The Multiparty Women’s Caucus met in a virtual sitting to consider its programme for the first term. Members emphasised the need for programmes around the upcoming International Womens Day. It was said the Committee would be commemorating the life of Charlotte Maxeke. A memorial lecture was proposed. Another theme to possibily pick up on is "women in leadership achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world" and an intergenerational discussion on issues facing women in leadership.
The Ministry responded that the plan is to get the President to address International Women’s Day in the context of generational equality.
It was said the MPWC needed a strategy workshop to define its mandate. Some of the Caucus' work overlapped with other committee’s and so the Caucus needed to come together and formulate its mandate to effectively measure its performance. It was suggested the Committee set clear goals on what it wants to achieve. If the Committee talks about eradicating gender-based violence, it should be more open on these goals. The Committee should be more goal-orientated.
Members were asked to submit their suggestions to the Committee Secretary. The workshop which would commemorate the life of Charlotte Maxeke would take place first. The Committee should clearly set out and monitor progress on its goals.
Brief mention was made of monitoring the budget tabled yesterday against gender-responsiveness.
The Chairperson wished all Members a happy new year as the Committee was meeting for the first time in 2021. COVID-19 caused the loss of family members, and so many Members of Parliament. May their souls rest in peace. The vaccine has arrived and we are hopeful that it will assist us to get out of the current situation. The budget speech made yesterday proposes measures which will narrow the budget from 7.5% in the current year to 0.8% percent in 2023/24. It is the Multiparty Women’s Caucus’ responsibility to ensure that all departments consider taking care of women, youth and persons with disabilities. She said she had thought about perpetrators who had raped women, young girls, and older persons who are now finding an opportunity to improve themselves. Some wrote Matric exams while incarcerated and will be receiving or already have their results, but so many souls were also lost because of them. We need to think about how to correct them.
The meeting agenda was adopted and apologies were heard.
Draft First Term Programme.
Ms P Majodina (ANC) said the MPWC would discuss commemorating the life of Charlotte Maxeke on 8 March 2021 at a later stage.
Ms S Lucas (ANC) proposed that since 8 March is International Women’s Day, Charlotte Maxeke be commemorated on that day. She proposed a memorial lecture.
Ms Majodina said the MPWC needed a strategy workshop to define its mandate. Some of the Caucus work overlapped with other committee’s such as the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, and other committees. The Caucus needed to come together and formulate its mandate to effectively measure its performance. A clear theme must be suggested for commemorating Charlotte Maxeke. The MPWC must consider the constitutional rights of women and deal with changing certain clauses in the Constitution that are impacting negatively on women. She suggested this be included in the programme for International Women’s Month. She asked for a two-page profile on Charlotte Maxeke to be shared with all Members to enable the MPWC to rally behind who she was.
Ms G Boroto (ANC) said she was covered by the previous speakers on Charlotte Maxeke.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) said she was also covered by previous speakers. The theme for International Women’s Month should be about women in leadership achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. It would work well for women in Parliament to speak about issues women in leadership positions face. She hoped there would be an intergenerational discussion on issues facing women in leadership.
Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, said she was covered. She agreed that the Caucus should revisit its mandate and find a need that would be an overarching umbrella for what all committee’s were doing. The Department and civil society is working with UN Women and the plan is to get the President to address International Women’s Day in the context of generational equality. Prior to COVID-19, there was a plan to strengthen the Generational Equality Campaign by partnering with different countries and holding a meeting with heads of state on this. We need to ask where the women are who were not in Beijing in 1995 and what issues they are grappling with now.
If there is no compassion, developing countries will be left behind in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. These countries may not have all the resources they need to ensure equal access to vaccines.
She supported Parliament having its own programme for access to vaccines. In the sixth administration, the President has really tried to place economic justice at the centre of the struggle for gender equality. The repositioning of women within an economic recovery plan is prominent. The Caucus should find a way to include this in its programme.
The MPWC must also consider how it relates to the Africa Free Trade Agreement. She hoped the MPWC would find a way to bring back economic justice for women as a critical issue in its programme.
A Member suggested that the Steering Committee attempt to reach the chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality, especially in relation to Castor Semenya.
Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) supported the proposal. She suggested the Committee set clear goals on what it wants to achieve. If the Committee talks about eradicating gender-based violence, it should be more open on these goals. The Committee should be more goal-orientated.
The Chairperson asked Members to submit their suggestions to the Committee Secretary. The workshop which would commemorate the life of Charlotte Maxeke would take place first. The Committee should clearly set out and monitor progress on its goals.
The Committee considered its minutes of meetings held in 2020.
Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) said she would like to see an attached register on every set of minutes.
Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Pinky Kekana, raised a point on gender-responsive planning and budgeting. The current budget presented yesterday should be checked against the budget reflected in the Committee’s reports. Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is very passionate about GBV and gender-responsiveness and the Committee should ask her to assist and check whether the budget is aligned with the outcomes of the Committee’s reports.
A Member asked how the COVID-19 budget presented responded to GBV.
The Chairperson asked Members to focus on adopting the minutes as other issues raised will be addressed at a later stage.
Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said various interest groups would be lobbied over GBV issues.
The Chairperson said GBV issues cut across various departments. She said it would be discussed at a later stage.
The Committee adopted its reviewed minutes for 12 March 2020, 28 May 2020, 30 July 2020, 27 August 2020, 29 October 2020 and 26 November 2020 without amendment.
The Chairperson thanked Members for their cooperation.
The meeting was adjourned.
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