6 March 2020
Interim Steering Committee on GBVF Committed to the accountable fight against gender-based violence
The Interim Steering Committee on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) has noted the concern expressed by the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities at what the portfolio committee perceives as a lack of accountability to Parliament by the interim steering committee.
The portfolio committee is correct in observing that the Interim Steering Committee was established to take forward key actions listed in the declaration that flowed from the 2018 Presidential Summit on GBVF.
The portfolio committee is also correct in noting that public funds have been allocated for the implementation of the Emergency Response Action Plan on GBVF, which is being overseen by the Interim Steering Committee.
The portfolio committee has, however, wrongly accused the Interim Steering Committee of resisting invitations by the portfolio committee for the Interim Steering Committee to brief Members of Parliament on its activities, including the development of the National Strategic Plan on GBVF.
The Interim Steering Committee has indicated to the portfolio committee that the draft National Strategic Plan is currently the subject of Cabinet deliberation and that Cabinet approval will be followed by the unveiling of the plan by the Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities who will be the appropriate authority to address the portfolio committee.
While the steering committee coordinates implementation of the Emergency Response Action Plan, actual expenditure is undertaken by a broad range of government departments and entities who do account to Parliament on their programmes that relate to emergency response. The interim structure itself does not receive government funding.
Accountability therefore remains in place. In terms of a proposal made in the National Strategic Plan, a future, statutory, independent National Council on GBVF will report to Parliament on its programmes and activities.
The Interim Steering Committee on GBVF welcomes the portfolio committee’s interest in the work being done to address the national epidemic of GBVF and the steering committee will continue this work diligently while putting in place the institutional arrangements that will assist the portfolio committee in its oversight role.
The steering committee has also noted a complaint by the Commission for Gender Equality that the committee has declined to monitor of its work by the Commission. This is not the case. When the Commission approached the committee with a request that role-players be interviewed by the Commission, the steering committee merely asked the Commission to clarify whether the interviews would be part of a research project or whether this constituted an investigation by the Commission.
Cell: 073 595 3773
Cell: 076 480 3513