A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
JOINT MONITORING COMMITTEE ON IMPROVEMENT OF
THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND STATUS OF WOMEN
23 February 2007
APPROPRIATION BILL AND BUDGET 2007 ANALYSIS: BRIEFING BY COMMUNITY AGENCY FOR SOCIAL ENQUIRY
Chairperson: Ms M Morutoa (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Appropriation Bill 2006 Powerpoint presentation
Estimates of National Expenditure 2007 see:
- Vote 33: Justice and Constitutional Development
- Vote 17 Social Development
- Programme 3: Public Works Programme
- Court Services
Draft Committee Report on Appropriate Bill (available at Tabled Committee Reports once adopted)
Draft Committee Report on Budget Vote 1 (available at Tabled Committee Reports once adopted)
Audio Recording of the
The Community Agency for Social Enquiry facilitated a workshop discussion between members of the Joint Committee and members of provincial legislatures. It was noted that it was difficult to isolate Women’s issues in the budget speech, that they should have appeared strongly under certain programmes, yet generally did not, and there seemed to be disappointing lack of focus on several important areas. The Appropriation Bill was studied in relation to various areas, and comments made. The meeting then divided into two workshop groups that made recommendations on the items that should be emphasized in the final Report. The suggestions would be incorporated into the discussion that the Committee would have with Departments as well as being incorporated into the final Report. .
Members expressed their dissatisfaction with the current state of the Office of the Status of Women. They noted that strong and urgent action was required to try to increase the focus on women’s programmes.
Budget Speech: Discussion
The Chairperson asked Members if they had any comments upon the Budget Speech and how it had covered the issue of women.
Ms A Qikane (UDM) noted that the recommendations were that each Ministry should have a budget on women. If this was not reflected on the Treasury Budget, she asked how each Minister could ensure that a special budget was set in the programmes of the departments. Nothing had been said on women specifically, not even in relation to the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP). The Committee would clearly have to monitor what was happening within the Departments.
Ms D Morobi (ANC) said that there was no clarity how much had been allocated. There were many issues that were not clear, and this lack of clarity, and the fact that women were not taken seriously, was an issue for the Committee.
Ms N Hoosain (E. Cape Provincial Legislature) said that the Province did not have copies of the Appropriation Bill. They could not give any analytical input at this stage but were hoping to be exposed to the workshop and then engage further. A major concern in Eastern Cape was that they were outside the formal processes of the budget. Their finance committee had tried to find a slot for the women’s caucus to engage with the budget processes but the formalities of the cycle made no provision for participation of provinces, outside of provincial cabinet deliberations. That was a key concern.
Ms Qikani said that it was most important that there should be an opportunity for Members to be able to listen to and comment on the speeches.
Ms J Semple (DA) said that she also had not had a chance to analyse the appropriation in depth. Positive matters were the increases for salaries and training of teachers and nurses, because this not only affected those (mainly women) who were working, but had a direct impact upon the children of the nation. The increase for HIV was welcome. However, the Minister did not specifically mention increase of money for implementation of matters such as Domestic Violence Act and more shelters for abused children.
The Chairperson agreed that these were important questions. It was unclear how the government would attend to gender mainstreaming.
Ms B Dlamini (Staff, KZN Legislature) stated that she would support the previous comments. She was also concerned about low pensions for older people which often left such people, the majority being women, struggling to pay for basics..
Ms C Zikalala (ANC) said that each Ministry should have budgeted amounts, but the question was how to ensure that they did so.
The Chairperson noted that yesterday she had asked where the budget for women would lie, and the answer that it was scattered all over, but was difficult to identify
Ms Semple said that since no individual or body had been assigned the responsibility, no one would assume responsibility. Nothing would happen until there was a direct responsibility line.
Ms Morobi noted that when the money was scattered, there was no proper focus on women.
Ms N Moerane (Member, E Cape Provincial Legislature) said the Eastern Cape had expected a quantification of the different categories and progress in gender balance. To say that a certain amount had been allocated to “HIV and AIDS” was not enough. Specifics were required. She noted that most of the child carers were women, both in rural and urban areas. Budget was a tool to explain the policies to the populace and if this was not done nobody could understand.
Ms Zikalala was concerned that due regard and consideration were not being given to women.
The Chairperson noted that there existed an Office of the Status of Women (OSW) in the Presidency. Everything being mentioned here should fall under that office as a focal point. There were numerous discrepancies and she knew that this was not being addressed properly. Some Committees had been long established and it should have been far easier to identify where the budget lay and where it addressed women in particular. Women on the ground were suffering from lack of implementation.
