The 2019/20 Annual Report of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) was presented. The Department recorded an improvement in its overall performance, having received an unqualified audit with 27 findings, as well as an overall achievement of 80% of set targets for the financial year.
Members were pleased with the performance of the Department, particularly in respect of Programmes 1, 2 and 3. However, there was a need for the Department to address outstanding audit findings from the previous financial year, and also work towards ensuring improved performance and achieved targets that would ultimately lead to a clean audit.
The discussions on the presentation raised questions relating to the measures taken by the Department to address the high rates of unemployment amongst youths, as well as the impact of the pandemic on the youths.
The Chairperson opened the meeting by noting it was taking place at a time when the country was battling a global pandemic in form of COVID19 on the one hand, and a second pandemic, in form of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide, on the other hand. It was also a critical time to convene as the meeting fell within the period of 16-days of activism against GBV, femicide and child abuse. Members were urged to take the discourse of the meeting seriously due to the aforementioned issues facing the country.
A minute of silence was observed in honour of those whose lives have been lost in 2020 to COVID19 and GBV; as well as in honour of all frontline workers.
The Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, was welcomed to the meeting. The efforts made to attend the meeting to brief the Select Committee on the work being done by her team and the Department, despite her busy schedule, was really appreciated.
The agenda for the day was adopted and the apologies of Members were noted.
The Chairperson also conveyed the Minister’s apology to leave immediately after her input to attend another programme.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane began by thanking the Committee for the opportunity given to address the Committee. Members of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) have had to split themselves over various meetings, hence the small size of delegation present at the meeting. The Department was expected to sit on a meeting of experts with Ministers of gender of the entire African continent. This was particularly important because the President was the current chairperson of the African Union.
She also reflected on and aptly described the pain women go through as a double jeopardy; having to deal with COVID19 and enemies from within and outside their homes. The killing of women and children in South Africa has become unbearable
She said the Department would be presenting its 2019/20 Annual Report. The first three months of that financial year saw the rebranding of the Department into the DWYPD. In the past, there was a Department of Youth, a Department of Women (DoW), and a Department of Youth and Persons with Disabilities which was then added to the DoW. However, despite the merger of these three large departments into one, resulting in a broader responsibility, as well as the establishment of an additional office of the Deputy Minister, the budget has not increased.
Although the Department received an unqualified audit opinion in the financial year under review, it had 27 findings which would be addressed as a matter of urgency.
DWYPD’s mandate remains advocacy for women, youth and persons with disabilities. This advocacy is carried out within Parliament, the Select Committee and the society at large. The Department is certain that the support of the Select Committee would strengthen the work of government in developing programmes to empower women, youth and persons with disabilities. In the Minister’s words, “with the support of this Committee, I’m sure we can make a change. Nelson Mandela once said “it always seems impossible until it is done.””
The menace of GBV and other abuses against women and children has to be fought like the pandemic, starting from the villages to Parliament to all stakeholders.
Last month, DWYPD hosted a dialogue on GBV and femicide. The launch which was done by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the evening of 25 November, with a theme that is in line with the 16 days of activism, a UN dedicated period for the elimination of violence against women, but which in actual fact would last for the next 365 days for South Africans. The theme is tagged “economic justice for a non-violent and a non-sexist South Africa”. The launch included the President having a conversation with people from all corners and all stakeholders of the Department. However, this campaign cannot continue without the support of the Select Committee.
At the moment, DWYPD is calling on Premiers and districts following the District Development Model, as well as all Members of Parliament across the party line, to work hand in hand to fight this menace.
The Department will continue to take decisive steps and actions to fight against the abuse of South African women and children.
The Chairperson asked the Minister to accept the Committee’s well wishes for her and the Deputy Minister and their families during the festive season; one which would be a difficult festive season, considering the circumstances facing the nation in the form of the global pandemic.
Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Annual Report 2019/20
Adv Mikateko Maluleke, Director -General (DG), DWYPD, began by seconding the Minister’s statement that the Select Committee’s support for the Department can make a huge difference, particularly because women, youth and persons with disabilities form the absolute majority of people in South Africa. The DWYPD has a huge mandate that is structured to fail. However this was a topic for another day, as the structure of the Department was not the focus of the meeting.
