Hansard: Appropriation Bill : Debate on Vote No 8 – Women, Children, and People with Disabilities
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 06 Jun 2011
No summary available.
EPC – COMMITTEE ROOM: E249
Tuesday, 7 June 2011 Take: 107
START OF DAY
TUESDAY, 07 June 2011
PROCEEDINGS OF THE EXTENDED COMMITTEES OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 10:03.
The Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers and meditation.
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
START OF DAY
VOTE NO 8 – WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Chairperson, it is with great honour that I present the Budget Vote for the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
We are presenting this Budget Vote at a time when our country is mourning the passing away of the icon of our struggle for liberation, gender equality and children's rights - Albertina Sisulu. Ma Sisulu dedicated all her life to the African National Congress, ANC, the ANC Women's League and to the people and children of South Africa, ushering in the constitutional democracy that we all enjoy today. We, today, pay tribute to this selfless leader who endured severe hardship fighting for our liberation and basic human rights.
As we debate this vote, we should remember the dedication of Mama Sisulu to the struggle for gender equality and the protection of the rights of children in particular. Even in the last years of her life, she still dedicated her birthday, 21 October, to raise funds for the Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Foundation. And last year, this department supported her at that special occasion. We therefore deem it fit to dedicate this budget debate to Albertina Sisulu.
Lala ngoxolo, Mama. Ugqatso ulufezile. Wena ubuliqhawekazi lesizwe.
When I assumed office in November last year, I committed that my immediate task would be to build capacity in this department. I am happy to report that we have made progress in this regard over the past seven months. We now have a Director-General and a Deputy Director-General responsible for disability and children's rights and Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services. The process is underway to recruit the Deputy Director-General responsible for women empowerment and gender equality. All these appointments complete the top management structure of the department.
We have also appointed the Chief Financial Officer who is now responsible for strengthening our accountability and financial management system. Other key appointments already made include the head of research who will assist in establishing base line data and conducting the necessary research within the three sectors. The legal services department is already working on the Gender Equality Bill. Other key positions relating to advocacy, mainstreaming and capacity building for all three sectors are being filled.
Chairperson, this is the first full year cycle that the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities will be accounting to Parliament independent of the Presidency. For the first time since the establishment of this department, we have tabled our strategic plan in Parliament on 9 March 2011. The plan clearly elaborates the focus of the department which will be mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation as well as capacity building for the three sectors. Later this year, we will also, for the first time, table our annual report for the 2010-11 financial year.
We are committed to excellence in serving women, children and people with disabilities. However, the very limited and inadequate budget remains a major constraint and challenge for us to respond adequately to the vast and needs of women, children and people with disabilities across the country. We have compiled a submission to Treasury costing all the tasks we have to perform in line with our mandate.
Discussions are underway in an effort to improve the current budget allocation of R117 million, with R55 million of which is a transfer to the Commission for Gender Equality, CGE. The ad hoc committee formed by this House has looked at the reports of the Auditor General, Public Protector and Treasury with regard to the CGE and has made its recommendations to Parliament. We await the guidance of Parliament on this matter and its broader consideration of Chapter 9 institutions report by Kader Asmal Commission.
On the empowerment of women, our country is grappling with the challenge of unemployment and poverty. As we seek solutions to this challenge, we have to acknowledge that women constitute the majority of the unemployed and the rural poor in this country. As part of our first quarter plans for 2011-12 we held a national Rural Women's Summit in Limpopo last year through which we provided a platform for sharing information on how to access various programmes provided by departments involved in the development of the rural poor.
Representatives of women from across our country outlined the challenges they face as lack of access to land and water for them to initiate their development projects. Those who have secured land want developmental finance and access to markets for their produce. They also want skills development programmes that will enable them to improve their produce and achieve sustainable livelihood where they live.
We will be working with the Departments of Rural Development and Land Reform as well as Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to ensure that the aspirations of rural women are integrated into the Rural Development Strategy. Women want opportunities to develop themselves. During the summit, we visited a number of development projects run by women in Tzaneen. With the support of government, these women are running successful farms, mining as well as arts and crafts projects, employing a number of people and their products are sold in various parts of our country and in foreign markets. As the late comrade Oliver Tambo said and I quote:
If we are to engage our full potential in pursuit of revolutionary goals, then, as revolutionaries, we should stop pretending that women have the same opportunities as men.
We are engaging with the New Growth Path to highlight the heavy impact of unemployment on women and people with disabilities. We are developing a barometer to measure the number of women who will benefit from the five million jobs that we seek to create in the next 10 years. We have to start with the R9 billion allocated for job creation and ensure that a predetermined percentage of it is dedicated to jobs for women. We will also ensure that women participate in the Green Economy projects in the country.
Constituting more than 50% of the population, women remain severely underrepresented in decision making positions. Women constitute less than 10% of CEOs and chairpersons of boards of companies listed in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, JSE. They only hold less than 16% of directorship and 21% of executive management positions. The number of better performing companies with 25% or more women directors and executive managers continues to decrease from 58 in 2008 to 37 companies in 2010. We still have 27 JSE-listed companies without even a single woman at directorship or executive management level. One example is Checkers which does not have a single woman in its board despite the vast majority of its customers and workers being women. Clearly there is an urgent need for extra measures to be taken to hasten the process of transformation and empowerment of women. We have to find measures to address this abnormality which is a major indictment on transformation as far as it relates to women in South Africa.
We are working on the Gender Equality Bill which will provide us with the necessary legislative authority to hasten the empowerment of women and address issues of enforcement and compliance towards the attainment of our target of 50/50 gender parity.
The process of consultation with civil society and other stakeholder on the Bill is underway which we expect to culminate at the National Women's conference to be held later this year. The final Draft Bill will thereafter be submitted to Cabinet for approval by March 2012.
The enactment of the Gender Equality Bill will lead to systemic improvements for women and facilitate the attainment of gender equality. We hope that it will empower us to deal with such developments as the appointment of an all-male cabinet in the Western Cape government. This latest appointment is a demonstration of political arrogance of the Democratic Alliance. Premier Helen Zille is actually telling the women of the Western Cape that no woman in this province is capable of being in the provincial government other than herself.
Chairperson, when addressing a junior wheelchair championship in 1995, our first democratic President, President Nelson Mandela said and I quote:
The new South Africa we are building should be accessible and open to everyone. We must see to it that we remove the obstacles, whether they stem from poor access to facilities; poor education; lack of transport; lack of funding or unavailability of equipment. Only then will the rights of disabled to equal opportunities become a reality.
These words by President Mandela remain true today. People with disabilities face the stiffest obstacles towards socioeconomic participation than any other section of our population. The many challenges faced by people with disabilities include lack of access to economic opportunities, transport, education and health services including assistive devices. We still have cases of discrimination and violation of rights of people with disabilities. To respond to these challenges, the department will focus on improving access to education through the promotion of the inclusive education policy. We have to promote integration of children with special needs into the mainstream school while acknowledging that children with severe disabilities will still need special schools.
