Invitation to Parliament

The Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, recently invited the Womandla EXCO to the Budget Vote Speech that took place on 9 July 2019.WhatsApp Image 2019-07-09 at 9.07.46 PM


“Chairperson & Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities
Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities & other Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers present
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Honoured Guests
Honourable Members of the National Assembly,
Honourable Members of the National Council of Provinces
Fellow South Africans

As South Africa commemorates 25 years of Democracy we cannot help but reflect on legacy related challenges such as socio-economic inequality, Gender Based Violence, Institutionalized Patriarchy & Its related ills, Youth Unemployment and lack of economic inclusion for persons with disabilities.

As South Africa seeks new ways of dealing with old problems, it is important that policies are set deliberately to achieve a progressive future and reduce the plight of maladministration, corrupt practices and inefficiencies in government systems.

In recognition of the complexity of South Africa’s historical and persistent structural inequality, as articulated by President Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation of Address in May 2019, we as a department are ready to commit to shifting perceptions and re-align priorities to respond to the most pressing needs of women, youth and persons with disabilities.

The department’s programmes will be aligned to the seven priorities and the United Nations Sustainable Developmental goals.

The State of the Nation Address outlines 7 key priorities of which we will focus on the following during the 2019/20 financial year.
• Economic Transformation and Job Creation
• Education, Skills and Health
• Social Cohesion and Safe Communities

Economic Transformation and Job Creation.
Chairperson, in order for us to make significant gains in creating an inclusive economy we have to have a paradigm shift. Persons with disabilities, women and youth are not looking for a hand-out, but recognition for their skills, talents and most importantly an opportunity to contribute to the growth of the economy and to attain economic independence.

Twenty-five years after the dawn of democracy, the country is still to experience meaningful participation in the manufacturing sector by previously disadvantaged groups. This is especially so for women, youths and people with disabilities.

Despite some inroads made through several government initiatives there remains the need to specifically address the skilling of women, youths and people with disabilities for technical participation in industry and thereafter strengthen enterprise development initiatives to support projects led by women, youth and people with disabilities. We are going to reinforce the use of technology to better accommodate persons with disabilities.

The government, through the department of trade industry and economic development has programs that not only provide incubation for enterprise and supplier development but also provide much needed incentives to enhance competitiveness.

One such programme is the Intsimbi Future Production Technologies Initiative (FPTI). Intsimbi is a national, multi-stakeholder initiative that was established under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and the Production Technologies Association of South Africa (PtSA) to implement a turnaround strategy for South Africa’s distressed tooling industry.

Since inception over 2 000 youths have completed Intsimbi training programmes; over 99% of the graduates are black and 30% are black females. More than 85% of the graduates were successfully placed in companies with some of them joining creative teams in some of SA’s leading automotive and packaging companies.

The Intsimbi approach has demonstrated that intentional collaboration between government and industry leads to the creation of sustainable jobs and resilient enterprises that are embedded into leading local and international value chains.

We need to ensure that job-seekers with disabilities are better equipped to enter job markets. We need to more persons with disabilities off social grants just because of their disabilities and have they contribute to the economy as skilled citizens and taxpayers.

Government must ensure that targets on gender, youth and persons with disabilities will be included in the performance agreements of managers across the public service.
As the department, we will track the Employment Tax Incentive, ease of access to the labour market by removing criteria of experience for entry level jobs etc.
We will also track the Youth Employment Service which aims to place 50 000 people in workplaces to gain paid workplace experience.

Global Business Services Incentive (GBS):
The primary objective of the incentive is to create employment in South Africa through servicing offshore activities.

The GBS Sector supported 50,000 offshore jobs to date of which 90% are youth employment.

We also look forward to establishing the Presidential Youth Working Group to oversee the Programme of Action for Youth Development in the country.

President Ramaphosa, in his State of the Nation Address in May 2019, stated: “If we are to successfully address the challenge of poverty across society, we need to provide skills and create economic opportunities for persons with disabilities.”

We need oversight across the disability sector as universal access and design cuts across private life, education, social and professional spaces. We look forward to contributing to the work of the Presidential Working Group on Disability.
Chairperson, all sectors of the economy can be transformed not only through taking the principled position to have women, youth and persons with disabilities participating in key decision making positions, but through:
• promoting ownership of critical business institutions within value chains,
• buying locally produced goods and services

Government has done much through its public employment programs and investment in infrastructure to give priority to young people and women.

It introduced the Employment Tax Incentive to encourage companies to employ more young people; the Expanded Public Works and Community Programs with a focus on job opportunities in labour intensive activities like building roads, clearing alien vegetation and fighting fires; and the opportunities in rural areas through the National Rural Youth Service Corps Programme.

The need for collaboration is critical in tackling unemployment.

We intend to have closer working relationship with the Department for Employment and Labour to achieve this objective.

The Youth Employment Service, which is an initiative led by the private sector and supported by government and labour, was launched in 2018 to bridge the gap between school and work.

With a number of large companies already involved, it aims to create a million work experience opportunities for young people over the next three years.

The YES programme has already placed over 18000 young people in employment opportunities and is providing business infrastructure and support though its community hubs.

