National Treasury on merger of Programme 4 & 5 of DWYPD; DWYPD Quarter 1 2022/23 Performance; DWYPD & CGE lease agreements with DPWI; with Minister and Deputy Minister

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

30 August 2022
Chairperson: Ms Ndaba (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


In a hybrid meeting with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, National Treasury and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), the Committee invited the latter two departments to the Committee because of a few challenges that the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities was facing, which included: 1) the merger of the Department's programmes, which related to the Treasury; 2) the decline of a R500 000 donation request by the Treasury; 3) the correct itemisation of the R5 million allocated for the National Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Council, and 4) the delay of the relocation of the Department's new office building – which required the attention of Public Works. The Committee hoped to find solutions to assist the Department on those issues.

The Committee also received a briefing on the Department's quarter one performance.

In the Committee's first engagement with the National Treasury, Committee Members sought clarity on the merger of the Department's programmes four and five in its Annual Performance Plan (APP) and the extent to which governmental departments need to implement Treasury's recommendations on financial matters. Committee Members did not understand why the Treasury had declined the donation request since it would greatly benefit the youth, and they urged the Treasury to play more of an advocate role in assisting the Department. The Committee was of the view that, despite the small budget that the Department was allocated, no one could dispute the important work that this Department did. In fact, the value of work that the Department carried out surpassed the budgetary value which it was allocated. This became especially so when one considered the vulnerable population living amongst us that needed government's care and assistance.

The second engagement was with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) regarding the delay in relocating a new office building for the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. The Committee insisted that the DPWI had to ensure that a new building be available for the Department to move into at the end of September 2022. Members recommended that the Department deploy a senior official to oversee the building inspection work.

The third interaction was between the Committee and the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities on its first quarterly report for the 2022/23 financial year.

Given it was near the end of Parliament's term, the Committee was concerned with the lack of bills that the Department had tabled to Parliament. Members urged the Department to expedite the process of tabling the Persons with Disabilities Bill, the National Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Council Bill and the South African Youth Development Bill. Members were also concerned with the Department appearing on the Auditor-General's top 15 list for incurring fruitless and irregular expenditures, the use of consultants, and its under-spending and requested explanations.

Members wanted to know how the workshops and conferences held by the Department were translated to economic empowerment of women, youth and persons with disabilities. Members enquired about the provinces' cooperation with the Sanitary Dignitary Pad programme; the Department's communication to communities; the Public Service Commission's report on the position of Chief Director for Advocacy and Mainstreaming persons with disabilities, and the issue around the Department's Deputy Director-General.

A Member highlighted the issue of children at special schools, and urged the Department to engage with the South African Research Council to learn more details on the matter and see what the Department can do to help those children.

Meeting report

The Chairperson opened the hybrid meeting, greeting the Members in attendance both physically and those on the Zoom platform. She welcomed and acknowledged the presence of the Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disability, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and the Deputy Minister of Public Works, Ms Noxolo Kiviet.

The Chairperson further informed the Committee that Ms N Sharif (DA) had been involved in a car accident and was thus unable to attend the meeting.

The Chairperson then invited officials from National Treasury to make a presentation on the institution's response to the accusation brought forward by the Department, on Treasury refusing to listen to the Department's reasoning on why its two programmes, namely Programme four (Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and Programme five (National Youth Development) should be separated and not be merged as per the Treasury's recommendation into one programme (Mainstreaming Youth and Persons with Disabilities Rights and Advocacy).

Presentation of the National Treasury (NT)

Dr Mark Blecher, Chief Director: Health and Social Development, led the Treasury's delegation team in Parliament.

Mr Blecher submitted two apologies on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Mr Enoch Godongwana, and the Acting Director-General of the National Treasury, Mr Ismail Momoniat, as they were unable to be here at the meeting. They both had to be present for a meeting to do the Department's quarterly reports to the Finance Committee.

Three issues were brought forward to the Committee's attention. The first was the merging of programmes four and five in the Annual Performance Plan (APP) for the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DPYPD). The second was on Treasury's declined donation request for a 4IR Youth and Employment Initiative. The third issue was the R5 million funding for National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.

Dr Blecher provided the context of the budget structure for the Department.

The two new programmes were programme two, which focused on mainstreaming women's rights and advocacy, and programme five, which was about advocacy and mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities. He explained that those were small programmes with very low budgets, and would not even be considered sub-programmes in many other departments.

