DWYPD on gender-responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring, Country Gender Indicator Framework and Priorities for 2019/24; with Deputy Minister

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

09 October 2020
Chairperson: Acting: Ms F Masiko (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video: PC on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, (NA) 09 Oct 2020

The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities made three presentations to the Committee in a virtual meeting.

The first dealt with the gender-responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and auditing framework, where emphasis was given to the progress made so far. The mandate, priorities and key lessons were outlined.

This was followed by a presentation on the country gender indicator framework, which detailed the various indicators incorporated in the framework. The Department outlined the various policies and protocols that had played a role in formulating the indicators. It intended producing a draft report based on the gender-disaggregated information from the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation.

The gender policy priorities for women’s empowerment and gender equality from 2019 to 2024 were described, as well as the various frameworks which had influenced their formulation. The gender policy priorities were highlighted as being key to setting the gender agenda for the next five to ten years in terms of transformation.

The Committee requested clarity regarding the status of the framework, as it was referred to as a draft in a number of instances in the document. Members asked how accountability for gender-responsive planning and budgeting would be ensured amongst the various departments, and what the consequences for non-compliance would be. Concerns were raised regarding the implementation of the framework on the ground, particularly in rural areas. A major concern raised was that there was limited reference to youth and persons with disabilities within the framework.

The role of the Department in terms of monitoring and evaluation was queried, as well as why there should be a need to outsource consultants. The Committee also requested clarity as to who would be responsible for monitoring the budget allocations. A key concern was how the Department would ensure women were located at the centre of economic transformation.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks

After Ms F Masiko (ANC) had agreed to act as Chairperson in the absence of Ms C Ndaba (ANC), Deputy Minister Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize gave a brief introduction highlighting the role of the Portfolio Committee and Parliament in ensuring the effective implementation of the framework. She said that the gender responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and auditing framework had been approved by Cabinet in March 2019, and commented on the progress that had been achieved since implementation. This was followed by three presentations given by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD).

Gender responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and auditing framework

Ms Annette Griessel, Deputy Director General: Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management, DWYPD, outlined a number of key issues facing women and girls within society, both economically and socially. Unpaid care work was highlighted as a key source of gender inequality. Reference was made to the 25-year review of Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE): 1994-2019, produced by the Department.

The gender responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and auditing framework implementation was linked to the following:

  • Institutionalisation of gender mainstreaming across state machinery.
  • The broader political and socio-economic transformation agenda.
  • Outcomes and results-based approach.
  • Government-wide policy, planning and prioritisation.
  • Broader public finance and budget reforms.

The Department was responsible for leading and coordinating the fulfilment of South Africa’s mandate to realise gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and their full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The mandate was derived from a number of global, regional and national instruments, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda 2030, the Beijing Platform, Agenda 2063, the African Union (AU) gender strategy, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030, and South Africa’s policy framework on WEGE. All government departments, public entities, provinces and municipalities were mandated to deliver on women’s emancipation and gender equality.

Key lessons learnt by the Department were:

  • Previous initiatives lacked sustainability and a full buy-in at the political and administrative/technical level.
  • Individual role-players and champions were key, but needed to embed gender-responsive planning and budgeting across state machinery in multiple institutions.
  • Need for political support at the highest level.
  • Need for technical capacity across the administration and spheres of government.
  • External expertise was of value, but excessive reliance on consultants should be avoided.
  • Ensure skills transfer.
  • Build technical capacity across the system.
  • Accountability mechanisms were needed.
  • It was critical to focus on entire public policy cycle.
  • Voluntary systems tended to lack sustainability.
  • Consideration should be given to legislation to enforce compliance, and mechanisms to incentivise compliance.

Ms Griessel extensively covered various priorities for implementation which focused predominantly on the inclusion of gender within the policy, such as a gendered revision of the NDP. Central to these priorities was the formulation of a mandate paper which would include the country’s gender policy priorities, based on evidence, and would incorporate a review to inform budget allocations. A national evaluation system also formed one of the Department’s main priorities. The five-year gender policy priorities for 2019-2024 were briefly outlined.

