A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
ADHOC JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND STATUS OF WOMEN
27 May 1998
DRAFT REPORTS ON WOMEN, THE BUDGET AND ECONOMIC POLICY & VIOLENCE HEARINGS: FINALISATION
Documents handed out:
Draft Committee Report on Women, the Budget and Economic Policy (Appendix 1)
Draft Report on Violence Hearings (Appendix 2)
Ministry of Finance Report for the Parliamentary Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women (Appendix 3)
The Committee received the two draft reports submitted by the Chairperson, Pregs Govender. The first was the Draft Committee Report on Women, the Budget and Economic Policy; the second was the Draft Report on the Violence Hearings.
DRAFT COMMITTEE REPORT ON WOMEN, THE BUDGET AND ECONOMIC POLICY
The Chairperson, Pregs Govender, apologized for the poor attendance (varying from five to eight members) due to their having to compete with two other meetings.
Pregs Govender asked that by the end of the week written comments should be submitted with suggested inclusions and amendments to the draft reports. The Chair went through the reports and asked for comments.
Ms Vos of the Inkatha Freedom Party, asked for the insertion of a paragraph dealing with the administration of maintenance grants and the restructuring of the Legal Aid Board. Attention was drawn to the Australian example of allocating money to women.
Donor Support is not reflected and this leads to wrong estimates of financial support to various committees. Old programmes remaining in the estimates present major problems.
Ms Vos pointed out that provincial formulas are weighted in favour of rural women but local government can be influenced for more equitable allocations. Provincial Premiers who are sometimes also Finance Ministers should be involved.
The Chair suggested that Premiers could be invited to the committee and asked for details of what they are doing. The committee could send a letter about this to the National Council of Provinces.
Ms Vos indicated that it is implicit that money is there for research by the Fiscal and Financial Commission (FFC), but the committee needs to know the way it is allocated.
An ANC committee member indicated that during recent fuel increases, the biggest rise was in parraffin and this affected women particularly. The committee should focus seriously on this sort of issue.
The meeting agreed to include this as reflecting the committee's position.
An ANC committee member drew attention to the phenomenon of people hired as permanent workers, and then sacked, and then re-hired as temporary staff. They then lose various benefits and disappear from the statistics.
Another committee member asked for more information on women and banking. It was pointed out that this is still a pilot study and is confined to one area.
DRAFT REPORT ON VIOLENCE HEARINGS
A discussion was held on whether to submit a joint report with the Justice Committee on the violence hearings or let them present their own . It was agreed to send the report to the Justice Portfolio Committee and to call on them not to delay in their comments.
It was reported that the names of the women members of the Committee will be put onto the Women's Net website shortly.
Appendix 1: Draft Committee Report on Women, the Budget and Economic Policy
Women, the Budget and Economic Policy Report: draft version
TO: All Committee Members
FROM: Pregs Govender
Please note this is a draft. Please read and make suggested changes that we will discuss in the meeting tomorrow.
DRAFT COMMITTEE REPORT ON WOMEN, THE BUDGET AND ECONOMIC POLICY
Report of the Ad-hoc Joint Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women
1. The Ad-hoc Joint Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women requested a report from the department of Finance on the progress that it has made in respect of its commitments in relation to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action. A report was furnished to the Committee in January 1998.
Aspects of the Finance's Minister's report are incorporated in this Committee report and the Minister's report is attached as an appendix.
2. The Committee held public hearings on 17 March 1998 focusing on the impact of government's macro economic policy, budgetary reform and the budget on women in terms of their gendered roles and as the majority of the poor in South Africa.
The following organisations presented oral submissions:
Women's Budget Initiative (WBI)
Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC)
Women's National Coalition (WNC)
South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO)
Commission on Gender Equality (CGE)
Women's Development Banking (WDB)
Written submissions were received from:
Women's Budget Initiative
B. Department of Finance
Removal of Discriminatory Tax and Pension Fund Provisions
In its report to the Committee the Department of Finance advised that, in compliance with CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action, the Department of Finance removed discrimination based on gender and marital status in the income tax code and introduced amendments to discriminatory pension funds laws. The Committee welcomes the removal of these discriminatory provisions.
The report from the Department of Finance states that "GEAR is the government's strategy for rebuilding and restructuring the economy in line with the goals set in the Reconstruction and Development programme (RDP). The strategy aims to achieve rapid economic growth which is employment generating, income redistribution, access for all to health, education and other services and a safe and secure environment. This provides a framework within which poverty can be attacked and gender based inequality reduced in a context of sustainable growth."
At the hearings held by the Committee on Women, the Budget and Economic Policy, the CGE, amongst other presenters, questioned the impact of GEAR on women. The Committee urges the Finance Ministry to engage, through the CSS, in research to measure the actual impact of economic policy choices on the poor and on women to enable government to evaluate and adjust its policies accurately.
The Medium Term Expenditure Framework
The report from the Department of Finance further states that "the primary objective of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) is to ensure that government is able to deliver its reconstruction and development priorities in the context of three year estimates that are consistent with a sound macro-economic framework. The MTEF is intended to enhance the transparency of the budget process and will link policy proposals to their cost, ensuring that money is allocated to genuine priorities such as health, education and welfare."
The Committee welcomes the introduction of the MTEF in that it begins to provide the framework for forward planning in government expenditure and the opportunity it allows for inter-provincial sectoral work. The Committee notes however that although the MTEF goes some way to linking policy priorities to expenditure further reform is needed to ensure ways of monitoring performance and linking inputs with the outputs and outcomes promised in policies and programmes.
