In a virtual meeting, the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities received a briefing on the Secretariat on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) and an update on the proposed National Council on GBVF. The Committee also discussed a supplementary report on filling vacancies on the Commission on Gender Equality.
The Committee was told that the purpose of the GBVF Secretariat was to facilitate implementation of the National Strategic Plan on GBVF, conduct monitoring and evaluation and provide multisectoral policies and frameworks to ensure a coordinated national response to GBVF.
The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities told the Committee that it had received an allocation of R15 million for the establishment of the National Council on GBVF. The allocation was spread over three financial years. Expenditure thus far was mainly on salaries for contract workers and travel expenses. Officials said that once the council was established, it would require greater funding if it was to be effective.
Committee Members asked numerous questions about the role of the secretariat, it's budget and what it had achieved. They asked for details about the deployment of rapid response teams to provinces to deal with GBVF. They asked about legislative delays in establishing the National Council on GBVF and the Department’s relationship with civil society organisations.
Supplementary Report of the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities on filling of vacancies in the Commission for Gender Equality
The Chairperson said that the Committee had submitted a report on filling vacancies on the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). However, a supplementary report was requested because a letter must be sent to the President about who the candidates are. The manner in which the first report was written needed to be changed to the correct legal prescripts. This would provide the President with accurate information and help with the letters appointing commissioners. The report was no longer for debate; it would just have to go to the House again. The amended report should be adopted.
Mr L Mphithi (DA) asked what would happen when the report went back to the House. The report was voted on previously. So, would another vote or declaration be required?
The Chairperson explained that the report did not need to be voted on again. It was requested that the Committee be specific. For instance, it should not say half term, but instead it should say two years and six months. The President would write according to the report, so the dates of when the current serving commissioners were appointed and when the term would end would have to be included. Two part-time commissioners resigned. The Committee had to be specific on when the term would start, and it recommended 1 December 2022. This was the date that the President would use when making appointments. There would be no vote or declaration. It was just a formality.
Mr Mphithi asked when the report would appear in the House.
The Chairperson said that she hoped it would appear by Thursday, 17 November 2022, if that was possible.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) said that it was recommended that Prof Nokuthula Mazibuko and Adv Olave Nthabiseng Sepanya-Mogale be considered for the position of chairperson of the CGE. She suggested that the person that did not make it be considered for the position of deputy chairperson. Both were capable and would be the correct leadership of the CGE. She moved for the adoption of the supplementary report.
The Chairperson agreed.
Ms A Hlongo (ANC) seconded the motion to adopt the report.
The supplementary report was adopted.
Dr Herman Tembe, Legal Officer, Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy, noted the comments on the chairmanship of the CGE. He said that Prof Mazibuko was not on the current list of candidates that were interviewed. The report should be about the candidates who were interviewed. The Committee could not include an extra party as there would then be a risk of the report being challenged because Prof Mazibuko was not part of the interviews. He suggested that the name be excluded.
The Chairperson then informed the Committee that only Adv Olave Nthabiseng Sepanya-Mogale could be nominated as the chairperson of the CGE.
Ms Masiko agreed and moved to adopt the report, amended accordingly.
Ms Masondo seconded the motion.
The Chairperson said that the Committee recommended the candidates, but the President would make the final decision.
Report on the Secretariat on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide
Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, said that at the second Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) summit, the whole world looked at South Africa and said that it should not be too hard on itself. However, women and children were dying and it should be stopped. They should feel safe on the streets, at home, in church, and everywhere. She said she had been in Senegal for a conference and realised that this was happening not only in South Africa. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem. However, there was no excuse for the violence, unemployment, and poverty that one saw among the people in South Africa, particularly the youth and women.
Report on the GBVF Secretariat
Mr Mandla Neku, Director: GBVF Secretariat, took the Committee through a presentation on the secretariat. He said it consisted of a director (male), two deputy directors (male and female), and one administrative officer (female).
