16 April 2010
Our Constitution envisages a dual role for
Parliament and Parliamentarians - both in influencing the budget and
in exercising oversight to ensure effectiveness and efficiency - but
most importantly it places on our shoulders the mammoth task of
ensuring that public spending translates into positive, meaningful
changes in our communities.
Moreover, effective and transparent government
budgeting is vital to any democracy - especially so in South Africa
where there is massive poverty, inequality and unemployment. It is
therefore important, as we debate this Budget Vote today, that we
take cognisance of these very important constitutional obligations
The IFP commends government for establishing this
new Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
(DWCPD), but have serious concerns about this budget and how it will
impact on the Department's ability to carry out its work.
It is of grave concern that this Department -
established to drive
government's equity, equality and empowerment agenda of marginalized
groups and historically disadvantaged communities - has only been
allocated R156 million over a three year period to achieve these
Government pays mere lip service to the urgent
need for the empowerment of women, children and people with
disabilities, because the IFP finds it extremely difficult to
imagine how this Department will be able to fulfil its mandate
without the necessary funds to do so.
While government continues to throw billions of public funds
at public entities such as Eskom, it is deplorable that this
Department has been given Treasury's loose change with which they
are now expected to perform miracles. It raises serious questions
about whether this government is really committed to the protection,
empowerment and development of the human potential of South Africa's
women, children and people with disabilities.
With respect to how the Department is planning to
utilize its budget - my party and I have the following reservations:
The new Department seems to be focussing solely on
policy formulation and policy review but very little focus is being
placed on the implementation of programmes at grassroots level. In
addition, the Department has set aside a lot of money for the
development of documents and frameworks, all of which will have very
little impact on the targeted sectors.
Another concern is that the objectives of this new
Department seem to be similar to those of the Commission on Gender
Equality, the office on the Status of Women and the Office on the
Status of Children. This is distressing because we have learned from
these institutions that lobbying and advocacy alone will not deliver
the changes that our people so desperately desire from this new
Furthermore, it is also clear that this Department
does not have adequate plans in place on how to work with other
Departments and Government Institutions that have existing
programmes in place, which target similar sectors. In the interest
of streamlining processes, to ensure that we do not waste funds by
duplicating programmes, I urge the Minister to put in place a clear
plan of action in this regard.
The IFP believes that our country has got good
policies but more often than not, they remain mere pieces of paper
which never see the light of day. We strongly believe that this
Department's modus operandi must focus on IMPLEMENTATION,
IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPLEMENTATION!
The recent violent service delivery protests that
we have seen all over the country have been a stark reminder that
our people are fed-up with the ruling party's empty promises. They
want to see real opportunities being created, real development and
Our women, children and disabled people have been
marginalised for decades; now is the time to put an end to this
discrimination and pave a new way forward. The time for talking is
over; we now look to this new Department to develop sustainable
programmes and plans that will have a real effect on the ground.
In conclusion, I would like to add that the IFP
supports this budget but I want to remind the Minister that our
women, children and people with disabilities - especially in rural
areas - are placing all their hopes on this new Department and we
dare not disappoint or fail them.
I thank you.
Mrs Lebenya-Ntanzi MP, 078 186 3619 or
Ms Liezl van der Merwe, 082 729 2510.