The progress of the National Planning System was presented. The Department had noted improved gender-responsive institutional planning through a number of frameworks such as:

  • The revised framework for strategic plans (SPs) and annual performance plans (APPs) issued by the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in 2019.
  • National Treasury (NT) Instruction No.5 of 2019/20, which gives legal effect to the revised framework (NT, 2019).
  • Guidelines on the implementation of the revised framework (DPME, 2019).
  • Guidelines on the assessment of draft strategic plans and APPs (DPME, 2019).
  • Analytical framework and template to analyse the responsiveness of SP-APPs (DWYPD, 2019).
  • Analysis of gender-responsiveness of selected SPs and APPs (DWYPD, 2019).

Country Gender Indicator Framework

Ms Dineo Mmako, Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation, DPME, presented the Country Gender Indicator Framework. The purpose of the framework was outlined, as well as a number of the key indicators. The sustainable development goals (SDGs), which played a fundamental role in informing and formulating the indicators, were outlined, as well as indicators incorporated from the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) commitment Indicators. The African Gender Development Index was presented, which had been created by the United Nations Commission for Africa after having translated the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action into actionable commitments and results. The SADC protocol on gender and development was an agreement adopted by all SADC member states to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout the region. The indicators were related to governance, health, education, the economy and media.

The Department would be working together with the DPME to assess the progress made with respect to the mainstreaming of gender across government departments. This would be done by collecting information from various departments, using the country gender indicator framework that supplemented the gender-responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and auditing framework. Regular reporting would supply much needed information to inform planning, budgeting and evaluation processes in the public sector. The Department would collect, collate, validate, verify and analyse gender-disaggregated information from the DPME. A draft report would be produced from this, which would be tabled in decision-making structures.

Gender policy priorities for women’s empowerment and gender equality 2019-2024

Ms Ranji Reddy, Chief Director: Policy and Research, DWYPD, presented the gender policy priorities for women’s empowerment and gender equality 2019-2024. The gender policy priorities were highlighted as being key to setting the gender agenda for the next five to ten years in terms of transformation. Multiple sources influenced the determination of the priorities, including the medium-term strategic framework (MTSF), the electoral mandate, women and civil society as expressed on various forums, including dialogues, summits and other engagements. These priorities were highlighted in detail.

Despite advances, the majority of women and girls were subject to a number of social challenges, including poverty, unemployment, inequality, patriarchy, gender-based violence and economic exclusion. The Generation Equality Action Coalition: Economic Justice and Rights, was outlined. Economic transformation and job creation were discussed at length. The priorities of education and skills development for women, youth and persons with disabilities were highlighted, and the public health system was emphasised as a major priority. Various health concerns were raised in relation to women and youth specifically. Social protection, food security, spatial integration and sustainable human settlements were also outlined as key priorities.


The Acting Chairperson said she wanted clarity regarding the status of the framework. In various sections of the document, it was referred to as a draft framework, and she referred specifically to page 7 of the document. If the document had not been finalised or approved, what were the implications and timeframes for implementation? She also referred to the terminology used in the document, specifically the use of the words ‘should’ and ‘would,’ and highlighted the lack of use of the words ‘will’ and ‘must,’ which she suggested showed the level of the ‘binding status’ of the document.

Mr L Mphithi (DA) commented that the document reflected a great step taken by the Department and the Executive to mainstream and address the issues the country was facing, particularly as they affected women, youth and persons with disabilities. He expressed concern and requested clarity regarding how the targets and indicators would be applied to departments, and how departments were required to monitor and evaluate these targets. He also questioned whether departments understood their responsibilities with respect to the framework.

He said that the document seemed to predominantly address gender. How were youth and persons with disabilities featured within the document? What were the targets for youth and persons with disabilities?

He referred to the budgeting phase and asked who would monitor the budget allocations. He asked whether this was the responsibility of the Department, or officials within the departments concerned. The document spoke of gender inclusion on the National Treasury database, and he wanted to know who would make sure it was included? Who was going to be monitoring that particular database? What types of conversations had happened with Treasury regarding the gender inclusion database?

With reference to the Sanitary Dignity project, he said the Committee had raised concerns on a number of occasions regarding the project’s failure, which was a result of a lack of uniformity across provinces. The roll-out of these initiatives had not taken place as planned by the Department. There was a lack of budget allocations made to provinces. He expressed concern over what had made this framework different. What steps had been identified to ensure that this framework was applied properly? If the framework did not do what it was supposed to do, or was not meaningful, then it was ineffective. The Committee and the Department needed to look into how exactly this framework would be different.