Statistics disaggregated by gender, race and class, and indicators and targets of gender equality are needed to measure whose lives are changing and in what respects. In this regard the Committee calls on the Department of Finance to continue to develop the statistical database which will provide in formation on the impact of expenditures disaggregated by gender, to implement targets and indicators of gender equality and equity in spending and to development performance review mechanisms to evaluate progress, all of which commitments are contained in the Budget Speech.
The Budget Review
The Department of Finance report also details "the Ministry of Finance is taking forward the proposal that South Africa be one of six countries to participate in a commonwealth pilot project on integrating gender analysis into macroeconomic policy. The gender analysis in this year's Budget Review forms part of this pilot project. The department hopes that the data and analysis collated for the Budget Review will form the basis of a wider and more systematic gender disaggregated data collection and analysis process. At the department of Finance MTEF conference in 1997 a presentation on Gender and the Budget was included as part of the pilot project."
The Committee notes hat the boxes in the Budget Review incorporate a gender analysis on Land, Public Service, Public Works, SMME's, Water Affairs and Forestry, Welfare and Health. There are also other scattered references in the Review to gender aspects of the budget. The Budget Review raises significant analysis and questions on the gender impact of specific programmes discussed. This is a significant and historical step in South Africa. The Committee congratulates the Finance Ministry on beginning to give effect to its commitment to "engendering" the Budget Review.
Examples of Gender Analysis in the Budget Review:
One of the target programmes mentioned in the Budget Review is the National Public Works Programme adopted in 1994. The programme is aimed at infrastructural development through labour based construction, especially targeting women.
The Budget Review states that "of those employed on the projects, 41 percent were women and 12 percent were youths. While the figure for women is lower than the female proportion of the population in the rural areas in which the project operates it is higher than would have been without explicit targeting. Unfortunately the evaluation suggests that women were often assigned the more menial jobs, that the average wages were lower, that they were generally employed for shorter periods than men and that they were less likely to receive training than men." This analysis reveals that even where amounts are allocated to target programmes for women the resulting impact on women is not always one of equality.
In relation to further expenditure targeted at women, reference is made to a Working for Water programme in the Budget Review which clears invading alien plants; providing some 38 000 jobs. Although it is stated that the programme targets women, it appears that in 1995 only 13% of those employed were women. Perhaps the amount has subsequently increased.
Under Land Reform, the Budget Review states " The poorer provinces are disproportionately rural and contain disproportionately many women and children.... In addition to the racial inequalities experienced by black men, women suffer discrimination from social practises. Legal restrictions have impeded women's access to both land and to the financial resources to develop it. In addition to legislation which designated women as minors who could not own property or conclude contracts in their own right, customarily law has in many cases deprived women of the right to own property.
Women tend to have access to smaller plots, with less available irrigation, and a smaller likelihood that they will have pale employment to augment their livelihoods. Around 80 percent of women-headed households with access to land contain no wage or salary earners.
The Department of Land Affairs is conscious that unless more attention is directed to meeting women's needs and concerns, the land reform programme could exacerbate existing gender inequalities in the allocation of land and productive use. The Department is providing gender training and is endeavouring to build gender concerns into its monitoring and evaluation system."
The gender analysis in the Budget Review is welcomed as a critical step to ensuring that the gendered i.e. differential impact of economic policy choices on men and women are spelt out. Submissions at the hearings held by the Committee on Women, the Budget and Economic Policy pointed to the need for the analysis to go even further so as to inform the framework of the entire Budget Review. Most of the analysis is in respect of programmes specifically targeted at women. Each and every aspect of government spending should be analysed from a gender perspective.
Some of the difficulties in reading the Budget and the Budget Review from a gender perspective when examining mainstream expenditure, are illustrated with reference to the Justice vote.
In the Chapter on National Expenditure Proposals in the Budget Review, mention is made of the following: the increase in the Justice vote is as a result of increased allocations to the Human Rights Commission, the Gender Commission and the Establishment of the Special Investigation Unit and Special Tribunal. The allocation to Legal Aid has also increased.
The Estimates of Expenditure state that the aim of the department is to promote order within the community by maintaining an efficient system of judicial administration. The 6 detailed programmes are: Administration, Administration of Justice, Administration of Law, Public Protector, Legal Aid and Auxiliary and Associated Services.
In the detailed narrative of the Estimates of Expenditure, the only mention of gender is the allocation to the Gender Commission. It is necessary to have programmes targeting women as well as to spell out how "mainstream" spending is intended to impact on improving the lives of the poor and the powerless.
The question that thus arises in relation to the Justice vote is why there is no specific allocation to a co-ordinated strategy to combat violence against women. The department of Justice is a partner in the National Crime Prevention Strategy. One of the initiatives of the department was the convening of a national taskteam for drawing up national guidelines for all role players handling rape and other sexual offences, which has been published.
At a briefing by the Gender Directorate of the department to the Justice portfolio committee in March 1998 it was stated that only 200 copies of the guideline were made and that none have been photocopied due to a lack of resources. The guidelines become meaningless if they are not distributed. Should this programme not be reflected in the budget or should the reader not be advised in the Budget
Review through which line item or programme this will be funded?