The Department was saddled with the responsibility of promoting socio-economic empowerment for women, youth and persons with disabilities in South Africa in the public and private sector; civil society; and in all three spheres of government
In the 2019/20 financial year, the Department received an unqualified audit opinion with 27 findings. This audit opinion would be reported to the Committee during the presentation of the audit action plan aimed at addressing the said findings, alongside the implementation of the recommendations from the Auditor- General (AG). The audit opinion was an improvement from the previous financial year when the Department had 59 audit findings. However, the Department was committed to improving and working hard until a clean audit is achieved.
The Department’s overall performance on the achievement of set targets for the financial year under review is 80%, compared to the 69% achieved in the 2018/19 financial year. DWYPD is continually working to ensure an improvement in its performance, and provision of services for women, youth and persons with disabilities.
The Department reported on an integrated Annual Performance Plan (APP) which included targets for the rights of persons with disabilities and youth development programme during the audit. The AG raised a concern that the integration was meant to be reflected once the National Macro Organisation of Government (NMOG) process was finalised to allow for the renaming and allocation of votes in the new Department by National Treasury. However, DWYPD was compelled to integrate the three groups prematurely in 2019. This in itself resulted in a finding, but the integration was as a result of the Portfolio Committee’s insistence on the integration of the three APPs. Based on the advice of the AG, the Department only included the DSD outcome of the audit for targets relating to the rights of persons with disabilities.
In terms of the organisational environment of the Department (see slides 5 to 8 of the attached document), the DWYPD was structured into five programmes as integrated in the 2019/20 APP. It has a total of 115 funded positions, with nine filled while six remained vacant in the year under review. This was in a bid to fulfil the mandate of socio-economic empowerment of women, youth and persons with disabilities in all spheres in the public and private sector and in civil society. Positions filled included officials in the Ministry; in the DG’s office; in administration, and so on. Vacancies in core businesses were filled, while administration programme vacancies were unfunded due to the NMOG process.
Detailed performance information per programme can be seen in slides 10 to 43 of the attached document. A summary of achievements per programme is as follows:
Programme 1: Administration
Of the 14 targets planned, 11 (79%) were achieved, while three (21%) were not achieved.
The main achievements under Programme 1 were outlined (see slide 12 of the attached document).
Programme 2: Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment
Five of the seven targets planned were achieved, which meant 79% achievement; while two targets (21%) were not achieved.
The main achievements of Programme 2 were outlined (see slide 21 of the attached document).
Programme 3: Policy Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management
Of the 12 targets planned, 11 (92%) were achieved, while one target (8%) was not achieved.
The main achievements of the Programme were outlined in slides 27 and 28 of the attached document.
The Department was currently in the process of integrating the numerous frameworks that have been developed (and listed in the above mentioned slides) to ensure that they address women, youth and persons with disabilities.
Programme 4: Youth Development Programme
All four targets planned were achieved. These include:
-The Department developed a draft National Youth Policy, which was submitted for approval.
-Sessions were conducted with the youth development stakeholders to consult on the Draft Policy nationally.
-National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) reports were quality assured and assessment reports were produced for the year.
-The monitoring of the performance reporting and coordination of transfer of funds to NYDA was done.
Programme 5: Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Only one of the three targets planned were achieved. 67% of the planned targets were not achieved.
See slide 40 of the attached document for an outline of the main achievements of Programme 4.
Human Resource Oversight (see slides 44 to 59 of the attached document for detailed report)
The financial year under review saw the transition to the sixth administration with a fully functional Minister and Deputy Minister in the Presidency, as well as the establishment of the DWYPD. Although the vacancy rate at the beginning of the financial year was 7%, this decreased to 5.2% by the end of the fourth quarter. Despite the natural attrition, the SMS vacancy rate remained steady from 11.8% in April 2019 to 11.4% at the end of the last quarter of the financial year.
The Department spent 98.6% of the Compensation of Employees budget. Of the 115 funded posts, 109 posts (94.8%) were filled, resulting in a vacancy rate of 5.2%.
At the end of the fourth quarter, no employee was on special leave; one Senior Management Service (SMS) member was on suspension.
Of the four disciplinary cases, two were finalised with the employees found not guilty; one employee was found guilty; and one case was still outstanding.