Following the incidents of abuse that we dealt with at schools such as Philadelphia and Phelang over the last year, we have decided to conduct an audit of all special schools in the country. This audit should provide information on the state of each of these schools and inform appropriate interventions that have to be made to enhance the learning environment for children using these facilities. Transport remains a major barrier limiting participation of people with disabilities in social, educational and economic activities. We will work together with the Department of Transport to ensure that our public transport strategy and initiatives respond to the transport needs of people with disabilities including standardisation of designated parking. Our task as the department will be to monitor that all of the developments in the transport sector do integrate disability consideration.
The department will develop and implement the National Accessibility campaign which will focus on areas such as reasonable accommodation at the work place, accessibility of buildings where government services are provided, promotion of Braille, sign language and other accessible communication formats and access to assistive devices and disability grants. This campaign will be aimed at promoting equalisation of opportunities for people with disabilities. We are very concerned with the continued failure of both the public and private sector to advance towards the target of 2% employment equity for people with disabilities with our country standing at 0.9% at the end of 2010. The last report of the Employment Equity Commission indicates that government is trailing behind the private sector with regard to the employment of persons with disabilities. People with disabilities constituted 0.6% of state employees while the private sector was at 1%.
In line with our mandate of mainstreaming and oversight, the department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities will ensure that each government department commits to clear milestones towards the attainment of 2% employment equity for people with disabilities. Each department or sphere of government is going to be held accountable for this target. We have to encourage the private sector to continue to increase the number of employees with disabilities. We also have to work towards the attainment of the 4% target for skills development and 5% for procurement that needs to benefit people with disabilities.
We encourage innovative projects such as the partnership between the South African Disability Development Trust and the Warehouse & Retail Sector Education and Training Authority, SETA, which provides learnerships for disabled people. Many of the people they trained have found permanent employment in various companies in this sector. The Airport Company of South Africa which is our long standing partner in the delivery of assistive devices and other initiatives to empower people with disabilities is here with us today. We appreciate your support and commitment. [Applause.]
Chairperson, women and children of our country continue to be ravaged by the scourge of violence including rape and murder. Everyday, we receive reports of horrendous attacks on children and women including the rape and murder of lesbian women in the so-called corrective rape. Chair there is nothing like corrective rape. This is the horrendous crime of rape and a violation of people's right to choose their sexual orientation as enshrined in the country's Constitution.
This has serious implications for our nation. Gender based violence has severe and long lasting impact on victims including serious mental health problems and the risk of subsequent victimisation; gynaecological complications, unwanted pregnancies, HIV infection; serious physical injuries or disability and ultimately, death. Consequences of gender based violence are not only limited to a person who experiences it, but also those who witness it, in particular children.
It undermines the dignity, autonomy and security of the victims; and the overall social and economic development of the entire society, thereby re-enforcing gender in-equalities. The numbers and severity of cases require that we take extra measures to reverse the tide of violence against women and children in our country. Acknowledging the magnitude and complexity of the factors driving this scourge, we are establishing an Advisory Council on Violence against Women and Children.
The advisory council will comprise of key government departments, civil society organisations and other relevant partners and it will coordinate the implementation of the 365 days National Plan of Action to End Violence against Women and Children. It is going to coordinate the various commendable initiatives implemented by various government departments, civil society and other sectors to stop this scourge.
In line with the directive of his Excellency President Jacob Zuma to make crimes against women and children a priority, the South African Police Services has strengthened its capacity to deal with these cases. Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences, FCS, units have been established in all 176 policing areas. Police officers have been trained to deal with these cases with the sensitivity they deserve. Forensic social workers are hired to assist child victims in particular to submit evidence necessary to support conviction.
At least 28 Thuthuzela care centres have been established in various areas with high incidents of violence against women and children in the country. These are one stop centres where rape victims can lodge a case with the police and receive counselling and medical care including prevention of HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies. The Thuthuzela approach has been commended by the United Nations Secretary General and adopted by a number of countries in Africa and other regions such as Latin America. During this year, we will be focusing on promoting the Domestic Violence Act to empower victims of violence and communities to use this Act to prevent cases of abuse. We will be mobilising women to ensure that they do not withdraw cases of abuse but allow the law to take its course. [Applause.]
We are encouraged by the firm sentences that are being handed down in many of these cases which indicate that our courts support the spirit of the Minimum Sentences Act. A life sentence for each of the 13 rapes and murders plus 208 years for robbery given to a serial killer who raped, murdered and robbed 13 women in Umzinto in KwaZulu-Natal is a good example of how our courts are dealing with these cases. Rapists and perpetrators of violence against women and children have no place in our society. Hence we are calling upon our courts to deny bail for suspects charged with rape and murder of women and children.
The Criminal Procedure Act outlines the factors that the court must take into account before granting bail. These include:the degree of violence towards others implicit in the charge against the accused; any threat of violence which the accused may have made to any person; any resentment the accused is alleged to harbour against any person; any disposition to violence on the part of the accused, as is evident from past conduct; the prevalence of a particular type of offence. All of these factors are there in almost every case of rape and murder of children.
Yesterday, we concluded yet another successful Child Protection Week campaign. During this week, we worked with the Department of Social Development, SAPS civil society and other players to increase awareness amongst communities of the right of children to be protected from all undesirable behaviour and situations. Some key activities for this week included the national launch of the Early Childhood Development programme and efforts to respond to the plight of children living on the streets.
The Child Protection week, which includes the observation of International Children's Day on 1 June is a national campaign that ensures that all South Africans work together to protect and promote the well-being of children in our society. Our country has a strong legislative framework protecting the rights of children. As the department, we will monitor the implementation of all these laws including the Child Justice Act and the Children's Act. We have other laws to protect our children against sexual assaults, child pornography and other forms of exploitation.
We must implement them effectively. We also know that many girl children from poor and indigent households miss more than 40 days of learning each academic year because of lack of access to sanitary towels. During National Children's Day, we launched the Sanitary Dignity campaign through which we seek to mobilise resources for delivery of sanitary towels to these learners, indigent women and children with disabilities. In this campaign, we are in partnership with the Department of Health in our provinces and municipalities.This department is required to report and participate on behalf of South Africa at regional and international forums relating to women, children's rights and people with disabilities.
Through this international work, we seek to influence the global agenda on issues relating to the three sectors and profile progress that South Africa is making in protecting the rights of women, children and people with disabilities.
The report on our participation at the 55th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women earlier this year provides a synthesis of our engagements and discussions covering the five themes of the session and detailed implications for South Africa's national agenda to empower women and attain gender equality. Based on the priority theme of the session focusing on science and technology, we presented South Africa's innovative programme – Techno Girls - aimed at encouraging girls to study and pursue careers in the fields of science, technology and engineering. Following our engagements with the main partner, United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, we have decided that the project be expanded to all provinces.
We were commended, at the UN, for the significant advances that South Africa has made on representation of women in political decision making positions, access to education and health, particularly our response to HIV and AIDS. Concerns were raised on the high levels of violence against women and children in the country. We also presented the country report on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW, to the CEDAW Committee in Geneva in January this year. The conclusions and recommendations of the Committee are going to be incorporated into our national programmes to address challenges facing women and girls.