He made reference to the monitoring phase, and asked who was responsible for implementing the checklist. What happened if departments were not going to implement that particular checklist? What were the repercussions? How would the Committee handle the departments which were not implementing this? Who was the person in charge -- the authority in charge -- that they also needed to be looking at?

He asked who was responsible for implementation of the National Evaluation Policy Framework, and what happened if it was not implemented. What type of relationships should exist with these departments to make sure these things got off the ground? Again, who was the person in charge -- was it the accounting officer, was it the chief financial officer (CFO), or was it the deputy director general (DDG)? If there was no person who had been made responsible, or had received the ownership of these frameworks, then the framework became useless. Who was collecting the data to monitor and evaluate the success of the framework? Was it officials within the DWYPD or was it another department? He referred to the auditing phase, where a lot of responsibility was put on the Auditor General (AG), and asked what type of bilateral communication had taken place between the Department and the AG to prepare the Auditor General, and to state that this was what they expected. What was the Department’s role in the auditing phase? He said that it seemed like everything fell to the AG.

He asserted that these questions were fundamentally important, especially with respect to who was responsible for the different mechanisms that would be implemented, and said that a lot more work needed to be done to tighten the document. The Department needed to ensure that the document did not just become a piece of paper, but found expression -- not only in the departments, but in provinces and local government. What work had been done to answer the question of how the Department dealt with the provinces? How would the Department ensure that this framework was being applied in these departments? Who was ensuring that the work was not just being outsourced? He referred to a part in the document that dealt with consultants, who were said to be involved in the monitoring and evaluation. What was the role of officials within this Department in terms making sure that monitoring and evaluation took place? Why did they then have to outsource? He thought it was a great initiative, but that more work needed to be done.

Ms T Masondo (ANC) asked what the outcomes of the consultations on the Country Gender Indicator Framework had been. How accessible was this document to stakeholders such as governments and civil society? Who was responsible for implementing the checklist in the planning phase? What were the implications for non-compliance? How would adherence to the checklist be monitored? What was the role of the Department in monitoring the implementation of the actions, in terms of items identified in the checklist?


Mr S Ngcobo (DA) asked how the Department incorporated youth and disability mainstreaming within the framework. His second question related to gender priorities, particularly the first one, which was economic transformation and job creation. How would the Department ensure that women were located at the centre of economic transformation, have equitable access to opportunities and participation in the economy, given the limited capacity of the Department? How would the Department ensure that each of these priorities were monitored and evaluated? What was meant by the equitable allocation of employment opportunities for women as part of sector strategies? How would women’s’ access to finance, including micro-finance, be improved?

Ms M Hlengwa (IFP) asked what measures were proposed, considering the budgetary constraints resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, in relation to slide 10 of the presentation. How would the measures be different to previous attempts by the Commission in this regard? She referred to the 365-day visible campaign against gender-based violence (GBV), femicide and hate crimes. In light of the restrictions on public gatherings and the budgetary impacts of COVID-19, how would the message and campaign be conducted to ensure that the rural areas, and the rural women who were especially vulnerable, were provided with information on this campaign? Lastly, she referred to slide 29 of the presentation, where it was stated that there was a lack of centralised data relating to the trafficking of women and girls, which was urgently required to design steps and measures to eradicate the problem.  She said that one needed a true picture of the situation, otherwise it was only ‘sweet talk’ again. How did the Department envision approaching this?

Ms N Sonti (EFF) asked how the Department would monitor and evaluate and make sure these plans and frameworks were applied and engaged with women, youth and persons with disabilities in rural areas. She emphasised that rural women, youth and persons with disabilities needed to be assisted and recognised, as these were the people who were generally excluded. As a result, the crime, the rape and early pregnancies were very high in rural areas. This was because there was nothing -- no skills, not enough schools, and the youth were losing their hope. She requested that the Department come with a clear understanding of these realities and address them. Referring to the issue of land, she said that women-owned land must be a main priority, as women, young girls and persons with disabilities were responsible for looking after their families through poverty as mothers, and they must not be excluded from economic empowerment. She stated that the undermining of women in the workplace was very high, and they were not given the right positions. These issues had to be addressed, not just within the document -- they must be actioned.

