economically empowered, it will not get rid of gender-based violence and will not be able to speak about gender equality. DWPD cannot allow big companies to displace women owned enterprises. DWPD had a webinar with UN Women to be able to consult with women owned enterprises and other government departments to make an input into the Procurement Bill. The deadline for inputs was 30 June. Going forward, it should be important for government to shift from women owned enterprises to include those where women are not benefitting which will become increasingly difficult.
In response to Ms Sharif, looking back at the 2018 Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, there was a clear message from women survivors that the criminal justice system is letting them down. Through the Emergency Response Action Plan (ERAP) and the NSP and through leadership from the Presidency, DWPD is beginning to see interventions that are turning this around. When there is a system that has not treated women fairly over a long period of time, this turnaround must be pushed on every level. The training of police officers has commenced which is critical, but it should also be consequence management not only training. About the rape case that Ms Sharif mentioned, it is unacceptable to treat a rape victim in that manner. There is a big difference the cases of rape or abuse reported to police and the actual number of cases that are opened. Many women, whether it be through family or police, are persuaded to withdraw charges which often results in repeat offences and femicide. Families, communities and the criminal justice system often fail these individuals, but DWPD should be monitoring what happens to cases that are reported.
What is the role of DWPD except for statistics? It is not DWPD’s role to provide police statistics, but it does need to look at this and it is an area which they are working on closely. The role of DWPD is to drive the broader gender agenda to ensure that at a level of policy, research, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy that it is doing this work. As a department, it does not have the capacity to track every single case but it should be able to refer every case. When it develops a referral pathway, it is clear what must happen to cases, what the procedures are, if there are complaints against police. The role of DWPD on GBV is to coordinate with all partners to develop the multisectoral NSP and to ensure that it establishes the National Council of GBVF so that it provides the leadership and direction in ensuring the implementation of the NSP. Part of the role is to ensure the proper monitoring and evaluation of the NSP so that it is not just a document but to that every single activity and outcome is monitored and that it finds its way into the strategic plans and APPs of departments.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) should ensure that there is reorientation and training of police officers and should set a target that must be reported on a regular basis so DWPD can monitor it. If there is a need to amend the Domestic Violence Act, DWPD would need to monitor it by checking the timeframes and targets. In the NSP booklet, it does include the responsibilities and activities as well as the key outcomes and outputs. The Portfolio Committee has a critical role to play in oversight. However other Committees that exercise oversight over other departments should also be asking about gender-based violence, youth development and disability rights.
In terms of statistics and DWPD, this is addressed through the NSP as seen in pillar six which is information management and research and the need to use evidence to improve programme effectiveness. There are various existing sources but also gaps in the availability of reliable data. However it is not just the availability of reliable data, it is also the interpretation of the data and the streamlining and coordination of the data. What does the data mean in the way in which DWPD is implementing? The NSP identifies the need for a GBVF queuing house that sources relevant data and the analysis and synthesis is done to enable the dissemination, monitoring and evaluation. Once DWPD has made more progress on this, it would be happy to share it with the Committee.
On the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) Bill, it is not referring to the high volume of Bills in DWPD but to the high volume of bills in government in general that are being submitted to Parliament. It has not started yet on the WEGE Bill. It will look at how it should be amended from the version that was tabled at the end of the Fourth Administration in 2013.
On the targets, DWPD has noted that some targets will be carried into the next year, but it has presented the targets that are going to be its commitment for the current year. Ms Griessel is not aware that it has retracted any GBV funds as there is an amount of R5 million that had been budgeted for and it remains. The detailed breakdown of this amount can be seen in DWPD’s response to written questions it submitted on 9 June. It covers the establishment of the National Council on GBVF; advertisements for the selection of the candidates; the Council itself; staff recruitment; compensation; M&E system; the launch of the Council and various other meetings.
The National Disability Rights Machinery will be discussed by Mr Palime. The Disability Rights branch was under DSD but the merger came into effect from 1 April 2020 with the start-up structure currently in place. Mr Mbhazima Shiviti, Chief Director, can speak further on this matter if required. The Disability Rights branch is now part of DWPD and includes the budget.
Are people with disabilities covered during COVID-19? Persons with disabilities in poor households were certainly on the priority list for food distribution and the food parcels were given through the DSD structures.