During this financial year, we will also work together with the disability sector to finalise and submit the country report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and participate at the Conference of State Parties on this UN Convention. As part of our consultation with the disability sector, in particular, the department will hold a National Summit on Disability during this financial year to discuss the implementation plan for the domestication of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This summit will also discuss the National Disability Policy that will strengthen our collaborative efforts to address the challenges facing people with disabilities.
In conclusion, I would like to thank my colleagues in Cabinet for your cooperation in our effort to coordinate the response of government to the varying needs of women, children and people with disabilities. I thank the Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth, Children and Persons with Disabilities for continued engagement with the department towards the attainment of our mandate.
I would like to thank all the distinguished guests representing various stakeholders in the sectors of gender, children's rights and disability. These stakeholders include focal points in various departments and spheres of government, civil society organisations, women's organisations, the private sector and various developmental partners. I would like to highlight in particular, the strong collaboration and support from the UN Agencies in the implementation of our programmes. I also thank the CGE, Non-Governmental Organisations and the women's movement whose contribution has made an impact on the work of this department.
Last but not least, I thank the Director-General and the staff of the department who have worked tirelessly in strengthening the capacity of this institution while at the same time responding to the urgent challenges facing women, children and people with disabilities.
As the generation of Mama Albertina Sisulu said in their petition at the historic Women's March of 1956 and I quote:
We shall not rest until we have won for our children their fundamental rights of freedom, justice, and security
Hon Members: Malibongwe!
Mrs D M RAMODIBE / LIM.../ END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Mrs D M RAMODIBE: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; the ANC–led government salute the late mother of the nation mama Albertina Sisulu who has made a lasting contribution to the struggle of freedom in South Africa and will be greatly missed.
On 9 May 2009 when the announcement on the establishment of the of the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities was made, it was exciting, since it showed commitment by government on women's empowerment and gender equality, the rights of children and people with disabilities in line with the Freedom Charter that "all shall be equal before the law"
These three sectors are transversal and clearly this is shown by various departments dealing with women, children and people with disability issues. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 is clear on the state's position on the rights equality, empowerment and human dignity of women, children and people with disabilities.
The department presented the strategic plan, the budget and the annual operational plan to the portfolio committee. The committee also held a workshop together with the department to further discus the mandate, the strategic and annual operational plans of the department.
The Mandate of the department, Chairperson, this ministry is huge, for the ministry to succeed it will require that it be properly resourced both financially with the right skill personnel. It has taken us almost three years to have a fully functioning ministry but also a ministry whose objectives and mandate is fully understood and appreciated by government departments , civil society and the private sector and whose impact still has to be felt by all of us.
The task s daunting, the role of the department is to build and contribute to strengthening the movement for global justice for women children and people with disabilities. It is to co-ordinate, monitor, and valuate programmes at the three spheres of government, that of civil society and the private sector requires that the ministry fulfils its mandate, smartly, and with distinction.
The department acts as a central co-ordinating point for national air force on women's empowerment and ensures the mainstreaming of gender, children and people with disabilities considerations in all national policies programmes and activities. The ultimate goal is to achieve equality and ensure that institutional mechanisms of all levels and in all spheres of governance are strengthened, and to open space for some serious thinking on the inclusion of rural women who are in a most poverty stricken areas of our country.
Chairperson, the department has already sign a memorandum of understanding with several departments and continues to do so with other departments. Some of the departments have already established gender, children and people with disability desk whilst others are in the process of doing so.
It aims to drive, accelerate and oversee government's equity, equality and empowerment agenda on women, children and people with disabilities especial in poor and rural communities which is one of the government's priorities. Attain national goal to half poverty and unemployment by 2014 in line with Millennium Development Goals.
It is encouraging that under the leadership of the ANC government continues to lead in terms of increasing women representation with figures above 40% of elected positions in local government, Parliament and cabinet. ANC led government have called on opposition parties to play their role in advancing the country towards gender parity. The aforementioned in relation to policy position of the ANC, you will remember that Cabinet endorsed the appointment of Nombulelo Pinky Mohuli as the Chief Executive Officer of Telkom SA. I would like to congratulate Pinky Moholi for being the first woman Chief Executive to lead this major information and communication technology entity.
Chairperson, again government of the ANC also welcomes the announcement by Johannesburg Stock of Exchange that is its Deputy Chief Executive, Nicky Newton-King, will assume the position of chief executive at the end of this year. She becomes the first woman to run this institution in its history of 120 years.[Applause.]
We have to address the stereotypes that continue to limit opportunities for people with disabilities to participate fully in the economy. We have to stop the wrong perceptions that employing people with disabilities is either more expensive or limits productivity.
This department will have to make sure that more concerted effort is placed on eradication of poverty amongst women and children, that every child is not denied education and in fact that they are at school, traditions of prejudice are removed and culturally sanctioned violence against women and children is tackled with conviction, that our law enforcement does not turn a blind eye to women and child abuse, rape and sexual assault cases that are reported.
Under our administration, the purpose of this programme is to support the Minister and the department and effective leadership to manage and give administrative support services to the Minister and sectors and the budget allocated is R34, 2million for the financial year 2011-12. The second programme is women empowerment and gender equality, which has received R64, million for the financial year 2011-12, R55, 2million which is the largest portion of the budget to be transferred to the Commission for Gender Equality, allocation for this programme is R9,1 million over the MTEF period R2,8 million has been allocated for 2011-12 financial year. More than half again of the programme budget is allocated for remuneration of employees.
The committee is concerned that in each and every subprogramme more than half of the budget goes to salaries. Is it because of its mandate in that this department is not a service delivery but monitoring and evaluating and advocacy or is it because women children and people with disability issues are not taken seriously hence the limited budget?
Under programme three, children's rights and responsibilities has been allocated R34, 7million over the MTEF period and R9, 6million of the 2011-12 financial year. In each of the subprogrammes more than 50% will be utilised for compensation of employees. With the limited budget allocated this impact heavily on the implementation of flagship programmes on street children.
The Millennium development Goals targets address extreme poverty, hunger and diseases. These have an impact on children survival, development and wellbeing. In this regard the department will have to work closely with the Department Of Social development which is already happening.
Children who are orphans are more vulnerable and are also child headed households. They are subject to abuse, physically, sexually and emotionally. According to the Department of social Development, these occurrences attributes to the high level of poverty, unemployment and family disintegration.
Programme four, on the rights of people with disabilities has been allocated R35, 2million over the MTEF period and R9, 6million for 2011-12 financial year. As I indicated earlier more than half the programme budget is allocated for the compensation of employees which leaves very little for programmes implementation. In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa with regards to Employment Equity Act the department is to draft and finalise the disability policy towards a Disability Bill.
This area is very much neglected as a result even our government have failed to meet the minimum target of 2%. People with disabilities are living in poverty and are known to be the poorest of the poor within our community and the most vulnerable. They are faced with many challenges including access to buildings and various modes of transport. This is a challenge to the Department of Transport as well as the department of Public Works. I must emphasis the fact that we also appreciate the working together of this department and the other department and their co-operation.