Dr Blecher pointed out that a structural problem, which is quite common among small departments, is that the administration accounts for a very high percentage of their budgets. For this Department, the administration programme accounts for 48.1% of the budget vote if excluding its entities, and 10% if including its entities.

Dr Blecher also pointed out that the Department's Acting DG is struggling to provide the Department of Public Service and Administration with a satisfactory organisational structure for the Department.

Secondly, Treasury explained why the Department declined the donation request.

Dr Blecher indicated that the Chairperson had indeed received a written response from the Minister of Finance explaining the matter. The Treasury's stance is that it likes the idea but it cannot give its approval because of the Public Finance Management Act.

He explained that it would be unusual for the Treasury to approve donations made to a private company, as it would open a bad precedent exposing the broader system to potential risk. Typically, when a private company is involved, there needs to be in place a competitive procurement process to ensure the fairness of process. Also, he pointed out that donation above R100 000 requires approval from Parliament.

Thirdly, Dr Blecher briefed the Committee on the R5 million funding for National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF).

The Chairperson interjected and asked Treasury why the fund for GBVF had been allocated under goods and services, and not under Compensation of Employees (CoE).

Dr Blecher responded that the Department would be in a position to respond to that question because it was not Treasury's responsibility to itemise those things in the Department's financial statement.


The Chairperson was confused and needed a clear indication from both departments on whose recommendation it was that resulted in the merger of programmes four and five in the Department's APP. The Chairperson recalled that, in the meeting dated, which was held on 03 May 2022, the Department's Director-General had explicitly stated that the reason for the merger was because the National Treasury would not fund the programme if the merger had not taken place. Since then, Committee has been concerned with that response. As a country with a high rate of youth unemployment, the Chairperson agreed that the Department needed to mainstream issues of young people. Despite the huge task the Department is responsible for, it gets a small budget – which the Chairperson believed was sending the signal of an uncaring government to the 16.8 million and 13.7 million populations for persons with disabilities and youth, respectively.

The Chairperson highlighted the Department's conundrum in that it is constrained by its small budgets to do important work pertaining to women, youth and people with disabilities. She further pointed out that it was the Committee's view that the Department is being treated unfairly and the allocated budget is incompatible with the urgency of addressing issues pertaining to women, youth and persons with disabilities should be accorded.

The Chairperson did not understand, and described it as unfortunate that Treasury is not approving donations made by private companies for the better cause of communities. She recalled an incident in her own constituency, where the donation of 30 desktops and laptops to the value of R300 000 to two schools had faced the same challenge.

Ms C Phiri (ANC) sought clarity on National Treasury's engagement, which indicated that "The structure allows for the budgets of Youth and Disabilities to be protected". She wanted to know what it needed to be protected from.

Ms Phiri sought clarity on the extent to which other governmental departments need to implement the advice Treasury gave since she understood that its role is to advise governmental departments on how to manage and structure their finances.

Ms Phiri commented on the declined donation request and wondered if the donation would have been approved if the recipient had been a non-profit organisation. She also needed clarity on Treasury's advice on whether the threshold for R100 000 was per annum. She also urged Treasury to advise how it can be done without breaching legislation and regulations because people on the ground need to benefit from programmes of such good cause.

On the R5 million funding for the National Council on GBV and Femicide, Ms Phiri questioned whether or not it should be the responsibility of the Treasury to give correct advice on if the item should be placed under goods services or compensation of employees. Her understanding was that should the Department place the item wrongly, Treasury had the right to have the fund withdrawn. She believed that the correct process should be that the Treasury should give the Department advice on the correct process. If the Department does not listen to Treasury, then Treasury may report to the Committee for Committee Members to ask the Department to account for its non-compliance.

Ms Phiri asked Treasury if it recommended the Department to have one Chief Director overseeing two programmes, programmes four and five.

Ms G Marekwa (ANC) highlighted that the size of the Department should be reviewed. She echoed her colleagues' view that the Department might have a small budget, but its mandates profoundly impacted the most vulnerable population. Given the massive amount of news highlighting issues of GBV and youth in media, she was of the view that the small budget has made it difficult for the Department to achieve objectives at the end of a financial year, and fulfil public expectations of the Department.

Ms Marekwa said that Treasury must play its role in facilitating the Department to fulfill its mandates. She encouraged greater engagement between the two departments.

