30 Nov 2021
In this virtual meeting, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJCD), the Department of Police (South African Police Service/SAPS), and the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) presented their progress with the implementation of the national strategic plan (NSP) on gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).
The DOJCD led the implementation of many of the indicators in Pillar 3: Justice, Safety, and Protection. It had finalised Phase 3 of the Femicide Watch, which was a national repository for GBVF-related cases, and a portal where all these cases were analysed for the purpose of ensuring that the country improved its responses in this area. The DOJCD was currently working on developing Phase 4 in this financial year, which would be implemented through a phased-in approach. South Africa was the first country in Africa, and one of the few in the world, that had introduced the Femicide Watch. This repository would greatly assist the country to channel the resources for intervention where they were mostly needed.
A national intervention strategy (NIS), developed by the task team on issues of the LGBTQIA+, was aligned with the GBVF NSP. Some of the concerns on the rights of transgender and inter-sexed persons involved the issue of gender markers in the identity document (ID). The Department of Home Affairs was considering two options -- to either include a gender-neutral marker, or to eliminate the gender marker altogether, as the rest of the world was moving towards self-identification. There were concerns on the need to reform sex legislation, as a waiting period of two years was currently required, including submission of various medical reports before a person could change their gender.
SAPS reported that the key challenge in its implementation of the NSP was around human resources and training, since two years had been lost due to Covid-19 restrictions, and members had not been trained during this period. This had delayed the capacitation of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) -- a specialised unit that dealt specifically with GBVF cases. The budget cuts had impacted the ability to ensure that all police stations that did not have victim-friendly rooms, were fully equipped. SAPS had developed a long-term plan for the stations that required those facilities, but it still required funding for them to be put in place.
Covid-19 had presented many challenges to addressing GBVF cases, such as difficulties in obtaining GBV protection orders during hard lockdowns; establishing ways to report on officials who were not undertaking their responsibilities; delays in finalising cases, as officials were off sick or witnesses were unable to attend court cases due to Covid-19; defective equipment not repaired on time; and the increase in the number of sexual offences/rape cases reported at police stations, with a decreasing number of cases that went to trial. However, Members argued that the Department should adapt and could not use Covid-19 as an excuse in 2021, as it was here to stay.
Concerns were raised about shebeens that reopened immediately after they had been closed down by the police, especially in areas with high crime rates where alcohol was the main contributor in most GBV crimes. SAPS explained that it was not supported by the prosecution, as there was currently no overarching law on alcohol, since each province had its own laws and special permits. Members raised concern over the unavailability of rape kits at some police stations. SAPS responded that insufficient kits should not be an issue, as it had ensured that each FCS unit, and the members who managed these cases, would always be capacitated with the collection kits. GBV desks had been established to respond to and assist victims of GBVF. This would be implemented in three phases, and SAPS was confident that this would enable better response rates to the complaints received and the provision of better care to the victims so that they would not be exposed to secondary victimisation.
The DWYPD reported that Pillar 6 -- Research and Information Management -- was foundational in strengthening the GBVF response in the country, as it provided a unique opportunity to deepen and expand the GBVF research base, to build greater strategic cohesion across the research community; and to facilitate alignment with policy and programming.
Public consultations on the National Council on GBVF Bill had been finalised in all nine provinces. The Bill had also been introduced to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), which had indicated that a task team would be established to work on the Bill with the DWYPD. The Department was currently incorporating all the inputs that had been received during the consultations. It appealed to everyone in civil society organisations to be a part of the Pillar Collaborative. Since the NSP pertained to everyone, DWYPD said this ought to be a multi-sectoral kind of response, and the role of civil society organisations in this space was very critical.
The Committee asked its Secretariat to provide the SAPS with all the questions that had been raised so that it could provide written responses to the remaining questions and provide more details on those that were not fully covered. Due to time constraints, Members agreed to submit their questions in writing to the DWYPD.
The Acting Chairperson opened the virtual meeting. She noted the Chairperson, Ms C Ndaba (ANC), was unable to attend this meeting as she had a family bereavement to attend to.
She welcomed Members of the Portfolio Committees (PCs) and the following departments:
- Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD);
- Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJCD); and
- Police (South African Police Service/SAPS).
She welcomed the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele; the Deputy Minister (DM) of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale; the DM of the DOJCD, Mr John Jeffery; all officials from the various government departments; and the parliamentary support team.
The period of 16 Days of Activism, with the 2021 theme of “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke - moving from awareness to accountability”, was currently at the stage of accountability. The Committee was therefore required to evaluate the progress made on the implementation of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) -- government’s bold plan to eradicate GBVF. Currently, many concerns had been raised across the country on the slow implementation of some of the pillars in the NSP.
The various government departments that are key role-players in the NSP implementation had been invited to present before the Committee on the progress of this implementation. The Committee noted with concern the delays in the NSP’s implementation and the rising number of GBV cases that continued during the period of Covid-19.
The Committee noted with concern the reported increase in the crime statistics, with more than 10 000 people who were reportedly raped in South Africa between April and June this year.
Parliament’s responsibility to implement critical legislation designated to improve access to justice for victims of GBV had been a work in progress. Some of these included the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill; the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill -- which spoke to bail and sentencing -- and the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, which were still on the President’s desk
Concerns had also been raised that while some police stations had evidence collection kits, a backlog on domestic violence and sexual offences cases had increased.
The purpose of this meeting was to address and engage the various government departments on the progress towards the implementation of the NSP.
The Committee’s Secretary confirmed apologies from the various departments and Members of Committees.
The Acting Chairperson handed over to the DM of the DOJCD to introduce the team to lead the presentation.
DM Jeffery’s opening remarks
The DM greeted all Members and officials. He was joined by Adv Praise Kambula, Chief Director: Promotion of the Rights of Vulnerable Groups, who reported to the Presidency on the implementation of the NSP. He was also joined by Adv Tandeka Lujiza, Chief Director: International Legal Relations, DOJCD.
Mr Jeffery indicated that he had to leave at 10h45 as he was committed to a function in celebration of the completion of the facilities required at the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court for it to be a sexual offences court, and Adv Kambula would lead the presentation which had been sent to the Committee
There were three departments under the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services: the DOJCD; the Department of Correctional Services; and the Office of the Chief Justice. However, the DOJCD was the lead department in this cluster on the NSP implementation.
Three gender-based violence (GBV) Bills had been passed by the National Assembly earlier in 2021, and were currently with the President for assent. Concerns had been raised by a member of the public on the constitutionality of the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill, and this had delayed the assent of all three Bills while those concerns were considered.
DM Jeffery handed over to Adv Kambula to lead the presentation.
DOJCD’s progress on implementation of the NSP on GBVF
Adv Kambula said the implementation of the NSP had unfortunately commenced during a difficult time for the country and the entire world. However, the DOJCD had managed to deliver on some of the indicators in the NSP, despite the constraints.
