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JOINT MONITORING COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN, YOUTH AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
14 February 2001
COMMITTEE PROGRAMME 2001
Chairperson: Ms H Bogopane
Relevant Documents: None
Since the report on the trip to Germany had not been finalised yet, the Committee focused on the strategies and plans for 2001. A two- day workshop will be held in March in order to discuss the Committee's plan of action as well as the draft programme which will be circulated just before this meeting. Members provided suggestions for the committee programme which will now be drafted.
Report on the Study Tour to Germany
The Chair apologised that the report dealing with the trip to Germany had not been finalised yet. She promised that it will be circulated before the next meeting. The Chair will request some time to present the outcomes of this visit to both Houses.
Committee Programme 2001
The Chair said that the standard action plan developed last year [of asking all relevant departments for a progress report] was an ongoing process. The principles that had applied then will therefore reapply this year. In addition, the workshop held in March 2000 will be held at approximately the same time this year in order to discuss committee strategies.
Mr L Nzimande (ANC) felt that the programme for the three sectors (children, youth and persons with disabilities) should remain. He referred to the preliminary report which the Chair had prepared last year and noted that some departments had failed to present the Committee with a report. The first step is for all Departments is to report to the Committee about what they are doing in promoting the interests of children, youth and persons with disabilities.
Mr V Gore (DP) suggested that the priority areas identified at the Gordon's Bay workshop, be incorporated into the action plan for the disabled. He also agreed with Mr Nzimande that the departments should follow up the promises that they had to the Committee made last year. In addition, they should strive to raise awareness in the National Assembly and the NCOP about the Committee's work.
Mr Zondi (IFP) stated that when he examined the Gordon's Bay workshop, he had noted that there had been much emphasis on provincial visits which had been aimed at determining what is happening at ground level. Attention should be paid to the issue of special schools and the mainstreaming of disabled children.
The Chair added that improvements have to be made to how the oversight process is structured.
Mr C Morkel (NNP) stated that the 'taxi queens' issue had not been dealt with properly and that a strategy should be developed to deal with it. This is a serious problem that affects mainly the disadvantaged communities. He also mentioned the organisation called 'Molo Songololo' which focused on the issue of trafficking children for sex. It is important that the organisation submits a report to the Committee formally. He also stated that it is important that all parties work with the National Youth Commission. The Committee has to continue to hold them to their mandate and ensure that this mandate coincides with the Committee's.
The Chairperson was pleased that all members agreed on the basics. She said that it is essential that the Committee receives training relevant to their work to enable members to understand rights and how to realise them. The Human Rights Commission will provide such training.
The Chair was certain that very few members understood the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which South Africa had ratified. She requested members to read it as it impacts on legislation affecting children. Countries have to report to the UN every two years and the Committee will be expected to do so from a parliamentary perspective. Two special UN sessions will be held, one of them being in New York. The President may present it although this has not yet been finalised. She suggested that members examine the document in the South African context and prepare to deal with it informally.
Regarding the 2001/2002 Budget, IDASA is currently in the process of analysing this as it pertains to children. A workshop will be presented to help members understand how the budget will impact on children.
The Departments will present their reports after which the Committee will deliberate on the findings of the Departments. The Committee will then exercise their oversight role. Thus, before the Departments are called in for a second round the Committee will first have to analyse their reports.
In addition, the role of the Committee must be defined. They will have to look at whether it is part of their role to get involved in political debates. It is necessary to look at how they will respond beyond their political affiliations. The situation has never arisen where all parties have agreed on an issue and in this way made it possible to issue a statement as a Committee. They will also discuss ways in which to raise the profile of the Committee.
Mr K Gigaba(ANC) stated that it is better to give input regarding the programme once they received the programme itself. He wanted to know how soon the two-day meeting will be. He suggested that it be held before mid-February.
The Chair again requested all input to be made immediately so that the draft programme can incorporate their suggestions.
Mr Gigaba made four suggestions:
- Targets should be set in each sector. Instead of dealing with many issues vaguely it is better to deal with a few specific issues thoroughly.
- It is important to engage with organisations throughout the continent, for example, the Select Youth Council and the African Youth Parliament.
- The Committee should engage with the Provincial Legislature of the Eastern Cape as well as other similar committees. In addition, they could hold discussions with other legislatures, which do not have similar committees to their own.
- The role of the NCOP members has to be defined.
The Chair stated that an Annual Report should be drafted in partnership with the National Youth Commission. The report should be well researched by a professional body of researchers and then presented to Parliament. The date and mechanisms of this report can be worked out later.
Mr M Moss (ANC) stated that since children, youth and the disabled constitute 80% of the population and since oversight is the role of the Committee, it is necessary that the exact nature of this role be specified in the workshop.
The Chair reiterated that the purpose of the two days is to discuss an action plan. Before this takes place, a draft programme will be circulated.
The meeting was adjourned.
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