The Chairperson raised concern about women not being in senior positions. She mentioned that women were being abused every day.
Mr Neku said guidance had been sought from National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to strengthen the coordination of the National Strategic Plan on GBVF (NSP on GBVF). In the absence of a National Council on GBVF (NCGBVF), the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) continued with the appointment of an interim GBVF Secretariat. The Department, supported by the GBVF Secretariat, continued to hold the fort in ensuring the coordination and implementation of the NSP on GBVF. This included regular submission of monthly progress reports to the Presidency. The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation provided quality assurance mechanisms. The Presidency played a crucial role in overall oversight.
The purpose of the GBVF Secretariat was to facilitate implementation of the NSP on GBVF, conduct monitoring and evaluation of its implementation, provide coherent policies and frameworks to ensure a coordinated national response to GBVF and to engage in multisectoral consultative processes.
Mr Neku went through the targets that were achieved and were still ongoing for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years. The appointment of the GBVF Secretariat bolstered human resources and technical capacity to institutionalise the NSP on GBVF. Great strides have been made in achieving major milestones towards implementing the NSP on GBVF.
The DWYPD received an allocation of R15 million for the establishment of the NCGBVF. The allocation was done in the 2020/21 financial year for three years over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. Expenditure mainly related to the salaries of contract workers and travel expenses.
See attached for further details
The Chairperson said she could not understand the job of the GBVF Secretariat. She was not sure that the work that had been done would help end GBVF. Was the secretariat providing support? If so, how? GBVF affects women every day. She had been analysing the positions held by women in the DWYPD. Most of the senior positions were held by men. There were many women in number, but they were in lower ranks. She did not know if the DWYPD had any confidence in women leading in senior positions. She was not saying that appointing men was wrong or right. Looking at the report, she did not know whether GBVF was taken seriously. Was the GBVF Secretariat ready to assist the DWYPD? It seemed as if nothing was being dealt with. As the Chairperson of the Committee, she could not confidently say to the people of South Africa that the issue of GBVF was being dealt with. There was no progress.
Mr Mphithi said that the Minister had indicated in the previous week that the R15 million announced by the President in 2019 had been ring-fenced. Was the R15 million that was supposed to establish the NCGBVF used? If so, what exactly was the money used for? More than R5 million had been spent with little or no achievements that could actually be seen by the public or the women in South Africa.
The fact that the NCGBVF itself had not been established raised great concern. The R15 million was there to establish the NCGBVF but after three years, there was still no NCGBVF. How was this possible?
He said he was not happy with the report. The target of localisation of the NSP on GBVF was listed as achieved but it had been achieved only in three provinces and the other provinces were neglected. Why was it listed as achieved if it was not achieved in all provinces? Rapid response teams were supposed to be established in all provinces. Only achieving it in three provinces was not good enough. This particular target should be listed as ongoing because it was not achieved.
The same thing happened with the rest of the things that were being reported on. In his view, these were quick wins that were not actually quick wins. They should be looked at again.
He asked for an explanation about the extension of the term of the secretariat. He was confused about a statement in the presentation that the NCGBVF would decide how the staff of the secretariat would be appointed. When and where was the NCGBVF going to be established? If the NCGBVF was being established soon, why was the secretariat's term being extended? This would be understandable if the NCGBVF was not being established soon.
A lot of concerns were raised at the Presidential GBVF summit by civil society about the NCGBVF and what was going on. However, in this meeting, one could only establish that the R15 million was spent on salaries, advertising, 3G cell phones, data, accommodation, travel, and laptops. This was unacceptable. Not much had happened. So far, what had been done was to ensure that people received tools of trade. In terms of work done, there was much to be desired. He just did not understand. What was the plan?
On the localisation of the NSP on GBVF, it was said that the corrective measure was increasing establishment and assessment of functionality, but it did not say anything about the issues in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Gauteng, and the Eastern Cape. What were the problems? What mitigating factors will be implemented to ensure that rapid response teams are operational in those provinces?
