National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide: Report-back from lead departments on implementation of Pillar 1 (Accountability, Coordination and Leadership); Introductory meeting with Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund

Multi-Party Women’s Caucus

02 September 2021
Chairperson: Ms K Bilankulu (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

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National Strategic Plan on GBV and Femicide

The Multiparty Women’s Caucus met on a virtual platform for a report back from lead departments on the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) as well as a report from the GBVF Response Fund.

The NSP on GBVF was developed by a steering committee comprised of a variety of stakeholders and approved by Cabinet in March 2020. It provides a multi-sectoral strategic framework that aims to eradicate GBVF in South Africa. Six departments that had implemented various programmes and strategies to deal with GBVF described the progress of their implementation processes for NSP Pillar 1 (Accountability, Coordination and Leadership). The GBVF Response Fund is a private sector fund, launched in February 2021, that was created to raise funds to be disbursed to different organisations involved in the fight against GBVF. The Chairperson of the Fund briefed the Committee on its Response Fund1.

A lack in the reporting of sexual harassment was mentioned by multiple departments, but Members felt that it was not a new phenomenon as women have always felt they did not have a safe space to report sexual harassment. Members therefore questioned what interventions were envisioned to create safe spaces for women to report incidents of sexual harassment. Members asked about the capacity of labour inspectors to meet the demand for the enforcement of labour laws that protected workers against sexual harassment. Members noted the lack of full compliance of many departments with the reporting requirements of the NSP and suggested that holding specific directors accountable through specific key performance indicators aimed at implementing the NSP would be most effective.

Members welcomed the work that had been done on stricter bail conditions and harsher sentences. However, Members asked whether protection orders really protected or prevented violence against women. They questioned the obstacle of obtaining a protection order outside of office hours and pointed out that GBVF was perpetrated against women at all times, meaning women were left vulnerable outside of office hours.

Members asked how the NSP would be tracked at the critical municipal level, through the District Development Model. Would it be tracked through monitoring positions occupied by women or through monitoring efforts to capacitate women?

Addressing the GBVF Response Fund, Members asked if the geographical spread of the country would be considered in the disbursement of the fund. A focus on cities and towns saw the neglect of deep rural areas where most vulnerable people lived.

Meeting report

The Chairperson took Members through the agenda. She indicated that it was very long and stressed that the departments had to be succinct so as to give Members enough time to engage with the presentations. The agenda was adopted.

The Chairperson welcomed everyone and requested that Members turn on their videos as the meeting was being streamed live.

Briefing by the Department of Women, Youth and Person with Disabilities (DWYPD) on the Implementation Progress of Pillar 1 of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF): Accountability, Coordination and Leadership.

Ms Esther Maluleke, Chief Director: Governance ,Transformation, Justice & Security, DWYPD explained the NSP of accountability under pillar 1. [See the slide presentation]. The five year outcome for 2020-2024 was for bold leadership and strengthened accountability across government and society in a response to GBVF that was strategic with clear messaging and adequate technical and financial resources. It would also be achieved through strengthened multi-sectoral coordination and collaboration across different tiers of government and sections of society. Those would be based on relationships of trust that gave effect to the NSP.

Significant developments referred to were:

March 2020, Cabinet approved the NSP on GBVF for 2020 to 2030

June 2020, President set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on GBVF to ensure integration of the strategy into government processes.

The process of establishing the National Council on Gender-based Violence and Femicide (NCGBVF) was halted until the Bill that regulates the mandate and operations of the Council is put place. The draft legislation is currently undergoing cluster processes. Fast-tracking the Council legislative Bill is a priority for year 2.

In February 2021 the private sector GBVF Response Fund1 was launched where an initial amount of R 128 million was raised. The fund followed the principled enshrined in the NSP on GBVF of harnessing the roles, responsibilities, and resources of all stakeholders.

Ms Maluleke explained that the DWYPD and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) collaborated towards embedding the NSP within the District Development Model (DDM) for all municipalities to reach even the most remote areas in the country. To ensure there were no delays in the implementation of the NSP on GBVF, a GBVF secretariat made up of the Director, Deputy-Director on Monitoring and Evaluation, Deputy-Director on Stakeholder Coordination and Administration Officer was appointed on a contractual basis.