The department has also stated that it is establishing further sexual offences pilot courts based on the Wynberg model. Will existing resources be re-routed? Is there money allocated to this project? The project is not reflected in the Budget Review or in the Estimates of Expenditure.
A further key question is how allocations are made to the Gender Directorate within the Department. The programme detailing Administration of Justice refers to the Minister, Deputy Minister, Management and Corporate Services. These are standard items in each vote. The standard items of expenditure also do not reveal any specific allocations, indeed reference is still made to an item of stores and livestock. How does the reader of the budget ascertain what the allocations are to this unit in order to measure the government and the department's commitment to gender equality?
Clearly the budget cannot detail all the programmes and initiatives within each budget vote but even so it appears that funding is not necessarily reaching women through the seemingly gender neutral allocations. If the allocations are reaching women, methods should be found to ensure that the budget and the Budget Review reflect a gendered analysis of mainstream expenditure.
Various organisations made comments at the hearings in relation to cuts and increases in the different sectors. It was noticeable that different conclusions were reached by analysers of the budget in this respect. To be noted is the difficulty of ascertaining from the Budget Review and the Estimates of Expenditure which allocations have increased and decreased in real terms and by what percentage.
The addition of conditional grants also causes confusion when trying to ascertain, for example total government spending on education. The estimates of expenditure also do not reflect donor funding. In relation to SMME's and Khula Enterprises, for example, the impression is that funding in this regard was cut, whereas these programmes are now receiving significant donor funding.
In relation to other aspects of Budget Reform and the budget process, the Committee notes, following on from the hearings, that a budget process should ideally commence with the prioritisation of policy issues, followed by a prioritisation of how total government revenue can be spent in accordance with the stated priorities. Performance monitoring should ensure not only that the money was not misappropriated but that the money was spent in accordance with the stated priorities.
To achieve such a process, the budget cycle should be amended to allow input from civil society and parliamentarians in the process of drawing up the budget. Parliament should then in accordance with the Constitution, be afforded powers to amend the Appropriations Bill as opposed to simply voting on its acceptance or rejection.
In this regard the Committee awaits the Budget Reform White paper and the legislation provided for by the Constitution allowing for amendment of Money Bills in the course of this year.
C. Organisations which made oral and written submissions
1. The Women's Budget Initiative
The Women's Budget Initiative (WBI) is a collaborative venture between parliament and the NGO's: the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE) and IDASA. The Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women has replaced the JSCOF as the parliamentary partner in the Initiative.
The WBI has analysed all the budget votes from a gender perspective over a period of three years. The research has covered the following votes: the RDP, the departments of Labour, Trade and Industry. Housing, Education, Health, Land, Agriculture, Safety and Security, Justice, Correctional Services, Transport, Energy, Home affairs, Foreign affairs, Public Works, Public Enterprises, Communication, Water affairs and Forestry, Finance, State Expenditure and SARS and the CSS Parliament, President, Deputy President, SACS, Premiers, Defence, Arts and Culture and Constitutional Development.
The oral submission at the hearings held by the Committee presented only vote analyses from this year's project. The written submission included all this year's research reports together with comments on the budget process and general observations which emerged during the course of the research. Some of the key general observations contained in this year's foreword and introduction are included in this report.
The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)
The WBI noted that the MTEF potentially provides the opportunity for civil society and parliamentarians to comment on budgetary allocations and chosen priorities. The present focus is on how the MTEF will assist departments in planning and managing their budgets and how the new approach will assist Cabinet in driving reprioritization.
The Budget Reform White Paper and the Money Amendment Bill
The WBI commented that further opportunities for transparency and accountability could be provided in the Budget Reform White paper, which is expected to propose ways of monitoring performance and linking inputs such as budgets and personnel with the outputs and outcomes. Parliament should be able to amend money bills and the Money Amendment Bill should be introduced as a further measure to ensure accountability.
The Budget Review
One of the aspects of the Commonwealth pilot project was to assist in engendering the Budget Review. For the first time there are some explicit gender concerns in the Budget Review which was welcomed.
Analysing the budget from a gender perspective
The WBI researchers noted the usefulness of a framework proposed by Australian Rhonda Sharp. Sharp describes a gender analysis of government budgets as incorporating three elements:
* Expenditures - and the programmes and policies underlying them - specifically targeted at women and girls or men and boys
* Expenditures which promote the interests and advancement of women employed by the public service
* Mainstream expenditures in terms of their differential on pact on women and men and different groups of women
Expenditure specifically targeted at women or men
The third volume of the WBI, published before this year's budget was released, identified relatively few expenditures directed specifically at women. Examples focused on were the Department of Welfare's Flagship Programme for Unemployed Women, the allocations to the CGE and the Department of Health's provision for free health care for pregnant and lactating women. In respect of the former two the WBI notes that the allocations entail very small amounts when compared to overall budgets and that in South Africa both initiatives rely on donor funds to supplement government allocations.
Expenditure related to men and women in the public service
The Women's Budget includes a chapter which examines the gender profile of the public service and the problems faced by female public servants. In terms of budgetary allocations one can isolate the amounts allocated towards the equalisation of pensions and provision of childcare, as well as the operation of equal opportunity and affirmative action posts.
Departmental submissions to CEDAW included a schedule showing the race and gender breakdown of staff and the levels at which they were employed. Whilst there are a large number of women in the public sector they are generally at the lower levels. Employment involves expenditure on salaries and any shifts towards greater balance in the public service in terms of numbers and levels imply corresponding gender sensitive budgetary allocations.