The DOJCD led the implementation of many of the indicators in Pillar 3, where Adv Kambula was the chairperson and the convenor for the NSP Pillar 3 Committee.
Pillar 2 key intervention: Harness approaches to prevention that facilitate integration and deepen impact
DM Jeffery chaired the Task Team on issues of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, asexual and more (LGBTQIA+), which was represented by the full civil society and the relevant departments on these matters. With the implementation of the NSP, the National Intervention Strategy (NIS) developed by this task team had to be aligned with the GBVF NSP. This had been done, and the NIS that addressed the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) had then been aligned with the GBVF NSP to incorporate the indicators on matters in SOGI programmes into that strategy.
On 4-5 November, the DOJCD had the European Union (EU) South African Policy dialogue on the rights of transgender and inter-sexed persons, which had focused on issues of the legal framework such as the gaps and violations in the protection of the rights of the LGBTQIA+ persons. This dialogue indicated the Department’s commitment to ensure that it achieved the aspirations of the NSP.
Pillar 2 key intervention: 102 interventions conducted in 2020/21 (Covid-19): 365 Days Campaign against GBVF
The DOJCD had developed a campaign where it delivered 102 interventions during 2020/2021 and used social media platforms to communicate with people as it was informed of the rising figures of GBVF in certain sectors during the hard lockdowns.
The Under-the-Tree Dialogues had focused on men and boys, to decrease the level of GBVF offences, along with many other interventions to end the scourge of GBVF.
Pillar 3 key intervention: Improve access to survivor-led support services through a victim-centric criminal justice services that is sensitive to and meets their needs
The DOJCD had finalised Phase 3 of the Femicide Watch, which was a national repository for GBVF-related cases. This was a portal where all these cases were analysed for the purpose of ensuring that the country improved its responses in this matter.
Pillar 6 key intervention: Establishment of an integrated GBVF Management Information System across government and the justice system
Adv Kambula corrected an error on Slide 22. It was supposed to be Phase 3, rather than Phase 4 of the Femicide Watch, that had been finalised.
The DOJCD was currently working on developing Phase 4 in this financial year, which would be implemented through a phased-in approach. South Africa was the first country in Africa, and one of the few in the world, that had introduced the Femicide Watch. This repository assisted the country to channel the resources for intervention where they were most needed.
Government stakeholders had issued the task for the DOJCD to develop the National Prevention Strategy (NPS) against femicide. A draft was currently in place which took a rudimentary approach to these issues, as the country currently did not have a document that addressed femicide. The NPS would be the very first of its kind. The NPS defined femicide and the different types of femicide aligned with the social context of the country, and it also provided a multidisciplinary approach to the interventions for the entire country. This had already been adopted by the NSP Pillar collaboratives.
The Acting Chairperson thanked DM Jeffery and the DOJCD for the presentation.
The Acting Chairperson asked Members to first receive the presentation from the SAPS, to allow the Minister of Police to depart early as per his request.
Ms N Sharif (DA) said she assumed that DM Jeffery wanted Members to ask questions after the DOJCD presentation, as he had also requested to leave early.
The Acting Chairperson allowed one Member to raise questions to accommodate for the Minister.
Mr Q Dyantyi (ANC) said DM Jeffery should indicate what time he needed to leave. He agreed with the Acting Chairperson’s suggestion to receive the SAPS presentation before the Members engaged.
The Acting Chairperson asked DM Jeffery if he agreed with this proposal.
DM Jeffery said he unfortunately had to leave at 10h45 to attend the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court function, and invited Mr Dyantyi to accompany him.
Mr Dyantyi said he would join DM Jeffery.
The Acting Chairperson took one set of hands for questions. Any other questions would be taken at the end so that the SAPS had enough time to present before the Minister departed.
She welcomed Mr G Magwanishe (ANC), Chairperson of Portfolio Committee (PC) on Justice and Correctional Services, who had joined the platform. She then handed over to Ms Sharif to raise her questions.
Ms Sharif asked how the DOJCD engaged with the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) on court monitoring reports, since the CGE monitored cases that went to court. How did it engage with the CGE and its legal clinic on open cases across the country? How did the relationship between the DOJCD and the CGE work?
Could the DOJCD provide more information on the legal framework that was considered on the rights dialogue of transgender and intersex persons which was held on 4-5 November?
Could the DOJCD provide more details on the Femicide Watch? What did Phases 1 and 2 include, as there was information only on Phases 3 and 4. What was it envisaged to look like at the end?
Ms Sharif said that departments that reported before the Committee would present only on their successes, but neglected to indicate the challenges they faced, the risk mitigation strategies, or the interventions that could be considered to ascertain if they had been successful or not, in order to establish new ideas for approaches that may not be working.
DM Jeffery asked Adv Kambula to address the questions on the Femicide Watch, and if she had any knowledge on the relationship between the DOJCD and the CGE.
Adv Kambula said the DOJCD had built a relationship with the CGE to move in partnership with the interventions on GBVF, and particularly in matters on reaching out to men and the cases that they would receive. A referral system was therefore in place between the CGE and the DOJCD, as indicated by the three programmes for men and boys which the CGE was a part of. The DOJCD worked closely with the CGE, as one of the CGE commissioners had attended the DOJCD’s intervention sometime last week in the Western Cape.
Femicide Watch was an intervention in response to the Special Rapporteur (SR) for Violence Against Women. The SR’s report in 2015 had indicated that the country needed to develop a Femicide Watch, and the DOJCD had undertaken that responsibility. Phase 1 was about developing this prototype, which would guide South Africa and other African countries interested in developing this intervention. Phase 2 was about developing the dashboard that was established on the Integrated Justice System (IJS) transversal hub, where all the departments could share the data. The data that was currently shared was on the reported matters, but the DOJCD was moving to capture the cases where the deaths had not been reported. The DOJCD had been informed about women who had died, especially in rural communities, but those cases had not been captured. It intended to capture those cases, and it was starting with the reported cases of GBVF-related femicide cases.
The dashboard had several areas of data collection where it considered, for example, the weapon that had been used, where the woman had died and how she died, to track it from the entry point of the case into criminal justice system, and up to the exit. The history of the case enabled the DOJCD to track and trace up to the end, which was what was done in Phase 3. Phase 4, which was in the current financial year, considered the live data and the analysis thereof, to ensure that the DOJCD could produce the very first dataset for the country. However, it would not make this public at first, as it would first ensure that all stakeholders that were involved in this process were able to collectively analyse the data. This would then take it to Phase 5, which would be to make it available to the public.