Chairperson, approximately 5 million people in South Africa are classified as disabled, that’s 1 in 10 South Africans.

Unfortunately less than 1% of employed people in South Africa are those living with disabilities, half of the target as set out in the Employment Equity regulations.

This is a scathing indictment on us as government and as a society on our commitment to effect real change and create opportunity for all South Africans.
Despite this, there are examples of achievements by persons with disabilities who serve as beacons of hope for all of us:

Eddie Ndopu, a South African activist and humanitarian is set to be the first person with a disability to board a commercial flight into space and deliver an address to the UN. He is 28-years-old and was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at birth and given a life expectancy of five years. He has since gone on to become an internationally recognized human rights advocate for disabled young people and earned a master’s degree in public policy from Oxford University, he is recognized as one of the world’s top 30 thinkers under 30.

Kgothatso Montjane is a 33 year old professional wheelchair tennis player. She became the first black South African woman to compete at Wimbledon. She is representing South Africa at this year’s edition of the tournament and is currently ranked 5th in the world.

Chairperson, we are proud to announce that South Africa became the third signatory to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa, in April 2019

Chairperson, women, youth and persons with disabilities are at the centre of economic transformation with a vision towards equitable access to ownership, control, management, and participation in the mainstream economy. We will ensure women’s access to more productive land. Land expropriation without compensation must benefit women, youth and persons with disabilities.

The domination of men and the exclusion of women on the land question must be addressed.

As a department we look forward to participating in the agrarian revolution to ensure full economic participation of persons with disability, women and youth in the agro-sector value chain is realized.

“If you can just get some more [skills, degrees, training], you’ll have a leg up on opportunity.”

This familiar refrain just isn’t working anymore for young South Africans. The linear pathway from school, to higher education, to a first job, no longer exists. An interplay of structural barriers (from jobless growth and ill-equipped education systems) to personal barriers (not having enough money and networks to find work) conspire to lock millions of youth out of opportunity.

Tackling Youth Unemployment has been set as an apex priority by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Youth Mainstreaming Guidelines aims to ensure a government-wide response to youth development. As the department, we will track the Employment Tax Incentive, ease of access to the labour market.

We will also track the Youth Employment Service which aims to place 50 000 people in workplaces to gain paid workplace experience.

We also look forward to establishing the Presidential Youth Working Group to oversee the Programme of Action for Youth Development in the country.

We often underestimate the broadband challenge in South Africa and the impact this has on learning and the generation of learners who stand to benefit from a knowledge economy. We need to first create an environment in which a STEM education is attainable for the average citizen. To make science and technology a part of life, it has to be accessible.

According to the United Nations, there is a breed of young African software developers seeking solutions to everyday problems. Their innovations are across business, agriculture, health and education and it is anticipated that mobile applications could just become a game changer for Africa’s development.

The era we find ourselves in as the world requires an injection of youthful thinking that will integrate with institutional knowledge and expertise built over the years. To navigate this era, we will require an army of young men and women who are digitally savvy to find solutions to business problems, introduce game changing ideas and take us forward.

Chairperson, allow me to highlight some remarkable young South African who are leading in technological innovation:
Monni Mokwena, 25 from Bakenberg Village in Mokopane Limpopo: a plumber who invented a toilet that uses only 400mililitres of water as compared to traditional toilets that use up to 13 litres.

Zuko Mandlakazi, from Eastern Cape: developed a product called Senso which assist the hearing impaired. Life-saving sounds through a flagship device, a wristband, interpret sounds as vibration and colour-coded LED lights. The user co-ordinates five specific everyday life sounds that are important, to different LED colours. For example, the sound made by a baby when it wakes up could be pink, the sound made by a safety evacuation alarm would be red, the sound made by a door being knocked or an intercom ringing could be purple and any forced entry sound, typically the sound of an intruder, could light up green. The sound and translates it into vibration, making the LED light on the wearable band light up pink.

In the African Diaspora there is:
Iddris Sandu, 21 son of Ghanian parents raised in the USA who started programming at age 10 and by the age of 18 had developed the algorithm that has contributed to the evolution of Instagram, Snapchat and Uber.

We cannot neglect the impact of visible pioneers in inspiring our youth’s ability to dream and make manifest a reality that is as yet unforeseen.

Cori Gauff, 15 a young USA female tennis player who has recently made history as the youngest athletes in the modern era to compete at the Wimbledon championships remarked that it was through seeing Serena and Venus Williams play that she believed that she too could pursue a dream in becoming a top rated tennis player.

As a department we will continue to forge partnerships and engage with organisations that provide a pathway for the meaningful participation of our young people in the economy.

One such programme is the Harambee Youth Accelerator.
The Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator is generating meaningful answers that transform assumptions, hiring practices and lives. This has been recognized when Harambee’s Pathway Manager was formally adopted by the Presidential Jobs Summit Framework agreement in 2018.
Most importantly, the pathway manager oversees an employment journey survey tracking progression in and out of work, having enabled 125,000 jobs and work experiences so far.

