In a virtual meeting, the Committee was briefed by the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) on the Chapter Nine institutions’ fourth quarter performance for the 2019/20 financial year.
The Chairperson began the meeting by providing the Members with a report back on the work the Committee had done in the communities regarding a number of cases recently in the public arena. This included the Tsakane case, an incident at Pholosong hospital and the occurrences in Mtwalume. It was said to be unfortunate that most of the cases under discussion sadly happened during Women’s Month. The Committee was planning on resuming its work in the communities, together with the CGE, this weekend.
Members were then taken through the fourth quarter performance of the entity – the presentation covered the work done by the Commissioners towards the strategic orientated goals. The Committee was also taken through the financial performance of the quarter under review and the Annual Performance Plan: Results on the predetermined objectives for the 2019/20 reporting period.
The Committee stressed the importance of ensuring everyone was treated fairly and equally. Tensions should be minimised as far as possible as everyone was doing great work. The work of the Commissioners cannot be separated from the CGE as a team
Report back on Committee work
The Chairperson opened the meeting by taking the Committee through an update on work conducted by it over the past weekend together with the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). With regards to the Tsakane case, they met the Station Commander and everything was tabled in that meeting, with stakeholders and different political party leaders. There was a lawyer deployed and the lawyer will be handling this matter moving forward. They have dealt with many issues the past weekend and only managed to finish work at 9pm on the last Monday after having worked all weekend. She is now hoping the lawyers can take all the matters forward. With regards to the killings in KwaZulu-Natal, they want to visit Kwazulu-Natal where many women are being killed, there has been a picture received of a woman who was killed, in Mtwalume. After this incident was brought to her attention, the next day, she was called by distraught residents who have seen reports on work being done on gender-based violence and they were asking for the Committee to come and do oversight in the area. There was a question of how things will be dealt with because the area is vast. It turns out the area is not that big, and the families of victims live close to each other.
They will also visit the police station, to get the community more involved, because this is what is required in dealing with femicide and gender-based violence cases. The residents here are very worried because it is as though these cases have been dismissed. As things stand now, in getting justice for the women, it has been reported that one of the perpetrators have tried to commit suicide, the other has killed himself in a jail cell and they have also traced a cellphone that is supposed to belong to a perpetrator but it turns out it was not his but he got it from the deceased.
On the case of the Wits student who tried to come back to residence and was denied by the university, within three days, she was killed by her boyfriend. The university did not let her back in and this could have been avoided. There seem to be so many issues, why are they not being publicised enough? The right way to go is to work with the community so that these issues can be dealt with. There is a will within communities to assist governments in addressing gender-based violence. As well as the incident that took place at Pholosong hospital.
Another issue that came to light during the Committee’s fact-finding and oversight mission is the issue of women being sold to foreign nationals for R400. This is an issue that is still under investigation. Some people have been arrested already and further reports are underway.
The Chairperson asked that the CGE be present when the Committee conducts its work in the communities as this will make things easier
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) said the Chairperson has touched everything. On the issue of Khabonina Mkhonza, they are working with the two CGE Commissioners, and they have been on the ground since they first visited the Mkhonza family. On the issue of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), in terms of the Labour Relations Act, there were deductions until 2004 but immediately when she started questioning these deductions from her salary, it was then stopped.
On issue on the young girl from the same area, the Chairperson has captured everything. Talking to CEO of hospital, she managed to speak to Dr Mthunzi regarding this issue and the task with entrusted with Dr Lobo. The woman and the baby were then fetched, examined and were doing well. However, in the unit, on the day of the incident, there were five nurses allocated but two in the ward where the patient was and these two nurses were sanctioned. It is the Portfolio’s duty to follow up on the sanctions as well as the consequence management on the two nurses. She proposed Members do more oversight activities as there are many scary things happening which affect ordinary citizens and votes on the ground, day-to-day.
Ms O’hara Ngoma-Disek, CGE Commissioner, said the Chairperson has covered everything but she would speak to the next steps regarding the Mkhonza case. The CGE visited the family with its [CGE] attorney. Bail was granted to the abuser for R500 – the CGE questioned this meager amount but the attorney explained the technicalities as the abuser was a first offender etc. The case has been moved from Springs to Pretoria (a higher court) because of the nature of the case. The case will be heard on 8 September 2020 and the CGE will be there. Ms Mkhonza herself has been greatly affected; she was fixing her house and preparing for pension when this happened. The matter of the UIF is very important. There is clearly an unfair labour practice going on. She was being punished for the actions of the boss. This case is going to have a number of dimensions. The boy who attacked her was also fundamentally racially-motivated. The CGE has highlighted the importance of liaising with the Human Rights Commission due to this angle.