The WBI reports have concentrated on this type of expenditure and has confirmed that there are gendered implications in the way that each and every department allocates its budget. It is beyond the scope of this report to detail any of the gendered analysis of any of the budget votes.
2. The Financial and Fiscal Commission
The Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) detailed the formula devised by it to calculate the equitable share of revenue to be allocated to the provinces taking into account the factors as set out in the constitution, such as economic disparities. The FFC stated that the formula is weighted in favour of the poorer provinces. Women predominate in rural areas, for example in the former IBVC states and the formula thus is weighted in their favour although it does not state this explicitly.
Although the formula is based on minimum standards in education and health, the budget of the provincial government does not necessarily reflect this formula. The allocation of the revenue which provinces receive from national is within the competence of the provincial legislature.
Concern was expressed that provincial legislatures are not accountable to national government in terms of the way in which spending is prioritised. Although a national priority may for example be education, a province can prioritise other sectors. A way in which provincial spending is aligned with national priorities is in relation to the contingency grants, i.e. the additional amounts allocated to provinces from the revenue allocated to national government. These grants have clear frameworks for spending and include for example health and education grants.
One of the proposals in regard to the accountability of provinces is that there should be "ring fencing" whereby there is legislation that sets out minimum standards to be attained by provincial government in respect of certain sectors.
The FFC is also developing a formula in respect of local government allocations. There are various proposals in this regard, including capital grants to address infrastructural backlogs and operating transfers to subsidise access to basic services.
3. The South African NGO Coalition
The South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) noted the perceived lack of a clear government strategy, matched with budgetary allocations to combat unemployment. Disappointment was expressed at the reach of the child maintenance grant.
SANGOCO stated that the budget cuts in the areas of water, public works and housing would have a devastating impact on women. The increase in respect of the fuel price was seen as another burden on women as it would lead to an increase in food prices and transport. A further concern was expressed at the cut in provincial budgets. The increases in spending on education and health were welcomed and concern was expressed that the increase in health needed to be directed at primary health care.
A general comment was made that the entire process by which government arrives at the final budget should be reviewed to be more accountable and consultative. It was felt that parliament should have a greater role in making decisions around budget priorities.
The Committee was advised that together with the CGE and the Human Rights Commission (HRC), SANGOCO will be holding poverty hearings in the various provinces to compile a pro-poor, alternative budget that will focus on the needs of the poor. The hearings will culminate in June 1998 with the South African Council of Churches' economic summit.
4. The Women's National Coalition
The Women's National Coalition (WNC) set out various issues that had been discussed at its national Masakhane summit on Women and the Economy. It suggested that the success of a budget lies in the budget meeting the basic need of women and the disabled as well as alleviating poverty amongst the most disadvantaged people. Another yardstick of the success of the budget is whether the process is transparent and all inclusive.
The non-inclusion of women's reproductive labour in the economic framework was identified by the WNC as a problem. Another issue raised at the WNC summit on Women and the Economy was the impact of GEAR on women. It was felt that GEAR is not enough" and that the government should reclaim the RDP" as part of its commitment to job creation and social investment.
Women at the WNC summit, identified the need for a women's job summit before the anticipated Presidential job summit to ensure women's voice are heard at the job summit.
In relation to this year's budget the WNC expressed its disappointment at cuts in the public works and housing allocations. Rightsizing in the public sector was seen as a direct attack on women who form the majority of that sector. Whilst the notion of promoting efficiency was supported, cutting back on service providers was not seen as the answer. It was felt that government should focus more on the uprooting of corruption and enhancing the morale of public servants.
In relation to the MTEF it was stated that in some sectors major increases in spending are evidenced, which were welcomed. It appeared to the WNC however that social spending decreased in years two and three of the MTEF and concern was expressed about how backlogs would be accommodated.
The water allocation was welcomed to enable speedy delivery of water services. In relation to taxation, the non-increase in taxation was appreciated but increases in fuel seen as creating a problem for women. It was felt that the current taxation on low income earners is too burdensome.
5. Commission on Gender Equality
Challenging the economic framework
The CGE suggested that there is a need not only to focus on the impact on the government's current macro-economic strategy, but to question the economic framework itself to challenge the patterns of ownership and control which, the CGE submitted, gives rise to ever widening poverty. The CGE views the challenge as the need to develop a more sustainable and beneficial development programme.
Unpaid Labour and the Gross Domestic Product
The CGE recognised as a problem the non-recognition of women's unpaid labour in traditional economic frameworks. It called for methods to be found to include women's unpaid labour in the calculation of the Gross Domestic product (GDP). In both Australia and India initiatives have attempted to quantify how care of human beings contributes to the economy.
The Committee notes that the Department of Finance has engaged the CSS to undertake a time use study to contribute towards the development of a method to include a calculation of women's unpaid labour within the GDP which the Finance Ministry committed to is 1996. The Committee calls on the department of Finance to ensure that the process is completed within a given timeframe.
Questioning the deficit target
In relation to GEAR, the government's deficit targets were questioned by the CGE. It was noted that South Africa does not have any obligation to such a strict budget deficit and that the adherence to such a strict target is at the cost of social spending and reconstruction. Other aspects of the macroeconomic policy focused on were: the perceived failure of the "trickle down" effect envisaged by GEAR to promote the development of the poor and to benefit women.
