Provincial Local Government Departments & SA Local Government Association on Gender Mainstreaming & Focal Points: briefings

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


12 August 2005

Ms M Morutoa (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Department of Provincial Local Government presentation
Equal Gender Representation and Participation in Local Government: SALGA briefing
SALGA Report on Women in Local Government Summit 2005
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs briefing
Progress Report to the Joint Monitoring Committee: Northern Cape
Western Cape Office on the Status of Women briefing
Western Cape Department of Local Government and Housing briefing
Human Rights and Special Projects
Western Cape Department of Local Government: Human Rights Mainstreaming Business Plan 2005/06
Human Rights and Special Project Submission E
Department of Social Development Reportback on Framework Programme of Action: Second Provincial Women’s Dialogue
Gauteng Provincial Government, Progress Reports on Outputs for 2004/05
Free State Office on the Status of Women: Special Programmes Chief Directorate briefing
North West Status Report on Gender Mainstreaming
Eastern Cape Department of Housing, Local Government and Traditional Affairs briefing
Limpopo Office on the Status of Women briefing
Eastern Cape Report on Local Government Compliance
Report on Monitoring Compliance on Gender Policy and Programmes of the Department
Gauteng Province Plans for 2005-06: Office of the Premier
Gauteng Gender Workplace programmes

The Joint Committee was briefed by provincial Departments of Local Government, the SA Local Government Association (SALGA), and the Offices on the Status of Women (OSWs) and Gender Focal Point (GFPs) across the nine provinces. Most presenters expressed concern regarding the apparent powerlessness of Gender Focal Persons. An apparent misunderstanding of the Committee’s expectation of the OSW reports resulted in a request for written submissions detailing the input of the provincial and local governments.

Ms Lydia Malemesi, Executive Member of the Women’s Parliamentarians and a member of the Ugandan Parliament, thanked the Committee for the opportunity given to her delegation to sit in on its meeting. Uganda and South Africa had many issues regarding gender in common. Uganda had a similar body to SALGA and it was also experiencing problems in getting hold of segregated data.

Department briefing
Ms Dumi Makete, Deputy Director-General for Monitoring and Evaluation gave the Committee background information regarding the gender process within the Department of Provincial and Local Government. In mid 2004, a unit had been established and tasked with monitoring gender issues. The unit received inputs from different departments such as the Department of Minerals and Energy, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, the National Treasury as well as the Department of Public Service and
Administration. Even though the unit was fragmented at present, Ms Makete assured the Committee that its work was progressing.

For the purposes of the meeting, Ms Makete gave information regarding gender aspects relating to the senior management level of the Department. The Woman’s Forum facilitated a dialogue and support for all women within the Department.

The public service target for the number of women employed in the Department was 30% and by June 2005 a level of 36.4% had been reached. The Department would continue to monitor the situation to ensure that targets were not merely met but that all its activities were focused on the development of women.

The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) was aimed mainly at improving the infrastructure of the various municipalities. In participation with SALGA and various other municipalities an Annual Women in Local Government Conference was held. It offered a platform to councillors, officials and municipal managers in local government to air their ideas. A Managing Committee, a technical task team, a change control board as well as a call centre had been put in place to administer the grant. All projects would be aimed at benefiting women and other disadvantaged groups. All participants were obliged to supply the Department with reports that reflected that they were indeed aiming to meet the above-mentioned ideals.

Ms Makete pointed out that at present there was limited information regarding the Traditional Leadership and Government Act since it was only gazetted and implemented in December 2004. It was still in its early stages in the provinces. The Department requested province specific legislation for those provinces in which the Act applied: Limpopo, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga.

Projects aimed at alleviating poverty and advancing skills development were implemented through various integrated sustainable rural development programmes.

As far as implementation was concerned Ms Makete noted that the Municipal Systems Act required municipalities to adopt a culture that promoted participatory governance and created enabling mechanisms through the Ward Committee system and public participation. Currently 17.3% of mayors, 28.2% of councillors and 6.3% of municipal managers were women.

The Department was currently working closely with municipalities to ensure that good governance practices were developed and improved. Ms Makete assured the Committee that there was a commitment to improve female representation figures but there was no guarantee that there would be visible improvement by 2006. She admitted that implementation was one of the major areas of concern for the Department.


The Chairperson asked the Department’s position regarding women’s empowerment and gender. Ms J Semple (DA) asked whether all women were targeted regardless of race and whether a system was in place to monitor implementation.

Ms Makete responded that women were targeted regardless of race. The Department was aiming at 50% female representation.

Ms M Themba (ANC) congratulated the Department on its progress and asked whether there was a gender budget in place to run all programmes and how many persons were on board at gender focal point level.

