The Portfolio Committee met in person with the Department with of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) to present its responses to the submissions on the National Council on Gender Based Violence and Femicide Bill. The Department went the proposed amendments from the public submissions that it had accepted. These were usefully presented in a working draft of the Bill.
There was a concern by Members that if the National Council for GBVF was not about service delivery at some level then there was no point in having a Council. If it were just another administrative council that did not do any services, they were just wasting time.
The Director General replied that it would use a multi-sectoral approach where all sectors must work with the Council. That was the only way that they would be able to address GBV because the Council on its own had 15 board members and about 20 secretariat staff. They could not do much – but their strength would be in a multi-sectoral coordinated approach where everyone was on board.
The Committee would hear the Department response to all submissions on 12 September.
The Chairperson asked to start the meeting with prayer session for a few minutes. She mentioned the people who had lost their lives in the fire tragedy in Johannesburg. It was a tragedy that no one would have expected. A lot was happening in Gauteng. They were sitting on a time bomb there due to the zama zamas. In Krugersdrop women and children were vulnerable to those people. They did not know where those people came from. She did not think it was South African citizens who fight police. Those people had been trained to do what they were doing underground. She did not think that South African people could do that without being trained by people who came to the country illegally. They must also pray for the women who were being raped in the area. She referred to the Krugersdorp incident in July 2022 where women who were filming a music video were raped. It was a painful and sad incident.
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Khawula back and thanked God for her successful operation. She thanked Members for their physical presence as this Bill is important and it needs to be finalised. She appreciated that the members honoured a l meeting, and the members got respect back from the Chairperson. She thanked the support staff for their good work.
The Chairperson noted changes to the committee programme. The Portfolio Committee would not have a meeting the following day due to other critical meetings taking place. The NYDA Amendment Bill would be shifted to the fourth term so it could finalise the National Council on GBVF Bill this term. Next week there would be meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. The secretary must also take any Friday where there will be a National Assembly sitting in the morning to hold a committee meeting in the afternoon so the Portfolio Committee can complete this Bill and have the Bill adopted by the House before third term recess. She asked members to avail themselves so that they can push this important Bill. When the Portfolio Committee is done, the Bill must go to the NCOP. As a country, they would have achieved one of the best laws to be passed by establishing the GBVF Council. For the benefit of those who were not present the previous week, there was an agreement by the Portfolio Committee that the government must represent 51% and civil society organisations must represent 49% of Council membership. The three sectors that were not added would be added, which were Basic Education, the private sector and the NPA.
What informs that is that government must take full responsibility in accounting to the people of South Africa and cannot give their responsibility to civil society organisations. They account to the Portfolio Committee who were elected by the electorate. It was agreed that the funding of the Council was a government matter and it was agreed that it must be channelled through the Department.
Ms N Sharif (DA) added that Parliament must appoint the board and the board must report to Parliament.
The Chairperson agreed and said Parliament must appoint the board and not the Department. Parliament would do it like the CGE. There are three critical areas that needed to be attended to. The other issue was the definitions which were most critical and these would be corrected. The other was the monitoring and it was mandated that the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) must monitor. The monitoring could not be done by the Council. The Council must account and not monitor and must report to Parliament.
The Department had been sent back to respond to all the written and oral submissions and present this response today to the Portfolio Committee. She asked if there was anything to add.
Ms Abrahams Abrahams, Committee Content Advisor, said that the purpose of the meeting was for the Department to present two documents. The first document was a table which gave the Department responses to each submission – whether they accepted or rejected it and explain why. This was the opportunity to ask questions for clarity. If something was changed and the Portfolio Committee did not agree, it was time to ask the Department why those changes were made. The second document indicated which clauses in the actual Bill were changed and why. Thereafter, the Committee would go through the public participation report, and motion of desirability and the state law advisor would be given an opportunity to comment. The final part of the legislative process would be for the Portfolio Committee to go through the amended Bill clause by clause, before accepting it.
The Chairperson said that they tried to simplify the process as much as they could so that they were on the same page. The Department would be allowed to go through their presentations according to the table. The previous week, the staff members were allowed to assist them because they were taking a shortcut. The Deputy Minister was commanded to be in the meeting the previous week, and on that sitting, the Chairperson did not know who would come and who would not. The Chairperson asked for any apologies.
The Chairperson said because the Bill is important, she requested that the Portfolio Committee push this Bill together. This was their first Bill as the Portfolio Committee, so even if they did not return in the Seventh Parliament, they had a legacy which is the GBVF Bill. It would be on the statute book for the country. She asked if those who were not in previous meetings had anything to ask.
Ms N Sonti (EFF) apologised for being late and stated that they must not forget persons with a disability when they appoint the Council board.
The Chairperson said that they were going to include disability – she was also not aware as she thought it was there. So it will be a disability, Department of Basic Education and NPA. She did not know how they would do this. They could not put NGOs as the private sector because they are not.
[There was loadshedding at 10am and the meeting paused]
Ms M Khawula said that there were many women murdered, raped and human trafficked. She was happy about the Council and that even if Members did not return after the elections, this Committee would have a legacy. Old women were being killed, especially if you were dark-skinned, they said you were a witch doctor. This is increasing in KwaZulu Natal and even worse in the Eastern Cape. We know that men are being raped and being killed by men, and other men commit suicide, what does the Committee say about this? There were a lot of cases of women who killed men, and there would be investigations looking at other people and not in the home. As people who have male children, they are afraid. Who was going to speak for both sides? Women were not suspected as murderers and criminals. Men are not coming forward and cry in silence. There were cases where men who were serving 25 years sentences in prison for raping children and the child would say I was told to say I was raped by this person. What does the Committee say about this? She agreed with the board and was happy that there would be this Bill passed by this Committee and the law passed. But, the Portfolio Committee should look at this issue because there are many cases like these.
The Chairperson welcomed the Deputy Minister and the Director General and asked where the Minister was.
Deputy Minister Nokuzola Tolashe said she thought the Office would have sent direct communication of the apology as per protocol, but they apologised on behalf of the Minister.
The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister and asked for comment from the Portfolio Committee.
Ms Khawula said Deputy Minister could not apologise for the Minister who needed to apologise for herself.
Ms Sharif said that the Minister’s apology was noted and that she missed the Minister and would like to see her in the Committee and hoped she would attend the next meeting.
A committee member said that after a long time they had someone who came in the form of the Ministry. It gives the Portfolio Committee strength and the Ministry must not decrease attendance because sometimes they feel undermined. The Portfolio Committee questions the Ministry because they feel like the Ministry takes them lightly. She noted the Deputy Minister remarks and said that the Ministry knew the parliamentary meeting rules of the meeting. It should be agreed that they have never received a formal apology from the Minister. There should be no debate on that. The Deputy Minister must be protected from responding to the question and not bring an informal apology.
The Chairperson said the Committee takes this seriously.
Ms B Marekwa (ANC) said she seconded the apology of the Minister. Earlier on there was a mention of the legacy report so the Deputy Minister, the Department, and the Director General will record that legacy report.
