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JOINT MONITORING COMMITTEE ON IMPROVEMENT OF QUALITY OF LIFE AND STATUS
24 March 2006
ENHANCED COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES, INTEGRATED DATA SYSTEMS AND STATISTICS ACROSS GOVERNANCE CLUSTERS ON GENDER ISSUES
Chairperson: Ms M Morutoa (ANC)
Documents handed out:
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Input
Department of Communication Power Point Presentation
Statistics South Africa Power Point Presentation
Department of Public Service and Administration Input
SABC Power Point Presentation: Part 1 & 2
Trafficking in Persons Inter-Sectoral Task Team Presentation
Relevant website: www.genderlinks.org.za
The Trafficking in Persons Inter-Sectoral Task Team chaired by the National Prosecuting Authority, the Departments of Communication and Public Service and Administration, Statistics South Africa and the South African Broadcasting Corporation presented their proposals on how to achieve enhanced communication strategies, integrated data systems and consolidated statistics in promoting gender issues.
The discussion with the Trafficking in Persons Inter-Sectoral Task Team focused on community outreach programmes, their projects in schools around the different provinces, femicide and the task team's relationship with the Justice Department. Concerns shared by members with the SABC was the tendency of the SABC not to show up at women events and the usage of English at the expense of other African languages. This was not helping the youth in the rural areas as they understood little English nor were rural children being showcased on television.
The discussion with Statistics South Africa focused on the need for clear statistics for women dying of unnatural causes and why the Judicial Death Enquiries Act needed amending.
The Chairperson welcomed members of the different delegations and stated that the Deputy Chairperson Ms E Mabe (ANC) would be chairing the session.
Trafficking in Persons Inter-sectoral Task Team briefing
Advocate Thoko Majokweni, Special Director: Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) Unit in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), gave background on the establishment of SOCA and laid out its powers, duties and functions conferred by Section 13(1)(c) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act (Act 32 of 1998).
Adv Majokweni stated that some of the areas of vulnerability in gender-based violence were rape and related forms of exploitation, forced and early marriages, abduction, trafficking in persons, destructive female genital mutilation, domestic violence and HIV/AIDS. Various legislative enactments had seen South Africa cultivate a strong rights culture in its democratic period which reinforced the national rights-based agenda. This was illustrated by the NPA Policy Manual, the NPA's Sexual Harassment Policy, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development's Gender Policy, the Uniform Protocol on Victim Management, the Minimum Standards for Diversion and Rehabilitation Programmes and the Memorandum of Understanding signed between government departments and traditional leaders in terms of Project Ndabezitha.
The NPA had worked on communication strategies and had taken a multi-disciplinary approach by involving stakeholders such as other government departments, civil organisations and communities it served.
Adv Majokweni stated that the existence of poverty in close proximity to vigorous economic growth had fuelled supply and demand for exploitable labour, whether it was for sexual, farm, domestic or other forms of labour. These victims of trafficking were difficult to recognise with traffickers exploiting and cultivating their fear and distrust of authorities. Some of them were unaccustomed to basic rights as a result of the situation in their countries of origin.
Some of the steps that had been taken to bring the country into compliance with the Palermo Protocol included Project 131 launched by the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC), the Human Trafficking Desk established by South African Police Service (SAPS) and the establishment of a ten-member Trafficking in Persons Inter-Sectoral Task Team.
Adv Majokweni outlined modes of detecting victims of trafficking and general investigative steps, integrated data systems and consolidated statistics and the impact of the multi-disciplinary approach on statistics. She concluded by noting the emerging challenges across countries identified from the experts’ round table discussion that had been held, and other sources.
Ms J Semple (DA) asked if the fact that human trafficking had not yet been classified as a crime in South Africa hampered their work. What kind of pressure had they been putting on the Department of Justice?
Mr F Maserumule (ANC) commented that this was not the first time that the Committee had received a presentation of this nature. The document before them looked good on paper. He did not know whether the problem in South Africa was lack of capacity or whether people were being wrongly deployed. The police themselves could not provide accurate statistics about the extent of the problem. This meant that we did not know what we were dealing with. It had taken him some time to understand that religious institutions were being used as entry and exit points.
Ms R Morutoa (ANC) asked about the relationship between the task team and the judicial system in the Eastern Cape. Nobody from national level appeared to be intervening. What was their budget and how did it relate to their strategic plans? How did they deal with intimate femicide because it had increased in the last few years?
Ms D Morobi (ANC) asked in which provinces the 450 schools that had been visited for campaigning were located? Which communities did they reach out to? In which provinces were projects launched?
Ms M Themba (ANC) asked how active civil organisations were in the provinces; especially the rural parts of the country? Were the information campaigns in schools making an impact?