In Pholosong, questions remain of what exactly happened. The team there indicated it had to do an investigation and a report is expected in two weeks. Why did the nurses not help Ms Mkhonza? While the CGE was there attending to this, another case arose where a young woman gave birth in an inhumane manner.
The planned visit would address fundamental issues, whether Batho Pele is there, what the culture is, what their patient care entailed and if the nurses know this. The same will happen when going to Tsakane police station - one can imagine a woman walking in there having been raped and the police make jokes in the presence of the victim - this tells one something about the culture. A woman was run down intentionally by a man and the police were casual about this - nobody seems to care for one. The CGE had a good meeting with the Station Commander and they would return in two weeks. The CGE used the opportunity to address what it was not happy about in the police station. In a CGE webinar, there was a presentation by the police that outlined key things that need to be in place when dealing with the gender-based violence and femicide. The CGE will use this as a framework during its next visit to the station.
Ms Nomasonto Mazibuko, CGE Commissioner, found it unfortunate that most of the cases under discussion sadly happened during Women’s Month. Regarding the Tsakane incident, the Captain in charge on the Saturday when the CGE visited, was very casual and was drunk on duty. Women are not being taken seriously in Tsakane police station. The CGE has written its report and will work with the Committee on these issues. The Tsakane community is very angry and an urgent visit is required.
With regards to the Mtwalume case, she is also going to KZN and the dates for the visit will be shared with the Committee. The Mtwalume matter is very sensitive and more needs to be done. For instance, blind and partially-sighted women are not accommodated.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) emphasised the responsibility and importance of the role of the police ensuring perpetrators are brought to book. It is also important to ensure the crimes against women are termed correctly. For instance in uMtwalume, women are being killed and body parts are being taken for muti - this speaks to the fact that there is a supplier and someone who is buying - there is someone who is commissioning these acts. The death of the perpetrator was followed by another death due to poison. There’s a syndicate at play clearly, and this needs to be looked into. The Commission and Committee should be bringing in the necessary stakeholders involved and the police should broaden its scope -just because these perpetrators are dead, it does not bring comfort to the families and does not really solve the issue.
The Chairperson said she did not really want to talk about what Ms Masiko touched on as she first wanted the Committee to visit the area and get the answer for themselves. She received a phone call from the residents of uMtwalume who confirmed that some body parts were missing and that the way in which the perpetrators were alleged to have killed themselves was questionable. She agreed the case must be taken to a higher court. She was concerned about the safety of the CGE working in KZN. The Committee’s visit is urgent and must be done soon. Her intention was that the visit take place this weekend.
The Chairperson noted the CGE owed the Committee a report on an old woman from the Northern Cape who was at risk of losing her house. What immediate steps have been taken to ensure this old woman was not thrown into the streets? This case has been around for a while.
CGE Deputy Chairperson, Dr Nthabiseng Moleko, recommended that a system be put in place whereby the Committee could notify the CGE of specific, urgent cases it wishes to see action on. She did not want a situation where the CGE was deployed by the Committee and to ensure there was institutional separation of the powers between Parliament and the Chapter Nine mandate. This line of communication can occur between the Committee secretary and the CGE.
The Chairperson said this was progressive.
Ms Tamara Mathebula, CGE Chairperson, saw the Mkhonza case as a landmark one involving race, gender and labour matters. The perpetrator has violated many different laws in this case and it should be taken advantage of to ensure there is impact. She spoke to the importance of ensuring policies are implemented.
The Chairperson said it was fine for the CGE to start with the case of uMtwalume this weekend.
Ms P Sonti (EFF) spoke in another language. Her interpreter said: “solutions must be found for these occurrences. Unfortunately in the area where the Member stayed…action must be taken and the cases should not just be spoken about”.
Ms Mathebula said the Commission would follow up on all the cases mentioned in the meeting. The attitude of police and nurses is appalling. When the CGE returns, it must go back with a set of questions and return with a programme for follow up to see improvement in the clinics and hospitals in response to GBV. A few years ago, the CGE looked at the status of police stations throughout the country and it was fund that the police need to be trained to be handle to handle GBV cases properly. Some of these recommendations need to be revisited. The office in KZN has already intervened in the Mtwalume case and she heard the same information on the killing for muti.
CGE Quarter Four performance January – March 2020
Ms Mathebula took the Committee through the presentation which focused on assessing activities that were undertaken during the fourth quarter of the financial year. The fourth quarter of the financial year is an important period to assess whether targets that were presented before Parliament at the beginning of the financial year have been achieved.