What was meant by harnessing the district development model? How was this helping the conditions of women in this country? How was it helping the NSP on GBVF to be integrated into police stations and communities? Work might have been done but it was not reflected clearly in this report. This was not a report that South Africans would be happy about. He suggested that regular reports from the GBVF Secretariat be submitted to the Committee.
Ms B Marekwa (ANC) addressed the issue of extending the GBVF Secretariat’s term. She was concerned about delaying tactics in establishing the NCGBVF. Looking at the years that the GBVF Secretariat had been operating and the work that it had done so far, she did not think there would be a NCGBVF. The failure to establish the NCGBVF made it look as if the President was not implementing what had been promised in public spaces. It should not be delayed while the secretariat did the work. There should be a council with power to ensure that GBVF is dealt with.
Every day there were incidents of GBVF and women being killed. The 100-Day challenges capacity building programme was piloted to accelerate local implementation of the NSP on GBVF in seven districts. The aim was to create the enabling conditions for collaboration, innovation and execution. How many districts must still be attended to? Looking at the money spent, there should really be justice done for the people of South Africa. The President had promised over and over again to have a council on GBVF. It was already the end of the year and this meant the term of the GBVF Secretariat would be extended. This was really a concern. She asked if the secretariat had used consultants or external providers.
The Chairperson said that it had not been using any services from consultants and it had been doing most of the work itself.
Ms Masiko said that, indeed many concerns had been raised at the GBVF summit. There was no collective responsibility by both government and CSOs (CSOs) in the fight against GBVF in the country.
She wanted to understand what was meant by the secretariat facilitating the implementation of the NSP on GBVF. How did it do this? What was the relationship between the GBVF Secretariat, the DWYPD and the GBVF collective? She understood that the GBFV collective included all the CSOs. What would the nature of the relationship be if one was throwing stones at work being done when it was a collective responsibility? There should not be individual responsibility, but it became so if the nature of the working relations was not properly defined. Did the DWYPD fund the GBVF collective? Was the DWYPD coordinating the functions and activities of the GBVF collective? She was not saying that CSOs must not hold the government to account for the work that it was doing. However, if there was a secretariat that claimed to have working relations with CSOs, there should not have been the situation there was at the GBVF summit with only government being held accountable.
Where were the rapid response teams allocated?
It seemed as if the secretariat was located within the DWYPD but it reported as a separate body outside the Department and also reported on some of the functions that ought to be done by the DWYPD itself through its programmes. How did the programmes of the secretariat differ from those of the Department?
Why had the NCGBVF Bill not been certified by a state law advisor?
The Chairperson said that she thought she was the only one feeling disoriented. She could not confidently say to South Africans that the GBVF Secretariat was dealing with the issues of GBVF together with various departments. She wanted to get a sense that there was collaboration with non-governmental organisations. Was there such a working relationship?
Ms A Hlongo (ANC) said that at the GBVF summit, it was very clear that there was no relationship between the non-governmental organisations and the Department. She wanted to understand how the secretariat operated.
Mr S Ngcobo (DA) asked how stakeholders were identified in various provinces and how those relationships were managed.
Mr Neku said that the GBVF Secretariat has been in office for a year and two months. This was one reason for not reaching many places. The Eastern Cape was one of the provinces with which the secretariat had been working closely. In the provinces, it had been working closely with all stakeholders, the Office of the Premier and the Office on the Status of Women. At the municipal level, there were engagements with the office of the mayor. This was the way the work was done and monitored.
Whenever a rapid response team was established, there was an exercise to determine what was being done and by whom to ensure that critical players such as civil society were not left behind. The NSP on GBVF was clear about the whole societal approach. Rapid response teams were not seen as government’s only response but embraced the spirit of multisectoralism.
