The Multi-Party Women’s Caucus convened on a virtual platform to be briefed by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. The Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and Minster of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were both present at the meeting.
The Minister of Women said that violence perpetrated by men against women and children is a stain on our national conscience. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our country, our communities and homes. As our country is responding to the pandemic of COVID-19, the pandemic of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and femicide has once again raised its ugly head and continues to rear its ugly head. This is unacceptable. Earlier this year on 11 March 2020, Cabinet had approved the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBV and femicide and established the Gender Council to address these issues. She elaborately outlined the six pillars of the NSP and finally reminded the Women’s Caucus that this was not the only issue, but patriarchy must also be fought since South Africa is part of the global coalition to realise gender equality and women’s rights in our lifetime.
The Department said that the National Council for Gender-Based Violence and Femicide is still in the process of establishing a statutory body. This process cannot be done overnight despite the urgency for its establishment to be fully operational now. Government also needs to consider institutional violence in the country given that we come from a background of colonialism and Apartheid. This urges government to do a societal probe and strengthen its coordinated national response to deal with Gender-Based Violence. Everyone should take the responsibility to deal with it. We envision a South Africa where women and children are safe and have happy and healthy lives and relationships with social connectedness and access to humanising social services.
Most Members were aggrieved by the extent of gender-based violence and femicide that continued to plague the country. They were concerned about the 18 months needed to look into the costing and Gender-Based Violence is happening right now. Women cannot wait this long, so what emergency measures are in place now?
Members said that it was worrying that the Plan is not costed, given the COVID-19 pandemic. They asked for assurance that funds would be available to the various departments to drive the Plan. Only 50% of departments are currently reporting to the Minister. Which Departments are not fulfilling this commitment?
The Members also pointed out that there is no committee that strictly deals with issues of Gender-Based Violence. For instance, there are 28 465 cases which were reported on the day before this meeting. Before the National Strategic Plan, there was the Emergency Response Plan and President Ramaphosa made a commitment in this plan to target the reduction of Gender-Based Violence forensic cases from 16 000 to 5 000 by 30 March 2020. Yesterday, Parliament was told by the Portfolio Committee on Police that these cases have increased by 8 465. Has the Minister been able to engage the Minister of Police on this? Do we have a legislative arm where those cases went to and did we call anyone to account? Do we follow up on these cases and how many are going through the system of prosecution and are successfully prosecuted? Is there a place where police report the case so that the legislative arm can be satisfied on how it was dealt with?
There is no correlation between the pillars and what women are facing on the ground either economically, emotionally and physically. GBV is not curbed at police stations and what does the funding document propose on how the women and children should be treated at the police station?
One Member reckoned that positive stories on GBV should also be included in marketing and the media, because we always see trauma, but there are better stories. Another Member suggested that guillotines should be reinstated to persecute the perpetrators. Women across the country were mourning the death of their daughters every single day.
There was no mention of the Thuthuzela Care Centres in the Plan. Do these centres have adequate capacity or do they need more staff? The communities need to know that these centres exist, where they are and how they can be accessed.
Opening Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming the Members, Department and the Committee support staff. She then said that August was a month in which women with vision should be celebrated. Fighting gender-based violence, femicide and COVID-19 should be done together. Women of 1956 successfully achieved their plan and society should wait for the strength and willingness of the women of 2020. She read out a bible verse which states: “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord”. For a child to be born, a woman needs to conceive. During the course of the nine months, the only thing that a pregnant woman knows is that one day she is going to give birth to a child. The secret behind the child is beyond a woman’s imagination, thinking and wishes. All criminals, serial killers, rapists, priests and doctors – even the President – are all born from women. This means that everyone should take a stand and women have the duty in this country to fight for their space, to fight against gender-based violence and femicide.
Today’s briefing will assist the Committee to understand the role and responsibilities from its caucus, link its mandate and national strategic plan on gender-based violence and femicide. This will assist in understanding the six figures in the national strategic plan. The caucus will also be assisted in doing oversight along with all government entities. On behalf of the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus, she would like to offer condolences to all the women who passed on during the month of August. May their souls rest in eternal peace and rise in glory.
The Chairperson said that all Members should ensure that they participate in the meeting and listen attentively to engage meaningfully after the briefing.
