Question NW3838 to the Minister in The Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

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09 January 2024 - NW3838

Profile picture: Sonti, Ms NP

Sonti, Ms NP to ask the Minister in The Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

What (a) are the full, relevant details of the long-term vision and strategic framework her Office has developed to create a society in which women, youth and persons with disabilities not only have equal opportunities, but also actively contribute to shaping the future of the Republic and (b) measurable outcomes are being targeted?


The rights of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities with regards to life, dignity and privacy, including their right to access all areas of human endeavour are well protected by the country's Constitution.

The Bill of Right enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. But it's particularly Section 9, the equality clause, that affords everyone specific protection against all forms of unfair discrimination. Section 9 in particular has broadened political and civil freedom .

Section 9, the equality clause, is far-reaching, prohibiting unfair discrimination on the grounds of gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, and sexual orientation.

Section 11, the right to life, affects issues such as domestic violence and femicide.

Section 12 concerns freedom and security of the person and the sub-section that applies specifically to women is 12(1)(c), which says everyone has the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources. 12(2) says everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes a woman’s right to make decisions concerning reproduction and to security in and control over her body.

Creating an environment where all these rights are protected is a responsibility for all of us, including government, all political parties, civil society, business, traditional and religious leaders and organization, families, right down to individuals. All spheres of government have an inherent responsibility to ensure that these rights which are guaranteed in the constitution are not violated and women, youth and persons with disabilities have rights to equal opportunities and access to promote equity and meaningful participation in society.

Government has developed various national policies and strategies that have been implemented to ensure inclusion and mainstreaming of issues affecting women, youth and persons with disabilities. For example concerted efforts have been made to improve access to education, employment opportunities, access to the built environment, skills development etc.

The recognition of South African Sign Language (SASL) as the 12th official language was an important step towards the realisation of the rights of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The department has developed frameworks on Awareness raising to ensure awareness on different disabilities, the Universal Design and Access to ensure that the built environment is prepared adequately and the Reasonable Accommodation to ensure that needs are identified and implemented.

South Africa after ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) adopted the national policy namely: The White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2015 and is currently in the process of developing a disability rights act which is being led by the South Africa Law Reformed Commission.

We have established a Disability Rights Machinery which is made up of organizations of and for persons with disabilities are part of the machinery at a National and also at provincial level through the office of the Premiers in the nine (9) provinces. The Purpose of the machinery is to monitor progress on the mainstreaming of implementation plans for persons with disabilities.

Government has further established the Presidential Working Group on Disability made up of members as individuals nominated by the disability sector from different organizations and expertise in disability to advise and guide government in implementation of programs for persons with disabilities.

The department collaborates with sister departments and the disability sector on advocacy programs, consults, plans and monitors mainstreaming of programs for persons with disabilities. Through the Gender Responsive Budgeting, Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Auditing Framework, we are able to monitor gender, Youth and disability- responsiveness, inclusion and mainstreaming.

The Annual Performance Plans of government departments are assessed prior to finalisation to ensure that indicators and targets in APPs are women, youth and disability inclusive.

The Department of Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities has developed a simplified results-based reporting template to assist with measuring targets and to monitor indicators.

The various international and national disability rights instruments and frameworks have been considered and have been harmonised to be included in the indicators within the simplified results-based reporting template. Indicators have been negotiated with the various government departments. The indicators contained in the simplified results-based monitoring template is currently being developed into a system, in partnership with UNICEF. This will assist with more effective and less burdensome reporting.

In 2021, government launched the Women Economic Assembly (WECONA) as a platform to action an enabling procurement environment for women-owned businesses by activating public & private sector supply value chains for a coherent & collaborative approach to achieving women's economic empowerment. Its mandate is anchored on pillars of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide.

At the launch the President instructed that the Provincial WECONAs be established to work in line with the District Development Model, and we have started with KZN. This is done to ensure that the program reaches women across the country.

Since its launch in October 2021, WECONA at a national level has sought to engage industry leaders to set gender transformation targets in each industry and establish game- changing interventions that increase procurement from women-owned businesses.

During our chairship of BRICS, we have worked with the BRICS partners and agreed on a ceclaration to address major concerns related to women across the BRICS countries and to promote mainstreaming of women’s issues across BRICS’ processes, priority areas, declarations and agreements; as well as to provide a platform for exchange of best practices, research and knowledge relating to BRICS women and girls.

We all know that the scourge of GBV as a violation of the constitutional rights of Women, youth, and persons with disabilities. The National Strategic Plan (NSP) thus seeks to rally society in ending GBVF by focusing on key pillars.

Pillar 5 in particular, recognises the role of access to economic opportunities as a foundation for economic power that also enables reduced cases and the vulnerability to gender based violence. The pillar work gives effect to Articles 8 of the 19 articles of the Presidential Summit Declaration Against GBVF, being to “Promote woman-centred economic development”. 

Successfully implemented, it has the power to transform the structural makeup of South Africa’s economy by systematically increasing access, control, and ownership of productive resources to women, as well as strengthening their participation in the world of work in order to address the economic drivers of gender-based violence across local, provincial, and national spheres. This pillar recognizes the clear link between GBVF and economic dependence and seeks to ensure that obstacles to women’s economic autonomy are effectively addressed.

The strategic approach of the pillar seeks ensure that: women are being included in all restorative programmes and opportunities; government and the corporate sector evaluates and makes plans to ensure that they create the most robust plans to guarantee the spiral of poverty for women in this country stops by providing avenues for economic development for women; and women are honoured by being embedded in our fiscal structures.

Key to this is the acceleration of initiatives to address women’s unequal economic and social position specifically through access to government and private sector procurement, employment, housing, land, financial resources and income generation initiatives.

To address the challenge of unemployment among youth, the SANDF led NYS programme is being introduced to build the youths’ character, empower them to serve in their communities, inculcate discipline and a sense of patriotism, train youth in leadership and entrepreneurship; and then provide them with technical capacity building in value chain driven sector specific industries with high absorption capacity.

The training streams will range from food and agriculture value chain; oceans economy and maritime skills; engineering, manufacturing, and infrastructure development; digital technologies and platform economies; and defense industries, public safety and security stream. The programme participants will be trained to be resilient and self-sustaining and then linked with job opportunities in diverse sectors.

We are aware that we cannot implement this program on our own, and on the advice of cabinet, we are working with various government departments who have the financial capacity to support elements of the National Service.

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