Ms B Maluleke (ANC) emphasised the concerns raised by the Acting Chairperson earlier in the meeting regarding clarity of the status of the framework. How far was the Department? She said that they could not have a framework that had been there for more than ten years. She acknowledged the concerns raised by Mr Mphithi and agreed that the document spoke only about gender issues, excluding people with disabilities and youth. The document and the presenters had mentioned a number of policies drafted in South Africa, and she acknowledged that implementation was a challenge. How was the Department going to ensure that those risks were mitigated, so that this document was not just a written document?

Lastly, she stated that this document was not just for the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, but for the entire government, meaning that all departments must have gender-responsive budget planning. She asked who was going to ensure that departments took the budgeting for women, youth and persons with disabilities seriously. Would the DWYPD ensure that they monitored all the departments? What was the role of the Department? It was not clear who was going to oversee that this framework was implemented and monitored, and ensure that it was applied properly.

The Acting Chairperson said she had received a communication that the President had called a joint sitting of Parliament to outline South Africa’s reconstruction and recovery plan. She observed that, having gone through the presentation on this matter, the Department was not mentioned. She expressed worry that they had missed the boat in this regard. How could they have done so, with such a crucial policy for the country?

Ms T Mgweba (ANC) asked what the outcomes of the consultation on the Country Indicator Framework had been. How accessible was the document to stakeholders? Did the civil society organisations, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs), ordinary women, youth and persons with disabilities in rural areas, have access to the document? She highlighted the issue of improving access to quality education, and related outcomes, for women and girls. She also suggested expanding financial support to women and girls in relation to education. What specifically was the role of the Department in making sure that the listed items were achieved? What would the role of the Department be with respect to making sure that all stakeholders participated fully in these programmes? She asked what the guidelines issued to provincial treasuries were. When would the guidelines be issued to the provincial treasuries?

The Acting Chairperson suggested that when the Department presented to the Portfolio Committee, or when the presentation was sent prior to meeting, the Committee should consult other documents of government. She said that in other documents, such as the MTSF, the role of the Department in relation to the training of public servants on issues of diversity was not clear. As previously stated by Mr Mphithi, she emphasised that the indicators did not address what specifically needed to be done, nor by when. She also raised the issue of monitoring each of these indicators. What happened when the departments did not comply? How would they know that the departments had not complied?

She also highlighted the need for a thorough understanding of some of the indicators, as they were not all clearly understood by the Committee, How were they to be understood by all the departments? She asked what was meant by the indicator that referred to the level of mainstreaming in targeted programmes by gender, age and disability. How were line departments expected to understand and implement this?


Ms Griessel responded that the document had been adopted by Cabinet on 27 March 2019, and had been forwarded to the Committee on various occasions. She added that the Members would be aware that in March 2019, the Department was still known simply as the Department of Women. It was right at the end of the fifth administration, before the election and the transition to the new government, the sixth administration, and the announcement by the President that there would be a new department, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. What had been presented was specifically the gender-responsive planning and budgeting, but the Department was undergoing a process of integration, specifically in terms of planning, monitoring, evaluation and research. There had already been areas of direct collaboration -- for example, when they did an analysis of APPs and strategic plans of departments, the DWYPD had worked with the Youth Development Division and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Division, and this had fed into the DPME analysis.

She referred to page 37, phase 1, and said the initial work was undertaken by the Department of Women on gender-responsive budgeting in the 2017-18 period, which entailed initial consultation processes with key government stakeholders and had resulted in the development of a draft gender-responsive budget (GRB). In 2018-2019, they had taken a decision to have a broader focus than budgeting, and that was when a national summit took place with representatives of different organisations and government, in November 2018. Representatives of different African countries had attended, where further consultation took place on what the gender-responsive planning and budgeting framework should look like. It was then tabled and adopted by Cabinet on 27 March 2019. Since then, the Department had been implementing the framework. That was what they had attempted to reflect in the presentations -- not only the framework and implementation plan, but the progress that had been made in implementing the framework.