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to read out apologies from twelve Members.
Ms P Majodina (ANC) said that the previous day, some political parties had said that they had their own caucuses and were not institutionalised to set aside time for the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus. She asked how many other parties were in attendance at the meeting.
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to check the other parties in attendance at the meeting.
The Secretary responded that the Committee had received confirmation from Members of the IFP, EFF and the DA had made apologies.
Ms Majodina requested that all parties present indicate this as she wanted to address this issue in the next multi-party Chief Whips’ Forum.
The ANC and IFP and ACDP indicated their presence and one of the IFP Members stated that the IFP did not have a caucus scheduled as it prioritised the Women’s Caucus.
The Chairperson appreciated the fact that the IFP was always present, and she noted that the EFF, DA NFP, FF+, ATM, Al-Jama’ah, COPE, GOOD were all not present at the meeting.
Ms Z Nkomo (ANC) said that the Deputy Chairperson of the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus is a member of the DA, but hardly attends these meetings and she thought that this should be looked into.
The Chairperson said that she agreed the matter should be raised as the Deputy Chairperson only attended one or two meetings.
Ms N Maseko-Jele (ANC) asked if the Committee quorate took parties into consideration or if it was quorating the number of women present at the meeting.
The Chairperson said that during the Steering Committee the issues raised were about the number of Members. The Multi-Party Caucus embraces every woman in Parliament. She asked the Chief Whip and other Members to assist in addressing the question.
MG Boroto (ANC) said that she wanted to follow up on the apologies received.
The Chairperson asked the Committee to clarify whether it was quorating as a Caucus, as all political parties present or the number of participants.
An unidentified Member said that the Joint Rules of Parliament do not specify parties in quorating meetings. It only states that there needs to be a minimum of 14 members present for the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus to continue with its meeting.
Ms S Lucas (ANC) said the rules were clear and that parties are not getting the same weight, so it should not be about this.
The Chairperson said that this meant what she said earlier was correct, that the Committee was quorating and that the meeting should now proceed.
The Chairperson handed over to the Department to brief the Committee.
Minister’s opening remarks
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane thanked the Committee for affording the Department the opportunity to engage with it. She introduced the new Director-General (DG) of the Department, Advocate Mikateko Joyce Maluleke.
Violence perpetrated by men against women and children is a stain on our national conscience. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our country, our communities and homes. As our country is responding to the pandemic of COVID-19, the pandemic of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and femicide has once again raised its ugly head and continues to rear its ugly head. This is unacceptable. Earlier this year on 11 March 2020, Cabinet approved the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBV and femicide and established the Gender Council to address these issues. Cabinet also approved the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) which is comprised of six Departments including The Departments of Social Development, Finance, Justice and Public Service and Administration and SAPS. The IMC has a key political role in the envisaged NSP and the general Council. A technical task team was established to support the IMC and has been led by senior officials working in the Departments that are involved. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the national lockdown, the IMC has held several meetings and it has made progress on the establishment of the NSP. She emphasised that the centre of the NSP showed willingness to work together. The NSP set out to provide a cohesive, strategic framework to guide the national response to the GBV and Femicide pandemic crises. The vision is to have a South Africa that is free of GBV and homicide which is directed at women, children, the elderly and the LBQTIA+ community. To achieve this South Africa will centre its efforts on bringing about specific changes around the six pillars that will be unpacked in the presentation.
The Minister unpacked the six pillars of the NSP:
- Accountability Coordination and Leadership, Prevention and Rebuilding Social Cohesion;
- Stopping Violence before it happens;
- The National Drive towards shifting away from Toxic Masculinity, Restoring Women’s Dignity and Rebuilding; Social and Criminal Justice;
- Adequate Centre care for support and healing;
- Building women’s economic power;
- Improved information management to inform action.
To achieve this vision, SA will have to use its efforts to move forward with the implementation of the NSP. The Department has called on all government Departments to integrate the NSP target into its Annual Performance Plans (APPs) and Strategic Plans as it reprioritises its budgets due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department is committed to ensuring that all Departments remain gender sensitive while implementing interventions in response to COVID-19. The Department of Women, Youth and Person’s with Disabilities together with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) have developed a Monitoring, Evaluation and Implementation Plan. Since 30 June 2020, weekly progress reports have been submitted and have been co-signed by government and civil society and it is then sent to the President.
