26 July 2011
The Select Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities is located in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) House of Parliament. As its name suggests, the Committee currently focuses on issues related to youth, women, children and people with disabilities. Its key areas of focus are aligned to match both the priorities as outlined by the State of the Nation Address delivered by the President of South Africa as well as the mandate of the NCOP that enunciates the people-centred approach of the South African Parliament and respect for the people of South Africa. This value expresses Parliament’s belief in building a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people, aimed at improving the quality of life of all citizens and freeing the potential of each person. Through reflection on the State of the Nation Address as well as the strategic plan of the NCOP, the Committee has resolved to focus on the following key themes for its five year term at Parliament these are: Violence; Survival & Development; Poverty & Economic Empowerment and Education & Skills Development specifically as it relates to its key target groups.
Objectives of the U.S study tour
After reviewing other potential international study tour sites and countries, the Committee agreed to visit the United States of America. This decision was based on the comprehensive programmes and government departments in the States that not only target vulnerable groups, but also displayed a number of best practice models in terms of the aforementioned thematic areas.
The Committee has identified specific sites within New York City, Washington D.C. and Denver to conduct their study tour. The study tour will entail observing and learning from best practice models that are aimed at improving the lives of women, children, youth and people with disabilities. Through the engagement with relevant stakeholders members of the committee will use the information to feedback to parliament and relevant departments with an aim to either improve existing structures or the development of new ones based of the knowledge gained from this study tour. Moreover, the information gathered during this tour may result in the amendment of current legislation or the promulgation of new law.
The criteria for selecting programmes or departments to visit were based on its outstanding and innovative work in various fields that address either one or all of the thematic areas of the Committee. During the Committees stay in the States they will visit the following programmes, departments and institutions in New York:
- Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV)
- Red Hook Community Justice Centre
- Family Justice Centre in the Bronx
- United Nations Headquarters
The delegation for this trip is led by the committee chair Honourable Mabe along with five Members of Parliament, Honourable Qikani, Honourable Mokgoro, Honourable Worth, Honourable Mashamaite, and Honourable Magadla.