Women's dept tightens its purse strings

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pretoria - South Africa's Ministry for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities has made two new appointments to help it control its expenditure and meet its primary goal of protecting vulnerable groups.

Minister Lulu Xingwana has appointed Chief Financial Officer, Unathi Ndobeni and Director General, Nonhlanhla Mkhize, to ensure that the department's spending was better aimed at fulfilling its mandate.

"Part of the brief for the CFO is to cut down expenditure on subsistence and travel and make sure that all financial and procurement procedures are followed," said the minister.

Xingwana said the ministry had hit the ground running with regards to the work that lay ahead for it.

The development of women in rural areas, the Gender Equality Bill, achieving the targets of gender equality and ensuring a two percent employment equity for people with disabilities, are some of the key focus areas for the department.

The minister said she would work with various stakeholders, Parliament and other government departments to ensure the department achieves its objective of mainstreaming gender, disability and children's rights.

"We will ensure that the ministry is more visible and clearly communicates and acts on its mandate, it [department] should be out there interacting with the people."

Xingwana has already engaged with some women's groups and will soon be meeting with children's rights groups.

She stressed that the department would not interfere with the work of other departments, such as the issue of street children, which is handled by the Social Development Department.

"We work with Social Development and our mandate is to monitor and ensure that referral systems are in place, ensure that children's needs are being taken care of and organisations are assisted by government to ensure proper care," explained Xingwana.

On 2 and 3 December, she will be hosting a Disability Summit, where she hopes to reach an agreement on a common programme with the disability sector.

Issues of access for people with disabilities, particularly public transport in rural and per-urban areas and gender based violence, will be among the key focus areas during the upcoming 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.

The campaign will be observed between 25 November and 10 December. It is a time when the entire country is asked to actively join the fight against gender based violence.