The National Council for Gender-Based Violence and Femicide is still in the process of establishing a statutory body. This process cannot be done overnight despite the urgency for its establishment to be fully operational now. We have to make sure that we do not run, but move together to achieve results that will make gender-based violence and femicide history. The success of the efforts to curb GBV and femicide will depend on respective stakeholders moving beyond their differences, building meaningful relationships of trust and finding ways to work together. We therefore appeal that all Honourable Members hold government accountable on how it has aligned to the NSP and resourced its implementation. The Department remains committed to ongoing briefing sessions with the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus for more guidance and strategic support.
The Minister said she wanted to remind the Women’s Caucus that this was not the only issue, but patriarchy must also be fought since South Africa is part of the global coalition to realise gender equality and women’s rights in our lifetime. The whole world expects, as they did in Beijing, Mexico and many other forums that South Africa’s hand will be there to contribute properly.
The Minister then handed over to the DG to continue with the presentation.
Briefing by the Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities
Adv. Mikateko Joyce Maluleke, DG, DWYPD, said that it was important that all Members are aware that the NSP places the responsibility of eradicating and not reducing violence on all sectors of society. The NSP will also assist in defining and facilitating the responsibilities of government and civil society. This should assist in auditing the services, identify the gaps and plan for the next five years and the services that should be established to fight this crime. Parliament can now track the progress since it has been recorded exactly what each member of society will be doing. Not long ago, statistics were disputed and it was said that Social Development statistics differed from those which the South African Police Services (SAPS) had. This was because the statistics were obtained from different sources. The NSP will define the process of statistics that need to be collected and define the terms used to describe certain crimes.
Adv Maluleke briefed the Committee on the presentation. She said the presentation was about the NSP that was presented before and not the progress of the NSP, but that she would be able to do this if required.
The Chairperson said she thought the Department would be presenting on the progress of the NSP.
The Minister responded the Department should proceed with the NSP presentation.
The Chairperson said Adv Maluleke should proceed with the presentation and respond on the progress of the NSP once the Members have engaged on the presentation.
The presentation focused on the background to the development of the NSP, the rationale for the NSP on GBV and Femicide, how the NSP was developed and the situational analysis of GBV in South Africa.
Adv Maluleke said that the approach to draft the NSP involved baseline and desktop analysis. She emphasised that the Department was reviewing its Integrated NSP on Gender-Based Violence, which was developed in 2013 and expired in 2015. The process was very rigorous and was conducted in partnership with the Department of Social Development, but the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities had to take the work that was done into consideration. There have been additional consultations across nine provinces interacting with women and those in partnership with the Department to hear their views on the strategies that need to be adopted. Existing government frameworks were also reviewed. The Interim Steering Committee was working on a number of tasks and chapters in the reviewing of the framework. She pointed out that while government was putting together the strategy it was confronted with another crisis and had to act urgently in revising the Emergency Response Plan given that so many women were killed at that time.
Women have indicated that they want safe transport, adequate lighting and solutions to dealing with alcohol abuse. Improved policies, parenting interventions and women’s economic vulnerability should also be addressed. There should be a localised strategic driven by Localised Response Teams who are on the ground to assist with a case when it arises. She pointed out that government still did not understand the magnitude of the Gender-Based Violence issues because it has not conducted a prevalence study which would indicate with certainty the extent of the issue. The only indication of the magnitude of the issue is the bodies of women who have been killed.
Government also needs to consider institutional violence in the country given that we come from a background of colonialism and Apartheid. This urges government to do a societal probe and strengthen its coordinated national response to deal with Gender-Based Violence. Everyone should take the responsibility to deal with it. We envision a South Africa where women and children are safe and have happy and healthy lives and relationships with social connectedness and access to humanising social services.