Treasury's Response

Dr Blecher clarified that those that determined the Department's budget involved a number of bodies, including the Standing and Select Committees on Finance in Parliament, Cabinet, etc. And the Treasury is only one of the stakeholders in this lengthy process. Dr Blecher rebuked the notion and described it unfair for the Department to state that Treasury determined the budget.

Dr Blecher informed Committee Members that South Africa's economy had slumped massively after COVID and there would be a R268 billion budget cut. For the Department of Health, which he oversaw, there would be a R16.8 billion budget cut to provincial health departments in the 2023/24 financial year, resulting in 15 000 stock loss over the next two years. Also, there is uncertainty about the SRD grant for next year because there is no budget for that at the moment. He asked Members to understand that the budget cut is being executed across all sectors and that budget decision is not easy. On the topic of the needs of women, he highlighted that the issue should be attended to by various Departments other than this Department. For example, issues such as ensuring women's safety outside the house would require adequate lighting, ensuring adequate toilets within close distance to women's houses, etc. Dr Blecher indicated that this Department is a policy department and does not have the budget to implement those policies.

Dr Blecher affirmed that programmes four and five can be de-merged, as budget structure is reviewed yearly.

Dr Blecher distinguished Members' questions on the advisory or compulsory role of Treasury. In terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), National Treasury does have its compulsory power. Treasury's stance has always been that it has to concur with a budget structure and always adopts a cooperative mechanism in its work with other departments on issues of finance. He disagreed with what the Chairperson had said and indicated that even now, Treasury did not feel strongly towards the merger. All that Treasury advised was that, given that it is a small programme with only a R12.8 million budget, will it be worth it for an accounting officer to run such a small programme?

Dr Blecher responded to Ms Phiri that Treasury is offering the soft protection. The ultimate purpose of Treasury's soft protection is that, when committees review all the budgets, they should be able to see those allocations, which Parliament has approved.

Dr Blecher clarified that donations above R100 000 would require Parliament's approval according to PFMA. If the Department wants to proceed with this 4IR initiative, it could include it as part of the appropriation bill to Parliament. Treasury would like to see this item categorised as a transfer to a non-profit school on the Department's financial statement.

The Chairperson asked Treasury to indicate how much of government's budget is being spent on women in total.

Dr Blecher acknowledged that the Chairperson had asked a very difficult question. He explained that the budget office division in Treasury is starting to work on gender-based budgeting across governmental departments. It is a multi-staged process the budget office has also put out guidelines on how to execute a gender-based budget. In the health sector he oversaw, the DoH had a budget of R220 billion across all nine provinces this year. If primary care visits are to be disaggregated into gender, men are very bad clinic attendees, and about 70 percent of clinic visits are by women and children. Dr Blecher can roughly estimate that most of Health Department spending goes to women. A lot of spending on Social Development also goes to women. The Treasury would be happy to walk Members through the gender-based budgeting guidelines.

The Chairperson noted the response and commented that the large share must be translated to reality. She urged Treasury to understand that women empowerment and the monitoring of other departments on the issue of women are the mandates of this Department. Although the functions of this Department are different from those of other departments in the direct implementation of departmental policies, this Department's work and the cause it champions are nevertheless crucial in today's society. They thus need every stakeholder's assistance and cooperation.

Responses by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane commented that hearing Treasury's response reminded her of the impact of institutionalised patriarchy. She highlighted that patriarchy is not only about what men do to women, but it is more about the ideology and the way of thinking. She wished that one day, people would pay more attention to the needs of those underprivileged and vulnerable South Africans. The Minister said that every nation prioritises the affairs of women, youth and disabled people, so it is painful to see that government in South Africa only focuses on the size and budget of Departments whilst neglecting the value of departments with smaller budgets.