The CFO said the Department spent 98.8% of its budget allocation. The final appropriation for the Department was R244.3 million, which included an amount of R85.2 million earmarked for the transfer to Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), which was eventually transferred. In the end, the department spent R241.4 million (which was 98.8%) of its final appropriation.
See slides 61 to 69 for a detailed information on expenditure (under and overspending; unauthorised expenditure; irregular expenditure; as well as fruitless and wasteful expenditure)
The Chairperson acknowledged the improvements and achievements recorded by the Department in the financial year under review, particularly in programmes 1, 2 and 3 compared to the previous financial year. She went on to thank the Department for its hard work, while noting that progress on outstanding targets should be reported, as well as the impact on financial and human resources in the 2021/21 financial year. Measures to deal with noncompliance should be strengthened and monitored regularly, especially in terms of issues of critical internal control and noncompliance in the 2018/19 financial year, as highlighted by the AGSA and ARC. She wrapped up by congratulating the Department on the good financial performance and audit report achieved in the year under review.
Mr M Bara (DA, Gauteng) welcomed the presentation and noted that quite a lot has been achieved by the Department in terms of pursuing this difficult programme. He however, wanted to know what the Department was doing to address the high rates of unemployment among the youths.
Dr Bernice Hlagala, Director: Youth, replied that the high rate of unemployment amongst youth was indeed a serious concern, and the problem has become even more acute with the pandemic. However, the Department, being responsible for the development of regulatory frameworks for socioeconomic empowerment of women, youth and persons with disabilities, has developed a National Youth Policy, which has been approved by Cabinet. One of the key pillars within the policy is economic transformation, employment and job creation for young people. The policy advocates for a need to develop and support young entrepreneurs; and facilitate employment creation. In that regard, the policy articulates for development of employment strategies for young people, which is line with what the President pronounced in the State of the Nation Address.
Discussions were ongoing with the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) regarding the development of a specific employment strategy for young people. At a technical level, DEL will be responding to DWYPD in this regard. The Department was certain that the strategy would assist in addressing and resolving this issue. Also, the NYDA would be developing an integrated strategy, while the Department would develop a monitoring and evaluation framework, which will contain high level indicators to track how departments were performing in terms of youth employment. One of the key indicators is the set aside for youth employment. This would be in areas such as the green and blue economy, tourism, mining, manufacturing, and other areas with high absorption capacity. This would help the Department to determine how it was faring in terms of youth employment.
The Department was also conceptualising key interventions to address employment and was currently busy with presenting these interventions to relevant stakeholders. A presentation has been made to clusters; and plans were underway to present to the Committee and Cabinet on the 4IR youth skills. It is envisaged that this programme would enable the Department to absorb young people. The Department was also partnering with a private sector company that has committed R68 million to this programme. The DG would meet with other DGs to further discuss partnerships.
Adv Maluleke added that the Department facilitated access for the NYDA to the funds of the presidential youth employment funds and they received over R500 million for job creation; so that they can facilitate job creation for young persons. Even next year, the access will be facilitated. The Department is in discussions with the Tshwane metro, regarding a plan to initiate a training programme where young persons and artisans will be trained in skills like welding, plumbing, glazier and the others. The representative from Tshwane was even suggesting that it should be partnership not just with them but also Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni so that it can be done together. This programme could really go a long way if it is implemented.
Mr Bara also wanted to know what the Department was doing to curb the impact of the pandemic on young people already battling unemployment.
Dr Hlagala replied that the Department has partnered with the NYDA in conducting research on the impact of COVID19 on young people and will soon present its research findings to the Minister for review. In the meantime, the Department has taken note of the mental effect of COVID19 on young people. In this regard, GIZ is partnering with the Department and would be presenting an ambassador programme aimed at promoting mental health and resilience among young people.
Ms Annette Griessel, Deputy Director-General (DDG), DWYPD, added that the Department has been part of the natjoint structures targeted at addressing issues of COVID19 since the early days when a declaration of the sudden disaster and the lockdown was made. These structures include the social impact work stream, the economic impact work stream; and the legal work stream where inputs have been made.