Chairperson, allow me to share with you some of the achievements. In the Human Resource Department, director-general was appointed in November 2010, two of the three of the deputy directors-general appointed in 2011, and a number of chief directors appointed across various sectors of the department; several directors appointed particularly in units dealing with research and [policy development; intersectoral and international co-operation as well as in various units in the office of the director –general.
The department has now relocated physically to its own building from the Presidency. The department has compile the draft national main streaming strategy and implementing plan on rights, dignity, and empowerment and equality for women, children and people with disabilities it has also entered into memorandum of understanding with Departments of Health, Basic Education, Transport and others.
National mainstreaming strategy and implementation plan develop and is being consultant upon; to date there has been four consultation processes with national gender machinery; Gauteng Provincial gender machinery; North West Provincial Gender Machinery. A national Task Team has been established. The child friendly communities model, the concept document on piloting the model developed in partnership with the United nations Children's fund, Unicef and the pilot initiative to be in City of Tshwane. Commemoration and celebration of the International Children's Day and the day of the African Child. It participated in the 3th Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in New York in September 2010 and developed memorandum of understanding with relevant departments regarding the transformation of sheltered workshops. These are about the few achievements out of many, the list is endless.
In conclusion, the committee welcomes the development of gender equality; however, the department should also develop legislation that will enforce implementation of programmes pertaining to children and people with disabilities. The department should prioritise the programme for each branch that is women, children and people with disabilities, due to budgetary constraints bearing in mind the department's mandate.
An ancient Chinese said that women hold half the sky has to be lived and be alive in all societies including ours. It cannot be left in policy documents, legislation, speeches and international instruments but has to be felt, touched and lived by all. It has to be reverbrate in our homes, churches, schools, places of work, here in parliament and in politics. I thank you.[Applause.]
Mrs D ROBINSON /END OF TAKE
Mrs D M RAMODIBE
Mrs D ROBINSON: Hon Chair, Ministers, members and guests, let me start this debate by conveying my sincere condolences to the family of the late Mama Sisulu and pay tribute to her for the example she set in her life, work and commitment to the rights and wellbeing of all people.
I met her once and I was immediately struck by her warmth, compassion and her interesting "my views" on building bridges to bring about great unity and progress in South Africa. A memorial service will held in St Georges Cathedral on Friday at 12h30 and we invite you all to attend.
Hamba kahle Mama.
This is the first that we will be discussion the Budget Vote on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities with Minister Lulu Xingwana at the helm.
Minister, we appreciate your more energetic and proactive approach to this portfolio. It's a portfolio that is full of challenges and we hope that you will find the necessary impetus to improve the effectiveness of your ministry and department, so that it can make a difference in the lives of those who need support. I am encouraged by some of your statements made today.
This portfolio is one that the DA approaches with some measure of conflict within. This is not because we do not place a high priority on the importance of the rights of vulnerable people. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
We believe that their inclusion is our society carry such urgency that every possible resource should be directed at the input factors on which government needs to deliver much more effectively to ensure that women can compete on an equal footing with their male counterparts for the future they desire; that our children, whether from rich or poor families, can grow up knowing that working hard and making use of their abilities in the very best way will guarantee them equal access to the opportunities that they should enjoy; and that persons with disabilities are not constantly discriminated against, because of not having access to the necessary support services.
Hon Chairperson, I speak of the all important input factors that we have yet to get right and that HAVE such a huge impact on the welfare, wellbeing and progress of women, children and persons with disabilities. Factors such as, a good basic education; accessible quality healthcare; a safe and nonviolent environment to live in; an economy that grows enough opportunities for communities not to deteriorate under the strain of poverty; and an effective social security network.
It is yet to be proved that placing the promotion, monitoring and evaluation of this ministry in a separate ministry will improve delivery in these important areas to the benefit of vulnerable groups.
The burden of proving the proof has now been yours for just six months, Minister. We hope that by the end of this budget year, you will have some compelling evidence to convince us that the decision was a wise one. What we do know is that the razzle-dazzle of issue campaigns and events will not provide the evidence we seek.
The evidence we require will only come from hard focused work. As for where to start, I would recommend that we look at the degree to which government provides adequately for the support services that our women, children and persons with disabilities need to have access to.
There is no question that government is currently failing vulnerable people who are being abused, those who have special needs or require rehabilitation.
There must be a much better focus of providing for the special needs schools, the shelters and the homes that do this work. There are far too few Thuthuzela centres, too few social workers, clinical psychologists who can do counselling for victims of abuse and the secondary abuse of their families.
South African children are amongst the most traumatised in the world. In a recent study, it was stated that 91% of the children who had been interviewed had been exposed to traumatic events, including violent crime, domestic violence, rape and children abuse.
It should not be left mainly to non-governmental organisations, NGOs to make therapeutic services accessible so that the host of negative outcomes associated with untreated trauma such as emotional and behavioural disturbances, future criminal activity, substance abuse, school dropout, unwanted pregnancy and HIV infections, may be prevented.
There is little help from government in assisting families to cope with the special demands, physical, emotional and financial, placed on families who have children with disabilities.
I would like to mention the special needs of children living with intellectual disabilities and with autism in particular. Autism South Africa tells us that a child with autism is born in South Africa every hour and that only one out of one thousand children with autism receives beneficial education.
Most of those lucky ones have non-governmental organisations to thank for the support they enjoy. For many of these NGOs and charities, it really is a struggle to survive. Should government not contribute to the funding?
I more of these children could receive specialised form of teaching as provided by the Special needs adapted programme, SNAP, for example. They could lead productive lives and complete their education in mainstream schools at far less cost.
Chair, I believe that one of the problems is that our ministries and departments work in silos. Some support is provided by the Department of Social Development, others by the Department of Health and yet others by the Department of Education.
Perhaps this can be one of the significant roles that this ministry can play, to investigate the alternatives that can be provided for people with special needs, and then monitor and coordinate their provision to make sure that their needs do not fall through the cracks.
This department should not be allowed to become the superficial plaster that covers the hideous wound of discrimination, whether gender discrimination, discrimination against the disabled to those who have been abused.
It's unfortunately that many of the organisational challenges faced by this ministry and department are a result of the fact that it came into existence more as a function of political expediency than sound planning.
From our interactions with the department, we have come to realise that it has yet to understand and resolve issues related to its mandate. This is a concern as it has a direct impact on the performance of the department in terms of envisaged programmes and activities.
The department so far has been unable to align its operational and strategic plans or focus its strategic objectives properly and attach them to clear timelines.
It's also a cause for concern that there is no real clarity on the authority vested in this department with regard to the monitoring and evaluation of the policies and programmes of other departments.
This is of course in addition to interdepartmental monitoring and evaluation work that the other departments should be doing e.g. the 2% required quota for persons with disabilities; as well as the work done by the department of performance monitoring and the work done by relevant Chapter 9 institutions, such as the Commission for Gender Equality, CGE.
The CGE is a tremendous drain on the budget and we have to question its real value. Not only is the CGE's enabling act outdated but it needs to be reviewed and harmonised with the Constitution.