Pillar one of the NSP intends to strengthen accountability, coordination and leadership across government and society to ensure that there are technical and financial resources. Pillar two intends to prevent and rebuild social cohesion such as public spaces which need to be maintained and violence interventions need to be decreased, particularly in relation to the LGBTQIA+ plus community. Institutionalised patriarchy needs to be dealt with. Programmes for Violence against children also need to be optimally harnessed and its delivery capacity must be strengthened through evidence-based programmes. Pillar three intends to ensure justice, safety and protection and emphasises that survivors have access to a sensitive and speedy criminal justice system. Legislation also needs to be amended. Pillar four intends to eliminate secondary victimisation and ensure responsiveness, care, support and healing. Police are still victimising women when they report cases. Victims need to have the necessary support and psycho-social services. Community and Institutional Responses should be strengthened so there is greater care for survivors. She highlighted that Gender-Based Violence is linked to substance abuse such as alcohol and drug dependency. After the national lockdown level three, alcohol was made available and this resulted in a spike in cases of Gender-Based Violence. This issue cannot be dealt with without dealing with issues of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. Pillar five intends to address issues of economic power to deal with the oppression of poverty and unemployment. Reports will come in that women have lost jobs and some either unemployed or work in the informal sector. We need to deal with issues women experience in the work space such as sexual harassment, issues of procurement and ensuring that women have access to resources. Pillar six is a game changer and intends to look at research and information management. Evidence-based research will give us a better picture and enable us to devise better strategies. A multi-sectoral coordinating structure needs to be created. This means we do not need a huge structure that is heavily resourced, but we need to redirect resources to problem areas. It was suggested that the Council be constituted of members of government and civil society. The Council should report to the IMC and Presidency. The context of individual provinces must be taken into account as there are many provincial structures that have tried to tackle GBV.
The strategy was launched by the President on 30 April and was handed over to the Minister in the Presidency who also chairs the IMC. There have been many issues in implementing the strategy, but government has been working very hard to ensure that indicators are refined. An action plan has been developed to assist government to monitor and enforce accountability. Eighteen months is needed for proper research to be done on costing the NSP and APP and the Department will continue to work on this. She stressed that government was not waiting on costing, but was aiding Departments and will continue work with the various Departments to ensure that targets are integrated and mainstreamed. After the COVID-19 pandemic, targets had to reprioritise taking into account the two pandemics.
There are almost 50% of Departments who are reporting on issues consistently on a weekly basis and those that are struggling will be assisted. The biggest issue government is facing is with administrative data and the definitions of Gender-Based Violence. The Department of Social Development and the Police use different definitions for the different types of violence.
We should get to a point where the Minister can sit in her office and look at a dashboard with statistics and the Department is working hard to achieve this. She stressed that there are many other actions the Department was taking that were not included in the presentation.
On the proposed solutions, the Department is receiving technical assistance and clusters of teams are being put together for the different pillars. Programme managers and financial managers are vital as they drive programmes and the Department is constantly meeting with them.
The Chairperson asked Members to engage on the presentation.
Ms N Ngwenya (ANC, Gauteng) said that the timing of the meeting was correct as it was still during Women’s month. She said she was reminded of what Mr OR Tambo once said while listening to the presentation. He once said that women should stop behaving as if there was no place for them or they are in a second category of involvement. The NSP is centred on six pillars and they give effect to what Tambo said. Has the Department managed to ensure that all departments, including SOEs, have integrated the NSP on GBV into their APP’s and strategic plans? This will assist Committee’s in monitoring the implementation of departments. Will sex wok be decriminalised as it will help in the pillars and resolutions?
Adv Maluleke recounted that when the strategy was being developed the Department consulted with the Department of Justice and it was revealed that not all people who get rewards for these services identify as sex workers. It is not a terms recognised in South African law or a labour organisation. There is a complexity in how we define sex work and adults should be differentiated from children.
Ms L Van de Merwe (IFP) said that it was worrying that the NSP is not costed, given the COVID-19 pandemic. She asked for assurance that funds would be available to the various departments to drive the NSP. Only 50% of departments are currently reporting to the Minister. Which Departments are not fulfilling this commitment? This is very worrying. Before the NSP, there was the Emergency Response Plan and President Ramaphosa made a commitment in this plan to target the reduction of Gender-Based Violence forensic cases from 16 000 to 5 000 by 30 March 2020. Yesterday, Parliament was told by the Portfolio Committee on Police that these cases have increased by 8 465. Has the Minister been able to engage the Minister of Police on this? She would also like to flag under funding of shelters which has come to her attention in the media. There have been cuts to subsidies for shelters in various provinces and many shelters in the Eastern Cape have not received their funding. If the NSP is to succeed, the basics need to be in place. She would like to hear the Minister’s thoughts on this. The Deputy Minister of Social Development flagged the link between cancer and Gender-Based Violence and if this is government’s position, surely cancer should also be highlighted in the NSP as a driver of GBV.
