In a virtual meeting the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) reported on poor implementation of the Sanitary Dignity Programme in 2019/2 to Quintile 1 to 3 schools. National Treasury disbursed the funds directly to the nine provinces. The implementation of the programme was delayed in Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga due to defects during the procurement process. North West had only 25% of the budget while Northern Cape had not used the money at all. Gauteng and Free State were the leading provinces in appointing women-led and owned suppliers for supplying sanitary pads to schools. Progress in 2020/21 was hampered by COVID-19 and as result, no sanitary products had been delivered to schools in Quarter 1. In Quarter 2, Western Cape, Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal had started delivery to schools. The monitoring and evaluation framework to hold provinces accountable would be ready in November 2020.
The failure by four to five provinces to spend all or part of the budget allocated for the Sanitary Dignity Programme was a concern to the Committee. This pointed to a lack of monitoring. Members asked DWYPD why the monitoring and evaluation framework had taken three years to complete. The failure to ensure that women, youth and persons with disabilities benefitted from participation as suppliers was concerning. How many women had benefited from this? DWYPD was asked to forward a list of suppliers of sanitary pads in the different provinces. The list also had to show the cost of each sanitary pad. How was it monitoring expenditure? There were several questions on the looting of funds in KZN and if Gauteng diverted this budget for food parcels during lockdown. Members asked how had DWYPD distributed sanitary pads during lockdown when schools were closed and if it collaborated with other departments on implementation. It was agreed that one of the lessons learnt was that a specific provincial department across all provinces should be responsible for the roll out in provinces.
Ms Shoki Tshabalala, Deputy Director General: Social Transformation, DWYPD, and Mr Prince Booi, Acting DDG, Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment, DWYPD, gave a progress report on the National Rollout of the Sanitary Dignitary Programme in Quintiles 1 to 3 Schools.
Mr Booi told the Committee that the Sanitary Dignity Implementation Framework was approved by Cabinet in September 2020 which was the main policy driver for the implementation of the Sanitary Dignity Programme. DWYPD was responsible for monitoring the implementation. DWYPD’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework was scheduled to be finalised in November 2020. A table showed the funds allocation to each of the nine provinces for the Sanitary Dignity Programme. National Treasury was responsible for the disbursement and monitoring of funds.
Mr Booi noted that DWYPD had also collaborated with the Department of Basic Education on the programme that sought to address water supply, sanitation and hygiene in rural areas. DWYPD had delivered water tanks to schools. An initiative to come up with an ideal toilet that was hygienic, safe and appropriate for girl learners was underway. The implementation of the Sanitary Dignity Programme in 2020/21 was hampered by COVID-19 and as result, no sanitary products had been delivered to schools.
In 2020/21 implementation was hampered by the COVID-19 lockdown and as a result, no delivery was effected in schools. During Quarter 2, delivery to schools has taken place in Western Cape, Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga have been delayed by procurement processes and will deliver in Quarter 3.
The Eastern Cape was interdicted from spending the 2019/20 budget due to defects during the procurement process. The procurement process must benefit women, youth and persons with disabilities and not a sole service provider (monopolisation) for the entire value chain. Gauteng and Free State were the leading provinces in beneficiating women in the economic value chain by appointing women and women-led and owned suppliers for supplying sanitary pads to schools. DWYPD has met Eastern Cape counterparts to ensure this.
The two most concerning provinces are North West and Northern Cape. North West only used 25% of the 2019/20 budget and has not yet used the 2020/21 budget. Northern Cape has not spent its 2019/20 and 2020/21 budget. Both provinces had not provided valid reasons for this and the Director General had intervened to address the matter.
For 2019/20, which was Year 1, the target was 3 835 689 but with four provinces not getting off the ground, a total of 1 106 769 learners received sanitary pads. A breakdown was provided per province on the number of girls reached.
The Chairperson asked DWYPD to provide more details on its partnership with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. Was it using UNFPA as a consulting agency?