We recommend that the Asmal report on the Chapter 9 institutions be tabled again and that the recommendations be taken seriously, this time.
Chair, last week at the millennium development goals, MDGs, follow-up ministerial meeting in Tokyo, South Africa through international relations and cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, stated very clearly that it supported the views expressed by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, that children and women are at the heart of the MDGs.
If we are serious about pursuing the MDGs then this department is where we must see those undertakings being turned from words into action.
There is also some concern about the increased budget being used mainly for salaries and administration and not for programmes and positive outcome. We believe do that under these conditions it will be difficult for the DA to give our unconditional support for Budget Vote eight.
We must caution that this ministry does not become a rather expensive talk shop, running summits, conferences and releasing reports but not finding application in reality. The needs are great and we must not fail the vulnerable.
I thank you.
Ms B C BLAAI ///NPM // END OF TAKE
Mrs D ROBINSON
Ms B C BLAAI:
Ms S P LEBENYA-NTANZI
Ms B C BLAAI
Ms S P LEBENYA-NTANZI: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members, and guests, the IFP believes that this government should have the wellbeing of its women, children and people with disabilities at the forefront of its objectives. This can be achieved by setting time-bound targets for addressing extreme poverty, hunger and diseases, through the promotion of gender equality and education.
It is important that the vulnerable sector of our society, which this department is tasked to look after, is served in a goal-oriented manner, ensuring that our children's survival, development and wellbeing take a centre stage. The interests and wellbeing of children can never be over emphasised or overlooked. Our children are the future of this country.
It is therefore important that we address the HIV/Aids pandemic with the utmost sense of urgency. Children need both of their parents – mothers and fathers. We must therefore increase our efforts to stop this epidemic from further decimating communities and families across our country.
It is also of the utmost importance to the IFP that children, who are the victims of violence, abuse and neglect, are given special priority. I would like to appeal to you, hon Minister, to ensure that full effect is given to the Children's Act; in as far as it declares children living and working on the streets as children in need of care and protection.
Causes as determined by the Department of Social Development for the above abandonment and neglect of children must be addressed. The IFP would like to see a greater co-ordination of efforts between this Ministry and the Ministries of Social Development and Health. We feel that a holistic approach to this problem is the only way in which this crisis can be overcome.
Current maternal as well as child mortality rates must be reduced. We must do all that we can to reach a significant reduction in the child mortality rate target, as set out by the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. Can the Minister give us her assurance that her department is doing its utmost best to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality?
There is a disturbing trend developing amongst our teenage girls and young women who are resorting more and more to abortion as a form of birth control and this practice must be stopped. It is potentially, seriously damaging to both body and mind and this can lead to permanent physical or psychological problems. Our girls and young women must be educated against this practice, and again in this instance, we should be working together with the Department of Social Development and Health.
Minister, while your budget is relatively small and the tasks that you are expected to perform on behalf of this government are considerable. The IFP feels that much more must be done to drive government's equity, equality and empowerment agenda in terms of those living with disabilities. We must speed-up the empowerment, advancement and socioeconomic development of persons with disabilities.
Minister, the IFP remains concerned about the future of this department. At the moment, it is clear that the ruling party itself does not understand the mandate of this department. [Interjections.] This has led to widespread confusion, which in turn has crippled the work of this department. Ngeke ningizwe kodwa uma nikhuluma kanje. [You can't hear me if you are so loud.] We urge that unless all stakeholders – from Cabinet to the portfolio committee level – understand and appreciate the mandate of this department, this department will remain a proverbial sitting duck.
Another serious headache, Minister, is the Commission for Gender Equality. Despite the mismanagement of funds and corruption, it still receives a large chunk of this department's budget. What plans are in place to ensure that the CGE functions better going forward, and can the Minister give us the assurance that there will be no duplication in programmes run by the CGE and the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities?
In conclusion, you have many weighty tasks ahead of you, Minister, and the IFP wishes you all the best with this very demanding portfolio in 2011. We pledge our support to assist you to work towards a fully inclusive society free of discrimination inequality and abuse. The IFP supports this Budget Vote. Thank you.
Mrs G K TSEKE... ///tfm/// END OF TAKE
Ms S P LEBENYA-NTANZI
Mrs G K TSEKE: Chairperson, hon Minister, members of the portfolio committee, hon members of Parliament and ladies and gentleman. Let me also join other hon members in sending our heartfelt condolences to the Sisulu family. The country remains grateful and indebted to Mama Albertina Sisulu, a stalwart of the liberation and an assuming leader of all races of our people.
A moya wa gagwe o robale ka kagiso.
The ANC also wants to send a message of condolences also to all the families that have missing children and of those that were killed by adults who are meant to protect them.
Letsatsi lengwe le lengwe bana ba a bolawa, masea a latlhelwa mo mesimeng, dikarolo tsa mebele ya bona di a tsewa, ba iphitlhela ba le magareng ga tlhalano ya mme le rre, ba iphitlhela ba le magareng ga dintwa tsa selegae mme ba se na molato.
The ANC abhors the circumstances under these children died and commit itself to continue seeking justice to bring these perpetrators to book.
Hon Chairperson and members, I want to confirm that after interaction with the Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, we have reiterated that this is not a service delivery department, with the inclusion of the IFP and Cope. I think we all understand the mandate of this department, [applause,] that it is aiming to drive, accelerate and oversee government equity, equality and empowerment agenda on women, children and persons with disabilities especially from poor and rural communities. We therefore acknowledge the work done so far by our hon Minister and the ANC support the Budget Vote 8.
Hon Chairperson, the budget is the link between the outcomes targeted by government and the services that are ultimately delivered. The main challenge faced by children in our country is poverty and abuse. Poverty often means lack of access to quality health care and education resources, which can lead to children's poor health and school failure. Negative developmental outcomes for children have been linked to a variety of risk factors such as having a poorly educated mother or living in a household that is poor, or headed by a single parent. The more, is needed to be done, to ensure that the child socioeconomic rights are fulfilled.
The Polokwane Conference of the ANC has resolved on the following with regard to the children's issues. Firstly, that the best interest of the child should be of paramount, with child headed households as the priority for protection and care. Secondly, to promote the welfare of children and in this regard develop, monitor and measure tools that define and deal with child poverty.
Thirdly, strengthen the child safety nets the deal with the child poverty, ongoing murders, disappearances, abuse and neglect. Lastly, strengthen childhood development centres and urge communities to understand and deal seriously with the rights of children. Over 49 million people in this country, 18,6 million, are children under the age of 18 years.
Though we acknowledge that the needs of children are also addressed by numerous other service delivery Departments such as Health, Social Development and Education, it is disconcerting to note that the programme responsible for mainstreaming and co-ordination of children's rights has received only 1% of the country's budget for this current year.
Since the advent of this democracy in 1994, our country has put a comprehensive range of laws, policies and programmes in place to enable the realisation of children's socioeconomic rights. These laws place statutory duties on government to provide and budget for socio economic services and to clarify the roles and responsibilities of government spheres, departments and officials. Section 28 of the Constitution of our country underpins children's rights to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse. This is inline with the Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been ratified in 1995 in the country.