Detailing the strategic frameworks, she said a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework was developed to guide systems and processes for the tracking, assessing, and reporting of the results of the interventions outlined in the NSP. The framework outlined the theory of change, technical indicator definitions, data flow processes, roles and responsibilities and the requisite capacity to implement. Consultation sessions were held with national departments and the current focus was on the other tiers of government.

Ms Maluleke said that since 2020, a total of 30 progress reports had been submitted to the President’s office. There were weekly reports from June 2020 to February 2021 with a shift to monthly reports from March 2021. In July 2021, 22 national departments had submitted reports. This was an increase from 20 submitted in June and 15 in May. There was a problem of fluctuations in reporting. The most problematic departments were those of Sports, Arts and Culture (Arts); Transport; and Science and Innovation; and the SA Local Government Association (SALGA); all of which had zero compliance with NSP reporting requirements.  

The DWYPD had learnt a number of lessons thus far. High level and cohesive political leadership mattered and made a difference. There was a greater buy-in when a multi-sectoral approach to GBVF had been adopted. It provided a foundation for implementation. The grounding of the NSP at local and provincial level was critical for successful implementation.

There were also matters that needed to change. Some of those included the mechanisms to strengthen multi-sectoral reporting, the technical capacity to implement, the resourcing at different levels, the use of communication channels to share progress and building societal wide ownership for delivery and accountability.

Briefing by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DJCD) on the Implementation Progress of Pillar 1 of the NSP on GBVF: Accountability, Coordination and Leadership.

Adv Praise Kambula Chief Director: Promotion of the Rights of Vulnerable Groups, DJCD,outlined the legislative developments in 2020-2021. [See the slide presentation.] The DJCD had developed the initial Draft Bill for the NCGBVF. It also initiated the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill 2020, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill 2020 and the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill 2020. Regulations relating to Sexual Offences Courts were approved in February 2020.

Detailing how the Domestic Violence Act supported Pillar 1, Adv Kambula explained that any person with a material interest in the wellbeing of the complainant may apply for a protection order on behalf of the complainant as prescribed by section 4(3) of the Act. Section 4(4) states that any person may apply for protection order on behalf of a child. Section 11 prohibits more than three persons from attending proceedings to provide support to the complainant. Section 13 gave the court discretion to direct any person to serve documents. The Act also states that no prosecutor may withdraw a charge of violating a protection order without being authorised to do so by the Director of Public Prosecutions or designated senior official.

Under the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill, directives for clerks of the court had to be issued with adequate disciplinary measures against non-compliance. This was reflected in clause 18A. The primary aim of the Bill was to amend numerous Acts, which were to address the following:

  • gender-based violence and its related offences; and
  • provide additional procedures to reduce secondary victimisation in court proceedings
  • provides for stricter bail and sentencing provisions,
  • Clause 4 (a) required a prosecutor to place on record the reasons for not opposing a bail application in respect of an offence:
  1. committed against a person who was in a domestic relationship with the accused; or
  2. related to the violation of a protection order which was issued.

One of the key interventions the DJCD had adopted were public awareness programmes. There were 71 GBVF public education interventions on multi-media platforms which took the form of radio talk shows like ‘Let’s Talk Justice Radio Talk Show’ aired on over 80 community radio stations, social media live chats, webinar dialogues, under the tree dialogues for Men and webinar dialogues for the LGBTQIA+ community as well as persons with disabilities. The NSP Pillar 3 Committee conducted nine webinars on the ‘Victim Centric Justice System: Now and Not Later’ series

Briefing by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) on NSP-GBVF

Mr M Cornelius Deputy-Director General, DPSA, outlined the key activities the DPSA undertook under Pillar 1 of accountability, coordination, and leadership. Those included placing mechanisms and processes in place to hold the state and societal leadership accountable for taking a firm stand against GBVF. It also included holding the private and public sector accountable for the development and roll-out of sexual harassment policies and workplace strategies. There were indicators for the percentages of workplaces that had sexual harassment policies in place and the percentages of private and public institutions that reported on implementation of sexual harassment policies in workplaces. [See the slide presentation.] Subsequent to the 2018 Summit on GBVF, the DPSA made a concerted effort to improve the implementation of the existing policies and strategies in order eliminate GBV. There was focus on an evidence based approach for decisions on public resource allocations and to help identify how challenges should be addressed and successes replicated.

