ATC140710: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency on the Annual Performance Plan and Budget Vote 8 of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities for the financial year 2014/15.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency on the Annual Performance Plan and Budget Vote 8 of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities for the financial year 2014/15.
The Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency, having considered the Annual Performance Plan and Budget of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities for 2014/15 on 01 July 2014, reports as follows:
The Budget Vote 8 of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency on 25 June 2014 for consideration and report. As per the Announcement, Tablings and Committees (ATC) of 25 June 2014, only Programme 2: Women Empowerment and Gender Equality, was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency for consideration and reporting.
The Department indicated that the Annual Performance Plan that was presented was based on the previous Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities. To this end, the Ministry was in the process of transferring Programme 3 which deals with children and Programme 4 dealing with people with disabilities to the Department of Social Development. Furthermore, the Minister noted that like all new Ministries, they are waiting for the proclamation by the President.
The Committee, in performing its constitutional oversight mandate, engaged with the Department of Women on 01 July 2014 in this regard. In terms of the National Council Against Gender Based Violence, the Minister indicated that this will be reviewed by the Department to determine where best this should be located. Of particular importance, the Minister noted that the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill (WEGE Bill) will be withdrawn from Parliament and that extensive consultation will be undertaken by the Department in this regard as several concerns regarding the Bill were raised to date.
2. Mandate and strategic objectives of the Department
The mandate of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities was to promote, facilitate, coordinate and monitor the realisation of the rights of women, children and people with disabilities. The Departments strategic objectives included the following:
- To contribute to the socio-economic and political empowerment of women, children and people with disabilities;
- To improve universal access to development opportunities for women, children and people with disabilities;
- To promote a society free of violence and abuse against women, children and people with disabilities;
- To provide effective and efficient good governance for the realisation of the Departments mandate.
On 25 May 2014, His Excellency, the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, announced the establishment of the Ministry for Women within the Presidency, which is mandated to champion the achievement of womens socio-economic empowerment and womens rights .
3. Expenditure Trends and Medium-Term Priorities
The total budget for the Department for 2014/2015 period was R218.5 million. The Departments spending priorities for the medium term were intended to be the development of key sectoral policies on womens empowerment as well as the improvement of the Departments administrative capacity.
The Department allocated 42.2% (R92.3 million) of its total budget to the programme for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality, in anticipation of the implementation of the Womens Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill. It should be noted, however, that 72% of this budget (about R67.2 million) accounts for transfers to the Commission for Gender Equality, leaving about 27.2% of the budget (R25.1 million) for the implementation of programmes focusing on gender equality.
4. Programme 2: Women Empowerment and Gender Equality
The programme for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality aims to facilitate the translation of national and international instruments into empowerment and socio-economic development programmes, and to oversee and report on the realisation of womens rights and equality. Its objectives can be summarised as follows:
- To promote the empowerment of women and gender equality through:
- Facilitating empowerment in economic and political spheres, advocating the elimination of gender-based violence and advocating for the representation and meaningful participation of women in Government programmes;
- Providing Government institutions and the private sector with integrated training programmes that support gender mainstreaming and transformation;
- To monitor, evaluate and report on progress in womens empowerment and rights, and gender equality by conducting impact assessments quarterly.
The sub-programmes for the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality programmes are as follows:
· Advocacy and Mainstreaming for Gender Equality
This sub-programme promotes the mainstreaming of womens empowerment and gender equality considerations into Government policies and processes of governance. For the year 2013/14 this work focused on advocacy programmes aimed at accelerating womens socio-economic development as well as ending gender based violence, and included the finalisation of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill (No. 50 of 2013). This was done with a staff compliment of 5 and a total budget of R8.3 million, to be increased to R11.9 million in the period 2014/15.
· Institutional Support and Capacity Building for Gender Equality
This sub-programme coordinates institutional support and capacity development by promoting synergy among Government Departments, civil society and the private sector. The 2013/14 programme consisted of consultations on the national gender machinery, gender mainstreaming sessions with local government entities, the distribution of the gender scorecard, as well as an analysis of gender-responsive budgeting. This work took place with a staff compliment of 4 and a budget of R4.1 million to be increased to R4.7 million in 2014/15.