The Chairperson said DWYPD did not have a good socio economic transformation policy. People from disadvantaged backgrounds and remote areas had no access to the online training that DWYPD was offering under the Sanitary Dignity Programme.
He noted DWYPD had not finalised its Monitoring and Evaluation strategy. How was it monitoring the rollout of the Sanitary Dignity Programme in provinces and why was it not able to detect the corruption in KZN? Moreover, a cooperative that manufactured sanitary dignity pads in Daveyton, Gauteng, had complained that it was not getting support from the provincial department.
The Chairperson said DWYPD had provided conflicting information on when the Sanitary Dignity Programme was approved. Previously, it had said the programme was approved between 2018 and 2019. In this presentation it said the programme was approved in September 2020. On what date was the programme really approved?
The roll out of the Sanitary Dignity Programme in provinces lacked uniformity. The explanation that some provinces failed to achieve the programme in 2019/20 due to COVID-19 was unreasonable. The programme had started long before the pandemic. What work had DWYPD done before and during the pandemic?
If the government was to institute a forensic investigation of the programme in all provinces, it would uncover a lot of irregularities.
The Chairperson asked why DWYPD was procuring consulting services for a small programme such as the Sanitary Dignity Programme.
Why had it taken DWYPD three years to finalize its Monitoring and Evaluation framework? Who were the officials responsible for the framework?
Ms T Masondo (ANC) asked if DWYPD had failed to identify red flags that pointed to a lack of implementation. The disaster that surrounded the rollout of the Sanitary Dignity Programme pointed to a lack of its monitoring. If it was monitoring the programme, it had to explain how it was doing this.
Ms N Sharif (DA) said presentations from DWYPD were always frustrating. DWYPD had said it did not have capacity to formulate a monitoring and evaluation framework, which was not entirely correct considering the workforce that it had. What work were its officials doing and what training had they gone through?
Waste sanitary products were not environmentally friendly. Had it conducted research on other methods it could use to manage waste sanitary products?
DWYPD had to forward a list of suppliers and distributors of sanitary pads in the different provinces. The list also had to show the cost of each sanitary pad.
News of the online training initiative had reached a limited audience of 40 people. DWYPD had to explain if it had thought of other strategies to reach a larger audience of women, youth and persons with disabilities.
DWYPD had to understand there was a difference between formulating a policy and implementing, monitoring and evaluating it. The implementation, monitoring and evaluation process was crucial for testing the feasibility and practicalities of the formulated policy.
At the core of its work was monitoring and evaluation. For that reason, it made no sense that it did not have a monitoring and evaluation framework in place and that it was also failing to monitor and evaluate its own programmes.
DWYPD had to provide a list of those who benefited from the Sanitary Dignity Programme during lockdown. How many women had received sanitary products during lockdown?
Did the Gauteng province divert money budgeted for the Sanitary Dignity Programme to food parcels during lockdown?
Ms M Hlengwa (IFP) asked what DWYPD was doing under the Sanitary Dignity Programme to address water supply and sanitation problems in rural areas. The presentation had not talked about this. Was there uniformity in implementation of the programme in provinces?
Had DWYPD collaborated with other departments on the implementation of the Sanitary Dignity Programme? Given that it did not have a Monitoring and Evaluation framework, what tool had it used to measure progress in the provinces?
The failure by some provinces to spend all or part of the budget allocated for the Sanitary Dignity Programme was concerning as it impacted the livelihoods of those supposed to benefit from it.
What was DWYPD’s action plan for the corruption that had been observed in KZN?
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) said DWYPD had said some provinces did not benefit from the Sanitary Dignity Programme due to several reasons including litigation. Had it addressed the identified challenges?
Mr L Mphithi (DA) reiterated that DWYPD continued to plan its Monitoring and Evaluation framework without taking cognisance of the gaps and weakness uncovered during implementation of the Sanitary Dignity Programme. If it was going to effectively monitor the upcoming Gender Responsive Framework then it had to come up with strategies how to mitigate the identified risks.