Some work had been done in Nkangala and Tshwane by harnessing district municipalities. In KZN, some work had been done, but establishing a rapid response team was still in progress. There was a WhatsApp group for this rapid response team to speed up responses to GBVF issues. Establishing a rapid response team did not take one session, but three or four. Establishing teams should not just be seen as ticking boxes. It had to be ensured that they were sustainable. There should not be duplication of efforts or structures already in place.
Work had been done in the Northern Cape in the Frances Baard District Municipality. Some work had also been done in the Namakwa District Municipality. The aim was to activate the establishment of a rapid response team in 30 hotspots and to ensure that local municipalities were also involved. The district departments were at the forefront of dealing with issues of violence. The South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Social Development (DSD) were the role players with whom the GBVF Secretariat was working.
Ms Masiko said she was very confused about the rapid response teams. How would the budget be protected if it was spent on individuals in the rapid response teams? She asked Mr Neku to clearly unpack this because she did not want to leave the meeting more confused.
Mr Neku said that the DWYPD did not provide any funding for rapid response teams apart from providing a meeting venue and catering. Services were procured through partners such as the DSD.
The district development model was harnessed because the DWYPD saw how forthcoming the model was. The work that the GBVF Secretariat did had to be outside the district development model. It wanted to link the interventions and structures.
Mr Mphithi said that his questions about the localisation of the NSP on GBVF and why the targets were not achieved were not answered. His questions about the development model and the R15 million were not answered.
Ms Mikateko Maluleke, Director-General, DWYPD explained that the NSP on GBVF was approved by the Cabinet on 1 April 2020. When it did so, it instructed the DWYPD to establish a NCGBVF as a trust, not via a legislative route. However, CSOs rejected this approach somewhere around June 2021. A draft Bill on the NCGBVF had been submitted to the Committee. Whether the NCGBVF would be established within a set period or not, now depended on the Committee. The Bill had been tabled in Parliament.
She said that GBVF had been happening for centuries. It now seemed that GBVF was treated as if it was a movement that started yesterday that someone could just shut down. The criminal justice system had been trying to address GBVF but it had failed, because there had been a failure to institutionalise the response or to address this mindset. It was not just about arresting and putting the perpetrators in jail. It had to be ensured that all the departments understood their role. This was what the DWYPD had been doing in coordinating the implementation of the NSP on GBVF.
The Chairperson said the Committee could not deal with the Bill if it had not been certified by the state law advisor. The Committee was responsible for pushing urgent matters such as the one of GBVF. It was not the responsibility of the Committee to do follow-ups. It was the responsibility of the DWYPD to ensure that the Bill was certified by the state law advisor. If the DWYPD was being criticised, the Committee felt it had a responsibility to assist. The Committee should be in a position to say to the people of South Africa that a secretariat had been appointed to deal with GBVF. The Committee should be able to explain in layman’s terms what the secretariat has done so far.
Ms Maluleke said the Bill had been certified. There was no way the Bill would have been sent without it being certified. The DWYPD had been working with the office of the state law advisor.
Ms Nondumiso Ngqulunga, Director: Legal Services, DWYPD, said that the Bill was certified twice, as required by the processes. The Bill was sent to the state law advisor in 2021, when the DWYPD requested Cabinet to grant approval. Before public consultations were conducted, the Bill was certified. Before the Bill went to Cabinet, it was certified. Pre-certification, there were consultations in the provinces and it was published in the government gazette. The Bill also went to the National Economic Development and Labour Council. After the inputs were received, the Bill was amended accordingly. The Bill went back to the state law advisor for final certification before submission to Cabinet for approval to introduce the Bill in Parliament. The documents that were forwarded included the final certification of the Bill from the office of the state law advisor. She said if the documents were not received, they could be forwarded again.