Since then the convention has become the most ratified human rights treaty and it also underscores the accountability of governments, civil society, parents and the international community to fulfil their obligations towards their realisation of the rights of the children and to ensure that these rights remain inalienable, integral and indivisible. The department will be developing children's rights and mainstreaming strategy and the responsive budgeting strategy which will be finalised by March 2012. We therefore appreciate this as it will hold other departments accountable.
One other question that we are supposed to ask the hon Minister is, whether our country is complying with its reporting obligations on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child? The answer to this question will be no. The country has submitted its first report in 1997 and has not yet submitted its second and third report in 2002 and 2007.
The lack of reporting prevents the treaty monitoring committees from evaluating South Africa's progress and from providing recommendations for improvements. We have been informed that these reports are before Cabinet and as the committee we have not yet received them. We would appreciate if the department would come and brief the committee before the report is being presented to the United Nations, UN.
South African children have played a prominent role in fighting for their rights. The 1976 Soweto riots are also a testament to the courage children displayed in standing up for what they believed in. We have seen Comrade Hector Peterson and many others shot by police and other children were never seen again by their families. We salute the 1976 generation and say even those on my left, we are what we are today because of them. [Applause.]
Children continue to be subject to abuse and neglect. These continue despite the significant strides made in terms of the development of legislations, policies and programmes. The key challenge remains in the implementation and requisite costing and resources.
The Children's Act, stipulates that children living and working in the streets are now regarded as children in need of care and protection. The Department of Social Development as a lead department on street children's issues is expected to provide the necessary resources as policies and legislation to protect and empower children living on the streets.
Modulasetulo, re bone toropo ya Tshwane e tsaya bana ba ba sa tlhokomelweng mo mebileng mo ngwageng e e fetileng, e ba isa kwa mafelong a a bolokegileng. Motho a ka ipotsa gore lenaneo le, le tla diriwa ga kae mo ngwageng?
Is this programme going to be effective and sustainable? In turn, the department also has a responsibility of creating awareness on legislation, policy and issues impacting on the lives of these children. Raising awareness is a fundamental prevention strategy that involves not only education on information, but also helping to change attitudes and behaviour.
Hence the department was launching the strategy and guidelines for children living on the streets during the Child Protection Week, last week. The purpose of the strategy is to provide different stakeholders at national, provincial and local levels with guidelines to develop their own programmes for the management of those children living and working in the streets.
South Africa is still on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, of universal access to primary education and gender equality in education. Disadvantaged children are benefitting from free education through the no-fee and school fee exemption. There are also child friendly schools programme initiated by United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, which aims to improve the quality of education through the integrated package of schools interventions, which includes health, safety, and protection. The ANC supports Budget Vote 8. [Applause.]
Mrs C DUDLEY / AZM MNGUNI/ END OF TAKE
Mrs G K TSEKE
Mrs C DUDLEY: Chair, the ACDP notes that last week was Child Protection Week and we recognise that child protection in South Africa is in desperate need of prioritising and funding. Hon Minister, it is difficult to speak on the allocation of budget to a Ministry which has no real mandate. [Interjections.] How do we hold the Ministry accountable when there is no clarity on what it can or will achieve? You are colleagues and friends, and you know that I don't say this to discredit anyone. It is a genuine problem.
The general feeling among people working with the specified groups is that the Ministry should not exist. It covers 75% of the population and, yet, it has no actual service delivery function. Experts working with children say this Ministry marginalises women, children and people with disabilities rather than focussing useful attention by having them in the mainstream. Australia has a women's ministry, but it runs on very different lines to South Africa. The ACDP calls for a public debate on the department's authority, roles and responsibility.
Stakeholders actually see this Ministry as diverting attention on children's matters away from relevant Ministries. Departments like Heath, Education and Social Development have the primary responsibility for children, and the mandate and the money; yet, children's matters are increasingly being drawn to a Ministry that can do nothing.
A consensus is that this budget should be urgently redirected into budgets where the Children's Act and the Child Justice Act – both of which are grossly underfunded - can be managed and implemented. Situations like the baby deaths at Mannenberg Clinic and the children's home in Pinelands highlight the urgent need for funding to be directed to where it is needed most, and where it will have the biggest impact for communities.
Foster care grants have also ground to a halt because of insufficient funds, and churches, nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, and faith-based organisations providing child care are struggling to provide statutory services through lack of funding. Government subsidises children in these homes at R2000 per child per month, while children in government homes are provided for at R6000 per month. All these children are wards of the state and are sent equally to all these homes and places of care by the courts. All should be provided for equally.
No disrespect, hon Minister, but the funds presently going towards the provision of capacity, offices, cars and salaries to this Ministry have no direct impact on improving the lives of children. It could be better used elsewhere.
The one task this Ministry has in terms of children is to submit a report from South Africa every five years to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is their core function, yet no report has been submitted since 1997, and there has been no explanation. It is nearly 10 years overdue and soon it will time for another report. Hon Minister, what is the problem in this regard?
Now, on 30 March 2011, the Sowetan newspaper reported that 15 000 child rapes had been reported within a three-year period, with children between the ages of 12 and 17 years being most vulnerable. Hon Minister, you have said that the family violence, child protection and sexual offences units, which were disbanded in 2006, will be operational again at 176 police stations. The ACDP welcomes this development.
The ACDP, though, has serious reservations in supporting this budget while its ability to improve the lives of women, children an people with disabilities is in question. I thank you. [Time expired.]
Mrs I C DITSHETELO
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mme I C DITSHETELO: Modulasetilo, ke rata go simolola ka gore robala ka kagiso, mmarona.
I will start from the end and say that I support the Budget Vote, but it's not with conviction that I do so. I do so half-heartedly hoping for some miracle that would turn things around and make this department what women of South Africa had envisaged and hoped it shall be, not just a paper pusher.
Ever since its inception we have been faced with more questions than we get the answers. The extent of confusion surrounding the department makes one wonder if its creation was not just a populist stance with no conviction and commitment to further the cause of women, children and persons with disabilities as vulnerable groups.
What legislation shall they rely upon and what shall they do if they find deviation from any state organ or department. The department states that they hope to exercise sufficient influence over other departments in order to achieve its aims and objectives. For me, this is vague and lacks substance. Firstly, it sounds like a function already performed by various civil society organisations. Secondly, it lacks the strategy and speaks to the questions of power and authority.
I find it a bit incomprehensible that 57,2% of the entire budget in the last financial year was used for compensation of employees, which is more than half of the entire budget. In the same breath, the establishment of the department is said to have been slower because of lack of human resources and financial capacity. This seems to lack sense.
An amount of R24,5 million was allocated towards the establishment of the department in the last financial year. But, yet again, it is expected that about 30% of this budget will be allocated towards the same function. This, again, raises questions. Further, there seems to be contradiction between the estimates of the national expenditure and the department's strategic plan. For instance, the department in this Budget Vote seeks to develop a policy on maternity and paternity in the family and at work, yet the strategic plan is silent on this.
