Workshop: Gender Budgeting in the Work of the Departments

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


16 November 2007

Ms M Morutoa (ANC)

Documents handed out:
How can annual reports help in ensuring gender responsive budgeting?
Programme 2: Visible Policing
Programme 3: Detective Services

Audio recording of meeting

The workshop took place in the form of a brief presentation on the monitoring of the Annual Reports and financial statements of Departments, to assess their budgeting and work from a gender perspective. The possible questions to be asked from budgets were outlined. The Committee then embarked on group work, looking at various extracts of the financial report of the Department of Safety and Security, and assessing them in terms of their relevance and understandability. Members were pleased with the exercise and acknowledged that it broadened their views of the type of questions to ask when reviewing budgets and reports. Other issues raised in discussion included health related issues affecting women, the lack of commitment by departments, whether special budget allocations should be made to women, or to gender-related issues, whether there should be a women’s ministry, trafficking in women, and the need to involve the Departments of Justice and Safety and Security in a meeting on arrests of women and other gender related issues.

Ms Debbie Budlender, Specialist Researcher, noted that the purpose of the workshop was using annual reports to monitor budgets from a gender perspective.  She said that there were five steps in the process: to describe the situation of women and men, and girls and boys in the sector; to assess whether the government programme addressed the gender gaps and issues; to allocate adequate budget for the gender sensitive programmes; to monitor whether and how the money was spent through the financial reports and to evaluate whether the money had changed the negative aspects described in step one.

The focus of the workshop would be on the financial report of the Department of Safety and Security, as Gender Based Violence (GBV) was a focus point.

She noted that this Department received a large budget, of which Visible Policing formed 44%. Crime prevention amounted to 89% of Visible Policing. Under the heading “Contact Crimes,” the Department did not mention rape, and this was an indication of there being no gender-related measurable objectives.

Detective Services amounted to 16% of the total budget. General Investigation had 40% of sexual offences against children detected and 30% of those were taken to court. 42% of sexual offences against adult women were detected and 40% of those were taken to court.

Ms Budlender said that there were questions to ask from that budget, including: -
-How many of the reported achievements related to events. The Department had 16 days of activism against women and child abuse, but the Committee should question what happened during the rest of the year.
-How many of the reported achievements related to development policy documents.
-How many of the reported achievements related to actual delivery.
-Whether some of the groups or areas were left out
-Whether the department had explained under-delivery

The Chairperson thanked Ms Budlender for drawing these aspects to the attention of the Committee. She noted that when termination of pregnancy, a health issue, was being discussed, the Committee was concerned about women, who were the child bearers. This indicated a need for this Committee to work with the Department on Health. Another health-related issue was how TB would affect women, who had no choice but to look after TB patients who were their children. The Chairperson said that the document presented encouraged the Committee to ask questions in Parliament.

Mr F Maserumule (ANC) commented that he did not know what more could be done after so many documents had been written on gender. He said that there was lack of commitment despite training given to the policemen, as stated in a recent meeting with SAPS. He thought that this  Committee and various organisations perhaps needed to get around the ideas of implementing all the detail stated in documents. The Committee could not simply rely on people undertaking their jobs because they were paid to do so.

Ms B Ntuli (ANC) asked whether there was any department that allocated money specifically for women. She then asked if there was any way of making sure that there was money allocated for women in all departments.

The Chairperson commented that no governing body was saying anything about the issue of prostate cancer, as it was perceived that men do not talk about their problems.

Ms Budlender responded that she was weary of special budget allocations for women within departments. She said that it was better to have special allocation for gender-related issues and then a breakdown would be given of how many were women and how many were men. Her reasoning was that the main allocations ended up going to men. In the Department of Education, there was no special amount for women because that department did have special projects on gender equality. However, the actual gender allocation was disappearing.

Ms Budlender commented that reproductive health was a very important issue for women, and it went beyond HIV/AIDS. She added that she had wanted to use the Department of Health’s financial report for the workshop but it was not on the internet.