The Chairperson said there were two motions. On whether the Minister was attending or not, the Deputy Minister responded that she thought an official apology was sent. What the Portfolio Committee was noting was the absenteeism of the Minister in the meetings. It was important for the Minister to be present in the meeting because it was the first time this Department had submitted a Bill to the Sixth Parliament for processing. It was important for the Minister and the Deputy Minister to be part of these deliberations and respond and they should be there as the principals of the Department. If they were not there, it did not give a good image because they had a responsibility to account to Parliament. These are the reasons they must attend Committee meetings. It was not wrong for Members to be concerned when the Ministry was not attending the Portfolio Committee meetings. Previously, this Committee had an issue with a Minister not attending the meetings and that was addressed inside the chamber directly to the Minister, which was an embarrassment. They should close this discussion by noting that there was no apology from the Minister. This was the second time since they started dealing with the Bill. The Minister should take the opportunity to attend the meeting and assist. The Chairperson commended the Deputy Minister for attending the meetings as she attended the last meeting as well.
The Chairperson they would allow the Department to present on what was agreed to the previous week, from the start of the summary of submissions on the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill (B31-2022).
Ms F Masiko (ANC) said that she was seeing an unfamiliar face.
The Chairperson noted the presence of Ms Aadielah Arnold, State Law Advisor, Parliamentary Legal Advisor and the Office of the Deputy Minister manager. There was a new DA member, Ms Opperman, who was replacing Ms Marchesi who resigned from Parliament. Also present was Ms Nggqulunga and Mr Mandla Neku, DWYPD Director: GBVF Secretariat, who were present at all the public hearings.
Ms Sharif asked if the meeting was being broadcast.
The Chairperson said she did not want to tell the Portfolio Committee but Parliament had a serious problem when it came to ICT [since the fire]. There was only one system used for broadcasting. However, the SCOPA meeting venue was prioritised because it was dealing with sensitive matters and SCOPA was going to be live until late. The Chairperson had been disappointed and asked what the rationale for the Portfolio Committee being physically in Parliament was if one was told to allow SCOPA to be live and their meeting not be live. Sometimes if you fight you are seen as a bully so she decided to retreat. She asked how the meeting would be recorded if the system was off.
Ms Sharif said that whoever gave that information was not giving the correct information. The Parliament YouTube channel showed live meetings for the NCOP, Basic Education, SCOPA, Justice and Correctional Services, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, and Trade, Industry and Competition. Maybe the ICT Unit needed to be asked what was happening.
The Chairperson asked if these live streams were visual. They may have been live because they were visual and their meeting was not visual.
Ms Sharif said that her point was that whether it was a virtual or in-person meeting, there was simultaneous live broadcasting. The reason given for not having a system was not good enough because there was a system in this room which is why they were in this venue
A staff member confirmed that Ms Sharif was correct. However, he had been told by IT was that the Parliament fire had burned the system. There was also no backup during loadshedding for the mics and the system. The difference between this meeting and the others was that the others were virtual. This meeting was a hybrid meeting so it was not necessary to go to YouTube. If the meeting was fully virtual, there would be a live video of it on YouTube.
The Chairperson asked why they were told this when they were already in Parliament.
The Deputy Minister said that the microphones were affected by loadshedding and that when it was over, the mics would work again.
The Chairperson said that in previous meetings, the system and the mics were on even during loadshedding. She requested that the ICT Unit be called in so that the meeting could be recorded. This was sabotage.
The meeting was paused. After it was established that the meeting could not be recorded, the Chairperson said the meeting would resume at noon after loadshedding.
Once the meeting resumed at noon after loadshedding ended, the Chairperson apologised to Members and thanked them for their patience about the technical issues due to loadshedding. She handed over to the Deputy Minister and Director General.
DWYPD response to submissions
Deputy Minister Tolashe said they were humbled to be presenting in front of them. She thanked them for their bravery in ensuring that the glitches were sorted out so the meeting could be recorded. She handed over to Ms Ngqulunga to present.
Ms Nondumiso Ngqulana, DWYPD Director, Legal Services, said the purpose of the briefing is to present the proposed amendments made to the Bill which are made in response to the public inputs that were received during the Parliamentary public participation.
The initial Bill did not have a preamble and one of the inputs was that the Bill should have a preamble. She read out the proposed preamble:
"Recognising that South Africa is a deeply violent society and continues to wrestle with the impact of decades ofinstitutionalised racism, sexism, exclusion, structural violence and other factors that have continued to undermine human development and positive social cohesion;
Recognising further that gender-based violence and femicide is a serious social evil and that victims of gender-based violence and femicide are among the most vulnerable members of society; that gender-based violence takes on many forms; and that the current approach to fighting this scourge has proved to be ineffective;
Having regard to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and in particular, the right to equality and to freedom and security of the person; and the international commitments and obligations of the State towards ending gender-based violence and femicide, including obligations under the Goal 5: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Conventions on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Rights of the Child and Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
Convinced that gender based violence and femicide will be eliminated only when a multi-sectoral, coordinated government and whole society approach is implemented in fighting the scourge, to harness the roles, responsibilities, resources and commitment across government, labour, civil society, movements, youth structures, faith-based structures, traditional structures, the media, development agencies, the private sector, academic institutions and all other stakeholders
It is the purpose of this Act to establish a National Council which will be responsible for providing strategic leadership on the elimination of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in South Africa and lead on the coordination of a multi-sectoral and an inter-sectoral approach towards the implementation of the National Strategic Plan at national, provincial and local levels and at community and other forums. "
Clause 1 Definitions
"gender based violence"
The definition of gender based violence was amended to align it with the definition of domestic violence in Domestic Violence Act. The whole definition in the DVA was not taken because it was broad. The definition was amended as follows: "gender-based violence" means violence associated with gender, which includes intimidation, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, spiritual, verbal or psychological, emotional, economic and educational abuse or threats of such acts of abuse in public or private life;
Ms Sharif said she wanted to raise a flag that Domestic Violence happened between couples and gender based violence could happen with strangers. It was not the same thing.
Adv Mikateko Maluleke, DWYPD Director General, said that the Act did not define the relationship but defined the act itself. It did not talk about the relationship but about the act associated with gender, which is intimidation, harassment, physical, spiritual, or verbal abuse. It does not say between husband and wife.
Ms Sharif said if they were going to get this Bill right, there must be a definition for domestic violence and a definition of gender based violence. They could not mix the two of them because it was two different acts so it should not have one definition to deal with both. There should be two definitions that say gender based violence dealt with this and domestic violence dealt with this.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) agreed with the Director General as the definition was not restricted to a domestic environment; it could take place anywhere. At the end it said 'such acts of abuse in public or private life'. However, if Ms Sharif had another definition, it could be checked out.
The Chairperson said that was how she read it too.
Ms Arnold said that the inclusion of the Domestic Violence Act elements had made it broader with the inclusion of intimidation and harassment. The definition appeared sufficient. The public submissions had said that the definition did cater for gender inclusivity and now the definition did cater for that. She advised to steer clear of the domestic violence definition and the definitions should only define the words that appear in the Bill. She said the definition is fine and they just needed to go through each one and make certain that they understood what each of those words meant.
Ms Jaqueline Mello, Legal Advisor, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, said that the definition was fine and that the speakers who spoke before her had articulated it fine. The definition applied to both a romantic setting and any other setting. As Ms Arnold had mentioned they need to know what each of those words meant. But the definition sounded okay.
Ms Khawula said she agreed with the definition. She asked that they continue (translation).