Effects of GEAR on women
In relation to the effects of the current macro-economic strategy, a broad assessment was presented by the CGE, with reference to the twelve critical areas of concern in relation to women identified a. the Beijing 4th World Conference as a benchmark. The broad conclusion presented by the CGE was that there has not been a considerable shift towards reprioritization in favour of the needs of women within the national budget.
Some of the areas covered were inequality of access to educational opportunities, high indices of infant mortality and malnutrition, the lack of specific budgetary allocations within the budget to combat violence against women, the absence of budgetary allocations to establish shelters for battered women and insufficient allocations within the budget to the development of SMME's to ensure increased access to the economy for women.
The Committee notes that unless there is a plan for donor funding to be phased into mainstream funding in the budget, it will not be sustainable.
The need for an impact study
The CGE supported the Committee's call for the department of Finance, through the CSS, to conduct an impact study to assess the exact effects of government's macro-economic policies on women.
Funding of the CGE
The CGE had problems in receiving its budget in the 1997/1998 year with an allocation of a mere R2 095 compared with the Human Rights Commission's allocation of R6 841. The CGE did not receive enough funds for remuneration of its commissioners. This year however the CGE received R10 240. The CGE thanked the Committee for its efforts aimed at securing the increased budget.
6. Women's Development Banking
Women's Development Banking (WDB) is an NGO that delivers micro-credit to mainly poor rural women. WDB provided background to the work that it does and the way in which loans are structured.
In relation to the budget itself it applauded the reprieve on VAT, the increase in spending on social pensions and the creation of the Msobomvu fund. It was suggested that a fund similar to Msobomvu be formed which could be used to support micro-lenders and assist in capitalisation.
An area of difficulty that faces WDB is in relation to banking legislation. The Banks Act requires deposit takers to be registered commercial banks. Whilst the need to protect consumers was recognised there is international precedent for special legislation governing micro-credit lenders to ensure their effectiveness and allow deposit taking. The WDB is exploring these options.
Appendix 2: Draft Report on Violence Hearings
Violence Hearings Report - draft version
TO: All Committee Members
FROM: Pregs Covender
Please note that this is a draft report. Please read before the meeting and bring suggested changes with you.
DRAFT REPORT ON VIOLENCE HEARINGS
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and the Ad-Hoc Joint Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women (referred to as the Committee in this report) held hearings during 1997 and 1998 on Violence against Women. At the 1998 hearings, organisations were also invited to address the committees on other aspects relating to gender and justice. In this regard the Justice Department presented an overview of all its gender initiatives, which will not be detailed in this report.
A total of 32 written submissions were made, some of which were also presented orally. Copies of all the submissions are available from the Justice committee clerk. The list of submissions received appears at the end of the Report.
In view of the large number of submissions received the section on submissions from organisations is presented thematically and does not include a summary of each and every Submission. The report also focuses on aspects of the submission which fall within the jurisdiction of the department of Justice. Aspects covered are Domestic Violence, the Legal System and Spousal Killings, Sexual Offences and Sexual Offence Pilot Courts.
A. Department of Justice (1997 and 1998)
The department's 1997 report includes sections on Domestic Violence, the Prevention of Violence against Women Campaign, developing a monitoring system for he Guidelines on Sexual Offences developed by a national task team, the need for legislation on sexual offences against women, strategies for victim empowerment, and activities of SADC, the Southern African Development Community.
The department facilitated discussions on the SALC project on reforming the Prevention of Family Violence Act of 1993 and prepared a submission to the SALC. A project committee of individuals working in the field was to be established within the department to carry through the legislative process.
There are technical and administrative problems which frustrate the effective operation of the current Act such as the inability of the SAPS to arrest a person in breach of the interdict if the woman does not physically have a copy of the interdict and suspensive warrant in her possession.
The department suggested investigating practical solutions to this problem directly with the SAPS, such as serving a copy of each interdict on the police station closest to the applicant. A computer database linking all magistrate's courts and police stations would be the best way of ensuring an effective police response. A task team would be established by the department to implement immediate and practical strategies under the current Act.
Domestic Violence is an aspect of family law and a departmental task team was established to set up pilot "family court" strictures which would address family issues in a holistic and sensitive way with experienced personnel.
A workshop would be held by the department to assess the campaign of No violence Against Women, which included the Open Courts Day. A report on the open day revealed issues of concern for women such as sentencing and bail in cases involving violence against women, the inefficiency of the current maintenance system, the need for improved facilities for women at courts, including separate waiting rooms, more community involvement in the justice system, gender sensitivity training for personnel, the need to establish community justice forums and the need for more women to be appointed as prosecutors and judicial officers.
Standard guidelines for responding to survivors of sexual violence were finalised by a task team and included in a manual. The guidelines were formulated as practical steps to assist in the daily work of people dealing with rape and sexual assault survivors.
The department advised that a monitoring system for the implementation of the guidelines must be developed. This could be done by legislation or including the guidelines as part of the professional Codes of Conduct of the relevant role-players.
There is a need for the substantive law of sexual offences to be modernised and improved. There are a number of shortcomings in the law including the definition of rape itself and rules of evidence which work against the complainant. These include the cautionary rule as well as the complainant's previous sexual history.
The department stated that it could consult outside consultants to develop a reform package or the SALC could undertake an investigation on Sexual Offences against women.
The special Sexual Offence Courts set up in Wynberg were to be evaluated by the parties involved with the project. There is debate within the department about whether there is a need for specialised courts or whether it can be as effective to train particular prosecutors and magistrate's within the ordinary system. Specialist courts would not be sustainable in the rural areas.