Ms Maluleke said National Treasury allocated R15 million over three years. Therefore, it would be lost whether or not the money was used. This was not the issue. When the DWYPD could not establish the NCGBVF through a trust, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and National Treasury wrote to the DWYPD that a GBVF Secretariat should be established. The secretariat was made up of one director, two assistant directors, and a secretary. It was not a big secretariat that could go to all nine provinces. The NSP on GBVF was a ten-year plan. Some things had to be achieved over the years.
In terms of institutionalisation, the secretariat had managed to do that. The entire government was doing something on implementing the NSP on GBVF. People had been appointed through the fund. The rapid response teams appointed in the three provinces were a pilot project so that the DWYPD could see how the provinces reacted. There were provinces with challenges but the DWYPD was assisting them.
At the GBVF summit, there were over 1 000 CSOs. About 20 to 50 of them were complaining, not all of them. Most CSOs wanted to end GBVF. People were complaining on the first day of the summit, but on the second day, there was support. There was also a realisation that everything was about funding. The non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were complaining about funding. The Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, addressed them the following day and it was discovered that there was funding of R8.2 billion for NGOs. They received this funding and therefore when the DWYPD worked with them, it did not pay them. Nobody disputed this, because the NGOs did receive funding.
Some NGOs did not want to work together and some just wanted money. There was a collaborative and coordinated effort to end GBVF. Six pillars were coordinated by government and civil society. For example, there was a government department that cooperated with a call coordinator in civil society. The DWYPD also coordinated accountability. There was a pillar for social development and a pillar for justice.
The Chairperson suggested that since the DSD was funding NGOs, the DWYPD should request that it publish a list of all those that it was currently funding. NGOs were very quick to insult the government and ministers.
Ms Maluleke said that such a list had been requested from the DSD. The donor community also had to be coordinated. When NGOs received funding, they did not even account as to how much was received.
The Chairperson said this was like double dipping because funds were received from the government and elsewhere.
Ms Maluleke said that when the DWYPD met with private sector GBVF funders, it was raised that most NGOs in rural areas did not receive funding. It was asked that there be a focus on them. This had been done.
The Chairperson said it was important to know what was happening with the funding.
Ms Maluleke said that in 2020, close to R100 million from the proceeds of crime fund was given to the National Development Agency (NDA) to administer and give to CSOs. The NDA did this very well. NGOs that requested funding were investigated to see what they were doing or not doing. For example, there would be a first tranche, but when a second tranche was not paid because the money was not used for what it was intended, anger would be expressed by the NGOs. The NGOs could not just get money for the sake of it; it must be accounted for.
Ms Shoki Tshabalala, Deputy Director-General: Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment, DWYPD, said that government could not be the only body that should account for the work it was doing when the NSP on GBVF was jointly crafted by both the government and civil society. CSOs referred to “our” NSP on GBVF which meant they took full responsibility. The NGOs also received funding from foreign donors, development partners and the private sector. There was therefore a duty to report and accept accountability. It could not be right that only the government was supposed to report. The DWYPD would be working on an accountability framework.
CSOs were not a fully coordinated body so there was still an issue of them reporting to one body. Many NGOs were popping up on a daily basis. This was a challenge. Business plans had to be submitted, but the challenge was an expectation that by virtue of having a business plan, funding should be provided. It was important to check whether an NGO's work aligned with government priorities and if the kind of service was actually responding to issues on the ground.
A lot of work needed to be done on working with civil society. The DSD had taken the initiative to commission a study that would assess how much it was paying civil society, in essence, those that were receiving funding in the next financial year. This would help to address double-dipping. It was not a new issue. It was a matter that needed collective responsibility.
There were six collaborative pillars and there was a code for each pillar. There was one for government and civil society where they agreed on the agenda, the quick deliverables, for themselves, and then reported on a monthly basis. The reports were given to the President and other organisations. Some organisations were committed to ensuring that issues were addressed in the absence of the council. If organisations disagreed, matters went back to the drawing board.