Some of the identified risks included a lack of uniformity in implementation. The online training that DWYPD offered under the Sanitary Dignity Programme resulted in a lack of uniformity due to network and connectivity disparities amongst provinces.
It had to explain if provincial departments were aware of the work they needed to do and if there were officials monitoring and evaluating the work being done. Was the same work being done across provinces?
There were lessons to be learned from the Sanitary Dignity Programme. Looking at the lessons from monitoring the Sanitary Dignity Programme, how was DWYPD going to monitor the Gender Responsive Framework? What was it going to do differently?
DWYPD had started to assess the impact of its programmes, which was ironic considering there was no implementation yet. To ensure implementation it had to include some accountability aspects in its Monitoring and Evaluation Framework; for example, uniformity and consequence management.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) said it was concerning that only 50% of young women were benefiting from the programme. DWYPD had to push for 80 or 100%.
The programme had been on rollout in the provinces for almost three years now. How much money had it disbursed to provinces for the rollout of the programme. Of the total amount of money it had disbursed, how much had benefited women?
The presentation talked of how DWYPD invested in capacity building programmes for women. When can the Committee expect to see results from the programmes?
DWYPD had not mentioned any form of partnership with the National Youth Development Agency. It was important for it to have a partnership with the NYDA to ensure that young women benefit from the Sanitary Dignity Programme.
How was it monitoring expenditure on the Sanitary Dignity Programme in provinces? The looting of funds budgeted for the KZN programme proved that it was not working closely with provinces.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) had complained about the impact of the programme in schools. The complaint proved that DWYPD was not collaborating with other departments and organisations in implementation of the programme.
The presentation had talked about National Treasury having a role of distributing funds for the Sanitary Dignity Programme. DWYPD had to provide a report on how much money Treasury had distributed to provinces. What criteria was Treasury using to determine equitable distribution?
It was unclear which provincial department was responsible for the implementation of the Sanitary Dignity Programme in provinces. There were talks of the Premier’s Office, Department of Basic Education and Department of Social Development being responsible in some provinces. DWYPD had to clarify which provincial department was responsible for the programme.
Ms C Phiri (ANC) said DWYPD had mentioned that the advertisement for the Sanitary Dignity Programme in Limpopo had discouraged other women from participating in the programme. Was it possible for the Department to have one standard advertisement for the Sanitary Dignity Programme across provinces?
It was crucial to have the Sanitary Dignity Programme implemented by one department in all provinces. Having different departments involved in the monitoring and implementation of the programme posed the risk of undermining the principle of accountability.
Mr S Ngcobo (DA) said DWYPD’s failure to monitor the Sanitary Dignity Programme and to ensure that women and persons with disabilities benefit from the programme was concerning. Women and people living with disabilities were still left behind in terms of participation in the mainstream economy. For that reason, the Sanitary Dignity Programme was a priority one. How many women had benefited from the programme?
Ms A Hlongo (ANC) said the Committee was faced with the task of dealing with issues it had previously identified as problematic, specifically those to do with its monitoring and evaluation framework. DWYPD had to prioritise strengthening its monitoring system to ensure that everybody benefited from the programme.
How had it distribute sanitary pads during level 4 and 5 of the lockdown when children were not in school?
Ms D Ngwenya (EFF) said she hoped milestones would be provided for the Sanitary Dignity Programme. That way the Committee would be able to assess progress made by DWYPD.
Transparency, accountability and consequence management were key for the success of any project. Without these, how was DWYPD ensuring adherence to the principles and objectives of the Sanitary Dignity Programme?
What kind of awareness strategy had it used to ensure that both women and persons with disabilities were aware of the programmes it was offering. It had not mentioned one disabled person that had benefited from the programme. Had DWYPD consulted with the Department of Basic Education to identify special schools for persons with disabilities that could benefit from the Sanitary Dignity Programme?