DM Jeffery’s response
DM Jeffery referred to the two questions on the transgender and intersex dialogue, and said this had been a long programme, with the support of the EU, that involved the Departments of Justice, Home Affairs and Health, including civil society organisations working in the sector. This had involved a trip to Malta in 2019 to assess its response to the issues. One of the requirements was a dialogue which could happen only in November 2021, as the DOJCD had wanted a physical dialogue as far as possible due to Covid-19. The issue of gender markers in the identity document (ID) concerned transgender individuals, but the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) had made quite a lot of progress, and two options were being considering. The number after the birth date was the gender marker -- numbers 0-4 were women, and 5-9 were men. The DHA was considering if it should include a gender-neutral marker, or if it should eliminate the gender marker altogether.
There were also issues of the alteration of sex legislation, and the need to reform this. This currently required a waiting period of two years, including various medical reports, before a person could change their gender. However, the rest of the world was moving towards self-identification.
For intersex persons, the issue was primarily on infant genital mutilation. This involved a child born with two sets of sex organs, where a doctor would remove the less prominent one but which may not be the gender that the child would identify with later in life. A report would be released on the two-day dialogue and a third half-day meeting between the government and civil society to chart the way forward.
On the question of what was really happening, the DM said that there many challenges. For example, the issue of GBV protection orders had been particularly difficult in the Covid-19 period. The DOJCD had tried to keep all the courts open for this, but the courts had imposed quotas on the number of people who could enter. A key issue was to establish ways to report on officials who were not undertaking their responsibilities. At the start of the 2020 lockdown, for example, a woman had gone to the Bellville Court but had left without getting a protection order. She was later murdered, and this matter had been referred to the Public Protector, as the DOJCD believed that this would be a more neutral investigation. The finding was that nobody had been specifically responsible for the woman who did not complete the Protection Order. However, DM Jeffery had questioned why the form was not completed if the woman went to the court with the intention of getting a protection order.
On the Sexual Offences Courts, the main issues were delays caused by Covid-19, such as officials who were off sick; witnesses who were unable to attend; and defective equipment not repaired in time. The problem, particularly in the eThekwini area in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), was the increase in the number of sexual offences and rape cases reported at police stations, while the number of cases that went to trial were decreasing. Two sexual offences courts would be established in Umlalazi and two in Ntuzuma, as there was currently only one operating in each, since there was now volume to justify the two.
DM Jeffery commented that the DOJCD tended to produce a glowing picture, but there were many practical issues and concerns on the ground.
The Acting Chairperson, in a follow-up question, said Adv Kambula had mentioned that a draft National Prevention Strategy (NPS) against femicide had been finalised. How did this correspond with the current draft NSP developed by the DWYPD? Also, could DM Jeffery provide clarity on the challenges of Legal Aid given, that women required legal assistance but there were challenges with courts in procuring private lawyers for GBV cases.
DM Jeffery responded that with protection orders, the system was meant to be that legal representation was not needed, but people could have it if they wanted to. Legal Aid would often step in if the other side was represented. This was a two-stage approach that firstly involved an interim order, where the respondent would not be notified that the order was given, as the goal was to quickly provide an order to protect the woman. The matter would then be set down for another date, where the respondent would get an opportunity to present his version. This would be where it might be necessary for legal representation, and Legal Aid would try to intervene. However, if nobody had a lawyer and the magistrate could run the process on their own, then this would be an inquisitorial rather than an accusatorial process, where a lawyer would be required.
On the sexual offences and criminal cases, the lawyer of the complainant would be the prosecutor, as the system did not have space for a separate lawyer. For example, the lawyer could not speak in court, but if they were there, they would just have a watching brief. This was something the DOJCD needed to engage more on.
The Acting Chairperson thanked DM Jeffery, and handed over to Minister Cele to introduce the SAPS team.
SAPS progress on implementation of the NSP on GBVF
Minister Cele greeted all on the platform, and handed over to DM Mathale, who in turn handed over to the Deputy National Commissioner to introduce the SAPS delegation.
Maj Gen Thokozani Mathonsi, Head: Social Crime Prevention, Division: Visible Policing and Operations, SAPS, took the Committee through the presentation.
Maj Gen Mathonsi said SAPS focused mainly on Pillar 3 of the NSP on GBVF -- Justice, Safety and Protection -- and reported monthly to the President on the progress on GBVF issues.
After the NSP was approved, SAPS decided to have its own national GBV action plan to ensure that it identified critical areas of focus that addressed the priorities emanating from the NSP. It had also established a national steering committee for GBVF to ensure proper direction and leadership at a higher level.
Progress on SAPS activities for GBVF
The issue of resourcing of infrastructure was mainly about expanding the capacity at the Eastern Cape and KZN forensic science laboratories (FSLs). This was due to challenges with the backlog on the DNA. SAPS was therefore continuously trying to expand its resources to process the DNA analyses as quickly as possible.
There was an issue with capacity. SAPS required human resources to form part of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit, which was a specialised unit that focused on GBVF cases, as well as on children.
312 posts for the FCS unit had been allocated in 2019/2020, but only 298 members had been placed. SAPS would consider the additional allocation in 2021, since no posts had been allocated in 2020. The challenge was that it could not train members for the two years due to the Covid-19 restrictions, which had delayed the capacitation of the FCS. The 298 members allocated to the FCS were insufficient, as this allocation was for the entire country. It planned to allocate additional members going forward to support the FCS.
For quarter 1 of 2021/2022, there were 8 097 cases of crimes against women and children, and 7 455 of those cases had been finalised, which meant that 92% of the cases were resolved.
The non-availability of consumables or the required equipment, and the closing of three or four buildings due to Covid-19 contamination, was a serious challenge in the processing of forensic case exhibits.
Trauma debriefing for FCS members had been prioritised, as these members dealt with sensitive cases which also affected them. 507 FCS members had attended trauma debriefing in quarter 1.
Two things were considered in the victim-friendly service. These were the facilities or the room/building where a complainant would be interviewed, and the training for SAPS members on victim empowerment, domestic violence, and sexual offences. These elements were combined in the measurement and reporting which the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) used to assess SAPS. Police stations that did not have victim-friendly rooms should have alternative facilities to accommodate the victims when they reported at the station.
The vetting process addressed the protection of children and mentally ill persons according to the National Register for sex offenders. 518 certificates had been issued during this period.
SAPS conducted proactive training, where it trained members to address specific areas, as well as reactive training to respond to particular challenges that were identified. Members would be trained and declared competent, as training was not simply about participating in the course, but also ensuring that those participants understood what they were trained for. Members who were not declared competent would be given an opportunity to do a supplementary test or join the course in the future to be abreast with the information imparted in the training.
The availability of liquor was an important factor in GBVF cases, as it was one of the main contributors in most GBV and other crimes. Slide 9 indicated the number of illegal liquor premises that were closed from 24 June to 20 October 2021. This was a challenging area and was considered a moving target, as these premises would often reopen after they had been closed. SAPS was constantly conducting operations on this, and would continue to monitor it going forward.