"National Strategic Plan"
Ms Ngqulana noted the submission about information on the process that established the NSP that it was led by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. However, it opted not to include that. It was sufficient to state: The NSP was established in terms of article three of the Presidential Summit Declaration Against Gender Based Violence and Femicide of 2018. They also removed the part that said it was developed by the Interim Steering Committee.
The Chairperson said it was unnecessary and it was captured correctly. She asked the legal advisors if there was anything wrong with the way it was captured.
Ms Arnold said they were covered.
Clause 5 Functions of Council
• The Department accepted the proposal in clause 5(1)(a)(ii) to add "timelines" to "set indicators and timelines to be complied with by all relevant stakeholders".
It accepted the input that the Council had power to ensure and not just to encourage in clause 5(1)(d) and changed 'encourage' to 'ensure' to read: "ensure co-ordination between all structures established in terms of this Act in matters relating to the implementation of the National Strategic Plan".
• There was a suggestion to add that the NSP is integrated into plans of all government departments. The Department had thus added two subclauses. In clause 5(1)(j) "facilitate the integration of the outcomes of the National Strategic Plan on Gender Based Violence and Femicide are integrated into the Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans of government departments". In clause 5(1)(k) "facilitate the integration of the outcomes of the National Strategic Plan on Gender Based Violence and Femicide into the Integrated Development Plans of municipalities. These cover the municipal, provincial and national levels.
Ms Sharif noted that now it referenced the IDP of municipalities, did this not affect the Bill's tagging as a Section 75 Bill that does not affect provinces. Now it mentioned ensuring that the NSP was implemented into the IDPs of municipalities, did that not change it to a Section 76 Bill that did affect provinces?
Ms Arnold replied that she would have to consider that and revert. They had looked at if provisions in the Bill would affect the provinces in a substantial measure. There were two ways in which a Bill would be a section 76 Bill, one being that the Bill in substantial measure affects the provinces. The second is if those matters fall into section 76(3)(a) to (f) of the Constitution. This matter is just an obligation and it did not fall into one of those Schedule 4 matters. She did not think that this would affect the tagging in the sense that the provisions of the Bill do not to a substantial degree affect any of the matters listed in Schedule 4 of the Constitution.
The Chairperson asked how the Council would facilitate integration given its current structure and power.
Ms Masiko said she was looking at the implementation of facilitating the integration. How will the Council with its structure be able to reach the national government departments but also even go down to the municipal? How was that implementable in practice? Looking at the challenges currently facing the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) in ensuring department annual performance plans are gender sensitive. There was a struggle with that and now they were including municipalities.
The Director General replied that COGTA was one of the departments represented on the Council. COGTA through the District Development Model (DDM) is included in the implementation of the National Strategic Plan and is responsible for ensuring that the NSP is integrated into each IDP. Even before COGTA was working with the Department and before being part of the National Council, it was to ensure all the districts mainstream gender based violence strategies. COGTA is establishing the rapid response team in the districts through the DDM process.
• In Clause 5(2), the word "may" had been changed to "must". DWPD agreed that if they gave the Council the discretion to choose, then it might not achieve the objects of this Act, so ‘must’ is more relevant. It now read: "The Council must advise the Minister, Inter-Ministerial Committee on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide and other relevant stakeholders on — "
• Clause 5(3) was added on reporting because there was a concern about accountability. People were worried that if the reporting becomes responsibility of the Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, the Council might not be able to make the Minister account. So the clause was added: "The Council shall report to the President at least once every year on its activities, the performance of its functions and the achievement of its objectives, and the President shall cause such report to be tabled in Parliament as soon as possible: Provided that the Council may at any time submit any other report to the President and Parliament if it deems it necessary." This would ensure all relevant stakeholders will report to the Council; the Council will report to the President and the President will ensure that report is tabled in Parliament.
The Chairperson asked why the Council reports to the President and not the Minister? They were not trying to create a situation where the Council thinks that the Minister was not important and the important person was the President only.
Ms Ngqulunga said that there was a concern that the Council reports to the Minister yet the Council will also be responsible for monitoring the Department.
The Chairperson said that the Council cannot do the monitoring, it must be done by the Department. The Council must account to Parliament and to the Minister, it needed to change this so it is clear. The Council must not be independent.
Ms Sharif said that this entire clause needs to be reworked. As the Chairperson said, the Council is not a supreme body and it must held accountable by Parliament. It must say that the Council should report to Parliament every quarter, not once a year. Who was going to do oversight on the Council budget and its KPIs? It had to the Portfolio Committee of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. The Council had to be like CGE and report to Parliament. The Portfolio Committee needed to see the Annual Performance Plan, budget and quarterly reports. The Portfolio Committee must deem the reports necessary and not the Council. They did not want to end up in a situation like a certain commissioner who said they did not report to the Portfolio Committee but to the President. They need to report to Parliament every quarter like any other department entity. Oversight must be done on the Council because it would be getting a budget and Parliament needed to be know how they spent that budget and if it was reaching its targets.
The Chairperson said that Ms Sharif was right. DWYPD had a law to make. The Minister must take full control and by saying the Minister, she meant the Department.
Ms Masiko agreed about the reporting timeline. Once a year was too long because should anything go wrong, they would not have a system to assist with correcting the wrongs. The Committee had their fingers burnt once or twice when someone refused to come to account saying they do not account to Parliament but to the President. She agreed the clause needed to be reworked. They said they would report to the President and the President said he would see what he would do in terms of submitting the report to Parliament. Even the department that was requesting that report to go to Parliament were also unable to make account. She agreed with the Chairperson that there must be a role that DWYPD is playing. If they open a direct line to the President then the Department itself will be found wanting and Parliament will also be found wanting. There was no obligation to report to Parliament or send that report through Parliament to the President. The report must come to the Portfolio Committee specifically.
The Chairperson noted that they must not allow a situation where the DWYPD is undermined. DWYPD was the one championing women and gender mainstreaming. That part must not be missed. So the Council was given a certain task to perform but DWYPD was the department championing these issues. There was nothing wrong with clause 5(4) where it said the Council must review the NSP and its action plan within five years, in consultation with the Minister. However, clause 5(3) needs to be written in a way that will cover what was discussed. The Portfolio Committee were law makers elected by the electorate and they must account to the people. The Council must account to Parliament according to the Constitution and the PFMA. Anyone using public funds must account to Parliament. The Council was working with the Department and it was not a stand-alone.
Ms Marekwa added that "once every year" must the corrected to "quarterly" for accountability.
Ms Khawula thanked Ms Sharif because she was also concerned about how protocol worked if there was the Minister and the Portfolio Committee yet the Council would have a direct line to the President. It would be a problem as there were things that the Portfolio Committee would want to know about the Council and the Ministry would not know anything because protocol did not include them. The Council would undermine the Portfolio Committee, because the Committee worked with the Minister. This clause must be reworked because the Committee must know what is happening and must be aware of the budget. Once a year is too long for reporting; quarterly is better.
The legal advisors had nothing to add when asked.
Ms Sonti added that the Council worked hand in hand with the Portfolio Committee because GBVF levels were too high. Everyone was looking forward to getting the right remedy to kill this thing and they must work together as a team.
Clause 6 Board of Council
They accepted the suggestion of removing 80% representation of women on the basis that it was unfair discrimination against other people who would like to participate. The number of Council members was increased from 13 to 15 members by adding two government entities which were the Department of Basic Education and the National Prosecuting Authority. These were the top government entities that were requested in each province. They could not add all because they were limited by the budget. However, after presenting to Parliament, they were given the authority to add two.
