The Department of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) remarked on the challenges that women in South Africa face in the midst of the ongoing struggle against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and the continued fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. The most vulnerable groups in society, women, youth, and persons with disabilities continue to require special support at this time.
Some of the key priorities for the Department in 2022/23 are to establish the GBVF Council; co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of the nationwide Sanitary Dignity programme for vulnerable girl children, push forward legislation and the phased creation of a knowledge hub.
DWYPD is still undergoing restructuring since 2019 when the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and Youth Development programmes were transferred to it. It has decided to combine these two programmes into one.
Committee members raised concern about the combination of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Youth Development programmes; the lack of progress on the knowledge hub and they requested more details on the rollout plan for the sanitary dignity project as it was a key goal.
Department of Women, Youth, Persons with Disabilities Performance Plan 2022/23
Minister Maite Nkoana-Maite introduced the virtual briefing on the DWYPD 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan and Budget. She stressed the importance of executive accountability and oversight as one of the keys to the Department’s continued efforts and success. The Minister acknowledged the difficulties that the county has faced over the year with the Covid-19 pandemic, GBVF, the rioting in KwaZulu-Natal as well as the recent floods. It had made it a difficult year for all South Africans but especially women, children, and persons with disabilities as the most vulnerable groups. She handed over to senior Department members to give the presentation.
Ms Val Mathobela, DWYPD Chief Director: Office of the Director-General, outlined the key priorities for the Department’s programmes for 2022/23:
Programme 2: Mainstreaming Women’s Rights and Advocacy
The priorities are to coordinate and monitor the implantation of the Sanitary Dignity framework and to ensure that women-owned businesses in the sectors are empowered through non-financial support programs to upskill and increase business competence. Funding will be distributed to each province for the procurement and distribution of sanitary pads.
DWYPD aims to set up mechanisms to ensure accountability at the provincial level to address the challenges that vulnerable groups face across the country, especially in rural areas. This will be done in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Water and Sanitation. It plans to monitor the teenage pregnancy programme led by Department of Health.
DWYPD plans to introduce the National Council on GBVF (NCGBVF) Bill in Parliament and fast-track Cabinet approval of the Comprehensive National GBVF Prevention Strategy and raise awareness of this strategy.
The public release of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBVF is in its second year of implementation and DWYPD will conduct the mid-term evaluation of the implementation of this plan to inform the development of the GBVF Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for 2025 to 2030. It will coordinate progress reporting on the NSP on GBVF through placements of officials at the provincial level to drive monitoring and evaluation, including data capturing. DWYPD has secured donor funding through the EU which supports the appointment and implementation of this monitoring and evaluation mandate.
DWYPD aims to conduct high-level GBVF policy dialogues focusing on enhancing a multisectoral response to turning the tide through prevention and rebuilding the social fabric.
It will coordinate the gender, youth and disability rights joint forum to drive an integrated approach to mainstreaming. The revitalization of the National Gender Machinery is mainly to inform a programmatic approach to gender mainstreaming and to facilitate the standardization of the employment of focal points.
It will convene the Second Presidential Summit on GBVF.
The Economic Empowerment of Women is a second subprogramme and its key priorities include implementing information awareness workshops to support increased women's economic participation in various economic sectors, including agriculture and the green economy. It will conduct further research into the development of the WYPD socio-economic empowerment index, which would eventually support DWYPD’s regulatory mandate. It will develop a strategy for economic empowerment of women, youth, persons with disabilities to ensure government programmes, especially infrastructure programmes, mainstream their economic participation
Programme 3: Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Co-ordination
DWYPD plans to work intensively in the field of policy, starting with a review of South Africa’s Policy Framework for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality towards the development of a national policy. It will engage in policy and Socio Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) work for the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill. It aims to roll-out Gender Responsive Budgeting and Planning in partnership with National Treasury. It will work on Gender Needs Assessment and gender priorities for the next five years for the development of a comprehensive National Gender Mainstreaming Strategy with Sectoral Guidelines and norms and standards.
DWYPD will conduct research on the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) to develop a WYPD comprehensive and sectoral Stakeholder Database.
It will hold stakeholder engagements on the WYPD empowerment on specific topics such as economic empowerment; a GBV programme with taxi associations and training programme (in partnership with NDG); Maintenance Act; Climate Change including waste management with opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.
Program 4:Mainstreaming Youth and Persons with Disabilities Rights and Advocacy
- Data will be collected against the National Youth Policy 2020-2030 policy domains and NYP implementation monitoring reports will be compiled quarterly.
- The process to review the M&E Framework is underway. The document has been consulted with government clusters. It will soon be processed to Cabinet for approval.
- The process to amend the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Amendment Bill was finalised and the Bill was approved by Cabinet for tabling in Parliament. The Bill has been gazetted; and DWYPD will support the Bill's passage through Parliament once tabled.
- The South African South African Youth Development Bill has been developed and is being consulted. Once refined it will be presented to Cabinet for approval as a discussion document.
- National Youth Machinery meetings will be convened quarterly and a report will be produced.
- NYDA oversight will be performed and NYDA monitoring reports will be produced quarterly.
- A Presidential initiative - the inaugural Nelson Mandela Youth Dialogue will be organised and held as part of Youth Month. It will target 15 countries within the AU.
- Implementation plans to give effect to the signed bilateral agreements between SA and Nigeria as well as SA and the Ivory Coast on Youth Development would be developed
- Annual Compliance Report on White Paper on Rights of Persons with Disabilities implementation
- Analysis of Draft Annual Performance Plans for all government departments for 2023/24
- White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Implementation Evaluation Report
- Harmonisation of disability rights instruments
- Preparations for SA participation at UN 15th Conference on Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in June 2022. This includes drafting country position statements
- Strengthen the National Disability Rights machinery and the Presidential Working Group
- Advocate and mainstream economic empowerment of persons with disabilities.