SAPS had established GBV desks due to the number of complaints received from victims as well as in the media, so that a specialised individual with the proper understanding, preparedness and training on GBVF could focus on assisting victims when they reported at the station. This would be implemented in three phases due to limited resources, including the fact that it was a new initiative, and its effectiveness would first be monitored before it was fully implemented. SAPS was confident that once these desks started operating and were fully prepared and capacitated, this would enable better response rates to the complaints received and the provision of better care to the victims so that they would not be exposed to secondary victimisation.
Slides 11 and 12 provided a breakdown of the numbers of the evidence kits. Based on these numbers, SAPS had received all that it had requested, and it was hopeful that the issue of insufficient kits would not be an issue. SAPS had also ensured that each FCS unit which specialised in sexual offences cases, would always be capacitated with the collection kits. A police station might be short of kits in some instances, but the members who managed these cases would always have kits in their offices or in the boot of their car when they attended to complaints of any sexual offence cases.
Maj Gen Mathonsi concluded that the critical challenge was around training, since two years had been lost where no training was conducted, which limited the ability to capacitate the FCS which dealt with these cases.
The second challenge was the budget cuts which applied to every department, and impacted on its ability to ensure that all the stations that did not have victim-friendly rooms were equipped. SAPS had developed a long-term plan for those stations that required the facilities. However, those buildings required funding for the facilities to be put in place.
The major issue was human resources and training.
Ms Y Yako (EFF) said Maj Gen Mathonsi had indicated that some cases had been resolved. What constituted a resolved case in GBV cases?
Could SAPS list the police stations where the GBV desks were located? How often did it assess the functionality of those desks, as this would indicate if it was effective in assisting those who had rape cases or any kind of GBV case? Was it efficient, or was it simply to leave a footpath?
Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) referred to the raising of awareness provided by SAPS to schools, and said it had been a difficult year due to Covid-19, with the closing and reopening of schools, and the system that had changed in schooling attendance. How many awareness-raising programmes did SAPS provide to children? She firmly believed that early education for children would assist them in learning about early reporting.
She was happy that SAPS was working with DeafSA so that SAPS members could learn South African sign language. This was really encouraging, as it would ease communication with deaf people who needed to report cases, and eliminated the need for interpreters.
During a visit to a SAPS station in her constituency work, she had heard that an offender was released on parole, but the victim and the community were not informed about this. The victim had reported this to the police station, but the police officers had said it was not their responsibility to inform the community when an offender was released. It was unfortunate that the Correctional Services was not on the platform, since it was responsible for the offenders. How was this coordinated between SAPS and the Correctional Services so that the community and the victims could be informed when an offender was released? While the police officers had indicated that this was not their responsibility, surely there should be some kind of formal system for this to happen.
A language concern had been raised during another constituency visit to a very rural Afrikaans-speaking community. A female victim spoke Afrikaans when she reported to the Police Station, but the SAPS member informed her that her statement had to be written in English for the court purposes. The SAPS member wrote the statement and read it out in English, but the victim was unable to confirm or deny what was written, as she could not understand it. Language then became a secondary form of traumatisation for the victim. Were victims allowed to express themselves in the language that they were most comfortable in? Dr Newhoudt-Druchen believed that this was important, as victims should be allowed to do this.
Mr O Terblanche (DA) said Maj Gen Mathonsi had indicated SAPS was in the process of building capacity in the Eastern Cape and KZN. Was there a completion date for the facilities that were envisioned? What did they entail?
Slide 6 indicated that the buildings were often closed. He assumed that this was due to Covid-19 challenges, as this issue had been discussed in the PC on Police many times. Was a shift system introduced? If not, what was the progress on this?
Slide 8 indicated that 100% of the 1 155 police stations had victim-friendly service centres. However, it had other facilities where victim-friendly centres were unavailable. Did those facilities comply with the basic standards? If not, what was the issue -- why could it not be equipped with a proper functioning facility?
About 1 000 SAPS members had been trained, but it was quite obvious that there was not one trained member per police station yet. What was being done to ensure that a trained member was located at every police station, considering that they would be working on a shift basis?
On equipping the victim-friendly centres, SAPS would agree that there was a huge under-expenditure of the capital budget, which meant that there was no shortage of funding. Could SAPS provide clarity on this?
Ms Sharif said that Minister Cele had informed the Committee in Parliament that every police station had stock of rape kits. However, a victim was raped this weekend in Johannesburg, but when she reported to the Roodepoort SAPS, there were no rape kits. The victim then went to Krugersdorp SAPS as well as to Florida SAPS, but there were also no rape kits. She managed to get a kit only when she went to the Netcare Hospital so that she could provide the evidence. The fact that a victim had to go to three different police stations to find rape kits in her state of trauma was unacceptable. The ordering and distribution of these rape kits should be reassessed. The issue was that the system of having rape kits only at FCS units was obviously not working, as it was not filtering down to police stations.
Slide 5 showed that statistics for sexual offences were at 39.7%, and rape was at 40.4% during quarter 1, but SAPS did not provide the information for quarter 2, which had showed an upward trend. There was clearly a trend, as sexual offences were at 74%, rape at 73.4%, and sexual assault at 77.2% in quarter 2. Members who did oversight at police stations and Thuthuzela Care Centres were aware that the number of incidents greatly increased during the festive season, so more intervention should happen during this period. Why had SAPS presented on only one quarter, as the Committee needed to assess this holistically to ascertain the trends and assess if the interventions were effective or not?
Under-spending on invisible policing and detective services had a direct impact on FCS units and addressing GBVF cases, especially considering the percentage in the number of contact crimes against women and children. What was the reason for the under-spending? What interventions were in place to ensure that units spent the money to strengthen the fight against GBVF?
Ms Sharif was unhappy about the false sense of progress presented to the Committee, and urged the SAPS, as well as the DOJCD, to rethink how it reported as the Committee should be informed about the real issues on the ground, how they could be resolved, and establish new ideas to ensure they did not continue.
The under-spending in the FSL sub-programme was an issue. She assumed the issues around capacity of FCS units and the under-spending on the compensation of employees was due to Covid-19 challenges. This excuse was unacceptable in 2021, as Covid-19 had been around for a while, yet other departments had found ways to address the challenges that came with it. SAPS should do the same, as it could not blame Covid-19 for its inability to train members. It could utilise platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other mechanisms, but this excuse was unacceptable.