She reminded everyone of the rationale behind the foundation of this Department. Due to the lack of funding, the government had failed to honour its promise to the nation that seven percent of the disabled population would have access to governance. In fact, government is struggling even to cover 1.5 percent of the disabled population. The Minister then reminded those in government to think of those disappointing faces and emphasised the government's role in empowering them.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane highlighted the problem of youth unemployment and indicated that African children are still spectators in the economic system and are not actively participating in the system. She also highlighted that the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) emphatically urged the Department to monitor and evaluate women's affairs across Departments on its 25th anniversary. Despite this, women are still being violated. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane recalled an incident where she had heard of a story of GBV only yesterday at a local clinic. The patient sitting next to the Minister had told her a story of how her next-door neighbour shot all his four children and his wife with a gun in Pretoria. Such incidents are happening at an alarming rate in the country. It thus makes the Department's role in monitoring and alerting society instrumentally important.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane decried the lack of funding that had been allocated to the Department. She argued that such lack of funding resulted in the Department being unable to hold its NEDLAC consultation on the recently established National GBV and femicide Council, and the slow progress in establishing the council. In 2020, the President proclaimed that 40 percent of procurement by government would be from women. She then questioned the reality, and asked how many departments were doing that. All she got from departments were requests for another bill to enable them to achieve that goal.

Ms Desree Legwale, Chief Financial Officer, DWYPD, disputed Treasury's response, and indicated that Treasury had played more of a compulsory rather than advisory role in the Department's financial statement. When the Department had tabled its budget structure to Treasury, it was Treasury that had changed the five programmes into four programmes and indicated that it would be the Department's final budget structure.

On the correct placement of the R5 million for GBV and femicide council on the Department's financial statement, Ms Legwale guaranteed the Committee that the Department had continuously engaged with National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration. The Department had initially put the fund under COE, but later moved the item over to goods and services because of Treasury's recommendation. Ms Legwale's view was that itemising should be at the discretion of the Department.

On the donation issue, Ms Legwale clarified that when the application for the business case was submitted to Treasury, the application did not stipulate that the donation would be made directly to the Company. The application explicitly states that the Department has made a procurement consisting of laptops that it planned to donate to young people who wish to participate in its development programme. Stipends would be transferred to TVET colleges where young people are.

Dr Bernice Hlagala,   DWYPD, added that the Department had no intention to donate the equipment or the fund to a private company for the 4IR youth employment project. What the Department has procured would be directly given to young people. The Department is working closely with Tshwane North and South TVET colleges to be able to do that. Dr Hlagala assured the Committee that there is no private company involvement. The Department had started the initiative because of its recognition of the importance of digitalisation, and its intention to assist young people in acquiring skills.

Dr Hlagala urged Treasury to assist and give sound advice to the Department on how to circumvent the red tape bureaucracy and achieve its objective to help those vulnerable population when it comes up with innovative ideas in future.

The Chairperson urged both departments to work out a solution, as Treasury would otherwise be invited to the Committee again. The delegation team from Treasury was then excused from the meeting.

The Chairperson addressed the Deputy Minister of Public Works, Ms Kiviet, and asked her to explain why the DPWI was dragging its feet on the relocation of the office building for the Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities. The Committee found the delay unacceptable and wishes to see the Department being moved to the new office building soon. She enquired about the cause of the delay.

Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI): Delay of Relocation

Deputy Minister Kiviet apologised to the Committee on behalf of Minister Patricia De Lille, as she was attending a meeting in Pretoria. The head of the Property Management Trading Entity is also off sick. Ms Nyeleti Makhubele, Deputy Director-General: Real Estate, was in the place instead.

Deputy Minister Kiviet agreed with and fully understood the Committee's frustration that the delay should not have happened, and the Department should have made better arrangements for the relocation.

DPWI Briefing

Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities submitted a request for office accommodation to DPWI in 2020. The Procurement Instruction issued was for 7145m², including 302 parking bays for the period of five years in Hatfield or Arcadia. The tender was initially advertised on 28 August 2020, with a closing date of 17 September 2020. Five bid documents were received. All five bids were administratively none responsive. DPWI attempted to go out on open tender for the second time in 2021 but the client withdrew the request.

The DDG: REMS, in June 2021, informed the Department of the available office accommodation initially procured for the Department of Military Veterans (DMV), which later pulled out of the deal. The signed lease accommodation for DMV was for a lettable extent of 3145m² and 40 parking bays for a period of five years at the Fedsure Forum Building.

To avert any irregular and fruitless expenditure, the office of the DDG presented the option to occupy the office space initially procured for DMV to the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities.

The Department of Women agreed to the proposal and sent a letter to DPWI expressing their interest in occupying it even if the space procured was less than what they initially requested. This was followed by the walkabout conducted in early June 2021 with the client. An addendum was signed on 08 and 20 June 2022, respectively, for the substitution and tenant installation concluded on 22 June 2022. The landlord is waiting for the municipality to do the final inspection to issue the Certificate of Occupation.

