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IMPROVEMENT OF QUALITY OF LIFE AND STATUS OF WOMEN JOINT MONITORING COMMITTEE
25 October 2005
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM; WOMEN’S CAUCUS & NATIONAL GENDER MACHINERY MEETING: DISCUSSION
Chairperson: Ms M R Morutoa (ANC)
Concept Notes for Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children
Official Minutes from Parliament
The ’16 Days of Activism for no violence against women campaign’ was scheduled to take place from 25 November to 10 December, with the key commemorative days of 25 November (International Day for No Violence Against Women); 1 December (International Aids Day), 3 December (International Day for the Disabled) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
The Campaign would be launched on 25 November in KwaZulu-Natal; in or around Pietermaritzburg, and the theme for the launch would be ‘Partnerships for Peace’. The provisional programme included a keynote address by the President and the Deputy President would hand over a ‘Torch of Peace’ to the Minister of Transport to mark the country’s transition from the 16 Days of Activism Campaign into the annual ‘Drive Alive’ Campaign. Concern was expressed that the committee was often looked at issues relating to the abuse of women instead of development and housing for women.
It was agreed that the leading party would convene a meeting with representatives from the other parties, the purpose of which would be to revive the women’s caucus and invite all women. The chairperson charged members with not taking their commitment to the committee seriously, as members had reneged on a commitment to visit the provinces.
The Chairperson announced that there would not be a meeting on 28 November; an invitation had been received to attend the CGE Seminar "Best Practices: Gender Machineries" on 31 November 2005; the adoption of the annual Joint Monitoring Committee report was scheduled for 11 November 2005; and Pethu Serote would also brief the committee on monitoring tools on 11 November 2005.
It was agreed to cancel the meeting scheduled for 4 November due to NCOP commitments.
The 16 days of activism campaign
The ’16 Days of Activism for no violence against women campaign’ was scheduled to take place from 25 November to 10 December, with the key commemorative days being 25 November (International Day for No Violence Against Women); 1 December (International Aids Day), 3 December (International Day for the Disabled) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
The Campaign would be launched on 25 November in KwaZulu-Natal; in or around Pietermaritzburg, and the theme for the launch was ‘Partnerships for Peace’. The purpose of the launch was to acknowledge the importance of strategic partnerships in the eradication of violence against women and children; to thank partners for their support; and to consolidate partnerships in the future. The provisional programme consisted of the opening and welcome by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, inputs by strategic partners – NGOs, faith-based organisations, women (probably represented by the convenor of the Presidential Working Group on Women), organised labour (probably represented by the Secretary General of Cosatu), youth (probably represented by the convenor of the Presidential Working Group on Youth), Men for Change, Traditional Leaders, the media, and a keynote address by President Mbeki.
A provincial task team led by the Deputy Director-General in the Premier’s office, Ms Nana Ngobese, would prepare the budget and develop the day’s programme of events.
The Premier of the North West Province had agreed to host the closing event. The House of Traditional Leaders would also participate and the Deputy President had been approached to deliver the keynote address at the closing ceremony. The Deputy President would hand over a ‘Torch of Peace’ to the Minister of Transport to mark the country’s transition from the 16 Days of Activism Campaign into the annual ‘Drive Alive’ Campaign.
Dr D Mabena (ANC) expressed concern that the committee often looked at issues relating to the abuse of women rather than the development of women. The issue of housing had been voiced but not put into practice. Those issues should be considered in the budget.
Ms S Rwcxana (ANC) felt the programme should be restyled as there were many people speaking, including the State President and the General Secretary of Cosatu.
The chairperson concurred that too many people were scheduled to speak and suggested that the seminar be undertaken by the traditional leaders.
She responded, on the issue of violence against women versus the housing of women, that the previous year’s Campaign had promised a number of houses to women, and the current task was to monitor how many had been built and ensure that this year promised were not made that could not be implemented.
Ms J Semple (DA) drew attention to page 8 of the document, which stated that 57 houses had been constructed during the previous campaign and remarked that a breakdown of provinces would be required.