He pointed out however, that government-wide monitoring and evaluation of any policy was a very complex and time consuming process. Capacity constraints in government departments made monitoring and evaluation difficult but the DPSA had developed electronic tools to reduce the burden of collation, analysis, and feedback as well as to improve the quality of reports submitted to the DPSA.

On the percentage of workplaces that had sexual harassment policies in place, Mr Cornelius said all departments either had drafts or approved policies and some had adopted the Policy and Procedure on the Management of Sexual Harassment in the Public Service (PPMSHPS) in their departmental bargaining councils. 90% were aligned to the PPMSHPS. 35 sensitivity sessions were conducted by departments in 2019/2020 and 12 778 officials attended those sessions. The information was disaggregated by salary levels, age, race, and gender. 33 departments reported that they had appointed sexual harassment advisors as required by the policy. 40 cases were reported by departments and 19 cases were carried over from the previous year as they were not resolved. The DPSA continued to educate and raise awareness:

  • In the Gender Mainstreaming Course offered by the National School of Government (NSG) there is a section that focuses on sexual harassment and up to date 6 000 officials have been trained in all three spheres of government.

As of 01 April 2020, there is a stand-alone training programme based on the PPMSHPS policy that was developed by the NSG and up to date the course has been attended by 238 officials.

Outlining the challenges that hampered progress and mitigation, Mr Cornelius said that very few cases were reported and yet, during face to face interactions with departments, officials related [many] incidents of sexual harassment. Added to that, very few departments conduct sensitivity training sessions with very few managers having attended the training sessions. The majority were below level eight and racial disaggregation also showed that very few white and Indian officials attended sessions. Men generally did not attend these sessions. Sometimes the disaggregation [of attendance records] was very poor making it difficult to understand who attended the sessions. Some departments had not conducted a single session since 2015. As an intervention, letters had been sent to the Heads of Departments to request reasons for non-compliance, both in terms of reporting requirements and non-compliance of policy implementation. A new initiative would include the training of Heads of Departments on sexual harassment policy and procedures.

Briefing by Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) on the Implementation Progress of Pillar 1 of the NSP on GBVF: Accountability, Coordination and Leadership.

Ms Avril Williamson, Director-General, COGTA, said the year 2021 marked almost 65 years since approximately 20,000 fearless women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in defiance of the apartheid pass laws and demanded for women’s rights to be recognized. It was sad that we currently still spoke about violence against women. She said the key to fighting GBVF was by capitalising on the District Development Model (DDM) [for municipalities] as the vehicle to tackle the persistent challenge. [See the slide presentation.]

She explained that the department aimed at localising the response to GBVF through the DDM approach. It was committed to ensuring that the DDM Framework contained gender responsive indicators and targets aligned to the NSP-GBVF and Gender Responsive Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation (GRPBMEA). The DDM implementation framework was developed to guide the whole of government and society with a common approach in implementing the DDM. Through the Annual Performance Plan (APP), COGTA had incorporated GBVF indicators and targets based on the NSP on GBVF into the DDM Framework. It worked with the DWYPD on the proposed indicators to be incorporated into the DDM framework. There was continued engagement with the Commission for Gender Equity (CGE) on issues affecting communities.

Ms Williamson said the DCOG has partnered with the DWYPD to conduct provincial workshops with municipalities on the mainstreaming of the GBVF issues into the Municipal IDPs. It was also to sensitise municipalities on their role in the implementation of the NSP on GBVF and implications thereof on municipal planning. Workshops had already been conducted with the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The implementation of the NSP was also a standing item on the agenda of the National Public Participation Coordinating Forum, the Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) structure established to support and monitor community participation in municipalities. Forum meetings were held quarterly, and all provinces were required to report on the implementation of GBVF activities by their municipalities for which support was provided accordingly.