The department recognises that real change in the experiences of those who enter the Justice system will only come about when they are treated differently by the personnel who are involved in the case. All the relevant groups need training to sensitise them to gender issues. The department appointed a lawyer with extensive experience in Human rights and the NGO sector to head the Justice College. The gender awareness training was to be reintroduced. Magistrate's also receive raining in the technical and functional aspects of the Prevention of Family Violence Act.
The NCPS is a mechanism which promotes an integrated, co-ordinated and holistic approach by all relevant government departments and NGOs to deal with crime. Violence against women and children is a priority crime. Victim empowerment is a key strategy in ensuring confidence in the Criminal Justice system. The SALC has produced an issue paper on restorative justice which includes a scheme for compensating victims of crime and a victim impact statement process.
A victim empowerment committee has been established with representatives of line departments. Its main function is to ensure that there is an integrated approach to dealing with victims of crime and to prevent secondary victimisation experienced by victims in the criminal justice system.
The department's 1998 report includes aspects of the campaign on the Prevention of Violence against Women such as the Open Court day in 1997 the national policy guidelines on sexual offences, victim empowerment, the Canadian Study Tour and the SADC Conference. Only aspects which are not covered in the 1997 report are highlighted below.
Arising out of the 1997 report from the department, the Committee needs to establish from the department whether method of enforcing the guidelines for survivors of sexual offences have been further investigated and implemented.
In the 1998 submission, the department advised that it will produce a comprehensive violence against women policy before the end of 1998. The policy framework will incorporate the principles enunciated in the United Nations Policy Framework on Domestic Violence.
A legal forum, composed of NGO's and departmental personnel, is envisaged by the department. The forum will periodically consult on issues of common concern including victim empowerment and gender equality. Regional heads in the provinces are also participating in victim empowerment initiatives which are led by the department of Welfare.
The chair of the Committee will address a letter to the Department of Welfare requesting a report on aspects of the victim empowerment initiatives and the budgetary allocations that have been made to give effect to the programmes.
The department also reported back on a Canadian study tour on dealing with violence against women. Lessons drawn from the tour include the following: an inter-sectoral approach in dealing with violence against women is crucial, economic empowerment of women is essential, counselling is needed for victims and rehabilitation for offenders, shelters and safe houses must be established for victims.
A report on the study tour will be presented to the NCPS inter ministerial meeting by the department and the appointment of an intersectoral task team is envisaged to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations.
The SADC Conference on Prevention of Violence Against Women took place in March 1998. A regional declaration on violence against women as well as an accountability framework were developed. As a follow up to the conference the department will convene a national summit on violence against women on 25 November 1998, the International day of no violence against women.
B. ICD report: Investigation and prosecution of sexual offences
This report arose out of the rape of Nomboniso Gasa on Robben Island and is based on an investigation of conduct of members of the SAPS who investigated the case. The report goes beyond the conduct of the officials involved with the case. Some of the recommendations that go beyond the particular incident are detailed.
The SAPS should embark on a extensive training programme. The training should be aimed at improving the member's understanding of the nature and consequences of violence against women and of the context within which such violence occurs and at enhancing their capacity to respond appropriately to such complaints. Suitably trained members should be attached to each police station. Complainants should be offered a choice of a male or female member to assist in the initial stages of the investigation. Each police station should have a list of organisations that deal with violence against women. The SAPS should review its mechanisms regarding release of information to the media so as not to discriminate against women, not to invade their privacy.
The chair of the Committee will forward a letter to the ICD enquiring as to the status of this report and whether its recommendations have been implemented.
C. NCPS Inter-Ministerial Committee: Reports from the various departments
This report was submitted in March 1997 and details the departmental reports of Justice, the SAPS , Correctional Services and Welfare in relation to reprioritizing the eradication of violence against women.
The reports are a response to a request for details in respect of programmes which target violence against women and legislative, institutional and budgetary changes that have been effected to ensure the eradication of violence against women. The details are not set out in this report as the government report was tabled in Parliament on 8 May 1997.
The Committee will analyse this report when scrutinising budget reprioritization as part of its analysis of the MTEF budget tabled in March 1998. The chair of the Committee has in this regard addressed letters to the departments of Justice, Welfare, Safety and Security and the SAPS requesting updated reports on programmes and budgets to combat violence against women. The responses from the departments will be tabled before parliament.
D. Submissions received from Organisations
1. Domestic Violence: the SALC project
The project of the South African Law Commission (SALC) arose out of criticism of the Prevention of Family Violence Act 133 of 1993 and aims to introduce a Domestic Violence Bill which will replace the 1993 Act in its entirety. The SALC developed an issue paper which was circulated for comment. The comments received were incorporated into a discussion paper which was also released for comment and submitted to the Committees at the hearings.
It is anticipated that a final report, together with a draft bill will be submitted to the Minister of Justice during 1998. The bulk of submissions received commented on the SALC discussion document and draft bill. The various organisations also forwarded their submissions to the SALC and some of the proposals will be included in the SALC final report. Once the SALC draft bill is introduced into parliament, these submissions will again be considered.
Aspects covered were for example the definitions of domestic violence, which type of relationships should fall under the Act, the scope of the interdicts that the court can grant, the type of acts that should be considered violent in terms of the Act, the nature of the proceedings should the Respondent violate the interdict and the role of the SAPS in service of the interdicts.