Ms Makete said that the gender unit had a gender focal point at chief directorate level but that this position was currently vacant. There was a Gender budget within the Human Resources (HR) budget for the Equity and Development Programme, as well as other projects.

Mr F Maserumule (ANC) requested clarity on the claim that there were no traditional leaders in Gauteng. He expressed concern that an impression was being created that people coming from rural areas were backward. How was this information gathered?

Ms Makete said that extensive research had been done into the matter. Researchers went deep into rural areas and all structures were consulted. She pointed out that prior to 1994, Pretoria would have fallen within the Witwatersrand area, but now fell in the North West Province.

Ms Kiki (ANC) asked whether government had mechanisms in place to ensure that women got 50% representation in the coming local government election. This would be achieved in the proportional representation system, but not in the ward system. The Deputy Chairperson enquired whether there was a plan to capacitate the women.

Ms Makete said that the Municipal Structures Act required that 50% female representation be achieved. This was however a party political goal and could not be enforced by government.

SA Local Government Association briefing
Ms Ayanda Nabe, SALGA Head of Social Development, said that part of the ‘50/50 Campaign’ was to encourage equal gender participation and representation. There was still room for improvement, especially as far as administration was concerned.

The Local Government Gender Audit for 2004 reflected that 19% of all mayors, 8.5% of all deputy mayors, 27.1% of all Speakers, 9.5% of all Chief Whips and 6.3% of Municipal Managers were female.

SALGA had had many successes but was still faced with many challenges; the most immediate of which was to ensure that all potential voters received their identity documents in time for the upcoming local government elections. Access to segregated data remained a challenge.

Mr D Mabena (ANC) questioned why it seemed the disabled were being excluded from SALGA’s local government election plans.

Ms Nabe responded that the disabled were not being excluded. When SALGA mentioned the youth and women, they included disabled youth and disabled women.

Ms Semple (DA) asked whether female municipal managers were trained through a targeted training program. She also enquired about the level of vacancies within municipal administrations. Would the proposed centralisation of municipal employees forming part of the public administration, apply? Ms Kiki (ANC) commented that expecting women to be trained or capacitated was undermining their ability. Ms Semple pointed to the fact that poorer women were not as well trained as men.

Dr M Khosa (CEO SALGA) responded that an executive leadership program was run by the SALGA’s KZN office. She said women needed to be capacitated in order to exceed expectations. Currently female representation was limited. Women filled a number of acting positions in local administration. SALGA could advise municipalities but could not impose guidelines for gender representation. It had tried however to engage political parties as the employment of administrative heads was a political process.

Mr Maserumule (ANC) asked how much progress had been made regarding the implementation of cooperative governance programmes. Did all levels of government share a common outlook?

Ms Regina Moleko (Acting Deputy Director, Office on the Status of Women (OSW) Northern Cape) enquired about the role of Gender Focal Points (GFP). Ms Susan Nkomo (Chief Executive Officer, OSW) pointed out that GFPs were becoming ‘catch alls’ for a number of tasks. They were not merely handling issues relating to gender but also to the disabled, the youth, etc.

Ms Nabe responded that SALGA had decided at its national general conference in 2002 that there must be gender focal points in all municipalities. She pointed out that often GFPs did not have the expertise to deal with programmes. SALGA would therefore encourage GFPs to communicate with the people with expertise via the provincial SALGA office. In that way the workload would be reduced.

Offices on the Status of Women and Gender Focal Point briefings
The various OSWs and GFPs had been requested to present the Committee with reports regarding the input of local governments on Gender Focal Points. Due to a misunderstanding of the request, many OSWs and GFPs reported on their activities and challenges. The Chairperson was advised to request that they submit relevant, written reports.

Northern Cape Province
The representative reported that they had received a good response from municipalities. Currently there were three chief directors, sixteen directors and one deputy director-general that were female. Capacity building, especially regarding the gender budget and gender policy remained a challenge.

Eastern Cape Province
Some progress had been made but the OSW was faced with many challenges. Many of the problems faced by the OSW in this province were mainly structural as there was a lack of human as well as material resources. The fact that the GFP was located at assistant director level was problematic since this position did not make participation in key decision-making structures possible. Hence it was difficult to ensure implementation.

KwaZulu-Natal Province
The OSW operated within the Human Rghts Chief Directorate. It had had many successes. For instance, on 6 August 2005, it had launched a Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Project in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development. It was also involved in an adult basic education programming aimed at promoting ABET amongst women. It was also enhancing its Girl Guide Movement as well as its ‘Take a Girl Child to the Workplace’ programme.

Gauteng Province
The OSW reported that percentages reflecting female participation were increasing. The province had a gender forum in place and almost all departments had gender budget statements.