Briefing by the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) on the Implementation Progress of Pillar 1 of the NSP on GBVF: Accountability, Coordination and Leadership.

Ms Mashabela, Director: Employment Equity, DEL outlined the labour laws on violence and harassment. [See the slide presentation.] Under the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA), harassment of employees could also rise to issues regulated by the LRA. In particular, employers were required to ensure that persons who engage in harassment, including violence, were subject to discipline in accordance with the Code of Good Practice: Unfair Dismissal. Harassment could also constitute an unfair labour practice in terms of section 186(2) of the LRA. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 (OHSA), where an employee’s duties were of such a nature that they were exposed to a significant risk of violence while at work, the employer had to take such steps as may be reasonably practicable to eliminate or mitigate this hazard. Employers must institute measures, consistent with the OHSA to ensure protection for employees against harassment and violence.

Chapter two of the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (EEA) prohibited all forms of unfair discrimination in employment. Section 5 of the EEA required employers to take steps to promote equal opportunity in the workplace by eliminating unfair discrimination, in any employment policy or practice. Section 6(1) of the EEA states that: “no person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee, in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth or on any other arbitrary ground.” Section 6(3) of the EEA states that, “Harassment of an employee is a form of unfair discrimination and is prohibited on anyone, or a combination of grounds in section 6(1) of the EEA.”

Outlining what the DEL had done to hold the private sector accountable, Ms Mashabela said that annual national advocacy campaigns were conducted in all provinces to raise awareness and educate on violence and harassment in the workplace as per the current codes on sexual harassment. She also indicated that the EEA empowered Labour Inspectors to advocate and raise awareness on issues of violence and harassment or any unfair discrimination matters with employers and employees – they required no jurisdiction to enforce.

One of the challenges that hampered the progress on curtailing sexual harassment was the non-compliance by employers with legal obligations to develop sexual harassment workplace policies and programmes to prevent it. To address that, the DEL took steps to develop and implement such policies and programmes and have training and induction programmes include education on sexual harassment. That would be done through Collective Agreements.

Briefing by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) on the Implementation Progress of Pillar 1 of the NSP on GBVF: Accountability, Coordination and Leadership.

Ms Thulisile Manzini, Deputy Director-General: Governance and Administration, DCDT said the DCDT had been tasked with the responsibility of developing policies for the ICT sector and had recently drafted a policy called the National Integrated Information and Communications Technology Policy that included several provisions for the empowerment of women in the ICT sector.

She said the DCDT had the mandate to enable the country to be digitally ready and in that regard, it was best placed to advise on how technology could play a role in combatting GBVF and Domestic Violence. That was one of its key roles. The implementing entities within the DCDT could play a role in raising awareness on the existence of the Bills amongst citizenry in a clear and simple way.

Ms Manzini said that some of the DCDT’s responsibilities in implementing Pillar 1 of the NSP included raising awareness for the need to change patriarchal social norms and behaviour through multiple platforms, sectors, and activism which included technology, social media, culture and custom, arts, journalism to name a few.

On the work done by the entities with a focus on the SABC, Ms Manzini said that GBVF matters were included in the programming on all SABC platforms. The GBVF campaign continued to date with liners, interviews, discussions etc around GBVF in the broadcast plan. SABC Education had a year-long campaign against femicide and rape, launched in February 2020 which still continued on SABC radio stations.

Briefing on the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund1

Dr Judy Dlamini, Chairperson of the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund (GBVFRF), explained that the current pledges received by the Response Fund1 had been in the form of donations and pro bono partnerships.

Detailing the Donor Engagement Approach, Dr Dlamini said that following the successful launch of the GBVF Response Fund1, donors were classified into two categories: Direct Cash Donations and Indirect Programme Funding. The latter were ring-fenced and the funds to be disbursed to specific projects or initiatives based on criteria to be agreed and in line with the NSP on GBVF strategic pillars. There had been Direct Cash Donations of R109 767 100 and R37 150 000 in Indirect Pledges.

