Ladies and Gentlemen
Yesterday we woke up to the sad news of the passing away of Mme Ruth Mompati, a stalwart of our revolution who was bestowed with the highest honour of Isithwalandwe, Seaparankwe by the ANC for her uninterrupted role in the struggle for liberation. Mme Ruth is one of our leading lights in the ilk of OR Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Lilian Ngoyi, Albertinah Sisulu and others. Mme Mompati was a mother to many young girls who swelled the ranks of Umkhonto we Sizwe, she was a trained soldier and was one of our combatants who was trained in Russia, she was a professional teacher, a mentor to many of us and leader of our people. Mme Mopati was also one of the leaders of the 1956 women’s march and a renowned leader of the ANC Women’s League.
While in exile she never lost her passion as a teacher. She continued with the empowerment of girls who went to exile and played a critical role in the education of young girls and women. She continued to hold the fort in building the women’s movement and women empowerment including in this very Parliament when she became part of the core of leaders who served in the first democratic Parliament. She also contributed by identifying young women in Parliament who could serve as diplomats. As we mourn the passing of Mme Ruth Mompati, we also celebrate her life. Her passing on must unleash new impetus in all of us to attend to the unfinished business of ensuring radical economic transformation in our life time.
On the 3rd June 2014 President Jacob Zuma signed a Proclamation establishing the Department of Women located in the Presidency. This reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the Beijing Platform for Action. Hardly a year on, we remain on course to right the wrongs experienced by women in this country as we continue to strive to accelerate socio-economic transformation and implementation for women’s empowerment and participation through monitoring, evaluation and ensuring gender mainstreaming of government policies, programmes and plans.
To achieve our goals as a Department, we will require dedicated women and men with requisite skills, commitment and passion to deliver our mandate of socio-economic empowerment of women. We are rebuilding our Department to become a vehicle to achieve these goals. In January former Director-General, Ms. Veliswa Baduza resigned and we have moved swiftly to fill that critical void. I am pleased to introduce our new Director General, Ms. Jenny Schreiner, who was appointed from the 1st April 2015.
Last night I presented Budget Vote of the Department of Women located in the Presidency, Vote 13, in which I gave a detailed account of the Department’s achievements of the previous year. I will highlight some of those achievements and also take you into confidence with our future undertakings.
This year South Africa celebrates 60 years of the Freedom Charter. As we celebrate this 60th Anniversary, we are encouraged that South Africa indeed belongs to all who live in it, black and white. The occasion of the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Charter also provides us with an opportunity of assessing the Status of Women with respect to ideals enshrined in the Freedom Charter. This is one of the reasons why the Department of Women will be releasing a report on Status of Women in our country in August. This will be an important pillar as we prepare for the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Women’s march in August 2016.
The transfer of functions and programmes related to the rights of people with disabilities and of children to the Department of Social Development has been concluded. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Social Development, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and National Treasury for their cooperation, guidance and assistance. In August 2014, we undertook our first departmental strategic planning session as the Department of Women located in the Presidency to develop a 2015-2020 five year strategic plan.
In reconfiguring and restructuring the Department, we have engaged on how to programmatise its mandate in a manner that contributes meaningfully to the achievement of the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 and the various implementation strategies that support the NDP. As we approach our first birthday, progress and plans includes
Finalizing the first phase of the re-alignment and the restructuring process and tabling our Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan in Parliament in March 2015
Signing off on a structure aligned to our mandate last month, which is currently receiving the attention of the Minister of Public Service, whose concurrence is required
Completion of the job descriptions and skills requirements of the core business posts
Completion of a skills audit and matching and placement process of existing staff
An intense recruitment drive to build the capacity of the department for improved delivery. This will see the department grow incrementally over the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) period, both in relation to staffing and in relation to budget.
Our August month programme this year will be a build-up towards the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Women’s march.