Some NGOs did not want to account or report because it would tell the DWYPD outright that it should not fund them. However, they were receiving funding from other bodies and that on its own required that they should account for the work they were doing.
The district development model was all about ensuring that those districts infused the NSP on GBVF into their plans. It was all about the facilitation of gender responsiveness. The DPWYPD was working closely with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) because it was aware that GBVF was happening at the local level. The DWYPD also worked with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Councillors were trained but unfortunately, the councillors were no longer there after the elections. Some were deployed to other positions, and some did not make the cut.
The DWYPD was now starting another process to demonstrate the amount of work and commitment it had embarked on to ensure that the NSP on GBVF was institutionalised and localised. What had been achieved was measured against the annual performance plan.
A distinction should be made if additional work was done to bring in the secretariat. The process of the Bill was still unfolding and it could not be guaranteed when it would be concluded. In the event that the process was not concluded before the commencement of the financial year, the DWYPD would engage with National Treasury and the DPSA about an extended term for the GBVF Secretariat, because they mooted the idea of the secretariat. The whole idea was that it would not be possible to coordinate the implementation of the NSP on GBVF in the absence of the NCGBVF. The secretariat had a secretarial kind of function and was not necessarily tasked with reducing GBVF. Secretariat services were a support function. The annual performance plan indicated what the secretariat services were. This was also fully captured in the advertisement. Efforts would be made to ensure that the public understood the functions of the secretariat.
She reiterated that all documents would be provided to the Committee to ensure that it was able to process the Bill. The DWYPD wanted to see the NCGBVF up and running and pledged its commitment to ensuring that it happened. There were many non-profit organisations under different departments which needed to be coordinated.
The Chairperson said the issue of the Bill being certified by the state law advisor should be dealt with.
Mr Mphithi said he was still awaiting responses to the questions about localisation and the provinces. He said he was trying to understand the delays that resulted in the NCGBVF not being established on time. Members were well-versed in the challenges of GBVF. They were elected to do a particular job. There had been a promise of a NCGBVF, but it had not been established and someone must account for the reasons. The DWYPD should be able to explain why things were not happening in the manner in which it had been said they would. The questions asked by the Committee were based on what was promised to the people of South Africa.
He said there seemed to be a kind of disconnect between what was said by the Minister the previous week and now by the Director-General. Two different things were being said, so what was the truth? The point of the matter was that a target could not be listed as achieved when there was no explanation of how it was achieved. Where were those rapid response teams? What had they managed to accomplish? This information was lacking in the report. It could not simply be left out just because there was a secretariat function and one must assume that the work would be done. There must be a full report on how things had taken place. Simply producing a table with no information was not useful to the Committee.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had received an email stating that the Bill had not been certified by a state law advisor, let alone introduced.
Ms Maluleke said it must be a mistake because the DWYPD would not have sent it to Parliament without all the necessary documents.
Mr Jack Matlala, Parliamentary Liaison Officer, said that all the documents were submitted.
Ms Maluleke asked how many documents were attached.
Mr Matlala said four documents were attached.
The Chairperson said that the National Council on GBVF Bill was on the list of bills planned for introduction in 2021. It was published in the announcements, tabling, and committee reports (ATC) that joint rule 159 had been complied with. The rule 159 notice was referred to this Committee and the Select Committee on Health and Social Services for noting. However, that did not mean that introduction was imminent. She said that this notice could be found in government gazette 46991 of 30 September 2022.
Mr Matlala said the letter before him said that the Bill on the National Council on GBVF was introduced.
The Chairperson said that there should be a follow-up on this.
Ms Maluleke said that she could vouch for the DWYPD that the Bill was introduced and advertised in the government gazette. All the documents were also sent to Parliament and included the certification. There was no way that the DWYPD would have sent it to Parliament without the certification.