Ms Masiko made the point about stakeholder engagements in Programme 3. DWPD has taken on board all the comments about ensuring they do not entrench existing inequalities through using only virtual platforms but try and reach women in every sector of society. This will be an important part of its local mobilisation strategy. Its approach to gender mainstreaming and GBV is that it has done resource packs and key messages for the District Champions programme which the Deputy Minister spoke about. This means that the messages on GBV will not only be through the Minister and Deputy Minister, but every single minister and deputy that go into a local community are required to spread the GBV and COVID-19 messages.
How does DWPD monitor that the UIF reaches affected parties? Looking at the impact of COVID-19 on women, youth and persons with disabilities, DWPD did a tracking system where it looked at major interventions. Through the economic impact and social impact workstreams, DWPD has asked these workstreams that the UIF report on the number of people that have benefitted from UIF.
On illegal immigrants, this is more a concern about how the police deal with this. Regardless of whether a person is an illegal immigrant or not, if violence has been committed against a person or if a women has been raped in South Africa, the police should ensure that a case is opened no matter what.
On schools for learners with special needs, DWPD is aware of this and Mr Palime to speak on this. However, DWPD has engaged with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on schools for the blind not being properly catered for and spoke to the DBE Director-General. DBE has developed guidelines in consultation with Blind SA dealing with how these schools should be covering blind persons.
Mr Emmanuel Kganakga, Director: Youth Legislation and Policy, replied about National Youth Policy consultations. DWPD hosted a webinar on 29 June with stakeholders across the youth sector to get buy-in from stakeholders on the inputs received from all stakeholders since the consultations in November 2019. The consultations were thorough, and the meeting noted that it had consulted young people in all nine provinces. The draft youth policy was gazetted on 7 February for public comment. On the Chairperson’s request that it should extend the deadline for submissions, it was extended from 16 March until 28 April 2020. It has received thousands of comments from the public, from young people, on social media platforms and written comments. The point of the webinar was that DWPD has been lacking on communication with the people who have commented. For example, NYDA has written a comprehensive input where stakeholders have given written inputs. There has not been comprehensive response to say that it has received the inputs and how these have been integrated into the draft policy. Before the policy can be taken to Cabinet, this will be an area which DWPD will be focusing on. It is working on ensuring the comments received from the webinar itself are integrated into the National Youth Policy.
Mr Benny Palime, Director: Policy and Legislation for Disability, replied that there are about 464 special schools currently and not all of them are open during this time. DWPD will further engage with the Department of Basic Education on this. There are about nine guidelines drafted with DBE and these have now been taken on board by DWPD and the Director of Special Needs in Education. This is being taken further and is now part of the system and he will give feedback to the Committee on this. In terms of social development matters, the NATJOINTS social impact workstream has taken into consideration persons with disabilities matters including services, disability grants and food distribution. The Deputy Minister has taken on a project to ensure distribution of sanitary dignity products and other essentials in different places.
On the Disability Rights Bill, DWPD is making this a priority and will be addressing it. It can speed up the process. DWPD put together a legal team which will be of assistance in drafting the bill and it will come back to the Committee with something. At this point, DWPD has concluded Quarter 1 of the APP in terms of the legal requirements and the project plan for the whole bill. He will also speak to the Deputy Minister to get proper advice.
On special schools, he believes that on the instructions of the Deputy Minister, it will have to rethink the school. DWPD has been to Sibonile School for the Blind just to see what is actually taking place and the safety methods are in place. However the issue for blind people is they depend on the sense of touch and end up touching surfaces and most likely other children as well. This will be a matter of urgency to DWPD.
On the final question on the Bill itself, currently there are standing instruments such as the African Union Protocol, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the White Paper. DWPD will use these instruments to factor them into the Bill so that it becomes possible for implementation by the courts. It is also reviewing Section 28 of the Equality Act to ensure that the amendment takes into consideration the rights of persons with disability. Through the leadership of the Deputy Minister, disability has been taken seriously in DWPD and she is keeping it on its feet because for her it is a major priority.
With the Disability Rights Machinery, DWPD is in the process however the Working Group Caucus has decided to use webinars. It had its first webinar with the public where the Minister spoke to the nation and the next webinar will be held this month but will include Working Group members, government departments, business and smaller sectoral groups that do not necessarily belong to the bigger disability rights sector movement.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Palime that she has spoken to and engaged with disability groups and knows that the Deputy Minister is moving on this.
