06 May 2022
In a virtual meeting, the Commission for Gender Equality presented an updated Annual Performance Plan (APP) as requested by the Committee that provided more information on its activities. Outputs such as high-level meetings and ratification and domestication of international and regional instruments were moved and addressed in other outputs. Key targets include 40 courts and 144 SAPS and Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) to be monitored, 5% vacancy rate and two policy dialogues for 2022/23.
Members raised concerns that the cancelled Legal Practice Council licence of CGE in 2020 is yet to be addressed as well as the filling of critical positions. Not filling these positions after such a long time was concerning and an explanation was requested as well as the way forward. More clarity was requested on the limitations of the CGE Act that needed to be amended, 720 stakeholders for workshops; list of the Thuthuzela care centers, police stations, and courts to be monitored? Which stakeholders will be targeted for the 720 stakeholders attending the Gender and Development (GAD) Workshops and if the community development practitioners for these workshops will be paid by CGE.
The Chairperson thanked CGE Commissioner Lindiwe Tloubatla for her representation in the case of Hillary Gardee.
Addendum to the CGE 2022/23 APP
Ms Tamara Mathebula, Chairperson of the CGE, noted that the amended APP still has four strategic outcomes and the plan is in accordance with those four strategic outcomes. The Commission will continue to prioritise its programmes and set achievable targets.
CGE CEO, Ms Jamela Robertson, spoke to the outputs and targets of the four outcomes in the revised APP. The ratification and domestication of international and regional instruments output are addressed through outputs 3.4 and 4.11. The high-level meetings output is addressed through output 4.11 and 3.3. The Commission has a target for revising the CGE Act, as CGE is affected by the limitations in the Act. Webinars are catered for in the output for 3.3.
For Strategic Outcome 2, the targets were amended as they were vague and difficult to report on. The target "Assessment report on gender-based streaming interventions to lobby and influence decision-makers" was restated to focus on "Localising Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) in municipalities through gender mainstreaming sessions". This is addressed through output 2.1 in the new APP.
The consolidated report on complaints handling activity is addressed in output 1.2. The target of "Monitoring reports on government implementation of GBV programmes" now forms part of the research agenda which will outline all research projects that are standing items. Municipal elections are periodical that target is only in the years where there are elections. The Thuthuzela care centres and SAPS target is now output 1.4. The targeting for the unqualified audit is replaced in output 4.6. The report on the implementation of the business model and HR staffing adaptation target is now restated in outputs 4.2 and 4.3.
Explanation of activities in the APP
The following is a detailed explanation of the activities for outputs and outcomes listed in the APP:
An enabling legislative environment for gender equality.
• One of the new activities introduced is proactively sourcing Bills from Provincial Legislatures that are open for comment, to assess and make input on the gender responsiveness of the Bills. This has been added to output 1.1.
• On the Systemic Investigations output, continuing monitoring of the implementation of the recommendations of the Forced Sterilisation project and Continuous engagement on the National Shelter Report with affected stakeholders were noted as output activities.
• For the Court and SAPS and TCCs monitoring output, the targets were 40 Courts and 144 SAPS and TCCs to be monitored. On the Review of CGE Act outputs, the targets were 1 CGE Act Amendment Bill and 1 CGE Initiated Bill submitted.
Gender equality promoted through information and education to foster public understanding
• On Output 1, output activities include: Select municipalities for SDG Mainstreaming Review and the target is 18 Municipalities.
• Public Education and Community Radio Outreach output target is 4 320 and 540 000 people respectively.
• On the Gender and Development (GAD) Workshops output, activities include: Identifying community development practitioners for GAD workshops as well as conducting a training needs assessment to inform relevant training content.
• Information and Communication Initiatives output includes: Define platforms for Initiatives (e.g. social media platforms, print media, electronic media, YouTube, as well as media briefings, media statements and opinion pieces) as well as Developing content contextualised for diverse communities.
Monitoring and Research investigations on issues undermining attainment of gender equality
• Research Agenda output has a target of 100% Annual Research Agenda initiatives implemented. Activities for that output include: Outlining priority research projects informed by the Research Agenda, Identifying research topics, based on current trends in the gender equality area, and Research Proposals.
• Policy Dialogues output activities include: Developing policy briefs, Stakeholder mapping and Consultations, Hosting policy dialogues, and Report on Policy Dialogue and recommendations. The target for the policy dialogues is two policy dialogues for 2022/23.
A renewed, efficient and effective organisation that is sustainable
• On the outputs, Organisational Effectiveness and Business model implementation, there is a set target of 75% implementation.
• On Implementation of Legal and Research Tracking Tool output, the activity is Quarterly reporting to Internal Oversight Committees on progress in Legal and Research recommendations implementation.
• On Maintaining an acceptable standard of vacancy rate, the target is 5% vacancy rate.
Activities include: Expeditious filling of vacant posts, Staff retention strategy, Embark on exploring how CGE can become an employer of choice.