Members were taken through the work done by the Commissioners in relation to the following strategic orientated goals:
-to advance an enabling legislative environment for gender equality
-to promote gender equality through public awareness, education, investigation and litigation
-to monitor and evaluate issues that undermine the attainment of gender equality
-to build and sustain an efficient organisation to effectively promote and protect gender equality
Performance was assessed against a number of indicators including:
-assessment of women’s participation and representation in political parties
-assessing women’s economic empowerment initiatives in SA
-assessing government compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women and Children (CEDAW)
-Monitoring government initiatives to combat GBV
For the current period, the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga handled the most cases. Rape, abduction and murder were prevalent offences against women and children in the Eastern Cape. Significantly, these crimes are allegedly committed by close family members of the victims. Similarly, in Mpumalanga, the Commission is monitoring a matter where a father is accused of raping two of his minor daughters. Further, the Commission is monitoring a matter where a woman was allegedly killed by her two daughters, together with their boyfriends and a neighbour. In Limpopo, the Commission observed that Nyaope contributes significantly to reported gender-based violence matters and that most communities are fearful to report perpetrators who take Nyaope and as such most members of the communities do not avail themselves as witnesses where crimes are committed by perpetrators who take Nyaope.
There is an increase of complaints of verbal abuse against female employees in the workplace. It is observed that most complainants do not want to report such matters internally as they have no confidence in the internal mechanisms. This is prevalent in the private sector. Some of the matters indicated that due to patriarchy, women are still subjected to discriminatory practices. The CGE has seen situations where widows allegedly get fined by tribal authorities for building a wall around their homestead during mourning period. These kinds of treatment seem to only target women who are mourning. The complainant asserts that male persons are not subjected to the same treatment. These complaints largely involve the fines imposed by the indunas against the widows for either carrying on with their everyday duties during the mourning period or not wearing mourning attire during the mourning period. Most women contend that the imposition of fines violate their rights to equality and dignity respectively as same is not imposed on males. Most regrettably it is alleged that when the Chairpersons of the House of Traditional Leaders are approached the complainants are advised to pay the fine “for peace sake”.
The individual Commissioner’s interventions during the fourth quarter:
Commissioner Busisiwe Deyi spent January – March doing a lot of research and developing papers besides facilitating at the CGE Women’s Land Reform in the northern part of Limpopo. She came back and wrote a paper on the findings, commenting on the legislative impact of the section 25 Amendment Bill. From the gender perspective, she is the one who has informed the Commission moving forward. She developed quite a number of papers dealing with the land redistributions to women, on various dimensions of disabilities for better understanding within the CGE. She drafted a paper on LGBTI+ persons in shelters. This was informed by the shelter consultations and hearings that took place last year. She was key in following up a case in the Western Cape, where there was a brutal police killing of a lesbian sex worker who died in police custody - she was deployed to follow this one up. She attended workshops and wrote legal opinions.
Commissioner Ngoma-Diseko participated in round table discussions on the capacity of Gauteng Department of Community Safety which is responsible for overseeing the performance and law enforcement agencies in Gauteng. Commissioner Diseko and Mazibuko were key in attending these - the chairperson also attended a session on the last day. They both also attended the state of the provinces address to evaluate government’s response is to gender issues. They did a lot of research and wrote papers concerning gender and language - the paper will be coming out soon - as well as a paper looking at teenage pregnancy. She participated in the review of the Commissioner’s handbook alongside Commissioner Mazibuko. She did oversight of the finance committee and she also sits in on these meetings. She also attended the plenaries that took place.
Commissioner Mazibuko participated in the EE hearings - late last year there were many investigative hearings which spilled over into this year. She also attended, on behalf of the Commission, the Department of Education’s meetings. She took media interviews and as mentioned earlier, consolidated the Commissioner’s handbook. She attended oversight meetings and plenaries to approve the APP and budget.
Commissioner Botha engaged women’s access to land and land expropriation. He has been attending and facilitating many men’s forums and dialogues in areas such as Soweto to deal with GBV and look at how men can become alive in these issues. He was key in engaging the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in the ‘Under the Tree’ dialogue - these dialogues and engagements are continuous. He also attended the North West’s men’s dialogues. Has also been attended training.
Commissioner Ntuli-Tloubatla attended the GBV awareness session. She has been straddling between the Eastern Cape and Limpopo – she has been attending a number of MEC interventions in both provinces - these interventions have been targeting women’s issues and she has presented on behalf of the CGE at these forums. She has been critical in attending the SALGA women’s commissions as well as the women’s caucus in these provinces. She is now the lead commissioner in Mpumalanga. She attended the training on good governance and has given input in the strategic plans and Commissioner’s handbook.