She said the localisation of implementation of the NSP on GBVF should be mainstreamed even in local level municipalities. Many municipalities reached out to the DWYPD for assistance. This was a process and it could not be achieved in two days. There were only three or four people in the secretariat, which could not be compared to departments with thousands of people. The district development model would be able to mainstream the NSP on GBVF. A chief directorate at SALGA was responsible for the district development model. This was one way in which the DWYPD had been able to integrate the district development model. It was not achieved in all nine provinces.
The DWYPD placed people in provinces. The money that came from National Treasury was not for the appointment of people, it was for goods. National Treasury, however, allowed the DWYPD to use some of the money to appoint the secretariat. The DWYPD used funds from the European Union to place people in provinces but this could not be implemented in all nine. There had to be a pilot project to ensure that it would work. If the annual performance plan said there was going to be a pilot project in three provinces and this happened, then that was an achievement in terms of the annual performance plan.
The DWYPD had placed monitors in four provinces, but that did not mean that work was not being done in the others. She reiterated that amounts of R5 million per annum had been allocated for three financial years. The funding would end and a new budget would have to be allocated to the NCGBVF. The R5 million per year would not be enough for the council to do its job. If it was given only R5 million, that was setting it up for failure. The President had said at the summit that it took three years to develop legislation. Developing legislation was different from amending legislation. She said the Bill was submitted according to the requirements.
Ms Esther Maluleke, Chief Director: Governance Transformation, Justice and Security, DWYPD, said that without the GBVF Secretariat, the DWYPD would not have been able to cover many things. The secretariat had helped it in running the NSP on GBVF and localisation. As far as GBVF was concerned, the DWYPD had done much over the years and invested in campaigns. The reality was that within government, there had not been systems in place to respond to GBVGF effectively. Strategies would now be put in place to deal with GBVF.
The rapid response teams were there to expand and strengthen the system. Provincial and local governments assisted the DWYPD to ensure that the NSP on GBVF was popularised. The rapid response teams consisted of officials that were already employed. They worked with civil society organisations at the local level. People employed by those organisations were in the teams. Sometimes, the DWYPD was asked to interview police or programme managers at provincial level. There were also social workers. It was a team of professionals working with civil society. The DWYPD had signed a memorandum of understanding to ensure that there was no misunderstanding about what the rapid response teams should be doing at the local level. In addition, technical support and guidance were provided.
The European Union was going to assist the DWYPD with training on gender responsiveness, budgeting, monitoring, and evaluation. It was working hard to build a sustainable system and deliver and understand the NSP on GBVF. A report could be provided on the work that has been done so far. There had been the 100-day challenges, and the report would show the tangible projects done together. This also proved that there was a need for government and civil society to work together. This was still a work in progress. In the Northern Cape, the backlog of cases had been dealt with. This included lights in the streets. There were monthly meetings to track the progress made.
The Chairperson referred to the role of community health care workers. In the provinces, some wards experienced GBVF every day. If a woman was raped in a particular ward, where did she go to report it? She said she saw cases of GBVF but did not know where to refer people to. She mentioned an instance where an Uber driver attacked a girl. On social media, it was mentioned that there should be an association where cases like this could be reported. This was something that had to be looked into. There should be a report on the rapid response teams to understand what is being done.
Chief Director Maluleke said that the inputs were valuable in terms of how the district development model could be used effectively to respond to GBVF by using structures at local level.
Mr Mphithi said he was confused about the amount of R15 million. It had been stated that there was only R5 million left and that it would not be enough to establish the NCGBVF. If there was only R5 million left, what about the R10 million? How was the money spent? The report showed that just under R5 million was spent on the GBVF Secretariat and the different people who have been appointed, as well as goods and services.
The Chairperson said it seemed she was not the only one confused.
Director General Maluleke said that many young people were being trained as health workers.