She outlined the process for the request for proposals (RFP). The Disbursement Committee - a Board subcommittee – was responsible for the governance oversight of the process. The Theory of Change model underpinned what the Board aimed to achieve. There was also a process of analysing the grant applications as well as a comprehensive project plan to award, disburse and evaluate impact.

There had been over 400 applications logged in response to the RFP. The media release had been translated into the country’s official languages for national reach. It had been published and broadcast across multiple media platforms. Posts were also made across social media platforms of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Substantial public relations (PR) and advertising value had been achieved for the RFP publication and supporting media, as measured through advertising value equivalents.

Discussion

The Chairperson said she would allow Members to ask three questions during the first round due to the time constraints. If there was time for a second round of questioning, she would allow Members to ask further questions, otherwise the questions will be sent to the departments in written form to which they would be required to respond.

[An unidentified participant] welcomed all the presentations. She welcomed all plans and interventions aimed at dealing with GBVF that was communicated through all the presentations. She said the communications strategy that had been used in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic had to be implemented. COGTA and other departments that worked with municipalities should not compromise on uniformity and the District Development Model should be implemented by everyone strictly, without issues of compliance. There should be a focal person or unit for gender based issues. Applications to the GBVF Response Fund1 had closed on 16 August and she worried that some people who resided in rural areas did not get the opportunity to be informed of the launch of the fund on television or on radio stations. How would the GBVF Response Fund1 ensure that the people in rural areas who could not access the information about the availability of the fund would get the opportunity to apply? Could they share the requirement to receive funding? She added that when the funds are dispersed, all provinces and regions should be included.

Ms J Tshabalala (ANC) appreciated all the presentations. She noted there was not much time left before the House Sitting. She asked that presentations be as succinct as possible in future so that Members could engage with them meaningfully.

Ms Tshabalala asked the DJCD about the integration of the NSP on GBVF and if it was possible to for it to monitor the priorities properly as this department was the strategic department that was responsible for monitoring this across all the departments. That would enable the Committee to monitor the progress reported. Was it possible to track and report the results of calling for stricter bail conditions and harsher sentences for perpetrators of violence and sexual abuse against women and children? She wanted a system that tracked the harsher sentences imposed.

Ms Tshabalala said she appreciated that COGTA began their presentation by referencing female struggles led by people like Winnie Madikizela Mandela. However, she asked how women would be tracked through the DDM? Would they be tracked through monitoring positions occupied by women or through monitoring how the DDM was capacitating women in the districts to ensure financial management as a priority instilled and reflected in those women?

Ms N Sharif (DA) questioned the lack of sexual harassment reporting which had been addressed in the presentation from the DPSA. She pointed out that it was not a new phenomenon as women have always felt they did not have a safe space to report sexual harassment. Therefore, what interventions did DPSA envision that were aimed at creating a safer space for women to report incidents of sexual harassment? Perhaps it would be a good idea to consider new innovative reporting tools which could include the option of anonymity when reporting a perpetrator. It was not good enough to simply point out that people did not report cases of sexual harassment without any solutions. She said she understood that DPSA faced challenges on interventions. She agreed that reporting to Departmental Heads was not effective. That was addressed at the previous meeting. Did Directors and Deputy-Directors have specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) within their individual performance reviews in order to implement the NSP? Ms Shariff said that holding specific Directors accountable through specific KPIs aimed at implementing the NSP would be most effective.

She asked what the relationship was between the GBVF Response Fund and the DWYPD.

Ms M Hlengwa (IFP) sought clarity from the DJCD and asked whether protection orders really prevented or protected against domestic violence because when an incident transpired the complainant received no follow ups. The complainant was not informed whether or not the perpetrator received the protection order and had to deal with ongoing threats. It appeared that, in practice, protection orders were useless.

She expressed a worry that television programmes were not effective in teaching children. Some of the television shows were against South African culture. For examples, Power Rangers symbolised soldiers and encouraged bullying in schools. Mr Bean represented someone not mentally stable which also influenced children. She asked whether the DCDT could minimise international programmes in favour of local programmes that children could engage with.