One of the submissions suggested further legislation in respect of domestic violence in addition to the SALC bill. A draft bill was submitted by the Community Law Centre (UWC), the ANC Women's Caucus and Rape Crisis jointly, providing for the creation of new statutory criminal domestic violence offences. Currently the only domestic violence offences in South Africa are assault, rape and indecent assault. The bill suggests introducing offences of intimidation, harassment and stalking.
2. The Legal System and Spousal Killings
A submission from the Centre for Violence and Reconciliation details the phenomenon of intimate femicide as the most extreme form of domestic violence. The term is used to refer to the killing of women by intimate male partners.
The submission focuses on four case studies, and recommendations are made in respect of two of the case studies. Sandy Ramontoedi, who killed his wife in the court room, was sentenced to three years correctional supervision to be served over week-ends in instalments of twenty hours. The submission calls for the review of both the finding and the sentence handed down. Meisie Kgomo was beaten regularly by her husband and was accused of encouraging her brother to kill her husband. She received the death penalty in 1993 and will now serve a life sentence. The submission calls for the resentencing of Meisie Kgomo.
Various other recommendations are made such as the setting up of a task team to consider the question of gender bias in sentencing, introducing legislation permitting the introduction of similar fact evidence or evidence of a history of domestic violence, abandoning the complete defence of non-pathological criminal incapacity, training of members of the judiciary and early release for women serving sentences for killing their abusers.
3. Sexual offences
There are a number of legislative interventions needed in relation to sexual offences such as the amendment of the substantive definition of rape, the laws of evidence and criminal procedure as well as statutory complaints mechanisms, training of judicial officers, bail and sentencing.
The department of Justice indicated that the SALC could broaden its project on Sexual Offences against Children to include women, alternatively experts consultants could be drawn in to draft legislation.
One of the submissions, from Rape Crisis and the Women and Human Rights project at the Community Law Centre, introduced to the committees a comprehensive Namibian draft bill on Sexual assault. The bill covers, amongst others the following aspects:
* a redefinition of the offence of rape
* minimum sentences for a person convicted of rape
* orders for payment of compensation to the complainant
* mandatory commencement of rape trials within three months of date of arrest of the accused
* disallowing a negative inference based solely on the length of the delay between the commission of the act and the laying of the complaint
* the right of a complainant to be legally represented during criminal proceedings
* prohibition of evidence relating to the previous sexual history of the complainant
The submission itself focuses on the rights of the complainant in relation to bail applications and legal representation during the criminal trial proceedings, as well as evidentiary aspects such as previous consistent statements and the admissibility of evidence relating to the complainant's sexual history.
The Department of Justice convened a national task team on violence against women in 1997 that was responsible for developing national guidelines for all role players handling rape and other sexual offence cases. Each of the departments took responsibility to disseminate the guidelines pertaining to the areas covered by that department.
At the hearings officials of the Justice Department advised that only 200 copies of the guidelines were produced within Justice. Further copies could not be made due to budgetary constraints. There is a need to ensure that the guidelines are widely disseminated and methods of enforcement should be explored.
4. Sexual Offences Pilot Courts: The Wynberg Model
A submission was received from Margot Lochrenberg, Sharon Stanton and Veronica Mukasa on a preliminary evaluation of the Wynberg Sexual Offences Court Model. Some of the broad aims of the project were:
* to conduct an in-depth evaluation of secondary victimisation of adult survivors of sexual violence within the criminal justice system with specific focus on the Wynberg Sexual Offences model in order to identify any improvements and ongoing problems in the treatment of adult sexual violence survivors,
* to inform the development of an integrated, appropriate and sensitive system for the treatment and processing of sexual offence cases by the criminal justice system,
* where necessary to generate policy recommendations for the elimination of secondary victimisation of sexual offence survivors.
The submission concludes with the question of whether the Wynberg Sexual Offences Court model should be extended nationally. When the final report on the Wynberg court was handed to the department of Justice, a committee was established to evaluate the report and make specific recommendations.
At the hearings in 1998 members of the Department of Justice Gender Directorate advised that further pilot courts on sexual offences have been established. The department was requested to provide details on where these has been established and an evaluation of how they are functioning.
In February 1996 and in terms of the Beijing Platform for Action, the Minister of Justice committed the department to introducing new legislation to protect women against violence. This legislation was to include a review of sexual offences legislation and review of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Some two years later these key pieces of legislation are still not in place. Parliament urgently needs to ensure that legislation is enacted in 1998 to give effect to the constitutional guarantee that everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources.
The Committee has communicated to the Justice Ministry and other role players the urgency of introducing to Parliament during 1998 the proposed SALC legislation on Domestic Violence and comprehensive legislation on Sexual Offences against women. This has been done through its document on priority legislation, meetings and telephonic communications.