Ms J Mananiso (ANC) said that she noted that on pillar one, the district models need to be clear on who must be held accountable. These terms of references are not always clear. She also noted that there is an indication of an inter-ministerial team and reckoned that there would be a need to include executive members of the mayoral committee to be part of this so everyone can monitor and evaluate their department’s response to GBV and Femicide. Positive stories on GBV should also be included in marketing and the media, because we always see trauma, but there are better stories. Costing issues need to be addressed.
The Minister said advertisements spoke to people in a language that they understood so they can own that which should protect them. She does not want to respond on behalf of officials, but thought she should respond to this.
Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) pointed out that the last slide said that the NSP should reflect that it is not only a government document, but it is also a document of all stakeholders involved. Will the NSP include people with disabilities? It needs to be someone who understands what women and children with disabilities go through. She was concerned about the 18 months needed to look into the costing and Gender-Based Violence is happening right now. Women cannot wait this long, so what emergency measures are in place now? She cannot be told that there is no definition of women abuse. Today women are being hanged, shot, stabbed, and experience sexual violence. It cannot be said that there is no definition. Please explain this. How long will it take to formulate a definition while the people on the ground are suffering and dying? What are Departments currently doing and are they receiving guidance on what they should be adding to their APP’s? There was no mention of the Thuthuzela Care Centres in the NSP. Do these centres have adequate capacity or do they need more staff? The communities need to know that these centres exist, where they are and how they can be accessed. The NSP is a high-level document, but do the people on the ground know what is in it? How will we ensure this document filters down into communities and their homes?
The Minister responded that she knew that there were shelters and Thutuzela Care Centres (TCCs) and that there should also be shelters that are unknown to perpetrators – such as safe houses, which South Africa does not have. There are also not enough psychologists.
Ms M Sukers (ACDP) said that Parliament needs to drive GBV as a societal issue and all levels of society need to embrace this. She emphasised the lack of research to determine the scale of emotional and sexual abuse specifically with children. We have a huge problem and it is bigger than we anticipated. This needs to be addressed and perhaps this can be done through research by the Inter-Ministerial Committee and collaboration with institutions of higher learning on the sexual exploitation of children. It is heart-breaking to see what is happening in our communities and I have had experience with various families in our communities where the stories show the scale of the issue. Looking at the vulnerability of women and specifically homelessness of women and single mothers who are dependent on the mercy of others for them to have security needs to be addressed. The Special Needs Housing Bill still needs to be finalised by Parliament and the Department of Human Settlements for the past four years. I want to ask the Minister to push this Bill for secondary housing to be made available to women and specifically women who need to find their feet again after suffering emotional and sexual abuse or Gender-Based Violence with a partner and have been in situations where there was economic dependency. We need to champion this cause. Sexual and emotional abuse prevails because of secrecy within communities and a lack of psycho-social support at a school level and the lack of capacity at the Department of Social Development to supervise vulnerable children. These things perpetuate the exploitation of children and women. Female Parliamentarians will have to drive this and hold Departments responsible at a Committee level. How can this Caucus strengthen the relationship between activists and advocacy groups in Parliament?
The reason there is such a rage at a community level and especially within the activist community is because it seems like there is a bulge between what we do in Parliament and what happens at a community level. There is a plan, but this needs to be communicated at a community level. The ACDP has previously mentioned a link between pornography and the levels of violence that we are seeing perpetrated against women and children and this has been proven by research. This is missing in the plan presented today and the ACDP can send this research to the Minister which shows how the exploitation of women and children and the dark web plays a major role in the violence perpetrated. We are failing to look at this, because we are being progressive, but we are not helping the problem. Mental illness is also a key reason why we see violence in poorer communities. Prolonged illness and trauma on the psyche of our society is the very reason why we have high levels of violence. Can the Minister detail how this is being dealt with at a community level by the Department?