We are made to believe that the department's core function is monitoring and evaluation and, of course, this is important. However, it baffles me beyond measure that 59,4 of this budget allocated in this quote will be towards compensation of employees, leaving only R1,17 million towards the programme itself.
It is absolutely disheartening to know that the department does not seem to have a direction or a properly comprehended mandate and, thus, it seems it shall have little or no impact in the bigger streams of things. It is not clear what prompted the Treasury's decision to move the department from the governance cluster to the social cluster. Does this mean that the department ought to focus only on social issues pertaining to women, children and persons with disabilities?
The dismal failure to produce its first country report on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is just another issue I struggle to understand and accept, ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms F Hajaig): Hon member, your time has expired!
Mrs I C DITSHETELO:... just as they say they intend to implement the poverty strategy for persons with disabilities. My question is: How do you implement a programme that you never bothered to include in your strategic plan? [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms F Hajaig): Hon member! Hon member!
Mrs I C DITSHETELO: Could it be the strategic plan and many documents produced were just paper pushing exercised to blind us ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms F Hajaig): Hon member, you time has expired!
Mrs I C DITSHETELO: ... towards thinking that something is being done. I wonder! [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms F Hajaig): Thank you, hon member. But in future, please, do take note of the Chair's orders.
Ms P MADUNA
Mrs I C DITSHETELO
Ms P MADUNA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Members of Parliament, director-general and officials, ladies and gentlemen, I feel privileged to be standing here today as a member of a movement and political party that so gallantly fought for human dignity, the achievement of equality and advancement of human rights or freedoms as they are now entrenched in our nation's Constitution.
The Bill of Rights prohibits any form of discrimination against persons with disabilities and promotes the achievement of equality. Let credit be accorded to those who continue to fight and ensure that rights of people with disabilities as entrenched in our Constitution are realised as part of the achievement of national objectives to create a united, democratic, nonracial, nonsexist and prosperous society.
I myself speak to you today as a woman who bears the scars of disability, having been wounded in the 1976 anti-apartheid struggle. Besides being a product of the 1976 riots, I'm also a mother of a severely disabled son. I am, therefore, glad and humbled to articulate the voice of people with disabilities in this Budget Vote today.
We are glad that this Ministry has been established and is being strengthened, as the ANC and other equality movements in our country have insistently advocated for many years. Indeed, progress has been made inadvancing the constitutional rights of people with disabilities, but a lot still remain to be done.
In this regard we therefore welcome the programme objectives included in their Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, plan that are aimed at addressing the plight of people with disabilities such as policy planning for equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities; mainstreaming and capacity development for equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities; monitoring and evaluation and research for equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities.
In our consideration of this budget and these programmes, we need to assess them against the many challenges that still confront closeto 2 million people whoconstitute the population of people with disabilities in our country. Although we have made progress in terms of the supportive legislative framework, persons with disabilities still face the following challenges.
With regard to poverty, persons with disabilities living in poverty are known to be the poorest within a community and the most vulnerable. As such, it is imperative that an adequate social security net is provided by the state to ensure the protection of persons with disabilities. Hence, social security and food security are some of the key issues that require attention in this regard.
With regard to negative attitude and stereotypes, persons with disabilities continued to be subjected to negative attitudes and barriers to meaningful participation. This can be attributed to a lack of disability awareness.
Furthermore, people with disabilities are faced with challenges related to access to assistive devices is regarded as a health issue rather than the right of person with disability; the cost of maintaining assistive devices is underestimated; lack of appropriately trained skilled personnel to render support services for persons with disabilities; and inaccessible and available transport.
With regard to education, more emphasis needs to be placed on the rights of persons with disabilities to accessing and enquiring quality education. Even though significant strides have been made thus far in South Africa to enhance inclusive education, children and youth with intellectual and learning disabilities continue to be marginalised as evident in the dismal state of many learners with special education needs schools as well as special schools. There is inequity across the provinces in terms of the type of schools available to learners with disabilities.
In terms of the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, women with disabilities are also marginalised in man ways as was highlighted above. More emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring that these are afforded opportunities and that their rights are not infringed. To this end, monitoring of targets is important but this requires disaggregated data which is credible, available and reliable.
On the 2% employment equity and target, the majority of government departments have not complied with the 2% employment target for persons with disabilities, bar people from Limpopo who went beyond the 2%. That's the only province presently.
In our support for this budget, we note the mandate limitation that the department has because it does not implement services. Its mandate is limited to influencing, monitoring and evaluation. In that context, we believe that its programmes are appropriate to ensure mainstreaming of equalization. Most importantly, its monitoring and evaluation information, as well as the research that it conducts, will assist changing attitudes and stereotypes towards people with disabilities. We want the department to strengthen its monitoring role and co-ordination of what all government departments are doing to advance the rights of people withdisabilities.
In particular the department's programmes must also pay attention to the country's ability to meet obligations in terms of the UN Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol and mainstreaming disability issues within the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to monitor progress in implementation. In recognition of the efforts by the department with these programmes, and measures to strengthen its organisational capacity, the ANC calls for the House to support this budget. I thank you.
Ms M D NXUMALO / GM// END OF TAKE
Ms P MADUNA
Ms M D NXUMALO:
Mrs P C DUNCAN
Ms M D NXUMALO
Mrs P C DUNCAN: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon chairperson of the portfolio committee and members, do any of you really believe that after one year, any progress has been made on the matter of structures and mandates for this new Ministry? Certainly not, because the current Ministry is underfunded, understaffed and, according to Treasury, this Ministry will only be fully equipped and operational over a period of three years. Minister, I appreciate that you have delivered a well-structured speech. However, how all of it will fit into this Budget is a great challenge.
According to the strategic plan for 2011 to 2015, the Ministry acknowledged the fact that its department is not a service delivery department. It will be dependent on all other departments to deliver on the international and national obligations for South Africa in terms of the three sectors. The immediate concern is whether this department will achieve this in the absence of the most critical factors, namely human and financial resources. I am bold to say: Of course not. The strategic plan of the department further highlights that it can only achieve its vision by drawing from both the presidential and ministerial authority to facilitate its work, as it relates to all partners, both public and private. If this is so, does this department really have the authority to hold all relevant sectors accountable? I do not believe this as yet, because the ANC-led government is politically tampering too much with changing structures and mandates, not looking at the financial implications and the effect it has on service delivery.
The department also claims that mainstreaming and integration are its core strategies to deliver on its goals and priorities. We all know that unless this department has the authority to hold all stakeholders accountable, this claim in itself will remain lip service. The gains made in the legislative policy arena will remain empty shells and real impact at grassroots level unachievable. If the department acknowledges this in its strategic plan, why is it continuing with practices that are definitely not achieving the necessary results?
When looking at the three sectors within Budget Vote No 8: Women, Children and People with Disabilities respectively, the women's programme was increased by only R2,4 million more than in 2010-11.