• Strategic partner engagements output has the activity Develop a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, which defines criteria for:
a. Strategic partnerships.
b. Value added
c. Like-minded institutions that would further the achievement of the CGE mandate.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) asked for clarity on what is meant by the limitations identified in the CGE Act. In 2021, there was a draft policy, has this draft policy been passed by the Commission? Is there a list of the Thuthuzela care centers, police stations, and courts that are to be monitored? Which stakeholders will be targeted for the 720 stakeholders reached through the Gender and Development (GAD) Workshops and how many per province? Are the community development practitioners for the GAD workshops being paid by CGE and what is the role of CGE in this?
The Chairperson asked about the Committee's recommendation about the revision of salaries. The salaries are not compatible which makes it difficult to get the required people for CGE positions. Can the Commission give a progress report at the next meeting on this? How far is the Commission in addressing the licence being taken from CGE in 2020? This question was asked again following the CEO's response previously. The re-advertisement of positions was discussed in last year’s meeting and CGE was advised by the Portfolio Committee to go back and look into the matter. Is there a monitoring and evaluation unit at the CGE to measure its rate of success?
Ms Masiko remarked that the CGE should learn from this meeting that next time it should first address the recommendations and discussions from previous meetings and address new matters. There should be progress on the licence being taken away from CGE in 2020.
Mr L Mphithi (DA) said that it is a concern that the CGE does not have its legal advice unit working and is unable to help South Africans who require help. Fundamentally the CGE’s mandate is to help South Africans therefore it is problematic that this matter has still not been addressed. Why are these priority positions not being filled? Which international instrument has been identified for 2022/23? What will be the focus of the policy briefs? Who is responsible for the filling of the vacant posts? What timeframes are in place to fill vacant positions and what is the plan to address this in the future? What type of consequence management has taken place at CGE when matters raised by the Portfolio Committee do not get addressed?
Ms B Marekwa (ANC) asked about the learner pregnancy work CGE is doing if they find out from the learner who got them pregnant. How does CGE assist learners who are selling and using drugs on school premises? Can remote areas be provided with Thuthuzela Care Centres within the police stations as some do not have those centres?
Dr Herman Tembe, Office of Institutions Supporting Democracy (OISD) in Parliament, noted that with the Public Protector, it was through litigation that the courts found that the remedial action recommended by the Public Protector is binding. Therefore, CGE can use litigation to address the matter of the limitations in the CGE Act.
Ms Robertson replied that CGE was included in the old Attorneys Act until 2014 when the Legal Practice Act replaced it. CGE was excluded from the Act because the Commission could not finalise and make the necessary submission to the Legal Practice Council. CGE made a commitment to look into the matter and explore litigation to declare the Legal Practice Act unconstitutional to the extent that it excluded CGE. However, the Commission decided in its legal committee meeting that the litigation route was premature and further engagements should take place between CGE and the Legal Practice Council with the Minister of Justice before the litigation route is taken.
The community development practitioners for the GAD workshops are not paid as they collaborate with CGE. On learner pregnancy, CGE has not gone out to investigate learner pregnancy but it has produced a report. The requested monitoring list of the Thuthuzela care centers, police stations, and courts can be presented by the Commission upon deciding on a date for that presentation. CGE has not dealt with drugs at school before.
Ms Robertson replied that there are stumbling blocks with the retrospective implementation of the amended policy on the appointment of external panel members. Going forward it is better to complete the process and then the re-advertisement can take place.
The Legal HOD resigned on 2 November 2020. On that day there was a plenary meeting and it was indicated that the post needed to be filled. In December the two posts were advertised. In January the applications received were not suitable for the positions. CGE embarked on a headhunting process for which four applications were received. In April, a plenary decision was made to withdraw the advert and restart the process as the minimum job requirements were too high. CGE is unsure how to proceed with the hiring process as it can either re-advertise or consider headhunting candidates; however, it does not want to have fruitless expenditure.
Ms Mathebula replied that the Commissioner Handbook was the subject of an internal review by a task team appointed in 2020. The process was done internally and once finalised a recommendation was made that the handbook must be subjected to a further review. The recommendation was adopted and an external independent service provider was appointed late last year and the work was started in January 2022. The document was eventually received from the service provider and currently, it is being looked at before it is approved.
The Commission took too long to address the cancellation of the Legal Practice Council licence and made a commitment to address this within six months using the two hiring options presented to the Portfolio Committee.
Dr Nthabiseng Moleko, CGE Deputy Chairperson, replied that CGE will go back to the drawing board to determine what the appropriate course of action should be to render legal services and legal advice as an institution. Three months will be enough to fill the vacant posts discussed by the Portfolio Committee. Section 64 of the PFMA requires the permission of National Treasury for potential unauthorised expenditure before the re-advertisement. Once the go-ahead is received from Treasury, the re-advertisement will take place as soon as possible.
The meeting was adjourned.
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