The Minister noted the comment on the link between cancer and GBV and said that it was about masculinity and patriarchy. When women suffer cancer, doctors push them to remove a breast. So if you no longer have a breast, you are not the woman that you were yesterday and the husband will behave differently. This is what the Deputy Minister of Social Development was referring to.
Ms N Mente (EFF) said it was worrisome that a policy document seeks to make a certain position on behalf of women such as those subjected to all these atrocities, but the dates of consultation dates are a red flag. This is because it poses a question of who has access to these consultations and it can only be the privileged. Right now there are no physical engagements. How did this happen? We are speaking on behalf of the people, but the people are not taken on board. How did a conversation on Women’s issues begin without being funded including 18 months being required for costing? This means there is no rush and the issue is not important. Can the Department provide clarity on this?
There is no correlation between the pillars and what women are facing on the ground either economically, emotionally and physically. With the funding document, how can this not be linked? Gender-Based Violence happens in homes, but how will we correlate this? GBV is not curbed at police stations and what does the document propose on how the women and children should be treated at the police station? What is the process for a woman to get a court order and still have to go look for the perpetrator and the police herself and go to Social Development? There is no creativity in linking the system. There should be a strategy for this. There should be a system which says there is a woman at court who requires a shelter. The response should come there and police should attend to victims there so that they are not exposed to more violence and delays to a point where women withdraw and go back to their monsters. How do we action oversight? There ought to be a place to account to. There is no committee that strictly deals with issues of Gender-Based Violence. For instance, there are 28 465 cases which were reported on the day before this meeting. Do we have a legislative arm where those cases went to and did we call anyone to account? Do we follow up on these cases and how many are going through the system of prosecution and are successfully prosecuted? Is there a place where police report the case so that the legislative arm can be satisfied on how it was dealt with? The NSP does not talk about shelters, so how would we keep women and children safe? The document has lost touch with reality and needs to identify where there is a lack. What is the Minister’s relationship with the President on the Gender desk, because the interim steering Committee has a problem with accounting to anyone? Is there functioning of the desk for women to table their issues and is there a place where they report this?
The Minister responded that when the NSP was adopted the other programme had to be stopped as both could not be done and this would hinder progress. There needs to be progress. There are volunteers working with us under the different pillars. It is women who must run around the country while the perpetrators are free. There are three outstanding laws which need to be addressed and are under review. COVID-19 has made things worse and we need to ask the Health Department for more psychologists and social workers. I think the NSP document needs to be reread and maybe translated.
Ms F Muthambi (ANC) said that the timeframe for NSP resolutions on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) has lapsed, which calls for oversight and evaluation of it on a regular basis. The strategy has not been financed and this means that National Treasury does not take this seriously. The NSP must be updated to reflect the comments that Members have made before me. I think we need to consider the Thutuzela Care Centres and the LGBTQIA+ Community. We need to make it our business as women MP’s that the Department reports to us. It is also worrying that we do not have a definition of GBV and funding for the NSP. Has the Department identified outstanding laws and Bills so we can get a proper definition of Gender-Based Violence to address these issues? We must ask the Minister of Police to report to this forum. GBV is perpetrated at home by our loved ones and there are many factors contributing to people not responding to this. We will defeat the COVID-19 pandemic if we defeat the way we live which is the same we will defeat the GBV pandemic. What role has the private sector played, religious leaders and any other interested role player to assist in ensuring an attitude change? I would think we all need to rally behind this. Once we do this, we would be responding to the concerns of women in the country and they will begin to take us seriously as their public representatives.
Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) asked the Minister to respond on the unfunded plans which will become useless to people subjected to Gender-Based Violence. How is the Minister trying to address this? There is no urgency in implementing the Department’s programme and we need to be united as women in Parliament, because if we are not, we will be undermined forever. There is a report that was tabled by the Gender Commission on Women who were sterilised 15 years ago. This report was tabled in February 2020 and it is August now. No one is taking the report seriously or questioning this; no one is asking why poor women who are HIV positive were sterilised. I am appealing to us as women to fight for the women on the ground. There is no proper Act on perpetrators not getting bail. The issue here is, for example, that a woman is raped but the perpetrator can apply for bail and the woman is simply forgotten about. This case will then be delayed until Jesus comes. These issues must reflect in this document if we want to move forward.