Daar was ook 'n skamele verhoging van gemiddeld R2,5 miljoen meer as in 2010-11 vir die programme van kinders en mense met gestremdhede afsonderlik. Wat nog meer kommerwekkend is, is die feit dat daar meer as 50% van die begroting wat toegeken is binne al drie sektore gebruik word vir die vergoeding van personeel. Dit is beslis 'n ongesonde finansiële praktyk, veral in die regering. Seker die grootste teleurstelling en onderneming is die feit dat hierdie begrotingspos deur die Nasionale Tesourie bepaal is en dat, soos die agb Minister die portefeuljekomitee ingelig het, die departement en die Minister geen aandeel hierin gehad het nie. Die verskoning was dat die Minister eers in November 2010 aangestel is. Dit is beslis onaanvaarbaar. Waar was die amptenare dan? Hulle het geskitter in hul afwesigheid om seker te maak dat aanbevelings na die Nasionale Tesourie deurgegee word om 'n behoorlike begroting daar te stel.
Chairperson, this ANC-led government does not even have the issues that can be accounted for sorted out for all sectors of the Ministry. The strategic plan of the department is already at a disadvantage. One should just look at the identified risks for each of the programmes on pages 28 and 40, which state: insufficient budgetary allocations, lack of compliance and accountability and lack of skills and capacity. For instance, in the risk mitigation section, the department highlights that it will motivate for additional funding, accelerate the promulgation of legislation, implementation of the mainstreaming strategy and, finally, recruit appropriately skilled staff and so forth. How ridiculous is this, Chairperson? Budget Vote No 8: Women, Children and People with Disabilities for 2011-12 is an absolute disgrace and a slap in the faces of our women, children and people with disabilities. How on earth will the identified risks be mitigated, by such measures which are so unrealistic, in the broader context of the reality it faces?
During my speech in 2010-11, I said the following:
The department's mandate in broad terms is to deal with human rights concerns, which often remain marginalised in the mainstream of government work. Mr Speaker, the many manifestations of the marginalisation of human rights and equality concerns, as perpetuated by government itself, are unacceptable and this must stop.
It is therefore time for the ANC-led government to get their act together, because with one Minister gone – now in an ambassadorial position, representing our country in Egypt – one wonders why she really left. Was it for that position, or was it because she knew this Ministry will still take a long period to fulfil its mandate, ensuring that the mainstreaming of the issues of women, children and people with disabilities indeed takes place, let alone holding and signing off on memoranda of understanding with 33 national departments, nine provinces, and 283 municipalities, ensuring their accountability on service delivery to these sectors?
In conclusion, in the DA, and maybe the members must listen, especially the ANC, we always have our act together. [Interjections.] We know how to govern, and we surely know how to plan before we roll out any new structures, policies and strategies. Minister, I surely await the outcome of the report that was sent to the President. I cannot wait for that report, so that we can sit and really see whether we are going to get more money. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms M F TLAKE/Mia / END OF TAKE
Mrs P C DUNCAN
Ms M F TLAKE:
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Ms M F TLAKE
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Chairperson, I want to thank the hon members who have made a valuable contribution to the debate.
I would like to begin by agreeing with hon Ramodibe. This is, indeed, a huge department with serious responsibilities, and it must be properly resourced. For members who are confused, the mandate of this department is to mainstream the rights of women, children and people with disabilities in all national departments, all three spheres of government and in society. We are also mandated to monitor and evaluate the work and the policies of government as they relate to women, children, and people with disabilities. We are very clear about our mandate and the authority which comes from the President. So, I am not afraid, because not one Minister will not respond or will undermine this department. This department was mandated by the President, and we will report to the President if there are problems.
The fact is that we are here. We are working with all the Ministers in this country. Yesterday, I was sitting with the Premier of the Free State. We have met with Premiers in the North West and other provinces. It is very clear they understand our mandate and they respect that mandate. We even monitor the President himself. We have raised a number of issues and he understands that this is the work we have to do. We monitor, starting with the Presidency and different departments.
I would like to address the hon Duncan on the issue of government. Yes, this department needs more resources. We do. I said it in the portfolio committee and I said it in my speech this morning. We need more resources. We are engaging with the National Treasury. We will continue to do so, and we hope that, during their medium-term review, they will review our budget so that we are able to do the work that we have been tasked with.
I also want to say that it is true that departments should not work in silos. This is why we have this department: to ensure that we monitor and co-ordinate the work of government. For instance, in Child Protection Week, we are working with the Department of Social Development, the Department of Health, the SAPS and the Department of Education. That helps us to ensure that we mainstream these issues in all these departments, so that each department is aware of, and can complement, what the other departments are doing.
I know there is confusion about the fact that we are in the social cluster, and I think hon members must really make it their responsibility to understand how government works. Every department, every Minister belongs to a cluster. The Director-General of Finance and the director-general of this department belong to clusters, but that does not mean that I then fall under the Minister of Social Development because we are in the social cluster. That is confusion. We also belong to the governance cluster and again, that does not mean we are under the Minister for the Public Service and Administration or the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. We are just trying to co-ordinate the work of government in that way.
Hon Robinson asks what we are doing about the Commission for Gender Equality, CGE. The reports of the CGE are here in Parliament. I was a Member of Parliament for 10 years. I know your role very well, as well as my role as a Member of Parliament and executive member in this country. The Constitution of South Africa states very clearly that the executive accounts to Parliament. The executive reports to Parliament.
My understanding is that Parliament is my boss. Now, Parliament is saying I must be their boss. Parliament is saying I must tell them what to do with CGE when they have the report on their table. [Applause.] I will do it. I will do it if hon members are failing to do their job. I will do their job for them.
I would like to advise political parties to train their members. I have been in this Parliament for 17 years. Every year, members of the ANC go for training. That helps us to understand the structures of government, how government operates, the three arms of the state and how they relate to one another. So, I would advise that political parties really train their members so that they can understand their role and responsibilities.
Hon Blaai really does not understand this department. I think it is pie in the sky for you, hon member. You are lost because you do not do your work. You do not go to the portfolio committee meetings. You do not do your work, so there is no way you can understand how this department works. If you were doing your work, you would understand what this department is all about. The same goes for hon Dudley. You have never been to a single committee meeting of this department, so you are just talking in the air, in confusion.
I did not ask for this department. The women of this country wanted this department. [Applause.] It is not Lulu's department, it is the department of the women and people with disabilities who wanted a Ministry that will fight and protect their rights.
This department is not a delivery department. We are not here to take people to school, hon Blaai. We are not here to take women to school. We are not here to take women to the clinic. We are here to do monitoring and evaluation over the Department of Health. Your great ideas belong to the Departments of Health and Education. I think, however, if you attended your committee meetings, you would learn more and you would understand what this department stands for.
Lastly, I would like to say that I agree with most of the members. Yes, we need more resources in this department. Yes, we need to ensure that we work with other departments. However, I also want to say that we need expertise in this department. We cannot just sit and say we do not have people to do the work because there is no budget. Yes, 50% of our budget goes to salaries, but those people have the expertise and they are going to help us deliver on our mandate. Thank you very much. [Applause.] [Time expired.]
The Extended Public Committee rose at 12:16.
/Robyn/ END OF TAKE
No related documents