Mr F Maserumule said that without proper monitoring the matter would go no further, so unless there was an independent budget and physical and practical involvement there would be no improvement.
Appropriations Bill 2007: Briefing by Community Agency for Social Enquiry
Ms Debbie Budlender, Community Agency for Social Enquiry indicated that she would be facilitating a discussion on what had come out of the Budget speech and Appropriations Bill. Her organisation had been working with women since 1995, when it had first set up this budget exercise. She did not believe that there should be a separate budget for women, but it was necessary that the budget must discuss how the allocations were reaching out to the genders, as there were different needs, and what would help women, for instance those caring for HIV patients. Government was not doing well on its reporting. The Committee needed to have better information that was not contradictory. There was a special responsibility on the Committee to report on OSW. The budget vote had simply lumped the OSW under Gender, Disability and Children, where it was lost. In planning the way forward the Committee had to consider how it would fill in the gaps.
The objective of this session was to prepare the Committee to report mid year on the Appropriations Bill. The fact that both the national and provincial representatives were here was welcomed as it allowed for reporting on policy as well as delivery and for each Province to compare its work against other Provinces. The group sessions would be asked to focus upon what needed to be changed in the draft report that was being tabled, what should be added, what questions should be asked of national and provincial departments and what progress had been made on the memorandum that was delivered by a group of NGOs, calling for listed matters to be given priority.
Ms Budlender stated that the report for discussion focused on the traditional areas of poverty, gender based violence and HIV/ Aids. Specific suggestions were included under each of the relevant Votes that was most pertinent to the work of the Committee and therefore each of the Votes should be considered in the light of their assistance towards the empowerment of women and sensitivity to women’s issues.
Mr N Hantisa (Member, North West Provincial Legislature) said that in terns of coordination one should not forget about the municipalities.
Ms Qakani was concerned that at local level there had been very little improvement. The theme of the State of the Nation address was the struggle against poverty and women should champion that struggle. If there was not be a separate budget, or at least a certain percentage set aside specifically for women’s issues, little would not be achieved.
Ms X Makasi (ANC) reiterated that there should be a person responsible for women's issues. The OSW had no real power and gave no real direction.
Ms Y Makume (Member, North West Provincial Legislature) said that the Department did not take Chairpersons of Committees on board. The portfolio on women was set up as a national competency but should perhaps be at provincial level. In North West there were no funds for running the national Women’s Day. Women were not empowered in a real way.
The Chairperson said the National Gender Policy Framework did say that the OSW must be set up under the Office of the Presidency.
Ms Budlender agreed that this was an issue, especially if there was no specific budget for OSW. The experience in other countries, even where a ministry had been set up for women’s issues, was regrettably not much better. The mere establishment of a Ministry could not solve the problems, it was about how it was empowered to become effective.
In regard to municipalities she agreed that there needed be gender responsive budgets at all levels. This would not help with matters like justice, which was a national competency, nor education at a provincial level. All three should be used to work together
Ms Budlender noted that there should have been a 60% quota for women empowerment in EPWP. The Minister said the majority of jobs were jobs for women in rural areas. The Department of Public Works said that there was only 40% of female involvement. These were two completely different figures emanating from government.
Draft Committee Report (not for publication)
The Draft Report was tabled as a suggestion of the matters which would probably appear in the final report of the Committee. The report covered some indicators of the ongoing nature of poverty and crime. The most recently released statistics highlighted serious problems in gender based violence. Rape was a prime example, being directed (in its current definition) only against women and girl children. Although the economy had grown at 4.9%, and there was an increase in the formal sector, more needed to be done to improve the health and growth rate of the economy.
The role of National Government lay in policy, coordination and oversight. There seemed to be lack of targets by departments and lack of information provided. There could be a closer link between the Annual Reports and budgets.
The Votes on Public Works, Education, Health, Social Development and Justice and Constitutional Development were discussed in the Draft, which noted both the pleasing areas and those in which there had been insufficient mention, contradictory figures, or no mention at all of women’s issues, despite the fact that the projects may have formed part of the Annual Report. The Committee wished to know the extent to which funds were directed at gender-relevant matters.
Ms Hoosain noted that this had been a useful exercise. She wondered if the Draft should also not include comments on the gender machinery, which would in turn push forward these gender issues. This Committee also reflected provincial interests and perhaps this profiling should be clarified.
The Chairperson suggested that trafficking was another important area that could be added.