Ms S Van Schalkwyk (ANC) welcomed all the presentations made. She aligned herself with what other Members had said thus far. She welcomed the interventions by the DJCD that created awareness through community radio stations which she said was a benchmark to be followed by other departments.

Reacting to the DEL presentations, she said there was a lot of beautiful legislation but no corresponding enforcement. Did the DEL have the necessary budget and inspectoral capacity to ensure compliance with the legislation aimed at protecting women, especially in the private sector?

Ms Van Schalkwyk asked if there were proper monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in place to guarantee the protection of women and especially the LGBTQI+ community as well as to ensure they felt safe enough to report incidents.

Ms N Chirwa (EFF) asked the DJCD about the issue of parental justice for women which she felt was not recognised as a form of GBVF, where 70% of South African households did not share equal parenting responsibilities. She asked when the backlog in the Maintenance Court would be addressed. Tied to that was the cutting down of Sheriffs who had serve summons through the Maintenance Courts. There were instances where women were expected to deliver summons themselves which was a lack of oversight and prevention by the DJCD. Mothers who were expected to personally deliver summons had their safety compromised. Mothers also had to bear the responsibility of tracking down fathers even in inter provincial interactions. She wanted to know how the DJCN would resolve its issue of capacity in this regard.

Ms Chirwa asked how grievances could be brought to the attention of Mr Lamola, the Minister for Justice because questions to Parliament did not work. There was a crisis of failing to respond to questions in the prescribed time of ten days. There was a 20% rate of Ministers not responding to questions despite it being their Constitutional obligation. How could the cases be brought to the attention of Mr Lamola?

She questioned the restriction of protection orders only being facilitated during weekdays. GBVF did not restrict itself to being perpetrated only during office hours. She said it was a strong point indicating a need for capacity to be increased as women should be able to access their point of protection at any time and not only during office hours.  

Ms M Ntuli (ANC) thanked all the departments for informative presentations. She thanked President Ramaphosa. She echoed Ms Tshabalala and pointed out that the presentations were too long which required Members to interact with them in a lengthy manner.

Ms Ntuli emphasised an issue raised by the DWYPD that departments were not hands on with this crucial and serious issue of GBVF. [The department had referred to instances of] non-compliance with the GBVF initiatives. She felt the reports were cut and paste. This was obvious to Members and was not useful to commitments to GBVF. She said the NSP was a work in progress but asked all departments to work together. In addition to employers being required to have measures in place to address GBVF, so should all other departments who were not taking it seriously. She echoed other Member’s sentiments that women did not feel safe to report incidents of misconduct because they were already being victimised.

Ms Z Majozi (IFP), referred to the Women’s Parliament that took place on Friday the previous week. She said there were certain issues raised by women from different provinces so she asked for a report from the DWYPD that detailed what could be done in those provinces on the issues raised by the women in attendance at the Women’s Parliament. That would enable the Women’s Caucus to keep track of issues raised. She added that police stations and health departments required social workers and counsellors because women encountered issues when they reported incidences of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Ms Majozi reiterated Ms Chirwa’s statements on female single parenting and added that it was strenuous [work] which perhaps affected single mothers in their abilities to raise their children lovingly. Social workers and counsellors could help and advise single mothers on how to care for their children better. She asked for a report on this. She also repeated Ms Hlengwa’s request for television programming that was conducive to the proper development of children. She welcomed the presentation from the DJCD. She said in prisons there were many incidents of sexual offences and welcomed the intervention for prisoners to report those crimes.

Ms F Muthambi (ANC) welcomed the presentations and said she was excited about the progress the country was taking in the right direction. She directed her questions to the GBVF Respond Fund and repeated the concerns about whether the disbursement of the funds across the country would be equitable. Referring to the RFP1, Ms Muthambi asked if the geographical spread of the country was considered. A focus on cities and towns saw the neglect of deep rural areas where most people lived. She said they were directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the donor engagement approach, Ms Muthambi referred to the Indirect Programme funding where the donations in that category were to be ring-fenced and the funds to be disbursed to specific projects or initiatives based on criteria to be agreed and in line with the NSP and GBVF Response Fund1 strategic pillars. In that regard, Ms Muthambi brought up the DDM and said the Fund could not only be aimed at Non-Governmental Organisations to the exclusion of people who represented local people like councillors in Ward Committees and Members of Parliament. With the aforementioned approach, the wrong people will be targeted while the people who actually required it would be excluded. She said that in accordance with the DWYPD and the District Development Model everyone ought to be brought on board. That would ensure ownership and transparency otherwise resources would be channelled to one group of individuals to the exclusion of others.