Referring to the victim-friendly services, Ms Sharif said she had visited two police stations last week, and congratulated the Moroka Police Station in Soweto and the Hillbrow Police Station for its excellent Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) rooms. The rooms were warm, colourful, and had good lighting that did not make victims feel as if they were in a cell or a dark place, which could contribute to secondary trauma. However, she had discovered a lack of social workers at the VEP rooms. What interventions were in place to ensure that collaboration with the Department of Social Development (DSD) improved to increase the number of social workers at these police stations? Social workers were also human beings, and one social worker could not be overburdened to deal with thousands of cases. How did SAPS measure if a VEP room was adequate? How did it monitor and ensure that training was happening at police stations? On her oversight visits, many police stations had internal training for GBVF. While this was a good idea, how was it monitored? How was the training assessed to ascertain if it was good, and that it unpacked longstanding patriarchal norms and social standards to address GBVF from this perspective?
On vetting service providers and the 518 certificates that were issued, were these certificates renewed and reviewed annually? For example, someone could get a certificate and commit a crime, but they would still be considered competent. How did SAPS consider the renewal of these certificates?
With the training, members were declared competent, but what did “competency” entail in this instance?
Where were the evidence kits ordered from, and how long did it usually take to be delivered? What were the interventions for the Roodepoort, Krugersdorp and Florida police stations that currently did not have any rape kits?
Mr L Mphithi (DA) was satisfied that Ms Yako and Ms Sharif had covered his concerns on Slide 5 as it was extremely problematic that the Committee had not received a full overview, since SAPS reported on only quarter 1. As Ms Yako indicated, the referral that these cases had been finalised needed to be expanded upon. Were those cases closed, or was it due to success with arrests?
Were there any updates on convicted rapists and sexual offenders who had been released from prison? Were their DNA samples taken? Reports indicated that many sexual offenders had been released without their DNA samples taken. What mitigating strategies had been put in place to ensure that perpetrators of sexual offences could be easily tracked should they recommit a sexual offence?
Some Thuthuzela Care Centres had waited for the SAPS to bring rape kits to the Centre. However, SAPS would provide them only if the Centre called on the police to inform it of a victim that required one. What was the official position of SAPS on this? Did the rape kits stay at the Thuthuzela Care Centres, or were police officers required to deliver rape kits to the Centres only once a victim came forward after an incident?
On case identification for assault, were assault cases separated from GBV crimes, or were they all grouped together? For example, a physical assault such as a robbery or a fight, versus an assault that happened through intimate partner violence -- was there a difference in these numbers, or were they grouped together?
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) had reported an increasing number of police officers who were being charged with rape. What was being done about this increase among police officers, who were entrusted to protect South African citizens and the most vulnerable people in society, but were now found to be perpetrators of these egregious acts in society? There was also an issue with police officers using their firearms off duty against their partners to commit GBV-related incidents. The overall view was that more police officers were contributing to the scourge of GBV in the country, and that this required an urgent look to understand what was happening.
Could the Committee get an update on the backlog of over 200 000 DNA tests? What was the progress on making inroads into that backlog? What was being done to ensure that victims could get justice within a shorter timeframe to fight the scourge of GBV? Visits to the Thuthuzela Care Centres and Police Stations indicated how people could wait for three to six months to get those DNA results back.
Mr H Shembeni (EFF) raised the issue of the 298 of the 312 FCS posts that were filled. What had happened to the 14? What levels did it include – was it at the provincial, national or station level? What type of posts were they, as it could involve commanders and not investigators?
He described the challenges to training due to Covid-19 as unacceptable. How long did it take for FCS training to be completed, as this was not really training, but rather courses which may take three months?
507 SAPS members had been sent for trauma briefing, but how many members were in FCS units that required this briefing?
Regarding the closing of liquor premises, a national report had indicated that several of these premises had been closed. Could SAPS provide the provincial and police station breakdown on this matter to indicate the number of premises that were closed in the different provinces and why they were reopened? What measures were taken to ensure that those premises could not reopen once they had been closed? What hefty fines were in place for the repeat offenders, because in his view, the reopening was done illegally? For example, some liquor premises would receive a fine of R1 500, but this was ineffective, as they could recoup that money in one night.
In some areas where there were FCS units, FCS members would investigate dockets in six or seven stations. This meant that there might be stations where members investigated more dockets. What was expected from a group of ten members as they investigated dockets in seven stations? How many dockets should each FCS investigator have to be effective?
The issue of parole did not involve the SAPS, as it was undertaken by the Department of Correctional Services. This was difficult work for the SAPS, because once a person was arrested and the case went before the court, a lot of resources were used to get that person sentenced, yet they would eventually be given parole. That person would then recommit sexual offences within a week of their parole, and the SAPS would have to restart the process to capture the person again, who could be released on unclear circumstances such as rights and so forth. In Mr Shembeni’s view, a rapist remained a rapist, and should not be given parole. Even if parole was given, the victims should be contacted and should determine if the perpetrator could be granted parole. In other instances of false rapes, people tended to be remorseful and allowed the perpetrator to be released without knowing if they would rape. What measures were taken for repeat offenders?
On the GBVF concerns, the President had also spoken about strengthening the FCS unit, but the SAPS had done nothing for the third consecutive year to change the attitude of the unit. Mr Shembeni had asked the Minister why members from this unit were being lost, but he had not received the correct answer as the Minister had spoken about strengths and dockets instead. These members would be highly stressed if they carried more than 50 or 100 dockets. What was being done to support those members, to lessen this workload?
Ms N Maseko-Jele (ANC) said the Minister should note the general public perception of an alleged blame game between the police and the courts on GBV cases, and issues of poor investigation and police readiness, particularly when presenting these cases in the courts. For example, a perpetrator would sometimes be defensive and bring in other issues to try to argue the matter, as they did not want to plead guilty. The women believed that there was a serious issue, even with the families themselves, because some of their cases would be thrown out of the court due to poor police investigation, as well as police officers who did not take GBV issues seriously. What was SAPS’ view on this? How could it assist in this matter?
Serious issues had been reported on the forensic laboratories and the backlog on DNA tests in the Pretoria offices. What had SAPS done about this matter?
Referring to training, she said Members needed to get answers regarding the quality of police that were deployed in different areas especially to address GBVF. The training had been delayed, but the Committee had not been informed about the plans going forward. What plans were in place to ensure that this area was covered so that SAPS members deployed for GBV cases were be trained? Which SAPS members needed to be trained – did this include all police officers, or only those assigned to GBV cases? There had been an outcry of women who were still subjected to the poor attitudes of police when they reported to police stations, as some did not take their cases seriously.
How was recruitment of police officers undertaken? Videos had been circulating of a group of hooligans who had hijacked police, intimidated them, and given them instructions. What kind of people were recruited into the police force? Ms Maseko-Jele believed that SAPS should recruit brave people who could undertake their duties to arrest criminals, even in life-threatening situations.
Ms C Phiri (ANC) said the presentation had been fruitful and had given her a better understanding on how SAPS operated.