· Monitoring and Evaluation for Gender Equality
This sub-programme monitors, evaluates and reports on the promotion of the realisation of the rights of women within all Government entities to ensure compliance and to conduct impact assessments. During the 2013/14 period, the Department piloted a monitoring and evaluation strategy with gender-responsive indicators in Departments in the economic cluster. A report on womens representation in political and decision-making structures was compiled, and the Department participated at several international platforms including the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, African Union and Southern African Development Community meetings. This was done with a staff compliment of 8 and a budget of R7.2 million, to be increased to R8.5 million for the period 2014/15.
· Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)
The CGE, an independent non-statutory body, engages in advocacy programmes aimed at raising awareness of and challenging patriarchal stereotypes. It aims to protect and enforce gender rights, and attends to complaints made by members of the public and sanctions appropriate intervention in line with relevant policies and legislation. A transfer is made to the CGE in full to the sum of R63.1 million in 2013/14, increasing to R67.2 million in 2014/15.
5. Expenditure Estimates
The overall budget allocation for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality programme in 2014/15 is R92.3 million, of which R67.2 million will be transferred to the CGE. Overall the budget for the programme constitutes 42.2% of the Departments total budget. Apart from the large transfer to the CGE from this Programmes budget, the bulk of its budget for the period 2014/15 goes to the sub-programme on advocacy and mainstreaming. Of the R25.1 million remaining after transfers, R14.5 million is allocated to goods and services, and a further R10.1 million to the compensation of employees. While R6.7 million of the goods and services budget is allocated to travel and subsistence, and R2.2 million is allocated to venues and facilities, a further R5.6 million is not allocated to a specific line item. For the year 2013/14, about R5.8 million of the goods and services budget was not assigned to a specific line item. For both years it is unclear what these amounts were spent on.
There is an increase in the budget for the compensation of staff for the sub-programme on institutional support and capacity building, while the number of personnel over the medium term remains the same for this programme. In addition, the number of staff accounted for in this programme totals 17, however, elsewhere in the report, information on personnel indicates that this programme has 18 staff members. Also, the number of posts for each sub-programme remains stable between 2013/14 and 2014/15, with compensation for employees also remaining stable for salary levels 1-6 and 710. Although the number of posts for levels 1112 and 1316 remain the same, total salaries for these levels will go down by 4% for levels 11-12, and will go up by 26% for levels 1316.
Having met with the Department to scrutinise the Annual Performance Plan and budget for 2014/15, the Committee made the following observations:
· The Committee acknowledged that the budget presented was in relation to the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities as it existed prior to the 2014 National Elections.
· Notwithstanding this, the Committee was concerned about the small budget allocations for Programme 2, 3 (children) and programme 4 (people with disabilities) and urged for larger allocations within the Departments where these responsibilities now reside.
· The Committee was unclear as to how the objectives and targets in Programme 2 would be translated into activities that would address gender inequality, the female unemployment and poverty in South Africa.
· The Committee also noted that there was no clarity around the final location of the National Council Against Gender-based Violence and this had to be addressed as soon as possible given the challenges in dealing with gender-based violence in the country.
· The Committee acknowledged that the Department is in the process of transferring Programme 3 and 4 to the Department of Social Department and retaining Programme 2.
· The Committee agreed that a more focussed mandate for the new Ministry will greatly advance the womens economic empowerment and development in the country.
7 . Conclusion
The Committee thanked the Department for the presentation and awaits the outcome of the transition. At the time of the adoption of the report, the Presidency had issued a statement on 3 July 2014 regarding the proclamation by the President of all newly established Ministries.
Having considered the Annual Performance Plan and budget for the Department, the Committee recommends to the Minister for Women in the Presidency as follows:
· The Committee noted that Programme 2 of the Department has been allocated a small budget and recommends that more resources should be allocated to the Department to assist with the implementation of their programmes and transition process.
· The Committee recommends that the Department refines its objectives and targets to ensure that measurable outcomes are achieved.
· The Committee also urged that clarity should be provided around the location of the National Council Against Gender-based Violence as soon as possible.
· The Committee recommends that the Department should speed up the process of transferring Programming 3 and Programme 4 to the Department of Social Development and its internal restructuring.
Report to be considered.
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