When National Treasury allocated R15 million, it meant R5 million for the 2020/21 financial year, R5 million for the 2021/22 financial year, and R5 million for the 2022/23 financial year. It was for a period of three years, and if the money was not used, it would be lost. She was unsure how National Treasury determined this budget before the NCGBVF was established. The budget was allocated even before the Cabinet approved the NSP on GBVF. The money was ring-fenced and nothing was used in 2020/21 because there was no secretariat. The GBVF Secretariat was established in the 2021/22 financial year. National Treasury requested the DWYPD to provide it with the structure of the secretariat. The Department also had to write to the National Treasury to move some of the money. The first R5 million was spent on goods. One could not budget for goods and not have a budget for personnel. It was then requested that R2.6 million be moved from goods to personnel and the remaining amount would be used to do training and going to provinces. She reiterated that if money was not used, you lost it.
Before the council was established, National Treasury would have to reallocate funds. The R5 million would not be enough for the council to address GBVF effectively. She hoped that the NCGBVF would be established before the new financial year.
Mr Mphithi said that he understood that the R5 million allocated for the first year was returned to the National Treasury. The second R5 million was used when the secretariat was established. The third R5 million was for the next financial year. He wanted to be sure that he understood what was being said. It should be in writing to the Committee. He said he would submit a written question on this. If the President announced money and then it was supposedly ring-fenced and returned to National Treasury, then specifics should be provided. The council did not use R15 million, if R5 million was not used in the first year. There was also a mention of R2.6 million that was used. Was it used in the first tranche of the R5 million?
Ms Maluleke said that money was moved to personnel costs in the 2021/22 financial year. The first R5 million was released for the 2021/22 financial year. For the year 2022/23, there was another R5 million, and therefore in the 2023/24 financial year there would be another R5 million which would be used for the GBVF Secretariat or the NCGBVF. Information could be provided in writing and the documents that were sent to National Treasury and the DPSA would also be provided.
The Chairperson asked why the term of the secretariat was only one year.
Ms Maluleke said that it was hoped the legislation would be fast-tracked. The secretariat’s term was on a year-to-year basis to prevent a situation where there was no money to pay the secretariat. The term could be renewed for six or 12 months.
Ms Tshabalala said she appreciated the comments that had been made. The reality was that the NCGBVF could take two to three years. This was something that had to be constantly explained to all stakeholders. When women marched, there was a demand to produce legislation in six months and implement the NSP on GBVF. There were demands that a sectoral body be established within six months. This was practically not possible. It was unrealistic, but the Department would do its best and pull together with everybody. The guidance of the Committee helped the DWYPD.
The Chairperson said that she understood what the DWYPD was trying to say about the secretariat and all the other information provided. There were indeed things that needed to be looked at.
Mr Mphithi thanked Ms Tshabalala for her assistance at the GBVF summit. There were many challenges but she assisted really well. He said he really appreciated it.
Ms M Maluleke said it was a presidential summit and the Presidency controlled it. It was a difficult summit. She said she really appreciated the fact that Ms Tshabalala assisted. Some of the deputy ministers were upset that they were not invited but the invitations did not come from the DWYPD. She apologised that invitations were not sent to the Committee at the time. She hoped that things would be better the next time. It had been mentioned that provinces should coordinate their own summits.
The Chairperson thanked the DWYPD for then sending invitations to the Committee. Members attended both days of the summit.
Ms Maluleke said it sometimes looked as if the DWYPD did not appreciate the work that the Committee did. This is not the case.
The Minister said this was the second presidential GBVF summit at which the DWYPD partnered with the United Nations. Even the UN had acknowledged that South Africa was not running away and hiding. The main challenge was little or no funding. Most of the time, the DWYPD was referred to cooperating partners for funding. More could be done if South Africa worked together to ensure this second pandemic was put to rest. One out of three families experienced the pain of GBVF. There was a focus on establishing the NCGBVF.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would continue to monitor what was happening. The DWYPD had to do its part.There might be another meeting next year on the progress that has been made.
The meeting was adjourned.
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