The Chairperson disagreed about the number.
Ms Ngqulunga replied that the third one was added this morning.
The Chairperson explained that was the fourth one. There was Department of Basic Education, NPA, private sector and disability sector, which means the Council will have 16 members.
The Director General noted that there would still be 15 members because the disability sector was included under civil society organisations.
Ms Arnold said that her understanding was that the inclusion of the disability sector would be part of civil society and include the private sector. The seven persons in 6(1)(a) would be from civil society organisations and the private sector. How would the seven persons be divided? Was it going to be three people from civil society and four from private sector? Should there an equal number there? And would that throw out the 49:51 ratio?
The Chairperson said that 51% should be government and 49% civil society and the private sector.
The Director General said that under the civil society you need to look at disability, young persons, LGBTQI, and labour sector. There would be criteria so that all the different sectors were represented. For the private sector, there would be one representative. They would have to meet and nominate a person to represent them as a sector. The private sector would not have four people. Disability and the LGBTQI and other sectors would have to be represented.
Ms Sharif thought that Higher Education is important.
The Chairperson noted that they had said Basic Education.
Ms Sharif thought Higher Education because a lot of GBV was happening at universities and TVET colleges, especially in off campus and on campus residences. She would rather have Higher Education than Basic Education but this was not something she would fight for.
The Chairperson suggested they say Education.
Ms Sharif added that the Director General said the private sector would have to come together to nominate someone for the board. It cannot happen that way. Parliament must recommend board members to the President. There had to be an interview process and public participation like it was done with the CGE.
The Director General said that people would not nominate themselves. Parliament would nominate the people who would be interviewed. They could nominate more than one representative for interview.
Ms Sharif agreed that the Portfolio Committee would then choose.
The Chairperson agreed with the Director General that the seven persons from civil society include the private sector. To cover everyone the clause can state seven persons from civil society organisations including private sector. The legal representatives could advise, but it needed to be specific.
The Director General said it would be specific and state private sector.
Ms Phiri referred to the discussion on Higher Education versus Basic Education. When you want to deal with something you start from the root and not top to bottom. It was important to start with Basic Education rather than Higher Education as learners in primary and secondary schools were vulnerable. One was not saying that it did not happen in higher education institutions but they needed to start at the bottom.
The Chairperson said there had been public submissions that supported Basic Education representation. During the public hearing discussion, it was agreed that Basic Education was important because it was happening there with the young ones.
The Director General said the challenge was the limited number of board members. What had been done was that the Minister may co-opt other members because they do think that Higher Education was critical, and not just Higher Education but there are other departments that are critical. So they would be co-opted to the board even though some of them would not have voting powers. Even the ministers in the Economy Cluster as there was pillar five of the National Strategic Plan which was economic power. Some would be co-opted so they could be part of implementation or whatever needed to be done.
The Chairperson said that it was responded to like that even that day at the public hearings – that the Minister could co-opt both and there was no need to include both Basic Education and Higher Education and as well departments that play a role such as the Economic Development Department. The Minister could call in the Minister of Economic Development to be part of the meeting even though they would not have voting power but EDD can implement the programmes.
Ms Ngqulunga made reference to clause 6(9): "The Minister may co-opt any person at the request of the Board, to assist the Board with regard to its functions in order to (a) advise and provide the necessary expertise in their specific field; or (b) represent a relevant stakeholder". When consulting, it was advised that expertise focused on people with academic qualifications whereas there were people on the ground who do not possess such qualifications. It was requested that they were also added so 6(9)(b) was added to represent a relevant stakeholder. This meant a person at a local municipal level who was working on GBV could also be co-opted. That talks to people who do not possess academic qualifications. Thus clause 6(9) tried to cover almost everyone working against GBV.
Ms Khawula said people that cause the abuse and killing of women include churches, for example, the case of Omotoso. There were a lot of cases so they must not be left behind when co-opting. Traditional healers order people to murder people and people hire hitmen to kill people, and then they go to traditional healers to sell their body parts. Chiefs also need to be co-opted so they can discuss GBV. The Liquor Board as well because there are laws that taverns must not be near schools, crèches and churches but they issue licences because they want money. Taverns affect the youth because the taverns sell drugs and women. So when co-opting these people need to be included because GBV is influenced by these. Drugs go hand in hand with the taverns and human trafficking. In churches, they speak about God but in the end there would be rape in the churches.
The Chairperson said she must cut Ms Khawula short who was trying to advise what other sectors could be included in some of the meetings. The Director General must look at the board and see how she would accommodate some of the stakeholders as there were some that were critical and could have been overlooked. Look at the board representation, churches fall under civil society organisations.
The Director General asked if she could be controversial as she heard that the board should be representative. However, board members would not be representing from where they came but would have a fiduciary responsibility to the board. They would address finances and how the Council was run. The Council was going to be responsible for multi-stakeholder coordination of all sectors – traditional healers and everyone. The purpose of the Council was to ensure that all society was approached in addressing GBV. Not all of them would be on the board, because the board was not about representation but the approach to addressing GBV was an all-society approach. Everyone in South Africa must be involved in addressing GBV, that is why it was call multi-sectoral.
The Chairperson said that the clause was captured correctly. The Council was something serious because it was a body that must think out of the box on what was necessary to address GBV, including the issues Ms Khawula raised. This cannot be played around with and one think that there would be appointment of acquaintances because they were an NGO. It did not work that way. That is why Parliament needed to select the Board. The advertising, interviewing and selection must be done by Parliament.
Ms Sonti said that they must accommodate Higher Education.
The Chairperson replied that the Committee had moved passed that and had covered Higher Education.
Ms Sonti asked if it was not Basic Education.
The Chairperson replied that this was covered as the Minister could co-opt a department to sit in meetings. The Minister had powers to co-opt Higher Education, Economic Development and other departments. Therefore, that was how they would be accommodated.
Ms Sharif noted that the NSP did not say "civil society organisations" but only said "civil society representation". Organisation and representation are two different things. The working draft of the Bill should be corrected.
The Chairperson agreed and this should be corrected because people would say it meant NGOs.
Ms Masiko said a civil society organisation was an organised form of civil society as a whole. How could they then take from civil society if it was not organised?
The Chairperson explained that Ms Sharif meant the Bill must align with the NSP. She did not bring the NSP and Members need to look at it and the lawyers in the meeting.
Ms Arnold agreed with Ms Sharif that the reference to "organisations" in clause 6(1)(a) must be removed. Looking at the definitions in clause 1, the term civil society was defined to include non-governmental organisations, labour or structures or institutions that represent the interests of citizens in the field of gender-based violence and femicide. So the removal of the word organisation in clause 6(1)(a) was in order.
Ms Sharif said that she had a second point. They need to copy and paste the CGE appointment process as the Council would be appointed by the President after they go through the recommendation process of Parliament.
Lastly, this concept of co-option gave her a bit of anxiety as it did not explain how long the co-option lasted for. They need to be very careful because they could find themselves ending up with 20 to 25 people sitting on the board. How long was the co-option mandate for? It should include that the co-option lasted for a specific amount of time. The co-option would last until the report or the advice is received. They did not want to find themselves with an over-bloated board that did nothing.
The Chairperson agreed that they must make it clear that this must be for a specific amount of time.