Commissioner Moleko accompanied the chairperson to a meeting with the Minister of Health to discuss the sterilisation report following the launch. She has been contributing to the s25 Amendment Bill and looking to economic empowerment of women working on the land. She also attended sessions dealing with SARS and women in the workplace. She attended the dialogue on the status of women in Parliament and provided inputs into the provincial seminar.
Commissioner Rakolote has provided input into the establishment of an institutional team that was going to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, internally and externally. He has also provided technical inputs and advice on the grievances launched. He chairs the HR committee and he has come up with proposals of the amendment of several policies internally. He has attended all internal meetings and plenaries.
Commissioner Sepanya Mogale has developed a concept paper on customary marriages during this quarter. She also developed another concept paper that looked at widowhood. Both these papers are actually proposing internal campaigns and interventions in Free State. She has been a key in terms of working with the team that was looking at the recruitment process of the CEO. She has contributed the Chapter Nine rules for the removal of office bearers. She attended and presented at the higher education event that was organised by the Deputy Minister. She attended good governance training and is chairing the legal meetings.
Commissioner Mofokeng has been critical in terms of input on the national strategic plan for gender-based violence and femicide review - the national strategic plan on GBV aligned with the CGE thematic areas in terms of what it needed to be looking at in the next five years. She also facilitated a panel discussion on forced sterilisation. Commissioner Mofokeng also developed a report on the UN High Commission for Human Rights and this report looked at intersections of race and gender discrimination in sports. Her paper on equity beyond COVID-19 touches on provinces affected.
Commissioner Mothupi has had a number of meetings in the Free State and engaged institutions there on how they tackle gender-based violence. She has been holding meetings with Botshabelo residence – a council responsible for addressing gender-based violence in that particular province during and beyond COVID as they are looking at the status of police stations. She has been looking at the water crisis issues from Qwa-Qwa areas and lobbying with departments about getting water from rivers nearby. She has also been looking at issues dealing with the deterioration of awareness and cleanliness in schools. Most schools in the Free State are still using the bucket system. She has been spearheading these conversations and campaigns focusing on sanitation.
Commissioner Mathebula attended the UN Women’s Action Plan and also made input. She met with SA Law Reform Commission to discuss the CGE report on gender transformation and procurement. She made a submission to the Portfolio Committee on the s25 Bill expropriation of land and was accompanied by the head of legal. She met with Western Cape Premier to discuss the recommendations of the CGE on their draft strategic plans on gender-based violence and femicide. This work was followed up by the deputy chairperson who is keen to ensure the roll out of provincial gender-based violence work is done. Lastly, she has been key in preparing for external audits and holding meetings with teams doing the audits
Commissioner Ntuli-Tloubatla spoke to the Commissioners’ capacity to deliver as per the mandate for gender equality. She spoke to the unfairness of access to the media platform where CGE officials dominated the media platforms and the Commissioner’s do not. There needs to be a timeline agreed to to ensure fair and equitable distribution, both on TV and radio – currently the distribution is unfair. One the matter of opinions and articles being published, she would like to be given the name of these publishing newspapers.
A Member of the Committee interrupted the Commissioner as she thought the input was not relevant to the fourth quarter performance report back.
The Chairperson thanked the CGE for the presentation. She stressed the importance of ensuring everyone was treated fairly and equally. Tensions should be minimised as far as possible as everyone was doing great work. However this work must be recorded. The work of the Commissioners cannot be separated from the CGE as a team. It was important to share the articles drafted with the Committee so that it can see what can be pushed in terms of policy formulation and oversight over other departments. The articles can be shared with the Committee through the Committee secretary.
The Chairperson felt the quality of the CGE spokesperson was not good – the spokesperson seemed to only “condemn” things. What message did this send to the public? This is poor communication. The CGE must think about the message being sent to the public
Ms Sonti questioned the work done by the CGE regarding the forced sterilisation of HIV positive women – has progress been made in working with the Department of Health since the last briefing?
The Chairperson halted the discussion as the CGE still needed to present its financial performance for the fourth quarter.
Ms Mathebula says there are still two more presentations but was hoping Commissioner Mofokeng would speak on the forced sterilisation report even just for a few minutes before the two presentations.
The Chairperson suggested that Commissioner Mofokeng present when the CGE provided its first quarter report so that she can be fully satisfied with the time given as the matter was important.
Annual Performance Plan: Results on the predetermined objectives for the 2019/20 reporting period
The Committee was taken through the document which looked at the performance of a number of strategic indicators
[After the presentation was concluded, PMG lost connection to the meeting and missed the ending]
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.