The DG and the Minister have been a part of the National Corona Virus Command Council (NCCC), where the Department was able to make a wide range of inputs tailored to ensuring that issues of women, youth and persons with disabilities were on the agenda of the natjoints; as well as addressing critical issues such as GBV, femicide, food insecurity, and so on.
The Department also developed a strategic framework that looked into the social and economic impact of issues such as poverty, food and security, access to menstrual health products and economic impact. There was a significant concern about the impact on women particularly in vulnerable sectors, such as informal traders, women in the informal services sector, and women entrepreneurs. Concerns were also raised with regard to the public health impact. Part of the guidelines focused on responses to gender responsive decision making, which had been an issue; as well as ensuring that women, youth and persons with disabilities were indeed able to access the socioeconomic relief measures that were introduced.
The Department also developed a COVI19 tracker which was aimed at collecting data from a wide range of government departments to help with interventions. Continuous monthly reports were being submitted, and this included issues of the extent to which women enterprises were able to benefit from the procurement of PPE and other products in the context of COVID19. Through the tracker, the Department is able to track the extent to which women are able to access the social relief and distress grants. In addition, the Department has conducted a snap survey with its gender stakeholders in the early days, as far back as May, to get feedback on their experiences and that of their constituencies. This also informed its interventions.
A more detailed research project on the impact of COVID19 on women and girls was ongoing, and the Department was working with the United Nations (UN) Women. A survey on the same topic is being carried out in Mozambique, Malawi, and South Africa. Through this research project, the Department would able to contribute to the research design, which was underway.
What was important right now was the DWYPD’s input into the economic reconstruction recovery plan. Although the plan itself was not fully explicit in terms of women, youth and persons with disabilities, the DG and the Minister have been pushing for the inclusion of these core members of the populace. The President has also lent his voice to the implementation of a gradual inclusion of women, youth and persons with disabilities into the reconstruction recovery plan. The public employment programme was key, but so was the Department’s access to finance and economic inclusion; support for SMMEs, informal sector; and inclusion of women, youth and persons with disabilities in the sector master plan.
The Chairperson appreciated the new DG for the hard work invested in directing the Department in a new positive direction. The Department was also appreciated for working hard to record achievements as presented despite the difficult circumstances it found itself in.
She alluded to the important issue of youth unemployment as raised by Mr Bara, while urging the new DG to work hand in hand with the Minister and the Deputy Minister in continuous advocacy that would bring more hope to women, youth and people with disabilities.
Adoption of the minutes of the Select Committee meeting dated 14 October 2020
The minutes were adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
The Chairperson appreciated all Members of the Select Committee for their hard work in navigating a year as difficult and unprecedented as 2020. Although Members drifted physically, they were still able to find avenues to carry out their responsibilities, with a realisation of the fact that the communities within the provinces they represent, depended on the Committee to put their struggles forward and make life easier for them. Through interactions with the different ministries and departments, the Committee has worked very hard to make life easier for the people of South Africa.
The support staff of the Committee was highly appreciated for staying up late, getting up early, going the extra mile to ensure the smooth running of Committee meetings and events.
The Ministers and Deputy Ministers of the Departments of Social Development; and Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities were appreciated for their commitment and willingness to listen to the Select Committee; and also respond to issues raised by the Committee every now and then.
On that note, the Chairperson mentioned that the current meeting was the last for 2020, and wished Members of the Committee, and the country at large, a blessed festive season and celebration with their families.
She asked representatives of political parties present to give their yuletide messages.
Mr Bara spoke for the Democratic Alliance. He said it has indeed been a difficult year for everyone, irrespective of political persuasion. Despite all, the public still looks up to the Committee to provide direction and responses to certain questions they might have. The Committee has managed to provide direction, to listen and make decisions in line with the requests of the people. There is still a lot to be done, as quite a number of people have lost their jobs, and numerous youths remained unemployed.
The Department needs to come up with measures to be submitted to and engaged on by the Committee, to help decide what direction the country should take. The end of year break would be useful in helping all stakeholders to reflect on steps to help address all highlighted issues in the interest of building a united South Africa.
He ended by wishing everyone a good time of rest, and enjoyment with family members, while commiserating with those who might experience a difficult festive season due to the loss of their loved ones to the pandemic. Support for each other was key, especially in relation to the latter. On behalf of the Democratic Alliance, he wished everyone a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.
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