The President has remarked that we need to have an entrepreneurial state and as a department we firmly believe that partnerships are central in designing unconventional solutions to address scarcity, enable new job creation, or increase the proportion of excluded youth who transition to the formal economy.

This programme has helped launch South Africa’s first digital bank, placing over 2000 youth into new jobs created across 700 geographies in a matter of months.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution and emerging technologies are transforming the type of work people do and how it is done. That means many young people across the world and in South Africa could be left behind because they lack the skills needed.

One approach is to encourage youth entrepreneurship, which would give young people the skills and knowledge to create jobs for themselves and their peers and create a favorable ecosystem for young entrepreneurs. This is especially relevant as many entrepreneurial skills can be effectively used as an employee within an existing company or organization.

Another focus area would be to allocate resources that further support and encourage vocational and technical programs that forge stronger relations between future employers and future employees to ease the school-to-work transition.

In Rwanda, government policies to promote the technology and communications sectors are also stimulating entrepreneurial creativity and growth across the economy
On 5 July 2019 South Africa hosted the 4th Industrial Revolution summit that was held in Midrand. The theme was “Advancing the African Agenda on the Fourth Industrial Revolution through Digital Transformation.”

The President further added that with these technological innovations, South Africa will develop systems to improve our resources efficiencies in various sectors such as health, utilities, crime prevention, education, transport and others to ensure better service delivery.

South Africa must take a lead in ensuring we collectively harness the opportunities brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

It is urgent that we understand and leverage early adoption of new technologies to increase industrialisation, not forgetting that they must be affordable, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Chairperson, women, youth and persons with disabilities continue to face a deeply entrenched system of institutionalised exclusion.

This is defended and reinforced by the justice system, our political parties, our education system, our families, the media and our religious systems.

It can only be eliminated, therefore, by addressing discrimination, promoting women’s equality and empowerment, and ensuring that women’s human rights are fulfilled.

It must address the fact that at the core of this violence against women and girls lies unequal gendered power relations, patriarchy, sexism, homophobia, and other discriminatory practices and beliefs that manifest themselves in complex and differentiated ways in everyday life.

The 2018 Presidential Summit on Gender-based Violence and Femicide is evidence of the concern and political will to eradicate the root causes of gender-based violence and femicide.

Government and key stakeholders are now agreed on the need to establish a multi-sectoral, coordinating structure to respond to gender based violence and femicide; to allocate the necessary and adequate resources required; and to develop a national gender based violence and femicide strategy” .

It is a truth universally acknowledged that sexual offenses, in particular those perpetrated against persons who do not subscribe to binary concepts of gender are higher than what is reported.

To state that we are a nation in crisis, is an understatement.
In 2011 LGBTQ+ Activist and Member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organisation Noxolo Nogwaza lost her life, due to her sexual orientation.

She was raped, stoned, tortured and stabbed to death and her body left in a drainage ditch.

We remember her and we will speak her name.
Eudy Simelane a South African Football legend and LGBTQ+ activist, who was raped and murdered in her home town on Kwathema in 2008.

We remember her and we will speak her name.
It has been argued and we as a Department support the notion that more needs to be done to determine why gender based violence persists and the motive behind the targeting of gender non-conforming communities.
Chairperson, trauma centres and victim empowerment centres have been established across the country, and the outreach of police officers, forensic nurses and role players has been prioritised to ensure that victims of domestic violence and other sexual offences are assisted in humane and sensitive ways and to improve successful prosecutions.
Chairperson, as a result of the GBV Summit already seeing positive results one of which was the partnership we witnessed yesterday (July 2019) between the Sefako Makgatho Health Science University and the University of Nottingham as they seek solutions to address the high incidence of GBV.

Chairperson, the challenge before us is immense. I will not endeavor to commit that our department working unilaterally will respond to all of the pressing needs facing women, youth and persons with disabilities.

The reconfiguration of the department gives us an opportunity to revisit our family studies, parenting structures, re socializing a boy child, so our department’s approach will look at tackling gender Based Violence from the grass roots of family and how further the impact goes into society.

We can however get to work, we can begin to change the manner in which we do things which starts with recognizing that as government we do not have all the answers.
We need to start listening to our youth who have shown a remarkable dynamism and passion for social justice.
We need to listen to the women in our trade union movements, on our factory floors on how we can move towards an era of diminished discrimination and enhanced gender parity.

We must take the lead from our veterans like Mme Mandu Ramakaba who is with us today and from Charlotte Maxeke who:

“[Charlotte Maxeke] rolled up her sleeves and got to work. She made up her mind about where to focus her energies. She chased her dreams and came into her own – defying the architects of both colonisation and apartheid. Hers was a triumphant spirit that powered on in spite of the multitude of odds staked against her. It is the courage and strength of the women of the time, Maxeke and many others, which is the focal point, as well as the history of resistance by black women” – Zubeida Jaffer on Charlotte Maxeke

Chartotte had courage and she obtained a graduate studies in the USA becoming the first African woman to do so, she led campaigns against the Native Lands Act, she defended family life and values and led a campaign that took men form beer halls back to their homes.

We salute Charlotte Maxeke and Mme Mandu Ramakaba and other veterans who fought the struggle to emancipate women.



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