She sought clarity on the SAPS’s ratio of deployments of personnel. Did it simply deploy according to the different police stations, or did it also consider the areas? For example, Ms Phiri’s hometown had a port of entry where there was an influx of illegal immigrants. Were such circumstances considered in the deployment of personnel?
On the issue of the illegal liquor outlets, she agreed and concurred with Mr Shembeni, who sought to understand the consequence management for the outlets that had been closed down -- outlets that did not meet the standards and did not have a liquor licence when they reopened. What were the main disciplinary actions taken to address this? She was not interested in the monetary aspect but rather on the consequences for the persons involved, as the fines could be recovered through illegal or legal sales.
There were different types of police officers. Some would ensure that they undertook their duties, while others did not care, provided that they were at work. Community members were aware of police officers who had closed down specific liquor outlets in the community. However, when those officers were off duty, they would often buy from the same outlets and drink with the same people that they had closed down. What programmes or measures did SAPS have to support police officers? How were officers rated? SAPS should establish a plan to encourage and support those officers who were eager to work. What did it do about the officers in the system who were a risk to poor citizens who required protection?
Ms Phiri explained a situation that involved illegal immigrants where she was currently residing in Musina. There was a GBV case on one occasion, where a nine-months pregnant woman was heavily beaten by her partner, and Ms Phiri had called the police station as she had been informed about the fight. On the police’s arrival, they indicated that they could not intervene as both the woman and her partner did not have legal documents. These issues were happening on a daily basis across the country, and it should be the duty of all Members of Parliament, as South Africans, to deal with such cases. How were such incidents addressed in instances where a South African was a victim of GBV from their partner who was an illegal immigrant and could not be arrested because they did not have legal documents? Ms Phiri did not understand this, and commented that the lack of assistance from the police had created a sense of trauma in her.
The Acting Chairperson thanked Members for their engagement. The comments and questions on the FCS units indicated that it was important for the PC to receive a full report on the current status of these units, especially on the numbers and the capacity on the ground.
She handed over to the Minister to respond to the questions.
Minister Cele’s responses
The Minister thanked Members for their questions. He urged MPs, including the provincial legislatures and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), to immediately call him, the DM or the Provincial and National Commissioners, when they observed issues on their site visits, rather than wait for PC meetings. This would enable the SAPS to act on these matters so that they did not become part of the stories shared in the PCs.
The matter of the three police stations that did not have rape kits would be followed-up on, but it was always better to receive this information when the matter takes place so that SAPS could address it through the Provincial Commissioners, the Heads of the FCS in those provinces, and through the people that dealt with GBV issues in that province. He urged Members to immediately report such issues so that the SAPS could respond quickly.
The Minister said he was unaware of people who did not view Covid-19 as an issue. For example, this meeting was undertaken in a manner that was never done before, as he had never been in Parliament while sitting in the living room in his house. Members should therefore understand that things had changed. He had received a message this morning from his own Ministry Office that two members had tested positive for Covid-19. This meant that nobody could enter the office, which therefore disrupted the programmes that were implemented there. The figures in the presentation should be viewed in context of March 2020, when life came to a standstill and many people could not go into the office. SAPS had closed many police stations; many members had been lost, with more than 800 SAPS members who had died, and thousands who had been hospitalised. He could not understand why Members claimed that Covid-19 could not be used as an excuse, as this was an existing issue that had changed everybody’s lives. Training would continue, but it would be at a minimum. Even with virtual training, most colleagues had access to Wifi and the internet in their homes or offices, but some places such as Engcobo and Mahlabathini did not have Wifi. He agreed that SAPS should adapt, but this was a situation that it had never encountered before. He urged Members not to downplay the challenges and the situation that SAPS was confronted with due to Covid-19.
In response to Mr Shembeni on the issue of parole, SAPS was also frustrated about this issue as it was not included in the parole process. He commented on the issue of chasing re-offenders who were once imprisoned but released on parole. The bodies that dealt with parole should invite everyone, not only families or communities, but also the police to inform them that someone was getting parole. A notorious person had been arrested in Pretoria and given a sentence of105 years in 2012, but some people were already talking about parole for that person, who was serving only a small part of that 105 years. These issues really frustrated the SAPS when it had already done the work, settled the cases, and moved on to new ones, but would then have to chase those people who were released again.
On the poor work done by SAPS and the exchanges between the prosecution and the police, he said this should not happen, and the prosecution and investigators should instead work together. The prosecution should be able to inform the police of the cases that could not go through the courts due to the gaps that should be filled by the SAPS. Those things should then be finalised by the time the case went to court. While this had happened, it was not at the level that was envisaged. Maj Gen Mathonsi and the FCS team could explain why SAPS had more than 5 000 people who were serving life sentences for GBV. For a magistrate or a judge to find it possible to give an offender a life sentence, this meant that somebody had done a good job in the investigation and in presenting the case. Those departments should put those interplays aside, and use it to work together in the preparation of cases, rather than displaying it in court.
On the FCS issue, it was untrue that SAPS did not do anything. New young members were trained in 2019 and 2020, and 312 members had been added. However, that group could not be placed anywhere due to the training challenges. For example, no new members were deployed in the police, and specialised units would also recruit from this pool. Mr Shembeni would understand that some units would require only young people, such as Public Order Policing (POP); the Special Task Force; the National Intervention Unit (NIU); and the Tactical Response Team (TRT). These units also required young people to possess academic qualifications, especially the social workers and lawyers who were recruited by the police. This had stagnated the police, especially in those specialised units as SAPS was still working to inject new members.
Regarding the issue of alcohol as a major cause of crime, he said security agencies and the SAPS could not achieve certain things on their own across the government departments, as this was an issue of environmental design. Places such as Khayelitsha, Delft and Macassar in the Western Cape, or Zandspruit, Diepsloot and Inanda, were poorly developed and did not have any lights. He had visited two newly mushroomed areas in the Western Cape called Covid-19 and Sanitiser. Those areas did not have any roads, electricity, ablution facilities, house numbers or cameras, and there was nothing that indicated that the people that resided there could be policed or expect police officers to undertake their duties in that township. There was literally nothing that could assist in policing the areas, as the officers would need to leave their vans to walk, as they could not drive through some of the areas. These environmental issues hampered policing, and the SAPS would need to be supported to deal with the alcohol issues.
Minister Cele said that when he was in KZN and served as a Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Police and Economic Development, shebeens were viewed as an economic development, but also as crime generators. The SAPS would undertake profiling of the communities that it visited, to be informed on the number of churches, schools, clinics, crèches, old age homes and spazas in the area. In almost all of these communities, shebeens were the largest number of all the institutions in the area, including those that were legal. In Orange Farm, for example, the total number of all the institutions put together, such as schools, spaza shops, etc, were less than the 331 shebeens in Orange Farm, plus 17 bottle stores.