It was concerning that DWYPD had requested provinces that had not utilized their budgets to come up with a programme of remedial action. That was not the appropriate method for consequence management. The Department had to provide solutions and not invite solutions. It was important to know the programme of remedial action to assess its effectiveness.
DWYPD had to provide a breakdown of the 1 041 people that it said had participated in a workshop it organised.
The Committee needed to organise a meeting with the Portfolio Committees of Social Development, Basic Education and Small Business Development.
Adv Mikateko Maluleke, DWYPD Director General, replied about one standard advertisement, that provinces had their Provincial Treasuries and could formulate advertisements that they felt were suitable and appropriate. DWYPD could only monitor. The situation in Limpopo was different because DWYPD had an advisor in the province and a framework that the Limpopo provincial department was supposed to be adhere to; hence the national departments involvement.
On having one department implementing the programme, Adv Maluleke replied the programme was initially handed over to the Premier’s Office. The Premier’s Office had the discretion to decide which department was going to implement the programme. In certain cases the Premier’ Office took the initiative to implement the programme. DWYPD had to work with whichever department the Premier gave the programme to. Be that as it may, it was going to advise the provinces on having the programme implemented by one particular department.
On monitoring and evaluation, Adv Maluleke replied the questions could be divided into two – one to do with the monitoring and evaluation framework and the other to do with whether DWYPD was monitoring and evaluating the programme.
On whether it was monitoring and evaluating, Adv Maluleke replied the presentation had talked about DDG Tshabalala having had to write letters to the director general in provinces to address problems DWYPD had noticed with the programme.
On the monitoring and evaluation framework, DDG Tshabalala replied the formulation process for this started in 2018 as a concept. It took up to September 2019, when the framework was approved by the Cabinet, to complete the process of conceptualization and consultation with different clusters of government. The framework was approved for the next financial year by Cabinet. The Department’s initial plan was to pilot the programme in two provinces and draw lessons but National Treasury was quick to disburse the money to all nine provinces.
On the Department workforce, DDG Tshabalala disagreed that it was bloated as had been alleged by Ms Sharif. DWYPD had a peculiar structure compared to other departments. It had one director, one assistant director and one deputy director. The limited workforce, as well as financial constraints, were a setback; therefore its decision to reach out to UNFPA for a partnership.
The Chairperson remarked that there was enough workforce from looking at the Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment unit structure and organogram. What were the roles of the officials shown on the structure and organogram in DWYPD?
DDG Tshabalala replied most of the positions indicated in the structure, for example, the position of Chief Director, were not occupied due to financial constraints.
The Department had a draft monitoring and evaluation framework that was still being tested for the purposes of internalising and nationalising it. The draft framework had indicators on how provinces are to report to DWYPD.
On water and sanitation, it had collaborated with the Department of Water and Sanitation on improving water accessibility. It had transported tanks of water to different areas. The presentation had talked of its plans to improve the design and quality of toilets. The toilets had to preserve the dignity of young girls.
On the management of waste sanitary products, Adv Maluleke replied DWYPD had conducted a research on recyclable sanitary pads but it was concerned about the hygiene surrounding this. DDG Tshabalala seconded this. DWYPD was focused on encouraging the manufacturing of sanitary pads that were biodegradable. It was partnering with scientific organisations on this.
On consequence management, Adv Maluleke replied that the Department had written to those flagged for non-compliance. However, DWYPD could not take consequence management on the Premier’s Office.
Adv Maluleke explained the role of National Treasury which distributed funds to provinces on receipt of a comprehensive and justifiable programme or plan. Treasury did not transfer money to DWYPD for distribution to provinces.
On diversion of funds intended for the Sanitary Dignity Programme to food parcels, Adv Maluleke replied that National Treasury was going to query this as provinces are required to use money for its intended purpose. However, DWYPD was going to write to the Gauteng Premier's Office. The Committee had to note that it could not take consequence management on the Premier.