Responses

The Chairperson invited the departments to respond to the questions.

Adv Mikateko Joyce Maluleke, Director-General, DWYPD, said initially the department had been invited to be a part of the Board the GBVF Response Fund but ultimately had not been included in the private sector fund because there had to be a separation of powers. The DWYPD could not be seen to be influencing the Fund. She said however, that the department indirectly influenced the role and thrust of the Fund. Some departmental officials also sat in some of the Funds Committees which was how the DWYPD played a role.

Adv Maluleke said the department had an Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework which Ms Maluleke would elaborate on.

Ms Maluleke said the DWYPD was focused on monitoring and evaluations across the three tiers of government. Tools were currently under development to assist in monitoring and evaluating. There was a workshop underway in that regard. She said departments reported and the DWYPD worked with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) to in developing a tool to carry that out which was presently in use and was sent to departments monthly. Departments had been provided with technical assistance in implementing the targets of the NSP. Over and above that, the departmental reports that they sent to the DWYPD, that claimed to have integrated the targets of the NSP and departmental annual performance plans (APPs), were vetted by reviewing the APPs. Ultimately, it was a work in progress, and she hoped to see a substantial improvement in the next round of APP evaluations.

Ms Maluleke said she noted the suggestions of Members on the other issues raised, like single mother parenting.

On the collection of statistics on harsher sentencing, Adv Kambula said the DJCD had an Integrated Case Management System that collected data on all crimes which included crimes that related to GBVF. Those statistics detailed age, race, gender, and the type of abuse. It also detailed in which provinces GBVF was prevalent in and which courts presided over the matters. That helped the DJCD to identify the top ten courts that needed intervention. She said it was system that was progressively updated as it was not perfect. She referenced Pillar 3 and said the Femicide Watch was being established which was a national repository to collect statistics on reported cases of femicide, but the hope was to reach unreported cases as well. Data was also collected from mortuaries on women who had died from GBVF. It also identified the weapons used and the nature of the relationship. The DJCD was in phase four of the development of the Femicide Watch which entailed extrapolating information from the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).

On the monitoring measures of the effectiveness of protection orders, Adv Kambula referred to clause 4A(6) of the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill B20-2020 which required the issuing of the Domestic Violence Monitoring Notice to police to contact the complainant at regular intervals by means of an electronic service so as to ensure the safety of the complainant. That was one way that ensured a monitoring mechanism after the protection order had been issued. There was also a clause speaking to the provision of the support services to the victim. An example was the Risk Assessment. Adv Kambula said she chaired the Committee that developed it and was in the process of incorporating some of the amendments that were in the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill B20-2020. That would enhance the level of assessment provided by the Risk Assessment. The Risk Assessment was a tool intended to be available at every service point so victims could be made aware of the risks they were exposed to, as some applied for protection orders but then exited the criminal justice system without the cases being finalised. Thus, the Risk Assessment was to inform victims about the importance of seeing the process through and remaining in the criminal justice system until the cases were finalised. That was a mechanism to curb the instances of femicide after the serving of a protection order. Added to that, the Safety Plan was introduced and was aimed at victims who did not want to vacate the residence they shared with their abusers due to various reasons. Since South African law did not force the victim out of such shared accommodations, the Safety Plan was aimed at educating them on how to protect themselves within that environment. It included recommendations like packing an escape bag and picking an exit route etc. That encouraged the victims to think of safety if they choose to remain with their abusers. An online solution for protection orders had also been introduced and was being piloted. It enabled victims to apply for protection orders online who could be serviced remotely with Magistrates and Clerks on call beyond court hours and days.