She addressed the issue of terminology by stating that the document was already official and approved, but the Department would make the effort to look into that. She made reference to page 36, which read ‘should hold government entities to account in relation to the implementation of the GRPB, the achievement of better outcomes for women and girls and gender equality results.’ They would look at the use of the words ‘should’ and ‘would’ versus ‘will’ and ‘must’, as the intention was to say that there were some things that should happen, and where the Department referred to themselves, they stated ‘will.’ The Department would look at that.

Ms Griessel said the government had multiple planning instruments -- the NDP, MTSF, strategic plans, five-year strategic plans of departments and entities, and the APPs of departments and entities. Provinces had the provincial growth and development strategies. Municipalities had the integrated development plans (IDPs) and the sectoral plans. She provided an example of the sectoral plan on GBV and femicide, which she said could be considered a sectoral plan which had multiple stakeholders. There were also programme plans, such as the Sanitary Dignity programme plan, as well as project plans and operational plans etc. There were multiple levels at which planning took place, and then multiple levels where one would find indicators and different types of indicators with different targets. They should all aggregate into the country plans and targets. The Department’s focus was mainly at the level of country plans and the institutional plans, and for that reason they had focused on the NDP and the MTSF, which was specifically prioritised. This was because if they did not get indicators and targets into the MTSF, it would be unlikely that they would be included in the institutional plans of departments, and in turn budgeted for. That was why they put a lot of effort into making inputs into the MTSF. Those departments were then required to report on their progress on those indicators and targets, and that took place through the DPME. They did not want those departments to have to duplicate reporting to both the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and the DPME. If departments were reporting, for example, on strategic plans that were gender-responsive, then that would be a one-stop report. The Department would get the data and analyse the data from DPME, and this data would then form the basis for different types of evaluations.

She then referred to what Ms Mmako presented, and said the MTSF was not the only source of data. There were multiple data sources, and the Department generally tried to rely on multiple data sources. StatsSA was also a credible data source for numerous indicators, whether it be unemployment or access to cellphones amongst rural women. Based on the data collected from multiple data sources and the data analysis, the Department would then develop a gender performance report. Since they were an integrated department, it was likely that they would develop a performance report not only on gender, but on youth and disability rights. Their youth and disability rights colleagues also had very clear policy frameworks -- for example, the national youth policy, which would provide the basis for the youth indicators.

She referred to one of the questions raised by Mr Mphithi relating to whether departments knew what they were responsible for. The implementation plan of the gender-responsive planning and budgeting framework indicated what departments were responsible for. The MTSF was also very explicit about these responsibilities. The framework, as well as the guidelines that had been developed, whether on the strategic plans or the assessment framework, also made it clear to departments what their responsibilities were.

She said Mr Mphithi had raised a critical issue with respect to the fact that the Department had realised that simply producing a document did not mean it automatically translated into practice. That was why they had put a lot of effort into working with departments, analysing their plans and giving them feedback. They had the high-level steering committee, the DPME, and they were constantly addressing departmental representatives and answering their questions. The DPME convened various forums, the first being the National Technical Planning Forum, which was made up of three officials from each national department responsible for strategic planning.

The Department had made inputs on numerous occasions so that people could better understand their responsibilities and how to go about doing them. There was also a community of practice which the DPME convened, which included the public entities. They produce institutional plans and the Department was also requiring them to implement this framework. Then there was the Office of the Premier Forum, which DPME convened, which includes the representatives from the Offices of the Premier and the planners, because they were working on ensuring the implementation of the strategic plans and APPs. The new revised DPME framework had been approved by Cabinet in 2019. The Department had been making inputs into all of those forums because it acknowledged that simply reading a document did not translate into being able to implement it.

In addition, the Department had been having workshops with provinces, focusing on the offices of the premier, provincial treasuries and the offices of the status of women in the provinces. They had held a workshop in February, where the Department had presented the framework again. They had presented specific input on the roles of different stakeholders in a province, such as what the role of the office of the premier was, or what the role of the provincial treasury was. That was considered a very important process.