Dr Mabena felt it would be interesting to find out from the Department of Housing how many houses were given to women. He was concerned about women in the housing sector. There were only three or four female building contractors in South Africa, and the others were subcontractors.
Ms Semple felt this was not only a matter for the 16 day Campaign, but that the Committee should call on the Department of Housing.
Dr Mabena referred to the United Nations, Habitat for Housing and Dr Kaunda’s project and agreed that the issue should not be confined to the 16 days of the programme but be prioritised. He suggested a joint meeting with Housing to clarify these issues.
Ms S Mabe (ANC), the deputy chairperson, asked what the purpose of the meeting with the Deputy Minister was, as it was necessary to arrange a meeting date with the Department.
Ms Semple suggested making the appointment for the following week, prior to the National Gender Machinery (NGM). The meeting would have to take place before 8 November as the NCOP would not be available after that date. Wednesday 25 October or Thursday 26 October were also suggested as members would be in Cape Town on those days.
Women’s caucus: discussion
The Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus had been scheduled to address the meeting but was unavailable. There was concern that the Women’s Caucus was not functioning. The programme needed to be established and discussed with the chairperson. A delegation of women from Uganda had asked whether the caucus was working. It was felt that it should be resuscitated, especially as it dealt with women’s empowerment.
Ms Semple said that prior to 2004 a multi-party women’s caucus had been in place in various provinces, and it was therefore strange that the highest representative body in the country did not have the same functioning body. She felt it was necessary to take the initiative and restart the caucus.
The chairperson agreed that such an initiative was usually the responsibility of the ruling party and stated that a multi-party women’s caucus was being mentioned in Parliament.
Ms Semple suggested that the Presiding Officer call a meeting of all the women in Parliament, the Chair and Deputy Chair.
The chairperson responded that this was an issue for the Presiding Officer as the Committee’s duty was to monitor the caucus. A multi-party women’s caucus should be instituted by the ruling party. It was agreed to write to the Presiding Officer that the leading party should convene a meeting with representatives from the different parties, the purpose of which would be to revive the caucus and invite all women.
National Gender Machinery Meeting 8/9 November: Nomination of attending members
At the previous National Gender Machinery meeting an action plan until 2012 had been discussed. A meeting would take place in Centurion, for which the Committee Clerk would arrange the travel. The meeting would commemorate the 50 years since the march in 1956 when women had marched to Pretoria. The chairperson called for all to vigorously participate.
Provincial monitoring visits
Ms Morutoa expressed her disappointment that members had so poorly attended the delegation tour to the provinces to monitor progress and gender.
The tour had started in Gauteng with Dr Luthuli and other members, where they had visited the Premier’s office, the West Rand, and Magaliesberg, where they had met with magistrates, prosecutors, civil society and NGOs. Thereafter two members had left and the chairperson had continued alone to the Eastern Cape. In Umtata she had met with the mayor and correctional services. Ms Semple then joined her and they met with the magistrate of Umtata and visited the civic centre. She stated that a lot was taking place in the eastern Cape. That afternoon they had gone on to Queenstown and met with its mayor.
The following week, KwaZulu-Natal was visited, and they were joined by more members. They met with the gender focus person and then moved on to Newcastle. They had met with magistrates who appeared well organised, and from Newcastle travelled on to the south coast and Port Shepstone. She indicated that some areas needed to be followed up by the Justice Department but felt that the Domestic Violence Act was a good law.
The chairperson noted that absenteeism was a serious issue and that members who had agreed to go on the visit had not done so.
Ms Rwcxana suggested liaising with the Chief Monitoring Committee on the issue of flights so that there would not be a conflict of visits and the problem could thus be averted in the future.
The chairperson responded that the time had been specifically chosen as other committees had already carried out their visits while the monitoring committee had not. While she understood that members belonged to three or four committees, she felt that some were not taking their commitment seriously.
The meeting was adjourned.
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