DDG Tshabalala explained the Gauteng Provincial Department had requested a special deviation to contract directly with National Treasury and it had managed to save money. It used the money it had saved from the Sanitary Dignity Programme for food parcels. This had not affected its targets.
The Chairperson asked if the DDG was confirming that it used money budgeted for the Sanitary Dignity Programme for food parcels.
DDG Tshabalala replied the Gauteng Provincial Department will put the answer in writing.
Adv Maluleke explained the programme was approved in 2018 and the implementation process started in 2019/20. This explained the litigation against provinces that did not use the money allocated in the 2019/20 budget. The process could take up to three years. The provinces were being litigated against the 2019/20 budget.
Adv Maluleke agreed that the role of DWYPD was to regulate, monitor and evaluate its programmes. DWYPD had lost track by getting involved in the distribution process.
The Chairperson said there was need to organise a meeting with all the provinces so they could account for the programme.
On procurement, DDG Tshabalala replied DWYPD had a unit that monitored if procurement favoured women. It was developing a procurement training module that targets women.
On whether it distributed sanitary pads during Level 4 and 5 Lockdown, DDG Tshabalala replied that it did not make distributions because everything had come to a standstill. However, DWYPD reached out to its development partners and the private sector to make distributions to other areas of need such as shelters for the homeless and abused women. It had also reached out to persons with disabilities through the Department. Here DDG Tshabalala told the Committee there had been a specific request to refrain from saying 'persons living with disabilities' and say 'people with disabilities'.
DDG Tshabalala confirmed that there were women in the manufacturing industry. DWYPD conducted a workshop with the women who had requested assistance with the import of inputs not manufactured in South Africa. As such, it plans to collaborate with the Department of Trade Industry. It had a plan to assist with financial and business training, as well as the standardisation, packaging and branding of products.
On whether DWYPD was reaching out to special schools, DDG Tshabalala replied that quintile 1 and 2 as indicated in the presentation dealt with this.
DDG Tshabalala replied that the provinces would provide written responses on the number of sanitary pads distributed during lockdown. However it had to take note the distributions made were not part of a government initiative but DWYPD's own initiative.
On online training, Mr Booi answered that the training was planned before lockdown and had to take place during lockdown. Due to DWYPD urgently requiring to pilot the training programme, it resorted to online training. DWYPD will provide a written response on the details of those women and business people who attended the programme
Mr Booi replied that the UNFPA partnership was more about how DWYPD can create awareness of its programmes. Its strategy was to target beneficiaries in each province and identify areas for development. Knowing the areas for development was important in its consideration of what organisations to partner with, for example, the Department of Trade and Industry.
Mr Booi replied that it had partnered with the NYDA on its awareness and training programmes. The NYDA was responsible for ensuring there was economic inclusion of young people. DWYPD had come up with a ready-to-trade list of people that required more capacity. NYDA was responsible for providing financial assistance to those on the ready-to-trade list.
Mr Booi replied that the Department would send the Committee the list of 1041 participants who attended the workshop. It would also provide a list of suppliers and distributors of sanitary pads.
On discrepancies in the allocation of funds, Adv Maleluke replied National Treasury allocated more money to those provinces that demonstrated capacity such as through expenditure of all their allocated funds. Provinces with limited capacity received less money.
The Chairperson asked if DWYPD can assist provinces to use all the money allocated to them.
Adv Maluleke replied she had written to some of the provinces. She was yet to know if they required DWYPD’s assistance.
Ms Sharif proposed that DWYPD provide written responses within 48 hours.
The Chairperson invited comments on the idea of inviting provinces to account, as well as having a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committees on Social Development, Basic Education and Small Business Development.
The Committee agreed.
The Chairperson informed Members of the NYDA report that had been returned to the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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