COVID-19 had disrupted the Department with respect to engaging with stakeholders, but they had also been having sessions with provincial planners. The initial model ensured that the office of the premier understood the system, so the system could cascade down through the different levels. For example, the analysis of provincial strategic plans and APPs was undertaken by the office of the premier. The Department had, in addition, been having sessions with all the provincial planners in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) about how they could mainstream gender. A lot of them had also asked questions of how to apply the indicators. For example, the Department of Transport had asked what indicators they could use. She said the indicators should come from the issues facing women in transport, whether it be the safety of women travelling at night, or transport operators getting access to tenders. The Department had had to explain this methodology to other departments, such as the Department of Transport, so that they could implement them in their strategic plans and APPs.

The previous day, they had had a workshop with provinces, attended by remotely 90 people, and had received a lot of positive feedback. The departments had indicated that they would continue to engage with them so that the document would get translated into actual plans, and departments could be held to account. Once it was in their strategic plans and APPs, the whole system of accountability would kick in. The provincial portfolio committees and the national portfolio committees would then be holding departments to account. That accountability would kick in through the internal audit process as well as the Auditor General’s process.

With respect to the lack of synergy relating to the inclusion of youth and persons with disabilities in the document, she acknowledged that it was currently predominantly a gender-responsive framework, as it had been developed and adopted by Cabinet when they were still the Department of Women. While they were busy integrating as a department, they looked forward to having an integrated framework, and there was already quite a lot of work which had been done in that regard.

With respect to who monitored budget allocations, she responded that this was the responsibility of Treasury. The Department would get the reports from Treasury. At their high-level steering committee, the Department had asked Treasury to give them presentations on what the current levels of budget allocations on gender were. Similarly, that was starting to happen at the provincial level.

She expressed reluctance to speak about the issue of the Sanitary Dignity programme. However, she addressed the issue of a lack of uniformity in the application of programmes. She referred to programme theory and evaluation, where it was understood that a programme that worked in one context would not necessarily work in another. Part of programme design and theory was taking into account the local conditions. The Department’s approach had been to incorporate uniformity -- for example, in terms of APPs, which were highly regulated. The Department did not want to limit innovation that could influence the manner in which something was rolled out. She agreed with Mr Mphithi in stating that the Department did not want the document to simply be a rubber-stamped useless document. The Department was working hard to achieve this.

The Acting Chairperson interrupted Ms Griessel to indicate that they were approaching the end of the scheduled meeting time. She wanted to bring the DDG to order with respect to the document that had been sent through to the Committee the day before, which stated on page seven that it was a draft. She again referred to page seven, which stated that ‘after the following consultations with stakeholders, the framework would be submitted to Cabinet for consideration,’

Ms Griessel apologised to the Acting Chairperson, and said she would look into that and follow it up.

She continued responding to the remaining unanswered questions. She referred to a question raised by Ms Masondo regarding consultation on the Country Gender Indicator Framework. She said that the Department had had extensive consultation with civil society and stakeholders around the gender policy priorities, as indicated in the presentation by Ms Reddy. The Department had also had consultations with many different sectors of society, women from different sectors of society, and those priorities had then been translated into the policy priorities. These were then translated into the various planning and monitoring instruments.

She addressed the issue relating to who was responsible for implementing the checklists. The Department monitored the overall implementation of the framework, and had developed the monitoring framework which collected data from different government departments and produced a report that pulled together and analysed all of it.

Regarding the questions posed by Mr Ngcobo relating to the mainstreaming of youth and persons with disabilities, she said the Department was trying to get data on all programmes with regard to not just sex-disaggregated data, but also to age and disability rights.

Addressing the question relating to COVID-19 and the budget cuts which was posed by Ms Hlengwa, she said that this had had a significant impact on the Department’s ability to undertake certain work. She also addressed the question relating to the use of external consultants, stating that most of the work done to date had been done internally. The development of the framework had been done internally by the Department’s officials. Very rarely did the Department use consultants. It was planning to look at an independent evaluation service provider to do a massive formative evaluation.