• There was an amendment to Clause 6(2) that the board members referred to in 6(1)(a) must be appointed by the President and not the Minister.
• Clause 6(3) and 6(4) were new subclauses that dealt with the amended appointment process. Clause 6(3) stated: The President shall, whenever it becomes necessary appoint as a Board member a person—
(a) nominated by a committee of the National Assembly proportionally composed of members of all parties represented in the Assembly;
(b) approved by the National Assembly by a resolution adopted with a supporting vote of a majority of the
members of the Assembly; and
(c) on the recommendation of the Assembly.
The working draft of the Bill stated that the Minister shall invite interested parties through the media and by notice in the Gazette to propose candidates for consideration by the committee.
The Chairperson said once you include Parliament then remove the Minister, because the Minister could not invite, it was Parliament that must invite and advertise.
The Director General agreed.
Ms Ngqulunga asked if it was the Minister who shall invite interested parties by notice in the Gazette.
The Chairperson replied it was not and Ms Ngqulunga must look at the CGE appointment process.
Ms Phiri said the way it was written in the NYDA and CGE Acts was that Parliament set the criteria requirements and advertised for nominations. The whole process would be done by Parliament.
• The Chairperson said in 6(5) where it said "Members appointed in terms of this section must— (a) be fit and proper persons to hold office", they must just look at the NYDA and CGE Acts to see what kind of people qualify to be appointed and include it as is. One needs to factor in marginalised groups such as the LGBTQ+. They must look at the NYDA Act and include marginalised groups.
Ms Sharif said they must also factor in geographical spread. The NYDA and CGE Acts spoke about the geographical factor. They must align it so that it was all the same.
Ms Phiri said Ms Sharif was taking the meeting back and forth.
The Chairperson said they were done with that subclause.
• Clause 6(6)(a) states "the Minister must appoint one of the members as the Chairperson and another member as the Deputy Chairperson" and (b) "The Minister must ensure that the positions of Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson are held alternately by a person contemplated in subsection 1(a) and (b)". Was it the Minister or Parliament?
Ms Sharif said that just like the CGE it was the Portfolio Committee that recommended someone to be the Chairperson or the Deputy Chairperson. There must be an alignment. As the Committee interviews, it is best it recommend this to the President.
The Chairperson said they could recommendation to appoint the Chairperson – it must be like the NYDA.
• Clause 6(9)(a) said: "The Minister may co-opt any person at the request of the Board, to assist the Board." It was put correctly about other departments that may be needed to form part of the Council meetings. The repetition of "Board" could be reworked.
Ms Sharif said that they were making the assumption that co-option would be for government entities but what if there was a civil society representative that the Minister would like to co-opt to the board. How would this be governed and how would remuneration work? Clause 6(9)(b) stated "represent a relevant stakeholder" so that could be outside government. This needed to be reworked. It needed to be specific so that they do not find themselves in a situation where a civil society representative is co-opted and then expects something. It must be in the rules how the co-option works because it already said that they did not have a voting right. They must think about that. Do they get remunerated or not? How long would they be co-opted for and remunerated? Maybe Ms Arnold could give advice on this.
The Director General [inaudible]
Clause 10 Remuneration of members
Ms Sharif said that this was where it had financial implications. This was why the co-option aspect had to be super tight so that they do not find people abusing this because they were getting remunerated. It needed to be exceptionally tight, and very strict. That was why the timeline for co-option was so important. She referred to clause 10(1) "a relevant stakeholder co-opted by the Minister or a member of any committee of the Board, may, from the funds of the Board for that purpose….be paid such an remuneration"
The Chairperson said that those co-opted from government would not be remunerated.
Ms Sharif said that the use the word ‘may’ did not mean they would be remunerated; that was at the discretion of the Board. Again how would this be governed? It left space for manipulation.
Ms Marekwa [inaudible]
The Chairperson said that they gave the power to co-opt to the Minister. It was correct that they were talking about a person co-opted in terms of 6(9) who may take part in the board or board committee proceedings but is not entitled to vote. It covered what was spoken about in the beginning that the Department of Higher Education and Department of Economic Development should be on the board. As the board had 15 members only they would not be accommodated and they had a role to play in terms of the NSP so the Minister could co-opt them. Those coming from government cannot be remunerated but those coming from organisations may or may not be remunerated. However, they are closing that gap for people saying they want to be invited because they would get something. In fact this must be tight so that people do not think that the Council is a money scheme. A person must just say they are doing the work voluntarily.
Ms Arnold said she did not know if this was taking them back, clause 6(9)(b) stated "represent a relevant stakeholder". The definition of 'stakeholder' in clause 1 of the Bill covers civil society as it includes the private sector, all organs of state and civil society responsible for the implementation of the National Strategic Plan. The co-option should maybe specify the time period and that would be legally sound and tie in with clause 10 on remuneration of those co-opted individuals.
The Chairperson agreed. It was raised by Ms Sharif that it should not be left open because people would want to be co-opted for another term. People would think of terms instead of the particular item for which they were co-opted.
Ms Arnold said the Director General could confirm this but the Minister of Finance or National Treasury published remuneration guidelines on an annual basis for those persons who sit on boards of statutory bodies – so it was circumscribed. She also asked for confirmation that those who were employed by government do not get remunerated.
The Director General said it depended on the Act. If it said they could be employed then they could be employed.
Ms Arnold said the Act did not and that it was in line with the circular that was published on a yearly basis.
The Chairperson said the concern was important.
Clause 9 Term of office
The Chairperson apologised for leaving out clause 9 which was also important. They need to include this for the Council. For instance, CGE is clear; this one needed to be same. Two terms was enough. Clause 9(2) could state that the person may serve two terms. But for how long? Would it be three years like the NYDA? Or five years?
Ms Sharif advised that they must keep it as stated which was 'three years'.
The Chairperson said the three year term was okay.
The Director General said they must serve one term which was three years.
Ms Sharif said they want to guard against gatekeeping and they want to allow new ideas to come through and to look at solutions differently
The Chairperson said that clause 9(1)(a) needed to be reworked because it said a period of three years but is eligible for re-appointment for one consecutive term and that meant that a person must serve only two terms. With NYDA, there was a problem where the term of office lapsed and there was the difficulty of having an interim structure for certain number of months. She suggested three months.
Ms Sharif said maybe six months to give them some time.
The Chairperson said that was right. Ms Abrahams is asking what will happen is a person retires and does not finish their term of office. They needed to tighten that because if a CGE commissioner resigned or passed on, the person that would be appointed in that space, would serve the remaining term only even if it was one year. This must also be the same.
Ms Sharif said she agreed. It was almost like pro rata.
The Chairperson said they were done with clause 10 Remuneration of board members.
Clause 11 Vacancies in Board
The Chairperson said vacancies would be declared by Parliament. They would need to look at the NYDA and CGE process.
Clause 12 Removal from office
The Chairperson said they must look at the NYDA process. The working draft stated, "The President may, on the recommendation of the Minister, remove a member from office." This would be recommended by Parliament.
Ms Sharif pointed out that because Parliament was multi-party, it took away any sort of abuse.
The Chairperson asked Ms Arnold and the Committee if clause 12 was acceptable.
Ms Khawula said that a person could be removed on the recommendation of the Minister. Parliament would take what the Minister recommended that a board member was not behaving okay and to fast track the process they could remove them. The clause must be left like that.