The Chairperson asked the Department to respond.
The Minister asked for the officials to highlight what the Department should be aware of. Women are dying and unfortunately this is happening in huge numbers while we have the NSP. Let us read the NSP thoroughly because it indicates that there should be a parliamentary oversight Committee. What we are fighting is patriarchy, misogyny and toxic masculinity. Cabinet adopted the NSP in March and lockdown began the same week, so we are accounting for work that should have happened during the lockdown. I am not saying that nothing happened during the lockdown. It has not been easy with COVID-19. In June we lost more than 35 women in one month, killed in their bedrooms.
The behaviour of some policeman in some police stations is mindboggling. People still need a lot of training and there needs to be reduction before eradication. The NPA must chase corrupt people, but also ensure special resources for women’s issues.
The Minister now referred to individual questions by Members.
In closing, Adv Maluleke said the Minister has already secured R6 million for the functioning of the Department over the next three years and there are Departments that have budgeted for TCC’s to be established. This is what is meant when the Department says ‘unfunded’.
Ms Shoki Tshabalala, DWYPD, said that Members should thoroughly peruse the NSP. Shelters were discussed in the NSP from page 403, 404 and 79 which has a matrix for implementation. All of these things are gradually finding their way into the APP’s of other departments.
It was not possible to have an NSP that was costed until it was concluded, agreed upon and endorsed, but as an interim measure we have engaged Departments and asked them to reprioritise APP’s and five-year plans through the National Strategic Plan. We have developed an MNE plan that seeks to assist Departments to engage and work towards targets that are feasible, implementable, and smart, and can be resourced by the Departments themselves. The former Minister of Police launched a six point plan on Gender-Based Violence and illustrates clearly what needs to be done from the victims’ rights to what the police need to do. Consultations with women were not done during the COVID-19 period and this was done across all provinces with all sectors of society such as women with disabilities and older women. Those that could not be a part of these processes had to access them online or download the information. The Department has reached out to COGTA on how to interphase issues of Gender-Based Violence into the District Model. Guidelines have been shared with Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have been deployed. The lack of psychosocial support has been authorised and there has been an acknowledgement of this. The Department has developed a pathway for referral. More Thutuzela Centre’s will also be established before the end of this financial year.
The Chairperson asked the Department to respond to other issues in more detail in writing as time was running out.
Ms P Sonti (EFF) said that she would take long. She said that she and other women had spoken and cried out about GBVF but there were still no measures in place to address it. Guillotines should be reinstated to persecute the perpetrators. Women across the country were mourning the death of their daughters every single day.
The Chairperson asked Ms Lucas to talk about the programme for the following day.
Ms S Lucas (Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP) said that the three arms of state should be brought together to begin to respond and present plans as different events have taken place. A plan will be presented on the following day and feedback will be given on resolutions taken. There will also be a pre-recorded message from the President and women’s views will also be presented. SALGA and civil society will also make presentations.
The Chairperson thanked Members for their participation. She said that the matters at hand were not political, but that all Members needed to stand together to achieve what they wanted.
The meeting was adjourned.
- National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide 2020-203
- SAPS Crime Statistics 2019 – 2020: Contact and Sexual Crimes against women and children
- Emergency Response Action Plan Report on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide 30 April 2020
- Overview of National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence And Femicide
- National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence & Femicide Human Dignity and Healing, Safety, Freedom & Equality in Our Lifetime
- Linking the Mult- Party Women’s Caucus Mandate with the National Strategic Plan on Gender Based Violence and Femicide
Bilankulu, Ms NK
Boroto, Ms MG
Dlamini-Zuma, Dr N
Gomba, Ms MM
Lucas, Ms SE
Majodina, Ms PC
Mananiso, Ms JS
Maseko-Jele, Ms NH
Mente-Nqweniso, Ms NV
Mkhaliphi, Ms HO
Muthambi, Ms AF
Newhoudt-Druchen, Dr WS
Ngwenya, Ms W
Nkoana-Mashabane, Ms ME
Nkomo, Ms Z
Sonti, Ms NP
Sukers, Ms ME
van der Merwe, Ms LL
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