The Department is currently accommodated at BESMED Building 36 Hamilton Street. The lease period for the current lease was for nine years & 11 months, and expired in 2021. The lease was later extended for 12 months with the same terms and conditions of the expired lease. The Department is awaiting the certificate of occupation for the FEDSURE Building, which will determine the readiness for occupancy of the building by the client department.

Commission for Gender Equality

According to the DPWI's records, there has been no request, from the Commission for Gender Equality, for relocation. But there was a request to renew the lease. On the confirmation letter to renew the lease, the client indicated that it does not have any intentions to relocate.

The confirmation to renew the lease was submitted to the Department in February 2021 for the renewal of three years at the Praetor Forum Building. The renewal was successfully concluded by National Negotiating Committee on 22 November 2021. The Pretoria Regional Office prepared the Lease Agreement to be signed by the Department and the landlord following the National Negotiating Committee (NNC) approval.

Minister's Remarks

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said she was looking forward to moving to the new office building this past weekend. But then she was told that the relocation required the occupation certificate. She needed to know what outstanding issues were still to be sorted before the entire office could be relocated. She also pointed out the uncertainty of the cost of the extension of the lease.


Ms Phiri asked the Minister to make an undertaking at the Committee that there would be a new building for the Department if the inspection does not turn out as had been planned by 01 October.

Deputy Minister Kiviet explained that the issue of compliance is not within her control since municipalities issue certificates. The DPWI is obligated to ensure all aspects of the new building comply with relevant regulations. Should there be non-compliance that caused accidents, the Department would be liable for that. Given the satisfactory progress of the project, Deputy Minister Kiviet felt that she could accept Ms Phiri's proposal since the relocation of the Department is most likely to happen in due course.

Ms Shoki Tshabalala, DWYPD, emphasised the anxiety that her departmental employees faced because of the uncertainty. The Department needs to be provided with a fully comprehensive list of what still has to be done. The possibility of eviction kept her awake at night. Ms Tshabalala indicated that she had engaged with DPWI recently and was given the assurance that the Department would get the comprehensive report in two weeks. Then the DPWI backtracked on its words and said that it was unable to do that because SITA, which was supposed to do the cable project for the Department, could not continue its work in the absence of the Occupation of Certificate. Given so much back-and-forth uncertainty, she wanted some level of assurance from the DPWI.

The Chairperson recommended the Department of Women deploy a senior official to accompany the task team, and monitor the progress on some of those issues that had just been mentioned.

Briefing by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities on First Quarterly Report for 2022/23 and Erratum of APP for 2022/23

The presentation was on the performance, human resource and financial performance of the Department in quarter one.

The Department's overall performance was 97 percent or 28 out of its total 29 targets were achieved.

[See presentation document for more details]


The Chairperson highlighted the lack of legislation being passed in the Committee. As a Department, the Minister should be aware that lawmakers are expected passing bills, and she observed that this Department is lagging from 2019 to date. As the Committee was about to complete its sixth term, she questioned what would be the laws that this Committee had passed, which would define its legacy. Thus, she urged the Department to take action with speed.

The Persons with Disabilities Bill should be passed during this term, so the Department needs to present the Bill in the National Assembly soon.

The Chairperson indicated that the National Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Council Bill was another Bill that the Department would be measured on its performance. Given the magnitude of women having been killed and abused during this term, not passing the Bill would make the government look as if the issue was not accorded the appropriate attention. This Department would be blamed for the killing of women and youth if no further actions were taken. She urged that the Bill must come to Parliament, and she enquired whether the prolonged delay in NEDLAC consultation was the cause for delay. If that was the cause, the Chairperson suggested the Department put aside NEDLAC consultation and present the Bill to Parliament immediately.

The Chairperson urged for the passing of the South African Youth Development Bill. She noted that the Department had underspent on the programme in the first quarter, which she found unacceptable. She highlighted the many challenges that young people and persons with disabilities face in this country. The Chairperson urged the Department to do something to improve its performance on this indicator. Concerning that, the Chairperson reiterated her position that the programme for youth and persons with disabilities should be separated for clearer accountability.

The Chairperson noted that the Department appeared on the Auditor-General's list of the top 15 governmental departments for incurring fruitless expenditures. She enquired about the issue with the Department's CFO, as the Committee was concerned since the Department had only a small budget to manage. She asked the CFO whether the Department's poor planning caused that.  