Mr Llewellyn Louw presented the budget (see document).
Human Resource Management
Mr Andre Coetzee outlined the organisational structure which is structured around five programmes: Administration; Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment; Policy, Stakeholder Coordination, and Knowledge Management; Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and National Youth Development Programme. It is however currently under a process of organisational redesign to align with the budget that has been presented.
The current structure is a remnant of the 2019 transfer of the functions of the national youth development programme and the rights of persons with disabilities from the Department of Social Development to DWYPD. The redesign will be based on feedback from the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and National Treasury.
The Administration programme's disproportionate share of the budget for compensation of employees is acknowledged and will be considered during this process of budget re-evaluation.
Mr M Nchebeleng (ANC, Limpopo) asked about the working relationship between DWYPD and the Presidential Youth Working Group which was created to mainstream youth development and empowerment, working across all government departments. He asked specifically how the work of DWYPD fits into or complements the Presidential Youth Working Group considering the many challenges young people in South Africa face.
He asked for clarity on DWYPD’s plans for the NYDA Amendment Bill as a target for this does not seem to appear in the APP presentation.
Ms D Christians (DA, Northern Cape) acknowledged that DWYPD is continuing with the knowledge hub but noted that the 2019 targets had not yet been met. Even now the knowledge hub seems under-resourced. She asked if these issues have been addressed, and if so, how.
She expressed concern about the combination of Programme 4: Youth and Programme 5: Persons with Disabilities. These groups are separate and have their own needs that warrant specific focus so she asked for the reasoning behind that. She requested more information on the human resource implications of combining these two programmes and the effect on the strategic implementation of these programmes.
She requested more insight into the rollout of the sanitary pad programme. She asked what exactly DWYPD planned to ensure young women are supported, the extent of its collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, and which provinces and schools are targeted
Ms S Lehihi (EFF, North West) spoke in her vernacular language (01:19:10).
The Chairperson had a question for the Minister that was unrelated to the presentation. The KZN floods have heavily affected women, children and people with disabilities and so she wanted to know what kind of role DWYPD has played in supporting those affected in KwaZulu-Natal
Mr M Bara (DA, Gauteng) asked to what extent is youth unemployment being addressed and what challenges is the Department facing in the fight against it.
Mr Bara noted the ongoing plight of gender-based violence and questioned the practicality of the efforts outlined in the APP. What kind of assistance would DWYPD require from the Committee or other sources to aid the cause?
Ms Welhemina Tshabalala, Deputy Director-General: Social Empowerment and Economic Empowerment, responded to the questions on the Sanitary Dignity Implementation Programme. DWYPD is the lead department and developed the implementation framework, they are coordinating and monitoring the implementation of that framework. National Treasury funds the nine provinces directly which then distribute the sanitary pads to quintiles 1, 2 and 3 schools, as well as special schools and farm schools either monthly or quarterly. They have raised concerns with the Eastern Cape which is able to distribute only once a year due to a lack of storage capacity as this can lead to girl children being put in a vulnerable position.
Although DWYPD does not fund this distribution, it does monitor it and compiles quarterly reports for the Portfolio Committee. Each province has two distribution points, with five being with the Department of Education and four with the Department of Social Development. Where departments are not spending enough it is raised with the Director General and Provincial Head of Department responsible.
Ms Ranji Reddy, Acting DDG: Policy Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management, replied that the knowledge hub is critical infrastructure for DWYPD and the way they have planned it makes it critical for external stakeholders. They have learned from their experience without a knowledge hub that it is incredibly valuable to have a centralised place to find research, evidence, and disaggregated data for the sake of knowledge-based policy development and informed decision-making.
The challenges they have experienced have been collecting the kinds of disaggregated data pertaining to all three sectors that would allow them to further their research and improve their reports. The major hurdle in rolling out this infrastructure is sourcing the technical skills required to build the information system as well as knowledge management. The content of this knowledge hub is within the DWYPD domain, but the technical skills are still lacking. None of the research and knowledge management unit staff are specialised knowledge managers.
Ms Reddy agreed with Ms Christians that the research and knowledge management unit is understaffed for the wide scope of what it is designed to do. The unit receives between R1.4 million and R1.8 million. This is a minimal amount for both research responsibilities and the knowledge hub and so the approach taken from 2019 was the concept of a gender-focused knowledge hub. However, in 2020 it was decided that the youth and persons with disabilities must be considered too so that the knowledge hub is representative of DWYPD focuses. This was done in partnership with the University of Johannesburg due to its existing skills and work with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Due to budget limitations, DWYPD was unable to achieve a knowledge hub within one year and so the decision was taken to take a phased approach to creating a knowledge hub and to allocate the rest of the budget towards research and other work. In 2021 the knowledge hub’s technical design was started, and the ICT process and the fields on the website and how they would be populated. In 2022 the rollout is set to begin with a pilot programme where only certain fields are launched, and as the finances and management skills continue to grow so will the hub.
Ms Val Mathobela responded about the combination of the Youth Development and People with Disabilities programmes. The programmes were combined as a response to guidelines on the development of the programme structure which was issued to government departments in consultation with the National Treasury. It was advised that it reduce the structure from five to four programmes. DWYPD had historically had four programmes before the transfer of the Youth Development and People with Disabilities programmes to it. In executing the mandate, this change will not affect DWYPD’s ability to continue its work.
Unfortunately, during Ms Mathobela’s response, her connection failed. Minister Nkoana-Maite was not on hand to take over as she had left for another engagement, so the Department's responses had to be concluded early.
The Chairperson requested a Department report on the distribution plan for sanitary towels and how the nine provinces had distributed them thus far.
The meeting was adjourned
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