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AD HOC JOINT COMMITTEE ON IMPROVEMENT OF QUALITY OF LIFE AND STATUS OF WOMEN
27 February 1998
FINALISATION OF PROGRAMME FOR 1998
Documents handed out:
Committee work programme for 1998 (see Appendix)
The Chairperson, Ms Govender, opened the meeting by stating that the key issue was the finalisation of the 1998 draft programme and identifying priority areas.
Focussing on the draft programme, the Chairperson suggested that an annual update from Parliament on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Plan of Action would be useful.
Regarding the Hearings section in the Draft Programme, the Chairperson stated that the key area of work for 1998, as last year, would be around the budget and a joint hearing with the Joint Standing Committee of Finance would be organised.
Joint Hearings with selected relevant committees [point 1.2 of HEARINGS in the Draft Programme] depended on the capacity of the committee, and it would have to prioritise those committees.
Concerning point 2 (Joint Hearings with Justice Portfolio Committee) there would have to be a follow-up on those hearings this year as there was a need to give maximum impact on issues affecting women.
Point 3 (Hearings in the Northern Province) had been driven by the Parliamentary Women's Group and the ANC Women's Caucus. Th 21st March was targetted for the first hearing.
Regarding point 4, the Hearing on the Green Paper on Women's Policy, the Chairperson raised the issue as to where to go with the Policy Paper and how to make it enforceable. The committee would have to pool resources with the Gender Commission by holding a joint workshop, possibly toward the end of April.
The Chairperson suggested that they would have to identify two members in each and every committee, who would monitor progress and keep the committee chairpersons abreast of developments or issues raised in the Ad Hoc Joint Committee.
In order to make ministries accountable, the Chairperson said that there were two sets of tabling necessary: one for the full report and one for each issue where the ministries had to show their progress to date in terms of specific issues
It was hoped the final report would be tabled by August. Regarding the draft report, it was agreed that it would be circulated to both male and female MPs
The Chairperson went on to speak about the need to simplify the budget so as to make it accessible to all. She mentioned that Ms Smuts (DP) had found the draft programme too ambitious and that the committee needed to be equipped when holding joint hearings with other committees, as some past experiences had proven rather embarrassing for members who could not give any input on the subject or issues under discussion. Ms Mahomed felt that they also needed to hold hearings with actual service providers, such as Khula, Ntsika, Lumka Associates, etc. Ms Lamani thought that the committee on Arts, Culture and Technology would have to be included, since 1998 had been proclaimed the year of science and technology. Secondly, she wanted to know whether it be possible for the committee to invite the chairperson of the Finance Committee to explain the budget and give members an opportunity to pose questions.
It was suggested that other committees that need to be targetted are Trade and Industry with a focus on the Job Summit and the Land and Agriculture Committees.
The Chairperson invited members to comment on legislation and policy in the draft programme. Ms Hajaij wanted to know whether a submission had been sent by the committee to the hearings on Customary Law. The Chairperson replied that the committee had not sent a submission but instead the South African Law Commission had received a section of the report. The committee would have to identify specific issues on Customary Law and Ms de Villiers (the researcher for the committee) would also identify key issues that needed to be looked at. An important aspect would be the committee's discussion where members needed to deal with targetted pieces. Ms Hajaij suggested that the committee send a submission to the Judicial Commission.
Ms Myakayaka-Manzini (ANC) asked for clarification on who would do the gender scans (point 6). The Chairperson responded that they could call on the South African Local Government Organisation or the Constitutional Affairs Ministry. The South African Law Commission had no capacity to do a national scan but the Gender Commission was involved with this.
The Maintenance Bill that would be tabled in parliament needed to be looked at. She also raised a concern regarding the discriminatory treatment of women by banks and the fact that nobody challenged them. The committee should invite the Association of Banks for a hearing. Ms Hajaij stressed that it was important to put pressure on banks; the committee should request a written submission as well. She felt the committee needed to become pro-active. Ms Shope suggested that a representative from the Development Bank be invited to the committee. Ms Myakayaka-Manzini thought that the Gender Commission should monitor banks as their jurisdiction extends to the private sector.
Ms Lamani expressed concern regarding the gender scans. She wondered whether provincial committees would be able to hold discussions. Ms Mothoagae answered that Gender Desks were present in provinces and that they were the appropriate bodies to deal with that issue. Ms Hajaij felt it was time that the committee be presented with a progress report from the Human Rights Commission, which included progress made in women's rights. Ms Shope said that the committee should invite Mr Minty of Foreign Affairs Department to inform them on international organisations focussing on women and South Africa's role in such organisations. She would also wanted an invitation to be extended to the secretary-general of PAWO.
On the issue of women and education, a joint meeting would be held on 10 March 1998
Regarding National Machinery, the Chairperson again raised her concern as to how to make the Green Paper an enforceable framework document. Ms Manzini clarified that the task of implementation was in government's hands. The committee's job was to ensure that hearings were held and encouraged discussion on the issue. The Chairperson said that the committee needed to discuss who would be invited, which would be done in the next meeting.