The Chairperson noted the absence of information on the sub-programme on advocacy, and mainstreaming rights for disabilities. She wanted more clarity on the matter.

The Chairperson wanted the Department to explain how those symposiums, conferences and workshops held with key national and provincial stakeholders would be translated to the economic empowerment of women, youths and persons with disabilities.

The Chairperson sought clarity on the Sanitary Dignitary Pads project, and asked in which province(s) the project had seen a satisfactory outcome. She recalled that the Committee had invited provinces to account for their project performance and was thus aware that many provinces did not cooperate. For example, to her knowledge, Gauteng did something else with the allocated fund.

The Chairperson suggested inviting the Secretariat for GBV and Femicide Council to account to the Committee on the work that has been done so far after the appointment had been made. She indicated to the Department that the Committee can assist the Department in fulfilling its mandates if other departments are not complying with the Department's requests.

Ms Phiri was confused and asked the Department why it had only presented its performance on programme one, whereas the Chairperson had asked for a presentation on all five programmes.

Ms Phiri noted the Department's excitement in announcing its achievement of targets on programme one. She had some reservations about that, and questioned the Department whether those targets were indeed being translated into reality. She also noted that one performance indicator had been removed and wanted to know why.

Ms Phiri endorsed the Chairperson's view that those workshops, many of which had partnered with reputable organisations such as UNICEF, need to benefit South Africans. So, she asked the same question regarding Monitoring & Evaluation: what fruit do those workshops bear for South Africans?

Ms Marekwa noted the use of consultants in this financial year, and questioned the logic behind that. She said that the Department could not use consultants where its own staff members are paid to do the work those consultants are doing.

Ms Marekwa emphasised the role of communication and enquired about the Department's means of communication to ensure that communities on the ground get the messages it wished to convey. For instance, do communities know about those conferences and seminars?

Ms Marekwa enquired about the Department's re-designing process. It has been quite a lengthy process since 2019, and she wanted an indication from the Department on when the process would end.

Ms F Masiko (ANC) expressed her great concern about the Department's under-spending and emphasised the importance of programme four. She asked the Department whether the shift from physical to virtual platforms would mainly contribute to the Department's under-spending.

Ms Masiko echoed her colleagues' views, and she asked the Department to highlight the effectiveness of those symposiums, conferences and workshops in empowering women, youth and persons with disabilities.

Ms Masiko recalled that the use of consultants had been flagged as a critical resolution in the Committee when it assessed the Department's performance in quarter four last year. She thus wanted to know what the Department was doing to improve the matter. It does not make sense as the Department's employees who are being paid should have the capacity to do the work.

Ms Masiko recalled a special school for children with disabilities in the North West province, which the Committee had visited and since requested the Department to engage with the South African Research Council on the issue of children in special schools. She wanted the Department to provide an update on the subject.

Ms Masiko requested an update on the long-awaited report from the Public Service Commission on the position of Chief Director for Advocacy and Mainstreaming persons with disabilities.

Ms Masiko requested an update on the outcome from either the court or internal disciplinary process for the Department's DDG for corporate service.

Ms Masiko, like her colleagues, expressed her concern about the Department being flagged on the top 15 list for incurring irregular expenditures. Since there was no financial misconduct at the end of quarter one by 30 June, she wanted to know the implications of the investigations on irregular expenditure for the rest of the financial year. Also, she was aware that the Department had reported financial misconduct in the 2016/17 financial year. She asked whether measures had been taken against those employees who had placed the Department in disrepute.


Ms Tshabalala noted all the concerns that had been raised by Members, especially on the urgency to pass bills.

The President launched the National Strategic Plan for GBV and Femicide and was approved on 11 March 2020 by Cabinet. The Department thereafter embarked upon the draft process on the Bill. That drafting process had been concluded, and the consultation of the Bill subsequently ensued across all nine provinces. The Department had ensured that at least one or two consultations had been held in each province. The Department had to further engage with NEDLAC and the Office of the State Law Advisor, which took a much longer period of time. Ms Tshabalala informed the Committee that, as of now, the Department had received reports from NEDLAC and the Chief Law Advisor. It will then table the Bill to Cabinet with all the inputs incorporated before its final tabling to Parliament.