Ms Arnold said there has to be alignment between how members are appointed and removed.
The Chairperson said the Portfolio Committee can be given a report and say the Minister can remove the person.
Ms Arnold asked what was the Committee decision on clause 12.
The Chairperson stated that the President may, on the recommendation of the Minister, remove a member from office
Ms Arnold asked if it was not to be Parliament.
Ms Sharif said that there was no alignment because the Minister did not appoint, it was Parliament that gives recommendations to the President who then appointed. How should they rephrase that? Taking the CGE as an example, they were struggling to remove a commissioner because they did not have the powers to do that, even though that commissioner was not doing their job and refused to account to Parliament. They needed to that. For example, if the Portfolio Committee got a report from the Minister to say that a member must not serve on the board because of this and that; the Portfolio Committee could consider that report and give a recommendation to the President.
Ms Arnold said that what she was trying to say was that they should align the appointment and the removal of board members by involving Parliament and not the Minister.
The Chairperson said it was not about labour relations because there were no Labour Relations Act for the board. They were aligning with CGE. The executive power must be the one to take this decision. She asked Members who must suspend – the Minister or Parliament?
Ms Sharif replied that it must be the President because he appointed on recommendation. That would be aligned.
The Chairperson agreed and said "on recommendation by Parliament".
Clause 13 Meetings of Board
The Chairperson asked if the Committee had anything to say on this clause.
Ms Hlengwa said the board should meet at least quarterly.
Ms Sharif said she absolutely agreed.
Ms Marekwa agreed with clause 13 that the calling of the first meeting would be the prerogative of the Minister but thereafter the board chairperson must call meetings at least four times a year.
The Chairperson agreed with clause 13 and noted the deletion of the Minister consulting with the board chairperson about the first meeting.
Ms Sharif noted that they had said that the board would report to Parliament on the APP and quarterly reports like the NYDA and CGE. The board should have a plenary like CGE to approve the APP and quarterly reports prepared by the secretariat before the board went to Parliament. Thus when it went to Parliament it would have already gone through the plenary. It was almost like two layers of oversight. She asked if that could be captured.
The Director General said that clause 13(4) covered special meetings which will also include the APP and quarterly reports to Parliament.
The Chairperson said it was 4.00 pm so they must log into the National Assembly plenary session.
The Portfolio Committee logged into the plenary session.
Clause 14 Committees of Board
Ms Ngqulunga noted that 14(9) was removed which stated that each committee must comprise of at least 80% women in alignment with the appointment of board members.
The Chairperson asked if the public submissions recommended the change.
Ms Ngqulunga said they had and the Department agreed that it was unfairly discriminating against other people.
Ms Sharif said that in terms of procedure she wanted to check if after Ms Ngqulunga goes through the proposed amendments to the Bill if she will go through all the submissions with the Committee. She had asked this at the start of this meeting because removing this step in the legislative process did not tell them about the submissions received and how many had recommended the same proposal.
The Chairperson said she was doing it today. What they were trying to do was manage time that was why some of the items were done as and when. Ms Ngqulunga was indicating where the changes were made.
Ms Sharif said that if they were to do proper public participation, the Committee needed to through the submissions properly. There were 69 submissions so for example how many recommended removing 80% women representation and how many said to co-opt. It was important for the Department to go through all the submissions because in the table it was not reported.
The Chairperson suggested a 30 minute lunch break.
The Chairperson said to continue with Clause 14 Committees of Board.
Ms Sharif said it would be a good idea for the board to have a legal committee to help with the legal aspects of GBV. Women did not have access to legal counsel.
The Chairperson asked what Ms Sharif was saying.
Ms Sharif said a legal representative.
The Chairperson asked if they did not have a legal representative.
Ms Sharif said they did not have a legal representative that dealt with assisting women in legal representation. CGE used to have a lawyer for this. This does not have it, so something that can cover that gap.
The Chairperson said they should leave it for now and perhaps have a subcommittee for legal aspects. She asked the legal advisors what they thought about clause 14 "The Board may, in consultation with the Minister and in writing, establish one or more committees, including— (a) the Executive Management Committee; (b) the Human Resource and Remuneration Committee; (c) the Audit Committee, in accordance with National Treasury guidelines. Was it audit and risk or only audit? She felt strongly that the board must have a subcommittee to look at legal matters which CGE has.
Ms Sharif said that the legal committee would be important because the truth of the matter is there was no legal representation for women or even legal advice for those seeking guidance.
The Chairperson said the legal committee would also have the responsibility for following up cases. That was important.
Ms Sharif said disciplinary, litigation and policy.
The Chairperson said that Ms Abrahams noted that they must remember that they were meeting four times a year . However, she wanted to answer that it was prescribed that they meet at least four times a year for compliance but also they were going to report to Parliament four times. For day-to-day operational matters, they would have a CEO and staff that they would employ.
There was a need to have a legal committee that would look at GBV cases and other things such as disciplinary. CGE, in terms of its mandate, is not supposed to be dealing with GBV cases but it is doing them a favour by doing so. CGE was responsible for monitoring discrimination. The Council board committee should look at unfair cases of injustice by courts and unfair treatment by police or whomever. This would assist Department monitoring as it would now be able to have a comprehensive report from the legal team. They would know how many cases of GBV, sexual assault, domestic violence that give accurate statistics and not thumb-sucked information. And whether there were DNA kits in police stations and so forth. That would help the Portfolio Committee and the Department.
The legal committee would help the Department by looking at compliance with economic empowerment development. They will have the responsibility of checking if women were referred to Thuthuzela Centres and also double-check if the Thuthuzela Centres were not complying and if the NPA was prosecuting the perpetrators or not. The legal committee would assist them.
Ms Sharif said it would also give the Council the potential to take legal steps to hold departments accountable such as Social Development. This board had to have it or else it would just be paper, and it would not make a difference in a woman's life, it must have this.
The Chairperson spoke in her vernacular language.
Ms Marekwa asked about a governance committee if deemed necessary to encourage good governance in the Council board and audit and risk. Also an IT committee as IT was very important for the Council office to run and not have technology issues. The very people serving on the Council would be the very same people serving on the board committee. There is no need to appoint other people. Thus they might have to look at having legal skills for legal and finance which were important. All these skills must be included in the appointment of Council board members so that when they were split into smaller board committees they know already they have the prerequisite skills. The audit and risk committee would not struggle because they did not have a finance person.
The Chairperson replied that Ms Ngqulunga had already amended the clause to state audit and risk. They said there was a need to have a legal committee that dealt with legal issues such as following cases in courts and to concentrate on the items she had listed. She asked what to call the committee.
Ms Arnold suggested phrasing it as legal and compliance or legal and monitoring committee
The Director General said the way Ms Sharif and the Chairperson put it, normally the secretariat will have a legal unit for litigation if the Council litigated. However, the legal the Chairperson was referring to was that sometimes women did not have anyone to advise them or to litigate for them. For example, test cases where the Council would take on a case not for the sake of the Council but for the sake of women out there to litigate on a certain matter. It would be good if it to have a legal committee for litigation and such but not compliance as this was specifically for access to justice. They can recommend amendments to certain legislation if the legislation did not address certain things. They could keep it as legal committee but they understood that it was addressing legal issues affecting women. The Chairperson said that sometimes the courts did not convict, they can investigate and raise that issue with the NPA. She gave the example of Omotoso who had many of his charges dropped. The legal committee would assist on matters like that, where women were pushed in a corner to withdraw the case and say a different story from the initial case.