She responded to Ms Sonti’s question relating to women, youth and persons with disabilities in rural areas, and said that one of the reasons the government had introduced the District Development Model was precisely because of that. A lot of development was taking place in urban areas, resulting in rural areas being left behind. Through the District Development Model, some rural districts were being prioritised. The whole of government now needed to unpack what their deliverables and targets were within each district, including rural areas. In respect of land, the Department was quite pleased that there had been an announcement that 700 000ha of land would be allocated to people. Women would get 50 percent of that land. There was also a beneficiary selection policy that had been developed by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

The DWYPD had been involved in multiple processes around the development of the economic recovery plan and had put forward several proposals. It seemed that some of them had been adopted and others had not. She also noted that the statement by the President indicated that there was agreement that there should be mainstreaming of gender in all national, provincial, district and local programmes, as well as gender budgeting and reporting. Their focus on economic and financial inclusion as key to the economic reconstruction recovery plan, including mechanisms such as the 40% set aside for women in public procurement, closing the gender pay gap, women’s participation in key economic sectors and land, women in small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and co-operatives and informal businesses. The Department had also repeatedly indicated that there needed to be disaggregated information, so that it could see where women were benefiting from the economic recovery plan.

Regarding the role of the Department in respect of diversity training, the DWYPD and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) had been part of the high-level steering committee on gender-responsive planning and budgeting from 2018. The Department had co-written a module on gender-responsive planning and budgeting.  The National School of Govenance (NSG) also had training modules on gender mainstreaming and gender-based violence and femicide.

With COVID-19, they had translated that into an e-learning platform. The first session had included a lecture given by the Department. It had been a four-day course, approximately 100 people had attended, and the Department had received good feedback from participants. This needed to be rolled out across public service. The issue of compulsory modules was very important, and the Department would continue to contribute to that.

As a result of time constraints, Ms Griessel was unable to address all the questions raised by Members.

Closing Remarks

The Deputy Minister Mkhize spoke about the issue of planning for gender, and not directly linking it with youth and persons with disabilities. She understood from the Deputy Director General that there would definitely be an attempt not to present programmes in a fragmented way, but to integrate them with respect to the targets and indicators. She said that the targets must be measurable. She agreed with the DDG when she said she would check the sections in the document where it had been presented as though it was a draft awaiting approval, when it had been approved in all high-level planning meetings.

The challenge for the Committee was what to do if one department did not meet the criteria. In some other countries, Parliament would not pass the budget if it did not meet the criteria of equality for women, youth and persons with disabilities. The challenge which she foresaw was the limited capacity to scrutinise each and every department in an integrated manner. The targets referred to gender, age, disability and urban/rural areas. For the Department to do this properly, skilled people were required, which went back to the budget. Departments like this one were caught in a very difficult time, where Treasury was not allocating any new money. The vision could be trusted -- it just needed more certainty, with partnerships with institutions of higher learning to be firmer, and in terms of monitoring what was coming from other departments.

In each high-level meeting attended by the President, he strongly affirms this framework. She suggested that it was up to the Committee, in terms of the instruments devised, to make sure it was done properly across all government departments.

Referring to the position of other government departments, she said work was being done through government in different structures – at the DDG level, in the clusters, and in the Cabinet committees. She suggested that the Portfolio Committee might find an opportunity to make this presentation to them and make sure there was a common understanding across all portfolio committees in Parliament, so that it was reinforced from different perspectives.

With regard to training, she said that there should be a commitment across government, in consultation with the DPSA, as to what kind of training would be needed, at what level and how it would be reinforced through performance agreements at multiple levels. She did not think they were far from what the Members were asking. There just needed to be clarity regarding the key indicators and targets.

She addressed the question regarding the role of the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE), in reference to slide 10. These commissions could call hearings and question anyone, or research any issue, and she suggested that they needed to make sure that they fully briefed the Commission on an ongoing basis where there were areas of concern. She suggested working in partnership with them.

She addressed the issues relating to social cohesion and rural women. Referring to slide 27, she said the Committee was in agreement that to make an impact, they would have to target those constituencies in the spirit of this discussion. It would apply not only to rural women, but also to rural youth, and challenges facing persons with disabilities in rural areas, as planning could no longer continue in a fragmented manner. There may be a need to increase capacity and instruments to monitor and evaluate and engage whoever seemed to be faltering.

The Department had a responsibility to ensure that targets were met. This was the responsibility of the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation, which had a greater capacity than the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. Cabinet as a whole had a responsibility to ensure that women, youth and persons with disabilities were not excluded. With respect to the President’s briefing to Parliament, based on the planning in relation to the economy, she had no doubt that he would address the issues that the Members had raised during the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.

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