Adv Majokweni stated that the issue of the integrated model had been dealt with. The Thutuzela model was about the integration of services. The task team conducted community outreach programmes, but used non-governmental organizations because they were the representatives of civil society. These were then brought on board, even the composition of the task team, included these organizations. The task team was busy with the establishment of a national plan of action that would include a wide variety of people including non-governmental organizations.
The task team was partnering with Gender-links to have all other related organizations come on board as well as other government departments in order to have a national plan of action that was going to deal with violence against women, taking the Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign to 365 Days of Action to End Gender Violence. One of the functions of the proclamations by the President was that she should engage non-governmental organisations.
Adv Majokweni stated that the lack of legislation had been a very difficult issue. Without a properly defined crime, it was very difficult even for the police to put in systems that would then record those cases. It was difficult for policing, monitoring and prosecution. What had been used, were a number of cases that she has brought forward at the beginning like abduction, kidnapping and sexual violence.
The Eastern Cape was where they had only two Thutuzela centres. The province had been identified as the most rural and as the poorest and they had then decided to put in resources. They were decentralising SOCA, as the national unit, to three areas: the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
Advocate Nolwandle Qaba, Senior State Advocate: Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) stated that they had visited 50 schools in each of the provinces. This campaign had had immediate results with some children coming forward to seek help. Studies had been conducted on entry points for trafficking which showed that people were moving freely at the Limpopo and Mozambique borders.
Advocate Pierre Smith, Deputy Director: Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) stated that femicide had not been discussed in public education. He mentioned that the Sexual Offences Bill should be promulgated quickly.
The Chairperson commented that a lot of topics had not been touched and a full day was really needed to thrash out these issues.
South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
Ms Yvonne Kgame (Head: SABC Education) stated that the SABC had developed a broad-based strategy that sought to combat the problem of violence and abuse against women and children by raising awareness, informing and educating the public through a multi-pronged strategy across platforms.
For the past few years, the SABC had embraced the Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence concept and used it as an organising strategy by individuals and groups to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
Ms Kgame stated that it had been the mandate and intention of the SABC not only to be reflective of the needs and wants of the public but to also raise awareness around these issues. SABC’s framework had been informed by the Broadcast Act of 1999, the Broadcasting Charter, ICASA regulations, SABC Corporate Goals, SABC Editorial Policies, the UN Convention of Rights of the Child, African Charter on Children’s Broadcasting and the Educational Policies related to children and the media.
Mr Maserumule (ANC) asked why there were about 46 radio stations concentrated around Johannesburg alone and yet there had been no signal in some rural areas. The SABC programmes did not serve the rural young. These programmes were in English and at some time they had been showed Prince William’s shower. Why was this? There had also been the problem of pornography. Pornography was violence and so was wrestling. Were there any laws to change this?
Ms Morobi (ANC) stated that a lot of children in rural areas and in the locations were talented and needed to showcase this. What needed to be done for these children to appear on television?
The Chairperson asked how Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa information would be disseminated?
Ms W Direko (ANC) mentioned that the SABC had a tendency of not showing up at organized women events. Even if they had been invited and had agreed to come, they often did not show up.
Ms Makasi (ANC) agreed with Ms Direko that the SABC did not come to local events even if invited. This was also the case at provincial level.
Ms Kgame responded that the SABC would cover every event of ASGISA. With regard to pornography and wrestling, the SABC was not responsible for this. It had been e-TV that had been broadcasting these. If the SABC showed some adult content, then this usually had a warning and age restriction.
She noted that there were a number of programmes that children could get involved in. There was the show, World of Winners, for children wanting to be on television. Other programmes included Yo-TV and Takalani Sesame.
She explained that R750 million had been budgeted for local content and scheduling would be informed by many factors including the availability of audiences. The SABC had also been training women in sound, producing and directing. To date 60 women had been trained as technicians and for camera work.
She agreed that language was an important issue and programmes would be launched to address the concerns raised.
Department of Communications (DoC) briefing
The Chief Operations Officer, Gerda Grabe, Director: Special Programmes, Ms Lizeka Dlepu, and Ms Mary Maphatane , Senior Researchers in the Office of the Director-General, briefed the Committee.
Ms Grabe indicated that its role was to create a favourable ICT environment that ensured South Africa had the capacity to advance its socio-economic development goals, support the renewal of Africa and build a better world.
The highlighted initiatives of DoC and its State Owned Enterprisess included the establishment of an Emergency call centre, Community Radio Stations, South African Post Offices Postcard Pledge campaign, support of the National Sixteen Days of Activism on No Violence Against Women and Children.
The Department sought a strategy through proposals that included the 112 Emergency Call centre and helplines which had a national emergency line which women and children could call during emergencies. Currently the different initiatives by government, the private sector and civil society were uncoordinated.