Recommendations had been sent to the Departments as well as to the Office of the Premier regarding how the gaps in gender mainstreaming could be filled. There was also a programme aimed at capacitating GFPs. Dialogues were being conducted to gather information regarding the needs of women. These dialogues were being run by the Office of the Premier, local government, NGOs and women from the business sector. They were being run in all six metros. The institutional framework was aimed at fostering collaboration between provincial and local government. The OSW was working with the Premier to champion gender issues at provincial and local level.

Mpumalanga Province
The OSW had made attempts to have the local government establish GFPs, but had had no success. At a presentation at the recent forum of Municipal Managers it transpired that the resolutions had not dealt with gender matters, but only matters regarding the youth. The OSW had made a submission to amend the resolution to include gender and was waiting for a response. In 2002, a resolution in line with the Municipal Structures Act had been taken to establish GFPs. The fact that none had been established would be taken up with local government.

Free State Province
The OSW’s focal areas were monitoring, research, advocacy, liaison and network, capacity building and coordination. The OSW had a whole range of successes. Outstanding and ongoing projects included projects around women in business and women with disabilities, HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns as well as a project to guarantee access to resources.

Limpopo Province
Eleven out of the 32 municipalities had submitted their gender equity status, five of which had reached their 30% equity target. 32% of the managers were women. Only two district municipalities and one local municipality had appointed GFPs. Issues of economic empowerment and skills development had been taken up in district municipalities.

Western Cape Province
A major challenge in this province was that the gender program had been separated into external (Human Resources) and internal (communication) environments. This posed a problem as far as communication between the two was concerned. The GFPs were being hampered by time constraints since they had to split their time between youth, disability and gender issues. Furthermore there was just one budget for youth, disability and gender issues.

At district and local level there was a major challenge for the OSW since the national gender policy framework was silent on local governments. There was a Gender Implementation Strategy within the department. The OSW was working with the Departments of Local Government and Housing to replicate gender desks at local and district level. It recommended that provincial and national OSWs, SALGA and GMC start to engage in this process.

North West Province
The OSW had an integrated provincial policy on how the OSW would work with local government. Of all provincial departments, only two had appointed GFPs at assistant director level. This level was very low and did not add value to what these departments were supposed to achieve. Mechanisms for the integration of gender equality and women empowerment remained disadvantaged at all levels within the province.

Ms Themba (ANC) noted the OSW’s reports on the GFPs. She expressed disappointment that ten years into democracy, the same issues were still being discussed. The OSWs were doing the work of the GFPs. They should be functioning as a coordinating body. OSWs should be assisting local governments. She commended Gauteng for their dialogue with the Premier. She advised other OSWs to liase closely with their respective Departments. She said that the Northern Cape should prepare themselves for women’s month despite their pressing schedule since women’s month was a part of the Parliamentary programme.

Ms Kiki (ANC) pointed out that what was needed was working together at local, provincial and national level. She asked whether the Western Cape was working with the Cape Town City Council (Metro) as well as rural towns since no mention was made of the metro where the majority of people reside.

Ms P September (Deputy Director Western Cape, OSW) said that the OSW had prioritised the five rural councils as support was needed there. The OSW had a good working relationship with the gender co-ordinator of the City of Cape Town.

Mr Maserumule (ANC) expressed his dissatisfaction that so much time was spent discussing, debating and eventually legislating but implementation was lacking. Provincial governments were not taking gender issues seriously. A strong message should be sent through the Speaker of the National Assembly to Premiers as well as senior municipality managers to change. This sentiment was echoed by Ms Themba (ANC).

Ms Doreen Senokoanyane, Chairperson of the Gender Committee of Gauteng, echoed Mr Maserumule and Ms Themba’s sentiments. It appeared as though the GFPs were merely there to appease; it was not clear what they were doing. The OSWs were in the same boat and did not have enough powers. The Department appeared to be undermining the OSWs. Despite training and programmes, no clear outcomes were evident.

Ms Kiki (ANC) asked for clarification of the Northern Cape’s comment that they had no regional structures.

Ms Regina Moleko (Acting Deputy Director, OSW Northern Cape) responded that there were no GFPs in the municipalities. If they had been present, there would have been better implementation. The OSW and gender units needed more resources to achieve their goals.

Ms Kiki commented that the multi-skilled community development workers were a resource that should be used. They could offer valuable assistance to the OSWs.

Ms B Madonsela (OSW, Mpumalanga) admitted that the OSWs had not complied with the Committee’s request. She agreed that the matter of the OSWs and GFPs should be taken up by the Speaker and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. In 2003, in a report by the provinces, certain recommendations had been made. She recalled that the recommendations were very direct. If these recommendations were communicated and provinces failed to comply, action should be taken.

Ms Themba concurred that these recommendations had been communicated to the provinces and that some had made provision for OSWs in their legislation.

The meeting was adjourned.


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