Responding to Mr Shembeni’s concern of shebeens that reopened immediately after they had been closed down, he said the reason for this was that SAPS was not supported by the prosecution, and there was no overarching law on alcohol, as each province had its own laws on this issue. For example, Gauteng has 16 regulations and laws on alcohol, including special permits for the weekend and party licences. When police would arrive on the scene due to noise complaints, these shebeens would present a special permit that allowed for noise and drinking until the next day. In the Eastern Cape, for example, one person could have three special permits for on-site sale, off-site sale, and a distribution permit. This meant that people could sit down to drink, and they could also take the alcohol with them and transport it due to the off-site sale and distribution permits, which created a huge issue for SAPS. In the Western Cape, for example, a person who bought 150 litres of alcohol without a licence was not considered to be selling. The magistrate and the prosecution would then inform SAPS to return the confiscated alcohol, and the sellers would then restock and sell 149 litres, since it was illegal to sell more than 150 litres. This was a major problematic area which contributed to the reopening of shebeens, especially in areas with high crime rates. It also required the collaboration of SAPS with other departments across government to address this concern.
The Minister handed over to the SAPS delegation to provide specific details on the questions. He said Lt Gen Ntshinga would provide an update on the DNA issues which the Minister believed had made a turnaround, and that the SAPS was on track to correct this.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Minister for his responses. She asked DM Mathale and the team to provide brief responses, in the interest of time.
Lt Gen LE Ntshinga, Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, responded to the concerns regarding the DNA and forensics. On the question of capacity building of laboratories and the specific dates for completion, progress had been made at the Eastern Cape lab, and it was moving fast to finalise this. However, the project’s estimated date for completion was February 2023, and construction was ongoing on site. At KZN, it was moving to a new building, and the TMS group would cable the entire building in January 2022, which meant that KZN could move in at the end of January.
The SAPS had done good work on the DNA backlog, and had moved fast to be on track. Slide 6 had indicated a backlog of 88 662 GBV-related cases at the time, but this number was currently at 76 976, meaning 11 686 had been done. The ring-fenced backlog, which was at 180 191, was now at 80 548 as 99 643 had been done. The reason for this backlog was due to all the contracts that had been outstanding and expired, which were now all in place, except for one that would be signed off on 8 December for consumables, but the work had continued. In the Cape Town lab, a shift system of 06h00-14h00 and 14h00-22h00 had been implemented. Members worked flexitime in Pretoria, and overtime was also paid to ensure that the job was done. Unfortunately, Covid-19 was here to stay. The Pretoria office was currently closed, as 80 members were in isolation, which highlighted the challenge of fast-tracking the backlog issue. While offices were being opened and closed, SAPS would ensure that the work would be pushed when members were at work. All the machines at the Western Cape lab were functional, and it managed to do 2 000 a day. She confirmed that the work was on track and the timeframe that had been set for 18 months would be achieved, as this backlog would be eliminated within three months.
On the issue of rape kits that were unavailable at the three police stations, the Provincial Office had indicated that this was false as it had contacted those stations and confirmed that they had enough kits.
She said the FCS courses took four weeks to complete.
An allocation of 40 dockets per member was the standard amount of dockets per FCS investigator. Due to a shortage of personnel, however, one member could carry more than 40 dockets.
The information on the 312 FCS posts was currently not readily available, but SAPS could enquire and submit this in writing.
The 507 SAPS members sent for trauma briefing were taken from the total of 2 521 FCS nationally. It was still behind on this, as the investigators were not availing themselves on time due to their workload of appearing in court, servicing many courses, and working in the office. The FCS was strategically placed in more districts than previously due to members who were servicing many police stations. For example, OR Tambo had about five FCS, and in the case of Lusikisiki where this problem occurred, Port St Johns had become a fully fledged unit, rather than having one unit in Lusikisiki. SAPS was working to fill the FCS posts through lateral transfers and recruitment from other units. She confirmed that the SAPS was doing its best to capacitate the FCS and to train members.
SAPS would take the virtual route to train in those areas that did not require practical studies, as this route had similarly been undertaken in the cybercrime workshop. It would consider virtual training, since Covid-19 was the current reality, and would move most of its courses online that did not require practical exercises.
The Acting Chairperson thanked Lt Gen Ntshinga, and asked DM Mathale and the team to provide brief responses to the remaining questions. She asked the DM to send the detailed responses in writing.
DM Mathale requested the Secretary of the Committee to provide all the questions that had been raised so that SAPS could cover all the issues and submit the responses in writing. He thanked the Committee for the opportunity to engage in the enriching and helpful discussion with Members.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Minister, the DM, and SAPS for the presentation and the responses. The Committee would ask the Secretary to provide SAPS with the questions for written responses.
She asked the Acting Director-General of the DWYPD to provide a brief presentation as it should be taken as read to allocate enough time for questions and responses.
DWYPD’s implementation of the NSP on GBVF
Ms Shoki Tshabalala, Acting Director-General: Social Transformation, DWYPD, introduced the team and handed over to Ms Esther Maluleke, Chief Director: Governance, Transformation, Justice and Security, to lead the presentation.
Ms Maluleke provided an overview of the pillars on Slide 2, with the areas of focus for the year under review. She outlined the achievements and reflections in each Pillar, but she did not discuss Pillar 3, as this had been extensively covered in the two presentations.
Pillar 1: Accountability, coordination and leadership
The DWYPD had ensured that a draft monitoring and evaluation (M&E) implementation plan was in place. It was being finalised, as it had taken the framework behind this NSP and scrutinised the details. However, the DWYPD required buy-in from other departments to ensure that the targets allocated to each department were integrated into the annual performance plans (APPs), and that they were resourced and budgeted for.
The DWYPD was mainly responsible for this Pillar, as its responsibility was to regulate and monitor implementation of the NSP, and to ensure coordination.
Beyond ensuring the integration of the targets into the APPs, the DWYPD had also provided technical support to provincial and national departments, as well as to government.
Pillar 2: Prevention and rebuilding social cohesion
The DWYPD was facilitating a process of developing a comprehensive GBV prevention strategy, and it hoped that this would be completed by the end of the current financial year.
In response to the Chairperson’s question on how this prevention strategy dovetailed with the femicide prevention strategy developed by the DOJCD, she said the DWYPD had engaged with the DOJCD to ensure proper coordination of the work that it undertook, and less duplication. Its understanding of the femicide prevention strategy was that this was dedicated to focus on the femicide issues, especially since a lot more still needed to be understood about this scourge. The DWYPD would ensure that it had a dedicated chapter that aligned issues of femicide prevention with the femicide strategy developed by the DOJCD.
Pillar 4: Response, care, support, and healing
Some of the achievements in this Pillar were focused on policy issues, where there were gaps in legislation.