The legal team would assist in the protection of victims. The Council must interact. She asked what the Director General thought. She did not know how to put it, but there was a need.
Ms Khawula said before the victims would be protected. Government no longer had a place to hide them. People would not know who the rape victim was. They could use a hitman. The women were scared. The board needed to make sure that it fights for this. A person needed to be hidden but this was no longer done.
The Chairperson asked if there was a stage where they had talked about the protection of whistleblowers.
The Director General said that the NPA dealt with that. There was legislation that speaks to that.
Ms Sharif asked if they could state the board could have committees including 'but not limited to' in case there was an ad hoc committee that might need to sit for a short time period that looks at rural areas or whatever the board would decide.
The Chairperson asked the legal advisors what they thought.
Ms Arnold said that the word 'including' meant that it was not limited to that those listed (a) to (d).
The Chairperson asked if the way it was captured in terms of legal writing was correct as she was not a legal person, she was trained to talk, but in terms of legal, she was not a specialist.
Ms Arnold replied that it was and the Department can confirm that the term 'including,' had the intention to not limit what was listed. Legally there was nothing wrong with including the phrase 'but not limited to'. It would be repetition but they were not offending anything if they included 'but not limited to'.
The Chairperson said that her argument with Ms Abrahams was that the board was not a service delivery board – or was it a service delivery board?
The Director General replied that the board was not a service delivery board but the Council was like the NYDA. CGE was a Schedule 1 institution and the Council was Schedule 3 like the NYDA. The board then had different committees but the people that would be coordinating the provinces would be the secretariat just like the NYDA.
Ms Sharif asked if that would mean that the Council was service delivery and the board was not, like the NYDA provided services.
The Director General said the NYDA had both a board and a secretariat headed by CEO Waseem Carrim, and the secretariat was the one doing the service delivery. The GBVF Council would be like that, unlike the CGE. With the CGE, the commissioners were the ones doing the work. That was the difference between Schedule 1 and Schedule 3 entities.
Ms Sharif said that both the Chairperson and Ms Abrahams were right then because the board would not be doing service delivery but the Council would be.
The Director General said the Council reported to the board because the board gave instructions. The board decided but did not do the running around.
Ms Sharif asked to confirm the Council was the service provider.
The Director General confirm it would be the secretariat of the Council.
The Chairperson wanted to confirm that the board had 15 members plus those co-opted and then the Council included the CEO and the secretariat.
The Director General replied that the secretariat will be people who will be appointed full-time. Parliament would appoint the board. The secretariat will report to the board, the board will account to Parliament. The secretariat will be the one running around and reporting to the board, the board will be the one to appoint the CEO. The board would be saying there was violence there, go and coordinate and the secretariat would call the meeting and the Council would meet with those people that the secretariat would be running every day coordinating with the provinces and every structure.
Ms Sonti asked who the secretariat was. Was it the Council?
The Chairperson asked the Director General to unpack it.
The Director General explained that the Council would have a board appointed by the Portfolio Committee like the NYDA. The Council would also have a secretariat like the NYDA CEO, Waseem Carrim, and the people who worked with him. The secretariat was always there even if there was no board and it helped the board.
Ms Sonti said she now understood it clearly.
The Chairperson said Ms Abrahams referred back to the legal committee and noted that the Director General spoke about litigation and Ms Arnold spoke about legal compliance. However, the DG disagreed and said that the audit and risk committee dealt with compliance.
Ms Abrahams said she was asking for clarity as Ms Sharif spoke about the challenges faced by women who did not get support in their cases and the importance of having a legal committee. Looking at the function and purpose of the board in this Bill, the board committees were not service delivery entities but Ms Sharif was talking about a service delivery matter. The board per se was about the function and processes of the Act which was broadly speaking about facilitating, integration and policy and it was not service delivery directly. That was where the secretariat came in. The CGE role is service delivery because they had a legal unit even though their legal unit was not up and running, they were legislated to do that. For the legal board committee, if they go to the functions in the Bill, where is the corresponding function that speaks to this?
The Director General said the board committees would coordinate and get reports from the secretariat. For example, the Council secretariat would report to the Audit and Risk Committee. The secretariat would report to the HR Committee about HR policies and so forth. Even for the legal board committee, the secretariat will form multi-sectoral committees within the provinces and everywhere, so it will be reporting to the legal board committee. The Council secretariat will not have many people. They would be very lucky if they get 20 staff because National Treasury did not want to give them money. So the strength of the Council will be the inter-sectoral or multi-sectoral formations. The multi-sectoral committees would be established in all the provinces. There will be a legal one working on exactly what you have been saying. Those formations will report to the Council, and the Council will report to Parliament. Those formations would ensure that they worked through the secretariat. That was why they always said it was a whole society approach. Everyone was going to be responsible to ensure that they ended GBV in South Africa.
Ms Sharif said if the National Council for GBVF was at some level not service delivery then honestly there was no point in having a Council. What the country needed was an organisational council that could provide services to women and LGBTQI members that were being raped and murdered every day in the country. If it was just another administrative council that did not do any services, they were just wasting their time. They needed a council that could go out there and make a difference in people's lives, so at some level there had to be service delivery. The Department was not a service delivery organisation but the Council must be, or else it was not going to work.
The Chairperson said there was going to be service delivery through the secretariat.
Ms Sharif said it had to.
The Chairperson asked the Director General if there was going to be service delivery through the secretariat.
The Director General replied that she also wanted to repeat that there was going to be a multi-sectoral approach. Ms Sharif was looking at litigation; if there was a need to litigate, there were all the civil society organizations. There was the Women's Legal Centre which litigated. That was why they were saying that everyone must work with the Council. The Council must have the power to work with everyone, all society, the private sector, labour, civil society organisations and everyone. That was the only way that they would be able to address GBV because the Council on its own had 15 board members, what could they do? They could not do anything – but their strength would be in a multi-sectoral coordinated approach where everyone was on board and the private sector.
Ms Sonti said it needed support.
The Director General said that the private sector already had started establishing a private sector fund, and they would need a lot of money to pay for litigation if they wanted the Women's Legal Centre to litigate. They need to be able to assist them to be able to litigate on their own. So all those strategies were what the board committees would have to work on. The secretariat would have to have a fundraising committee in the secretariat. It would have people that would be responsible for fundraising so they could litigate because litigation was very expensive.
Ms Marekwa said what boards did were to call meetings for two hours with one agenda, and call other special meetings and the budget went to remuneration for the board meetings.
The Chairperson said that was why they said the Department should monitor.
The Director General explained that NYDA signed a shareholder agreement with the Minister and it submitted its APP to Parliament. Every quarter before the Department released the next quarterly tranche of money, it had to submit a performance report about their achievements. That would be the same process for the GBVF Council.
The Chairperson accepted this.
The Chairperson noted that she liked clause 14(7) which stated "Any decision taken by a committee established under this section must be ratified by the Board".
Clause 15 Appointment of Chief Executive Officer
The Chairperson checked if the appointment of the CEO was by the board or the Council.
The Director General replied that it was the board.