The Department’s budget allocation for 201516 is one hundred and eighty seven million and two thousand rand (R187 002 000), of which sixty seven million six hundred and eight nine thousand rand (R 67 689 000) is transferred to the Commission of Gender Equality. This leaves the Department with an operational budget for 201516 of one hundred and nineteen million, three hundred and thirteen thousand rand (R119 313 000) for this financial year. The money for this financial year is allocated across four budget programmes, as follows
Programme 1: Administration, with an allocation of eighty million four hundred and fifty one thousand rand (R80 451 000)
Programme 2: Social, Political and Economic Participation, with an allocation of eighty seven million, two hundred and thirty thousand rand (R87 230 000), which includes the transfer to CGE
Programme 3: Research, Policy and Knowledge Management, with an allocation of six million one hundred and seventy thousand rand (R 6 170 000) and
Programme 4: Monitoring, Evaluation and Outreach, with an allocation of thirteen million, one hundred and fifty one thousand rand (R13 151 000)
The responsibility bestowed on us to accelerate socio-economic transformation and implementation for women’s empowerment and participation is a huge task but I dare say insurmountable. We note that the budget allocation for the Department is inadequate to enable effective planning, and delivery on the key performance areas of the department. Therefore I want to bring to your attention that we intend to engage National Treasury to ensure that we are adequately resourced.
Since the dawn of democracy, the ANC led government has enacted a number of reforms and legislative frameworks to address gender based violence and established a number of institutions to protect the survivors of gender based violence. It is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions, given the ongoing scourge of violence against women. The Department will embark on national dialogues reaching out to communities in all provinces. Our main target is rural communities because we want to consciously give a voice to women.
Our approach as the Department of Women is to move away from event-driven 16 Days of Activism on no violence against women and children to a programme that which must happen 365 days. Hence the launch of #365 days on no violence against women and children campaign, where I have mobilized members of society including men to join hands with government against this scourge with the theme “Count me in”. The theme count me in is shift from viewing violence against women as a domestic issue to a positioning it as a societal issue.
In line with Outcome 4: Decent employment through inclusive growth, it is our view that no economy can grow by excluding any part of its people, and an economy that is not growing cannot integrate all of its citizens in a meaningful way. This means that women, who constitute 52% of the population of South Africa, must be incorporated in the economic development plans in order for South Africa to fully develop.
With that being said, let me welcome the work done by Stats SA both in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey and the “Gender Series: Volume Economic Empowerment 2001-2014 focusing on gender disparities in economic empowerment” in providing accurate figures on women’s participation in the economy, which lays a basis for development of strategies to effect improvements.
The study shows the need to intensify our fight against poverty and dismantle the feminization of poverty which is a direct manifestation of patriarchy. Amongst others, our Department will be working with departments of the economic cluster to review the impact of the existing funding model on women’s empowerment in our country.
We also need to strengthen our international reporting obligations as a country. Therefore all outstanding reports will be submitted on time. The process of restructuring and realigning the work of the Department will assist in ensuring a more responsive, efficient, effective and timeous reporting on our obligations. Our reporting obligation as a lead department requires stringent and clear systems of monitoring and evaluation. I am pleased to report that we are currently finalizing the CEDAW report for consultation with all stakeholders. This report will be tabled before Cabinet and thereafter here in Parliament. Following this process, we are confident that the report will be gazette for public consultations in June 2015.
We have just emerged from the 59th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women which undertook a 20 year assessment of the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action. Arising out of the Beijing +20 Country Report it is clear that our country the Status of Women in our country has changed for the better. However, greater effort is still required of the private sector to comply with the commitments made in Beijing in 1995. My department will continue to work with Corporate South Africa in order to ensure that compliance with these commitments. As government we welcome initiatives such as the 30% Club which is a global team of listed companies that has committed to ensuring at least 30% women representation in their boards.
The AU Heads of States have declared 2015 “the Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s agenda 2063”. Consonant with this theme, as South Africa we will be hosting two important meetings on women in June in our country during this summit:
2nd High Level Panel on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and
The meeting of AU Ministers in charge of gender and women as part of this Summit.
During this financial year the Department of Women will continue to work with other departments, civil society and corporate SA to ensure empowerment and education of women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In this regard we will partner with the Department of Science and Technology and the HSRC to take forward the recommendations from the recently held African Gender Summit aimed at enhancing gender and the STEM
In addition the Department in partnership with Cell C will host the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work on the 28th May 2015. This is an annual programme that encourages both public and private sector to take a girl child to work as a mechanism of introducing the girl child to the vast continuum of careers. The full details of this programme will be communicated at a later stage. Once again I call on Corporate South Africa to come on board and play its role in empowering the girl child. We also invite Parliament and all government departments to join us and be part of this noble course.
Therefore stand-up and be counted! The task before us is daunting but not insurmountable. Let us all join hands and build a South Africa that is truly non-sexist, non-racial, united, democratic and prosperous.
Ke a leboga!
Issued by: Department of Women
Source : South African Government