On child maintenance, Adv Kambula said there were set standards introduced through the Rapid Results Initiative to eliminate the turnaround time in the finalisation of maintenance cases. The Integrated Case Management System also monitored that turnaround time. She said was a pool of Sheriffs that were appointed to increase capacity.

In response to Ms Shariff, Mr Cornelius said the matters she raised were issues the DPSA grappled which were ongoing.

On the lack of reporting interventions, Mr Cornelius said the reasons for low reporting were complex and influenced by a web of interrelated factors. Those included feelings of shame, humiliation, self-blaming and fear. Nonetheless the DPSA had worked with Global Affairs Canada [a department of the Government of Canada] to create a project on the matter. One of the initiatives established a Women’s Working Group to provide a safe and empowering environment for women to voice their perspectives that would shape recommendations to improve the gender responsiveness of policies. Added to that, another activity aimed at delivering gender sensitive training for investigators and presiding officers that dealt with the cases as well as labour relations and Human Resource Managers. There was a lot of activity on that to encourage victims to report.

He said that the DPSA tried to persuade non-compliant departments by writing letters to them. He said departments were also supported in fulfilling the requirements. He said the DPSA will also look into including those issues into performance agreements.

Ms Williamson responded to the question about the strategic alignment of municipalities. She indicated that Adv Maluleke explained the process of development that was in line with the NSP, flowed through the District Development Model finally finding expression at the Ward level. The DWYPD had been key in assisting COGTA in developing indicators of what ought to be included and monitored in every municipality. With the roll-out, COGTA provided training and capacity building of previous councillors. New councillors were inducted through that same system which insured it remained systematic for better monitoring. Ms Williamson said the 52 plans from all the municipalties would be summarised and presented to the Committee. It would also enable to team to monitor how the municipalities were performing.

On ensuring that members of the LGBTQI+ community felt safe enough to report incidents, Ms Moloi quoted section 6(1) of the EEA that prohibits discrimination based on grounds that included gender and sexual orientation which covers those instances raised. She said the labour unions, organised labour and all forums that operated within the sector were also expected to educate and sensitise people about their rights because the DEL did not have the capacity to do that.

On the inspectorate, Ms Moloi said that the capacity had recently been increased by 500 inspectors which was as recent as December 2020. They were trained in enforcing labour laws across the country in both the private and the informal sector. She admitted the inspectors were not sufficient due to the budgetary limitations. This was why workplace activists were required to assist on shop floors. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) also had a budget cut which has affected its capacity to hear harassment cases, but the Commission for Employment Equity created awareness by working with organised labour to educate employees.

On the programming on national television channels, Ms Manzini said that the DCDT was not involved in the editorial decisions of the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) and added that the SABC was about education and exposing what was happening. However, there was the Film and Publication Board (FPB) that had an awareness campaign on classification. Ms Manzini appealed to Members for support for the FPB in terms of the classification. She added that the SABC would not air anything that was not in line with the classification guidelines of the FPB. The question and comment was noted and would be taken forward.

On some rural applicants missing the first RFP, Dr Dlamini did not deny the possibility although a roadshow had been embarked upon. She pointed out that even with an extended period of a year there would always be people who missed it. The Fund, being as small as it was, would be a drop in the ocean when disbursed in October. It was the hope that once an impact had been made more funders would be attracted for future RFPs.

On the disbursement across the provinces, Dr Dlamini said the Fund was sensitive to a widespread allocation across the provinces because the provinces that were the centres of the economy tendered to receive the larger portion of allocations. The Fund was mindful of other areas like Limpopo and would take their needs into account based on research done that was paid for by the Solidarity Fund.

On the relationship between the GBVF Fund and the DWYPD, Dr Dlamini added that there were standing invitations for the DWYPD and Ms WR Tshabalala, DWYPD, regularly attended those meetings. The DWYPD supported the Fund.

On the indirect programming, Dr Dlamini said it was not within the Fund’s control. For example, the Alexander Forbes Foundation that donated R50 million had to report back to its own organisation. It was not accountable to the Fund.

The Chairperson thanked the departments and excused them.

The Women’s Charter and the Role of the MPWC in its implementation

Members resolved defer this agenda item to the next meeting due to time constraints.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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