Women, Children and People With Disabilities Budget Vote 8
By Mrs Pat Lebenya-Ntanzi MP

 

National Assembly: Cape Town, 7th June 2011 

Honourable Chairperson:


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 disease, through the promotion of gender equality and education.

It is important that the vulnerable sector of our society, which this Department is tasked to looked after, is served in a goal-orientated manner, ensuring that our children’s survival, development and wellbeing takes centre stage. The interests and well being 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 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 the Honourable Minister to ensure that full effect is given to the Children’s Act; in as far as it declares children living and working in 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 and 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 and 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 to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality?

Honourable Chairperson:
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 stopped. It is potentially, seriously damaging to both body and mind and can lead to permanent physical or psychological problems. Our girls and young woman must be educated against this practice, and again in this instance, we should be working together with the Departments of Social Development and Health.

Minister, while your budget is relatively small and the tasks 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 socio-economic 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. This has led to widespread confusion, which in turn has crippled the work of this Department. 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.

Minister, another serious headache is the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). 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, Madame Minister, you have many weighty tasks ahead of you 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.

I thank you.

Contact: Mrs Pat Lebenya-Ntanzi MP, 078 186 3619