National Council on GBVF Bill being finalised

Friday, February 4, 2022

Government is in a process of finalising a Bill on the establishment of the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF).

Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said the council will seek to use institutional and legislative tools to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (NSP on GBVF).

The NSP on GBVF was launched in 2020 to develop coordinated interventions to fully eradicate the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide.  

Speaking at a Gender-Responsive Budgeting (GRB) Virtual Policy Dialogue this week, Nkoana-Mashabane highlighted that South Africa has one of the youngest democracies on the African continent, but has made notable advances in gender equality and gender responsive budgeting.

“This includes South Africa leading globally on gender responsive budgeting initiatives and providing support to several African countries in developing their own gender-responsive budgeting systems,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

However, the Minister acknowledged that South Africa has in recent years experienced a regression in gender mainstreaming across society with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has emphasised how gender inequalities continue to threaten livelihoods.

She said the effects of gender inequalities are rooted in the country’s violent past of colonialism and apartheid.

“As a result, women and children remain vulnerable to intersections of poverty, inequality, unemployment and gender-based violence (GBV). The ongoing scourge of gender-based violence and femicide is a barrier to advancing gender equality,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

Hosted by Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Department, in collaboration with the European Union Delegation to South Africa (EU), the policy dialogue aimed to elevate gender-responsive budgeting discourse and policy position, as well as to enhance the understanding of gender-responsive budgeting, in relation to its effectiveness in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The dialogue also formed part of ongoing interventions by SA-EU Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Programme, which advocates for greater responsiveness of the country’s planning instruments to the priorities relating to women’s empowerment and the elimination of GBV against women and children.

To ensure the realisation of a society free of violence, Nkoana-Mashabane said this requires gender responsive budgeting.

The Minister warned that the war against GBVF will not be won without the necessary financial commitments, mechanisms and responsiveness.

She noted that GRB is not creating separate budgets for women, but it is general budgets that are planned, approved, executed, monitored and audited in a gender responsive way.

“The maximum impact of gender-responsive budgeting requires gender-responsive policy, planning, monitoring, evaluation and auditing components of the overall evidence-based policy and results-based performance management cycle,” she said.

Nkoana-Mashabane also highlighted that South Africa has re-energised its efforts towards the GRB process and the department seeks to strengthen collaborative efforts with the National Treasury and Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Department.

She emphasised that GRB must be understood as a tool for creating an integrated economy, as envisaged in the National Development Plan of 2030.

The Minister added that Gender Responsive Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, which was approved by Cabinet in March 2019, will place gender equality and women empowerment at the centre of public policy priorities, results-based planning, budgeting and accountability.

“The framework is to effect system-wide transformation towards gender mainstreaming across the state machinery. The framework must be used to assess commitments made by key stakeholders including the 2020 pronouncement by President Ramaphosa that 40% of public procurement should be set aside for women-owned businesses by government and private sector,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

Advancing women’s empowerment

In her presentation, Executive Secretary of the Gender Monitoring Office in Rwanda, Allen Cyizanye, said GRB seeks to ensure that collection and allocation of public resources is carried out in ways that are effective and contribute to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

She said financing of gender equity is not only a step towards accountability to women’s rights, but also towards greater public transparency leading to a shift to economic policies producing gains across communities.

“The core goals of GRB in Rwanda are to raise awareness and understanding of gender issues and impact of budgets and policies; make government accountable for its gender budgetary and policy commitments; and change and redefine government budget and policies to promote gender equality.

“Gender financing is embedded in Rwanda’s three choices, [including] unity, accountability, and thinking big,” Cyizanye said.

Invest in infrastructure designed to reduce gender gaps

Meanwhile, Emeritus Professor at University of Essex, Professor Diane Elson, said governments must invest in gender equality not just programmes, but in infrastructure designed to reduce gender gaps such as quality housing, healthcare and education.

"To be truly responsive, GRB must include new investments in gender equality, indicating the returns that this investment produces," Elson said. -


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