On economic empowerment of seminars, Ms Tshabalala informed Members that there had been radio talk shows that had been done in all eleven official languages, and were run for a reasonable period of time. The intention of incorporating all eleven languages shows the Department's effort in reaching out to women, especially those that live in rural communities. Topics of those seminars centred around assisting them to do business with the government. Those programmes have also moved beyond the online and across all provinces.

Ms Tshabalala explained that the Department's achievement is guided by its APP. However, she suggested including the overall context in its future reporting to highlight the Department's performance against the broad context.

Ms Tshabalala agreed with the Committee that the Secretariat for the GBV and Femicide Council should be invited to the Committee to report on the progress made in combating GBV and femicide in the country. She further informed the Committee that the Secretariat would work under the Chief Director who reports to the DDG. The main job responsibilities of the Council are to ensure the coordination of departments, facilitating reports to the President, establishing rapid response teams within communities, and capacitating local councillors. Ms Tshabalala highlighted that the Department is involved in training local government officials in dealing with GBVF.  

Ms Tshabalala confirmed that the Department had appointed data capturers that partnered with the European Union to help the Department understand the issue of gender, which informed the Department's future planning of programmes. The Department has worked through economic and social clusters as well as analysed the various APPs of other departments to comment on issues related to gender. The Department guaranteed the Committee that it is proactively working on mainstreaming gender issues in other departments. She acknowledged the slow progress and that the mainstream may not take shape at the pace that Members would expect it to be. She indicated that governmental departments are starting to report aggregate data now, and the impact can only be measured in a particular period such as five years.

Ms Tshabalala confirmed that the Department is seriously looking into its under-spending. Currently, three mega-projects are lined up, leading to huge allocation of funding. Those projects evaluate the national strategic plan on GBV and Femicide, comprehensive sexuality education and the economic empowerment indices. Those three projects are about R1 million each, and the spending do not reflect on the Department's APP because they are still under tender processes.

The Chairperson interjected and expressed her worry that, if the Secretariat is appointed, the remaining term of office would only last until March 2023, which would only give the Secretariat very limited time to do the work.

Ms Tshabalala said that the process could happen sooner if the issue is being prioritised. She will follow up on the issue with National Treasury.

Ms Legwale explained to the Committee that the Auditor-General's report referred to the fruitless expenditure incurred around the 2013/14 and 14/15 financial years. The matter is currently with the State Law Attorney. The convention dictates that, until the matter is resolved, the Department is obligated to state this amount in its financial statement. Hence, she clarified that the delay is with the State Attorney. The Department's legal division is making follow-ups on that matter.

Ms Legwale informed the Committee that the Department's organisational re-design had been finalised. But the Department is experiencing challenges in dealing with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the National Treasury. The DPSA wanted Treasury's confirmation that the funding for the re-design would be provided, whereas Treasury wanted the DPSA to confirm the soundness of the re-organisational structure. Hence, the Department is in a catch-22 situation and cannot proceed on the matter.

An official from the Department explained to the Committee that a DDG responsible for corporate management in the Department had taken the Department to court. On the court's side, there has been nothing other than an affidavit. The Department's disciplinary hearing is in progress. The official declined to elaborate on any other matters, as they cannot be disclosed at this stage. He could confirm that this DDG is back at work and not on suspension.

The Chairperson found it absurd that the Department is paying someone who refused to work. At the time of the matter, she recalled that this DDG had simply refused to go into her office.

The Chairperson and Ms Masiko both wanted to know what this DDG does in her office after she clocks in. In the absence of the Department's DG, they requested the DG to update the Committee and that the Committee would ask that question in the next session.

Ms Tshabalala explained to Members that there was no input on the APP because of the report template the Department uses to report on quarter one. Those inputs would usually be given by the Minister and the DG in their opening remarks.

Ms Tshabalala further clarified that the Department could not remove a target from its APP without Parliament's approval, since those targets are aligned to the APP tabled in Parliament.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane informed the Committee that the Department had received the response from the Public Service Commission and would copy the Chairperson in the response.

She highlighted the Department's work in expanding the training of GBV to capacitate officials at the provincial, district and local levels.

The Minister commented that those big departments often neglect the Department's persistent pleas to highlight gender performance. She believed that that point needed to be incorporated into the Department's quarterly report.

The Chairperson noted that there were remaining questions to be responded to. But given that the plenary would begin at 2pm, she requested the remaining responses to be sent to the Committee in writing.

The meeting was adjourned.

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