In closing, the Chairperson wanted clarification on the issues that members wanted prioritised. Ms Manzini requested a policy document and reports from all the ministries. Secondly, she requested the budget. She also stressed that there was a need to have members who would raise issues concerned with women in the various committees, as it was impossible for the ad hoc committee to do so with its few members. The Chairperson wanted to know whether members were willing to make the committee be the driving force on Women's Budget Initiative. All were in favour. Ms Hajaij said that the priority was Economic Empowerment of Women in all aspects. Ms Shope suggested contact with women in other countries and the Chairperson requested issues of violence against women. Ms Lamani wanted the committee to pursue Customary Law and a meeting with the banks regarding finance of women. Ms Manzini also requested the focus on the Maintenance Bill.
Appendix: Work programme of committee for 1998 (draft)
COMMITTEE ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND STATUS OF WOMEN
DRAFT PROGRAMME OF WORK 1998
A. CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORM OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (CEDAW)
1. Follow up letters to be addressed to ministries in respect of reports requested by the Committee last year to be submitted by Feb 1998
2. Obtain reports from ministries
3. Scrutiny of department's individual reports which were incorporated into the govt.'s
1997 CEDAW report submitted to the United Nations
4. Draft report to be drawn up and discussed by Committee
5. Finalise the Committee's (independent) report and table to Parliament
B. COMMITTEE REPORT
1. Draft Committee's annual report
2. Circulate to Committee members
3. Finalise report
4. Table report to Parliament
5.1 Different sections/issues the Committee has dealt with.
5.2 What has been achieved to change the quality of life and status of women through the work of this Committee and Parliament
1. Engendering the Budget
1.1 Joint Hearings with JSCOF
1.2 Joint Hearings with selected relevant committees
2. Joint Hearings with Justice Portfolio Committee
3. Hearings in the Northern Province
4. The Green paper on Women's Policy:
LEGISLATION AND POLICY
1. Identify relevant legislation and policy, prioritise and decide how to contribute through the relevant committee, the Ministries and through tabling reports to parliament
2. Arrange workshop with Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) re legislation scan
3. Decide what legislation and policy papers to focus on arising out of the workshop
4. Liase with Human Rights Commission in respect of anti-discrimination legislation
5. Pressurise Law Commission to submit final reports to cabinet in respect of Violence and Customary Law and liase with Dept of Justice in regard to this
6. Ascertain who will do local and provincial gender scans on legislation
7. The Green Paper on Women's Policy: determine when it will become an enforceable policy framework and how this should happen
8. Consideration of the Maintenance Bill being introduced by Dept. of Justice
WOMEN AND WORK
1. Workshop with organisations in respect of Women and Work (incl. employment, parental rights, pensions retirement benefits, sexual harassment Code of Good Practise)
2. Prioritise tasks arising out of the workshop
3. Decide on strategy around the Employment Equity and Skills Development Bills, UIF restructuring (to take into account maternity pay)
4. Explore Strategy on employment creation - Trade and Industry, Labour, Agriculture, Public works
5. Explore issues around access to credit and finance
6. Table a report on the relevant issues pertaining to women and work
WOMEN AND EDUCATION
1. Draft research report on women and education. This will cover the Report of the Gender Equity Task team and where the "gaps" are in terms of gender. The Committee to discuss and finalise the report
2. Take proposals forward through joint work with the Education Committee and through a Committee report to the Ministry to be tabled in parliament (suggested date: 10 March 1998)
1. Liase with the CGE in respect of funding of the CGE
2. Draft letter to the Office of the Status of Women (OSW) and request a written report in respect of govt.'s programme to advance the quality of life and status of women
3. Draft questions to be addressed to all ministries in regard to the status and budget of gender desks and their policy and programme.
4. Table a report to Parliament on Committee's findings.
1. Obtain Schedule of Budget hearings of Portfolio Committees
2. Hold Joint Hearings with specific committees e.g.: health, land, housing, Agriculture, Welfare, Trade and Industry, Finance, Justice
3. Finalise questions relevant to a gender analysis of the budget and circulate to committees to assist them in integrating a gender analysis of the budget.
4. Incorporate the Central Statistical Service in the budget hearings in relation to the disaggregation of statistics by gender
5. Obtain progress report on the Commonwealth pilot project to engender economic policy and budgets from govt.
1. Host meetings with relevant speakers on topics of interest to the Committee e.g. host a joint meeting with the Parliamentary Women's group inviting Gloria Steinem
MISCELLANEOUS:(If time and capacity allows)
1. Follow up on Electoral Act: Use state funding for promoting participation of women in political parties
2. Call in Government Communications Services: How are women informed of their rights and how are they accessed
3. Organise meeting with the Dept. and with organisations working in the area of local government to identify which regulations discriminate against women
4. Follow up on govt. funding for NGO's.
5. Host seminars on issues important for women
6. Media: Investigate the criteria used by the SA Advertising Standards Bureau in relation to women
7. Call the Public Service Ministry before the Committee
8. Call the Finance and Fiscal Commission before the Committee
URGENT ISSUES THAT ARISE
The Committee to be able to address urgent issues as and when they arise in addition to its ongoing programmes
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