Ms S Rwexana (ANC) asked for the presenter’s personal opinion on a women’s ministry.

Ms Budlender responded that she did not think that there should be a women’s ministry, based on her experience of working in various countries. She said that the Office on the Status of Women (OSW) had not done the work it was supposed to have done, and that was where the problem lay. She added that women’s ministry was meant to push everyone to be gender sensitive, but then it would start becoming more like a project ministry than a policy ministry. She commented that South Africa had good documents with sufficient information, but the main thrust was where to look in those documents and what questions to ask about them.

Ms B Ntuli (ANC) asked whether having a women’s ministry would help departments have gender related measurable objectives.

Ms Budlender responded that one ministry could not tell another what to do. She said that the OSW was meant to work at this focal point but the structures, although in place, were not working. She did not think that changing the structure would solve the problem.

Mr Maserumule said that every year South Africa produced knowledge and skilled individuals but did not deploy them to the relevant posts, and perhaps an audit should be conducted on this issue.

Ms Budlender responded that maybe the problem was with people not asking the right questions. This Committee had the power to ask questions that would pressurise the departments to take things seriously. Government needed questions from a powerful body.

The Chairperson commented that the issue of a women’s ministry was a sensitive one and that the Committee had heard from OSW that their budget had been reduced. The Committee needed to make a follow-up on that.

Group work
The Committee did some group work, using extracts of the Department of Safety and Security’s financial report.

Ms Budlender noted that departments would try to avoid disclosing certain information by not stating the numbers, whereas target and actual numbers should correlate. She noted that an extract reading: “Initiatives established at 169 high contact crime stations,” did not give target figures.

She emphasised that departments should give comparisons for at least two years. The statement: “Rape and attempted rape totalled 19 629.” did not tell the reader if this figure was high or low because there were no comparatives. She encouraged the Committee to always ask whether what they were reading made sense.

Ms Budlender noted that it was good to focus on largest problems in a financial report, but that other areas should not be ignored. For example, the Department had planned to decrease high-contact crimes by 7%. Rape had decreased by 5.2%, which was below the target of 7%. The Committee should note where improvements occurred and where there was no improvement.

The Chairperson asked how the issue of trafficking was classified and located.

Ms Budlender responded that South Africa did not currently have any law against trafficking of adults. It was contained only in the Children’s Bill.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee put the issue of trafficking on their agenda for the forthcoming year.

Ms Budlender agreed, as the South African Law Reform Commission had been working for too long on the matter.

Ms M Nxumalo (ANC) said that in a recent case, an ex-policeman had been charged for offences, but was always given information on the police movements on his investigations.

Ms Ntuli was concerned whether there were any connections between detectives and criminals, because there are far too many dockets getting lost.

Ms Budlender responded that there were various problems with detectives that could not simply be solved by looking at Annual Reports and then asking the relevant questions.

Ms Ntuli asked whether sexual offences against men were included in the term “rape.”

Ms Budlender responded that the pending Sexual Offences Bill would change the definitions, to provide that there would be a charge for raping a man, not simply indecent assault.

Ms Budlender said that the purpose of having gender sensitive reports was to try to get more gender related targets in budgets and in Annual Reports, sex desegregation of achievements (for example, were people arrested and convicted male or female) and timely production of Annual Reports by all departments.

Ms Rwexana said that it was mostly women who were used for drug trafficking and who were then jailed in foreign prisons. Many women were pregnant and gave birth in these prisons. She asked whether there were statistics of these crimes.

Ms Budlender responded that the Committee should aim to see whether arrested people were men or women. The Department of Safety and Security did not currently give such statistics.

Ms Ntuli commented that the police could make all the arrests but it also depended on how the judicial system dealt with the issue. She was not sure whether the numbers of lawyers superceded the police. She asked what the Committee could do in their workshops to deal with the two departments working together, in deciding whether there was a good case.

Ms Budlender responded that the idea was to call both departments together to the Committee. Such a meeting would not necessarily solve the problem but it would start the discussion.

The meeting was adjourned.


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