The Chairperson agreed with clause 15(5) "The Board must conclude a written performance agreement with the Chief Executive Officer (a) within a reasonable time after the appointment." She referred to 15(6) "The performance agreement must include (a) measurable performance objectives and targets." It should also include probation for six months and an evaluation. Therefore if the person is not performing they can be removed. That was how the CEO position was structured in the CGE which she liked because when the person was not acting right the commissioners were able to remove the CEO. During the probation, they must evaluate and assess performance. If the person was performing right, they keep the CEO. How many years was the terms of office for the CEO?
Ms Marekwa asked if the CEO term of office corresponded with the board.
The Director General said that it would be a challenge if the CEO and the board ended their term of office at the same time.
The Chairperson said she did not have a problem with five years. What do Ms Sharif think?
Ms Sharif said she did not mind because she did not think it had to align with the board. She did not think it had to because they had a term of five years as well. She wanted to be a bit controversial and suggest the addition of a lifestyle audit.
The Chairperson said that was the right thing to do; it was not controversial and the declaration of interests. The CEO must declare his or her interests just like all of them declare.
Clause 16 Functions of Chief Executive Officer
The Chairperson said that the Department must look at how the CGE and NYDA had structured their CEO functions. The CGE was more advanced than the NYDA.
Clause 17 Secretariat of Council
Ms Ngqulunga said they looked at the current secretariats for the GBVF secretariat.
The Director General said that it was similar to NYDA because they were following the NYDA or CGE most of the time.
The Chairperson said she agreed with clause 17(2) The Chief Executive Officer— (a) is the Head of the Secretariat and (b) must, in consultation with the Board, appoint and supervise the Secretariat". She agreed with clause 17(3)(a) and (b). However, she questioned clause 17(4) "The Board must, in consultation with the Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Minister responsible for Public Service and Administration". She thought the first reference to Minister should be specified as the Committee understood but the ordinary person would not.
The Director General explained that "the Minister" was defined in the Clause 1 definitions as Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities so everywhere "the Minister" was repeated, it was defined in the definitions. The other ministers were being mentioned for the first time and that was why they were mentioned in full and because they were not defined.
The Chairperson thanked her and said that she agreed to Clause 17. Anybody else, Ms Opperman?
Ms Opperman said she was covered.
Clause 18 Funds of Council
The Chairperson noted 18(1) "The funds of the Council consist of (a) monies appropriated by Parliament for this purpose; (b) donations or contributions received from any source; (c) trust funds vested in the Council". She did not understand what clause 18 said about the money remaining with the Council..
The Director General explained that the money for distribution to civil society was not going through the Council but through the Department of Social Development. However, remember they said the Council may litigate in the interests of women and they would need money to litigate. The Council may have to attend to certain problems that it coordinated with certain civil society organisations. It would need money for that. There was a lot of work to coordinate civil society in the provinces to be able to work together. There was the research about access to justice for victims and whether they would be protected. They need money to do all those things so they would raise the funds, even though they would get a budget from National Treasury for the secretariat and what they would need to be able to function. So they might raise funds for the work of the Council but not for distribution.
The Chairperson said that they needed to include that the distribution of funds to civil society organisations is done through the Department of Social Development.
The Director General said that if they did not mention it then civil society would not expect money from the Council.
The Chairperson asked what Ms Arnold thought.
Ms Arnold agreed with the Director General that if it was not mentioned then it did not create a right or an expectation.
Ms Sharif asked if the budget vote would come through the Department in the same process as for the NYDA and CGE and the Department would transfer the money to the Council.
The Director General explained that DWYPD did not give the entity its entire budget but they were giving it to them in quarterly tranches. The entity had to submit a quarterly report on what it had committed to achieve.
The Chairperson asked if the Department had looked at the NYDA and CGE Act and used that drafting.
The Director General said that as long as they complied with the PFMA, that was how it would be done. The money would come through the Department.
Ms Sharif said this again cemented their point that Parliament must appoint the Council board as Parliament was giving them money so they needed oversight on what they were doing.
The Chairperson said it was fine. She agreed to clause 18(4)(a) and (b) on the board utilising funds.
In clause 18(5), Ms Ngqulunga clarified that the donations were first referenced in clause 18(1)(b) as "donations or contributions received from any source".
Clause 19 Financial management
The Department would check the CGE Act to see how it did this.
Clause 20 Audit, annual and financial report
The Department would look at the CGE Act to see how it did this..
Ms Sharif referred to clause 20(2)(a) and (b) and draft it in line with the Public Audit Act. She also noted that the NYDA and CGE Audit and Risk Committee chairperson also reported to the Portfolio Committee.
Clause 22 Provincial and local structures
The Chairperson asked if the legal advisors agreed with this clause.
Ms Arnold replied that they did.
Clause 23 Delegations
The Chairperson said she agrees with this clause.
Clause 24 Regulations
Ms Sharif asked why the Department had removed "participation by civil society in the nomination process of the Board members" in this clause.
Ms Ngqulunga explained that in the introduced Bill the Board appointments were going to be done by the Minister. It was now going to Parliament. There was no need to for the Minister to make regulations on participation by civil society; it was not her role anymore. On that basis they removed it.
Ms Sharif said she understood. Parliament would advertise and ask for public comment about the board.
Ms Arnold noted that in clause 24 the Department took out 'may' and replaced it with 'must'. However 'may' is used for the power of the Minister to make the regulations. The 'may' indicates a discretionary power. She asked if they could maintain 'may' as before.
The Chairperson said the legal advisors were the legal gurus.
The Director General replied that the Office of the President was worried about 'may' and was saying they must not have 'may' but put 'must'.
The Chairperson said maybe they must leave it as 'must'.
The Director General said they would discuss it.
Ms Arnold said they would discuss 'may' or 'must' with the Department. However, 'may' was usually used where there was permission to do or not do something and then 'must' was a clear obligation, so they just needed to ensure that they were conveying the correct intention. She had seen also a 'shall'. This was not a 'shall' piece of legislation, so they must just take out any 'shall' and instead, have 'may' or 'must'.
The Chairperson agreed
Ms Arnold said that 'shall' denotes that something was either going to happen in the future or it was an obligation. They usually see 'shall' in their old order legislation. The 'may' and 'must' were grammatically easier to read and understand as opposed to 'shall'.
Ms Abrahams noted that in terms of the process the Committee will receive a report on the public participation on the Bill on 12 September. There was a report on the motion of desirability. Then the state law advisor would have an opportunity once she had gone over all the corrections again to note anything. Thereafter they would go through clause by clause deliberations.
The Chairperson asked if they should meet on Friday but Ms Sharif said they had plenary sitting on Friday.
The Chairperson said would meet on Tuesday 12th as there was no plenary. It would be a virtual meeting because it was not a compulsory one. The compulsory meeting was on 11th Monday at 10 am, so prepare for next week Tuesday. They would still be in the same room for the whole day so that they get the Department's public participation report. She thanked the members for their patience and staying until the end of the meeting, it showed that they were committed and are taking seriously issues of gender-based violence and femicide. This was one Bill that at the end of the Sixth Term they would say they have done justice to the women and children and persons with disabilities. And at least the Department could pat themselves on the back and say the Director General worked in the Sixth Administration. Ms Arnold and Ms Mello, it would be written in the books that you advised the Committee. And the woman from PMG, you would say you were part of this and you would write it on your CV someday. She thanked the translator and the staff members.
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