Almost R40m was allocated to the emergency response action olan (ERAP) for civil society organisations, but this allocation was disrupted by Covid-19. An allocation of R80m was initially intended, but the assessments for the second tranche of about R40m was finalised only recently by the National Development Agency (NDA), which would then allocate it to non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Pillar 5: Economic power
The 40% preferential procurement of women-owned businesses (WOBs) for the public sector was in place as a key policy mechanism. 1 205 out of 5 000 WOBs had been reached as part of a 120-day challenge.
Pledges had been made at a national dialogue by all National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) sectors in December 2020 to address violence and harassment in the workplace.
Pillar 6: Research and information management
The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) had developed a proposal and had been funded to conduct a national GBV prevalence survey. This was a huge study which would greatly assist in addressing the many gaps around data for GBV.
Pillar 6 of the Implementation Collaborative established a forum for researchers to share information, which served the DWYPD very well in considering the ways in which gaps in data and information management on GBV could be addressed.
Statistics SA had produced a research report on harmonising and standardising disability definitions and classifications, which would be key in taking research forward on GBV in this population.
This pillar was foundational in strengthening the GBVF response in the country, as it provided a unique opportunity to deepen and expand the GBVF research base; in building greater strategic cohesion across the research community; and in facilitating alignment with policy and programming.
Ms Maluleke handed over to Ms Nondumiso Ngqulunga, Director: Legal Services at DWYPD, to outline the National Council on GBVF (NCGBVF) and the legislative framework.
NCGBV and the legislative framework
Ms Ngqulunga said the public consultations on the NCGBFV Bill had been finalised in all nine provinces. The Bill had also been introduced to the Nedlac, which had indicated that a task team would be established to work on the Bill with the DWYPD.
The DWYPD was currently incorporating all the inputs that were received during the consultations.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the DWYPD, and apologised for putting it under pressure.
She opened for discussion, and asked Members to be brief as the Committee would request written replies due to the time constraints.
Ms Sharif said she would submit her questions in writing.
On the issue of M&E, what was the DWYPD currently using to monitor, since the M&E framework was still in the process of being developed?
Some posts on gender responsive planning, budgeting and M&E had been advertised in the media. Would this work be outsourced from the DWYPD?
The Acting Chairperson said the rest of the questions would be submitted in writing and asked the DWYPD to respond to the two questions.
Ms Tshabalala said the DWYPD had no intention of outsourcing any work, from its side. Those posts were either in the Department, or agreements that had been reached with the EU as a partner in areas that the DWYPD needed to strengthen. It had therefore identified some of the posts and the type of responsibilities that would be performed by the incumbents in those positions. However, this was not necessarily outsourcing, as the DWYPD was a small Department with inadequate budget and capacity to address some of the issues. Through a partnership or some collaboration with development partners, there was agreement on what could be implemented jointly, and the technical capacity that the DWYPD required to execute some of these tasks.
On the M&E question, the NSP within itself had an M&E framework which was currently being used. The NSP needed to be concluded within a particular timeframe, since everything had been done hastily. The DWYPD maintained that it needed to consult further with all relevant government departments and critical role-players to delve deeper into those targets and indicators. This process would enable it to check if those targets were genuinely and justifiably allocated to the specific departments, and if the departments accepted the indicators and targets that the DWYPD had already crafted for them. Those departments could then account for these targets and indicators as and when they were included in the APPs, which also raised the level of accountability in reporting.
Ms Tshabalala confirmed that the DWYPD was currently using the M&E framework in the NSP, and urged Members to peruse it, as they would find something on the M&E aspect which was also currently used to report to the President on a monthly basis.
The Acting Chairperson thanked Ms Tshabalala for the responses.
What were the plans for other provinces, as the presentation had referred only to Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KZN?
In which unit within the Premier’s Office would these positions be housed?
Ms Sharif thanked Ms Tshabalala for sending the Google-Drive. She had sent it out to stakeholders, who had added their comments. Were all the comments on the Drive incorporated in the public participation?
Ms Tshabalala said if the comments had been sent to the correct email address, they would certainly be considered. The DWYPD had met with some of the organisations, particularly the petition coordinators, on some of the petitions that had been issued. The petition coordinators had been engaged, and were quite happy with the work that DWYPD had done to date as they committed to join the Pillar Collaborative so that they could also add value to the work that the DWYPD was undertaking. The DWYPD had appealed to everyone in civil society organisations to be a part of this Pillar Collaborative. This was the only way it could jointly collaborate, implement and account as a collective on the work that was being done, so that the government was not solely responsible for accounting on this work. Since the NSP pertained to everyone, this ought to be a multi-sectoral kind of response, and the role of civil society organisations in this space was very critical. The DWYPD appreciated all those who had come forward to pledge their partnership in working with Government.
Ms Maluleka said the DWYPD was not only trying to develop an M&E framework. The framework was a package, as it was an M&E operational plan and a plan for the NSP, because the strategy was very broad and high-level. The M&E plan referred to was therefore an operational plan similar to an APP. The DWYPD was developing tools as it was building an M&E system for GBV so that it assisted everyone involved, across the board at the three levels of Government, to monitor and evaluate implementation of the strategy. It would also post officials to provincial Premiers’ offices, who would work with the current M&E officials, and would focus specifically on using this system to collect data on GBV and to report at the provincial and local level. This would extract solid data from communities, including information on hotspots, to provide an overview of what was happening in the country. All these tools and the warm bodies were part of this system.
The DWYPD was piloting Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KZN, and once it learned lessons from these three, the intention was to expand to the rest of the country. It was currently supported by the EU to undertake this work.
The Acting Chairperson thanked all involved for honouring the Committee’s invitation to attend this meeting and presenting before it. She thanked the Minister and the DMs for their attendance and responses, as well as the Members’ engagement, as it assisted Parliament and government departments to correctly respond to the implementation of the NSP. She hoped that the purpose of this meeting had been achieved.
Consideration and adoption of minutes
The Acting Chairperson tabled the minutes of the Committee's meeting on 30 November, and pointed out the need for a correction in the attendance list, as Chairperson Ndaba was not in attendance and had sent an apology.
The Secretary corrected the error.
The minutes were duly adopted.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Members and closed the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
Joemat-Pettersson, Ms TM
Masiko, Ms F
Cele, Mr BH
Dyantyi, Mr QR
Hlengwa, Ms MD
Jeffery, Mr JH
Marawu, Ms TL
Maseko-Jele, Ms NH
Masondo, Ms TS
Mathale, Mr C
Mphithi, Mr L
Newhoudt-Druchen, Ms WS
Ngcobo, Mr S
Phiri, Ms CM
Sharif, Ms NK
Shembeni, Mr HA
Terblanche, Mr OS
Yako, Ms Y
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