The second proposal would focus on enhanced communication strategies where different service providers could run awareness campaigns about their emergency lines so that the victims of violence and abuse are aware where they can call when they are in distress. This strategy would also ensure that existing infrastructure and communication strategies are utilised such as the 112 Emergency Call Centre, Community Radio Stations, Multi-Purpose Community Centres (with e-cadres), Public Internet Terminals (PITs) and the South African Post Office “No Violence” Postcard Pledge campaign.
Integrated data systems and consolidated statistics would see to the implementation of a portal where different levels of intervention could be recorded. This strategy would provide for strategic interventions. The final proposal made by the DoC was the Cyber Dialogues held on the internet and used during the Sixteen Days of Activism campaign to create a cyber platform where discussion took place and information was shared.
The Department concluded that it and the ICT sector could play a key role in addressing the high incidence of violence against women and children, pornography, trafficking in persons and related matters.
Mr Maserumule complained that there was no telecommunication signal in his rural constituency. The operators had excluded people in rural areas included women, children and older people. How would they be empowered if they were excluded? He had to drive at least three kilometres to get a signal in order to make a call from his cell-phone.
The Chairperson asked about the impact of the cyber dialogues. How were people informed? The roll-out of multi-purpose community centres had been so slow. How were they equipped in terms of infrastructure?
Ms Grabe responded that ICASA was in the process of registering more Under Serviced AL licences. This would help improve the situation. The Government Communication and Information System that was responsible for the rollout did not fall under the Communications department and so they could not answer for them.
Ms Dlepu explained that they had used an internet chat room for the cyber dialogue where relevant departments, non-governmental organizations and citizens could engage.
Department for Public Service and Administration (DPSA) briefing
Ms Heather Engelbrecht, National Public Service Senior Programme Manager: Gender and Governance, said that one of its concerns was to protect the human rights of civil servants in the work place. Workplace violence increasingly appeared as serious threat to the efficiency and success of departments. This violence appeared in physical, sexual and psychological forms. In the DPSA’s evolving work on the Public Service Employee Health and Wellness Policy Framework, it had become apparent that there were increasing numbers of workplace violence incidents. The DPSA recognised its obligation to develop guidelines to provide safe workplaces. More work needed to be done to require all departments and provincial administrations to have systems in place to achieve a reduction of incidents of violence.
The DPSA also expressed its concern about the increasing use of internet to perpetuate violence against women. However it saw the e-government strategy as a useful tool in women's empowerment and achievement of gender equality as it allowed for exercise of citizenship and direct public participation.
The DPSA acknowledged that they did not have data collection systems and statistics that collect sex-disaggregated data.
The Chairperson asked the DPSA what the specific budget for women had been.
Ms Engelbrecht responded that there had been no specific budget. This had been a structural omission but would be rectified.
The Chairperson commented that the 'gender focus' persons in each department did not appear to be fulfilling their mandate. -
Ms Makasi asked why had there been no data collection in terms of work violence?
Mr Maserumule asked the DPSA to indicate, even if generally, the statistics for work violence. He asked for cases that they had tried.
Ms Engelbrecht responded that the data they had was gained from the Vulindlela system. This would however be limited data but a sense of it could be provided.
Statistics South Africa on unnatural deaths among South African women
Dr Heston Phillips (Executive Manager: Demographic Analysis) briefed the Committee on how data was collected for unnatural death rates for women in South Africa. There needed to be improvements in order to understand the patterns of violent deaths to women.
He recommended increased cooperation between Statistics South Africa, the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Transport and the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System (NIMSS) to improve knowledge about death rates from unnatural causes. If SAPS could fill in the circumstances of death in a larger proportion of cases then it would help in the analysis of unnatural death rates. The Judicial Death Enquiries Act, No 58 of 1959, needed to be amended to clarify that the Act does not bar those filling out Death Notification forms from indicating the circumstances of the death. This would allow calculation of unnatural death rates by intent (homicide, suicide, accidents) from death registration data. He suggested that this could be done by placing a "best opinion about apparent manner of death" item in the Death Notification form, without legal weight (as on the NIMSS form).
Mr Maserumule asked what natural and unnatural deaths meant? He asked members and the presenter to forgive his ignorance.
Ms Kiki (ANC) noted that there was not clear information on the number of AIDS deaths. This was because people were reported as dying of AIDS-related illnesses such as pneumonia and tuberculosis (TB). She asked how often the data was updated.
The Chairperson wondered how one could gauge the impact of the Sixteen Days of Activism campaign if the statistics were not being collected.
Ms Morobi asked what the relevance of Act 58 of 1959 was.
Dr Phillips responded that the police had interpreted Act 58 as meaning that they could not determine "intent". The information that the Department of Home Affairs got was from the doctors and they were the ones who wrote on the death certificate what had caused the death. Unnatural death related to violent deaths such as accidents and gunshot wounds whereas natural death related to heart attacks and stroke.
Dr Phillips stated that there had been several sources for data collection and he noted that South Africa had moved to having a ten-year census.
The meeting was adjourned.
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