1. NCPS Inter Ministerial Report
2. Report by the ICD
3. Department of Justice: 1997
4. Department of Justice: 1998
5. United Nations Commission on Human Rights Report on the Mission of the Special Rapporteur to South Africa on the issue of Rape in the Community
6. Margot Lochrenberg, Sharon Stanton and Veronica Mukasa: A Preliminary Evaluation of the Wynberg Sexual Offences Court Model
7. National Association of Democratic Lawyers: Violence Against Women
8. Women on Farms Project: Domestic Violence, Access to Justice, Maintenance
9. Gender Advocacy programme: Domestic Violence
10. Stephen Owen OC: British Columbia Violence Against Women in Relationships Policy
11. Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre: Domestic Violence
12. SALC: Discussion Document on Domestic Violence (1997)
13. Submission on Domestic Violence (1998)
14. South African National Council for Child and Family Welfare
15. Democratic Party: Family violence
16. Individual Survivor of Domestic Violence
17. Commission for Gender Equality: Domestic Violence
18. Women and Human Rights Project Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape and Rape Crisis and ANC Parliamentary Women's Caucus: Violence Against Women in Relationships: Submissions to the SALC
19. NICRO: An Investigation into the effectiveness of interdicts granted in terms of the Prevention of Family Violence Act 1993
20. Rape Crisis and Women and Human Rights Project, Community Law Centre UWC: Proposals for Sexual Assault Legislation
21. South African Human Rights Commission: Violence Against Women
22. The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation: The Legal System and Spousal Killings
23. End Violence Against Women
Appendix 3: Ministry of Finance Report for the Parliamentary Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women
Finance Ministry's report to the committee
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
REPORT FOR THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND STATUS OF WOMEN
The Minister of Finance has introduced several institutional and legislative changes and initiated gender aware programmes in compliance with the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform of Action (BPFA).
In 1994, the then Minister of Finance appointed a Tax Commission to review the tax system to ensure that it supported and facilitated the economic and social goals of the Government, including equity and efficiency. Account was taken of the overall revenue requirements of the Government and the possible implications of economic and social policy priorities for the design of the tax system.
The first Interim Report of the Tax Commission contained a review of legislation and certain aspects of tax policy in the light of the 1993 Constitution. Discrimination based on gender and marital status in the then tax code was identified as no longer appropriate. Amendments to policy and legislation were done in the 1995/96 fiscal year to eliminate all gender discrimination in the tax system.
The Minister of Finance also found that the Pension Fund laws contained discriminatory elements. Amendments were therefore introduced to the laws to ensure gender equity and compliance with CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA). Whereas previously females contributed 6 per cent and males 8 per cent of their pensionable salaries to pensions, there is now a uniform contribution rate of 7.5 per cent of pensionable salary.
A further amendment to the Pension Fund Laws saw the introduction of a Widowers' pension whereas previously there had only been a Widows' pension.
In accordance with article 13 of CEDAW, South Africa does not discriminate between men and women in the regulations or requirements pertaining to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit. Married women may enter into contracts in their own right.
The BPFA requires that governments pursue and implement sound macroeconomic policies and sectoral policies that... encourage broad-based sustained economic growth, address the structural causes of poverty and are geared towards eradicating poverty and reducing gender- based inequality... The Growth Employment and Redistribution (Gear) policy is the Government's strategy for rebuilding and restructuring the economy in line with the goals set in the Reconstruction and Development Programme. The strategy aims to create to achieve rapid economic growth which is employment generating, income redistribution, access for all to health, education and other services and a safe and secure environment. This provides a framework within which poverty can be attacked and gender-based inequality reduced in a context of sustainable growth.
The Finance Department has recently introduced the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) which will set out three year spending plans that are published in the Budget. The primary objective of the MTEF is to ensure that the Government is able to deliver its reconstruction and development priorities in the context of three year estimates that are consistent with a sound macro-economic framework. The MTEF is intended to enhance the transparency of the budget process thereby complying with the BPFA's statement that Governments should facilitate .... more open and transparent budget processes. The MTEF will link policy proposals to their cost, ensuring that money is allocated to genuine priorities such as health, education and welfare. This is in line with the BPFA requirement that Governments restructure and target the allocation of public expenditures to... address the basic social, education and health needs of women.
At a Cabinet meeting in February 1996 the Department of Finance committed itself to considering the reallocation of military expenditure to support women's economic advancement. The Department has reduced expenditure on Defence from 9,1 per cent of total government spending in 1992/93 to 5,7 per cent in 1997/98. The priority has shifted instead to the social services, which benefit predominantly women and children.
Spending on social services increased from 43,8 per cent of total spending in 1992/93 to 46,9 per cent in 1997/98.
The Department of Finance does not currently have a formal gender policy although being a relatively small department, internal policy procedures take into account and are sensitive to gender issues. The Department has however established a gender desk which will monitor and evaluate gender related issues.
At the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Conference for Ministers Responsible for Women's Affairs it was proposed that South Africa be one of six countries to participate in a Commonwealth pilot project on integrating gender analysis into macroeconomic policy. The Ministry of Finance is taking this proposal forward. In compliance with the BPFA, which states that Governments must analyse from a gender perspective, policies and programmes, the gender desk is developing the tools and capacity needed to Incorporate some form of gender analysis into the budgetary process.
The initial stages of the pilot project involved a presentation on Gender and the Budget at the Department of Finance's Medium Term Expenditure Framework conference, 11-13 August, 1997, which launched the introduction of multi-year budgeting.
The next step in the project is to incorporate gender analysis alongside discussions of policy into the Budget Review. This has involved substantial work and cooperation with the Central Statistical Service (CSS), now a department within the Finance Ministry. It is hoped that the data and analysis, collated by some departments for the purpose of Integrating it into the Budget Review, will form the basis of a wider and more systematic gender disaggregated data collection and analysis process. The project will in due course incorporate the progress of other departments and government agencies in incorporating gender concerns into their information systems and policies.
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