Ms N Bata (Staff, Eastern. Cape Provincial legislature) asked where the report would go, and whether it would be fully debated in the House. She asked if it was possible to mainstream the report in the Cabinet Clusters.
Mr Maserumule suggested that there should not be comparisons to any other country. South Africa was highly resourceful, in terms of both humans and materials. There was nothing that the President had said that was new. The same things were being said thirteen years down the line. He asked whether South Africans were really committed to the country, and cited the issue of Community Development Workers, where one department would try to pass responsibility to another.
Mr D Mabena sought clarity on some of the figures.
Ms Budlender said that the budget document had given no delivery figures. These had been extracted from the Annual Report. They should have been included in the Budget to give a proper indication of what had been done and what was planned. Contradictory figures were a problem.
Ms R Chabalkwa (Gauteng Provincial Legislature) expressed her appreciation for the excellent summary. She was concerned about the allocations to the NGOs and suggested that the Provinces should examine this closely. She felt there had been developments and noted that there was greater sensitivity and very progressive legislation.
Ms Moerance noted that underperformance of departments should be noted, so that their role in nation building and service delivery could be interrogated. This was also an opportunity to reflect on .millennium development goals
Ms Budlender noted that the underperformance and under delivery came mostly at provincial level.
Ms Moerane took the point but noted that certain national departments also tended to delay matters unduly. She felt that the Child Justice Bill and Sexual Offences Bill were prime examples.
Members broke into two groups and discussed the draft and other issues.
Ms Moerane reported that her group had focused on the Public Works aspects, and therefore suggested that the Committee should check compliance and performance against standards. Particular issues identified by her group as relevant included Community Based Public Works. If EPWP had been intended as a replacement there was no indication of how it had been allocated over the cycle. There were queries whether provinces had complied with requirements. No details were given on gender performance. There was no indication of the implications in terms of demographics. There was no indication of the tools developed by National Departments that were perhaps made available to provinces. The monitoring was unclear and it was not explained how the figures would be refined. On the economic compensation of employees, the group was concerned that there was no indication whether the declining figures were part of natural attrition and there was no accounting for expanded public works programmes. Focus should be placed on participation and performance in public works and social development, and national strategy must be known. There should be a gender focused statement in the budget.
Ms Makume reported back on behalf of the second group, which had focused on the justice and constitutional affairs matters. This group was concerned that the budget and training facilities of the Family Advocate needed to be improved and that women should be educated about their constitutional role and rights. Women should be empowered, especially at Clusters and there should be more budget to educate on constitutional rights such as customary marriages. There should be impartiality irrespective of gender. Civil unions and the effect of dissolution on children must be considered. Questions to be asked to national and provincial departments should include the progress of implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, the increase of family courts in all provinces, and safety and security issues. There was concern of the bias of legal representation especially in rape cases. There needed to be a mechanism to prevent killing by men. Further concerns included secondary victimisation of women and children in Court and the need to report on the progress of the Sexual Offences Bill. Certain programmes had not filtered to all courts. Investigating officers needed to be capacitated. The Thutuzela Places of Safety needed further examination and there was the need to increase the numbers. The progress of halting trafficking was to be examined. . Governments should assist NGOs with funding and they must be more visible, whilst there should also be visible monitoring and evaluation of them.
The Chairperson indicated that the report could not be finalized at this stage but the workshop had helped to identify the main issues. More issues would be added after the Committee had interacted with Departments.
A further report was tabled, but not discussed, on Vote 1. Members were asked to study this report themselves. The issues raised would also be discussed by the Committee during the course of their interaction with Departments and relevant matters would be referred back to the Provinces.
Each of the Provinces indicated that they believed this intervention had been timeous, and that the draft reports were extremely useful. Eastern Cape would have liked to receive the NGO memorandum, to know what would be the role of the NGOs with Government. There needed to be a sharpening of focus.
KwaZulu Natal pleaded with the Committee that if there was a problem with OSW, the Committee should attempt in all ways to sort it out. Kwazulu Natal looked at the OSW as the vehicle for all provinces If it was falling apart, then the problems in the provinces would be exacerbated as there would be no official mouthpiece.
Gauteng endorsed these sentiments and hoped that similar interaction could be taken interprovincially.
The Chairperson noted that not all provincial legislature committees and staff had attended. She was worried that sometimes institutional memory did not last. There was a national gender focal point, but each legislature had a committee. It was unfortunate that there was some fragmentation because there were aspects that were not touched upon at national level.
The meeting was adjourned.
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