News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

Xingwana’s department taken to task by NGOs


The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, which stands accused by the DA of poor financial mismanagement and failing to serve their constituency, was yesterday criticised in Parliament for failing to meet their mandate.

Non-Government Organisations which addressed Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities said more needed to be done to assist the vast majority of children in the country who remain deprived of basic rights.

Disabled people, most of whom were unemployed, lacked accessible and affordable transport as well as housing opportunities among other challenges, were also not being properly served by the department, said NGOs who were providing input into the department’s five year strategic plan.

Patrick Solomon, director of children’s rights group Molo Shongololo said racial disparity was still prevalent, with black children 18 times more likely to grow in poverty compared to their white counterparts.

He said that one in ten children in the country were underweight and South Africa had 1.9 million Aids orphans.

He said violence against children was a concern, particularly corporal punishment at school and at home.

Solomons said despite these problems, the department’s budget for children was less than the allocations for women and the disabled, which undermined the protection and monitoring of children’s rights.

South Africa Disability and Alliance (SADA) chairman Muzi Nkosi submitted to MPs that the majority of disabled people in the country had been excluded from mainstream society and prevented from accessing social, political land economic rights.

He complained that the two percent minimum employment equity target for disabled people in the public service agreed on by Cabinet in 2005 had not been met by the agreed deadline of March 31, 2010.

“Government is far from reaching the target,” he said as employment equity for disabled people was still only at 0,9 percent according to the Employment Equity Report.

In response, deputy minister in the department Hendrietta Ipeng Bogopane-Zulu said they were trying to meet their mandate but were humstrung by lack of financial and human resources.

She said that the department had formerly been in the President’s Office after its establishment 2009 and had only been on its own for 18 months. “We are slowly finding our feet,” she said, indicating that by June they would have filled the four remaining vacant posts in the department.

She blamed the lack of finances in the department on the committee responsible for setting the budget and requested civil society give them a chance to improve.

She said minister Lulu Xingwana would outline the department’s strategic plan to the committee on Thursday next week. – Francis Hweshe

Tags: Children and People with Disabilities, Employment Equity Report, Hendrietta Ipeng Bogopane-Zulu, Lulu Xingwana, Molo Shongololo, Muzi Nkosi, Patrick Solomon, South Africa Disability and Alliance (SADA), The Department of Women

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