Ms Shoki Tshabalala, Deputy Director General: Social Transformation, replied about NSP and sanitary dignity on the points mentioned by Mr Palime. The sanitary dignity programme is a clear demonstration of how DWPD works in an integrated and coordinated manner which is normally called inter-departmental service delivery. The lead unit is SAP Unit which does outreach to the development partners such as Water Aid and reaches out to receive donations. It also works closely with the Disability Unit in identifying the relevant sectors that are deserving and should be receiving this and how to work with machineries that exist in reaching out to persons with disabilities. DWPD has extended to the NATJOINTS work in Crime Prevention, Justice and Security (JCPS) where Justice identifies sectors such as victim support centres and shelters for abused women. When talking about mainstreaming, it begins at home before it can be taken externally and DWPD is partnering with DSD led by the Deputy Minister which is a very good example of a programme which examines collaboration within DWPD itself.
On the point of monitoring if women are at the epicentre of the procurement value chain, it had intervened in Limpopo on realising there are specifications that are actually not responsive to women and financial exclusion was quite evident. Through the Minister, she challenged this advert through the Premier and it was eventually withdrawn and a new set of specifications were released more inclusive for women and they are looking forward to its completion so that more women can benefit in this line of work.
In addition to Ms Sharif's comment, there are a few things she would like to consider putting forward to the criminal justice system such as to revive the victim charter and the ministerial six-point plan launched by the police minister. It will take these up with the technical inter-ministerial committee to ensure both are revived.
She agrees with the DG that it is not only about training, but DWPD will reinforce and follow through as it monitors consequence management. DWPD is doing a lot more monitoring and has a national response team comprising of JCPS members and all critical stakeholders and every case gets deposited in the Whatsapp group it has and everyone provides sectoral response. She requested that Ms Sharif and other Committee Members can give their numbers to be kept up to date via Whatsapp and they can send through their cases from their constituencies.
The DDG also wants to ensure that DWPD develop an implementation framework for the NSP and have clear indicators for each department so that it starts reporting against those indicators and knows exactly what it is that they are being monitored for. She agrees with the Chairperson on the point that South Africa is very diverse and does not only consist of South Africans, there are people from all over Africa that reside here and the manner in which people reach out to them and the language one uses is critical. Every person living in South Africa can be reached out in a language that he can understand.
On research, Acting Deputy Director-General: Research and Policy Analysis, Ms Ranji Reddy, replied that DWPD did conduct a survey right at the beginning of lockdown. However, most of the research is restricted to desktop. It did carry out the survey and analysed it and a report was produced which was added to the research report on COVID-19. This was an initial research but going forward the unit is still focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on women. DWPD is currently engaging with UN Women and will be looking at key aspects and will look at the various studies that have been done with informal traders so that it can compile this informal study. It is an ongoing study given that data is constantly changing. On COVID-19, it also done vast research on alcohol-related GBV and submitted it to DWPD.
Other research it is embarking on is being undertaken by DWPD together with the Departments of Trade Industry and Competition (DTIC) and Small Business Development and with United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). The research is called The Green Economy and it looks at the economic empowerment of women in the green economy. This will be available in this year which will give women the opportunity to get into green economy jobs. The other research is on equal pay for work of equal value and work is being done on this by the National Business Initiative (NBI) and DWPD is engaging with them. DWPD wants to come out with a model to monitor what is coming out of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) and measuring equal pay for equal value. This is critical research that might expand over a year. DWPD has also started its desktop literature survey on the national prevalence survey on GBV. It is currently looking at best practice in the world and if this survey is feasible in South Africa as it has huge cost implications. It will be working with the unit focusing on GBV so that it can look at how to put in place a national prevalence survey in the next two years. There are also several ad hoc research reports on the African Union, Decade of African Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion and International Report.
The Chairperson said that recently she had discovered that the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) itself has inequality in terms of women representation but it is expected to monitor other departments and the private sector. This point had been raised with the Commission.
The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister and DWPD. The way DWPD addressed the Committee was informative, and the presentation was outstanding. She noted that the Committee has done its shortlisting National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Board and submitted the qualifications to the Parliament HR department for verification. From the 27 to 29 July, NYDA Board candidate interviews will take place and she hopes the Committee will be done by the beginning of August. DWPD will have to push the Presidency to appoint the board working so that it is not without a board for more than three months. When dealing with these processes, one cannot satisfy everyone and out of a total of 680 applications, only 30 individuals were shortlisted. Individuals might think that they need to have a certain qualification but when the Act is quiet, it must balance the list in terms of what is best for the NYDA and it has considered factors in line with the Act such as disability people, geographical spread, demographics. The NYDA does not serve the interest of only those who are highly qualified. The Committee is awaiting the CGE appointment process as it has advertised its CEO post which should be a woman because management is mainly by men.
The meeting is adjourned.
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