LGBTI task team outlines progress made since its inception

By Glory Msungwa, Internal Communication

In partnership with civil society and other stakeholders, the department held a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) meeting to review the progress made to date.

The meeting, held at Burgers Park Hotel, Pretoria, on 9 April 2015, was a follow-up to the meeting hosted in October 2014, which sought to review the work of the National Task Team (NTT) and election of the new co-chairperson following the resignation of Dr Ingrid Lynch recently.

In attendance were the Deputy Minister John Jeffery, Director-General Ms Nonkululeko Sindane, some officials from the Departments of Health, Education and International Relations and Cooperation, and representatives from various civil society organisations.

In his address, Deputy Minister Jeffery encouraged the civil society representatives to come together and review if the National Task Team and the Rapid Response Team (RRT) are effective in delivering on their mandate. “You need to criticise us where we have done wrong and assist us where you think government can improve,” he remarked.

Mr Jeffery indicated that progress has been made in the promotion of transgendered as the United Nations now recognises marriages of any same sex couples. “Our work is far from over, this is just the beginning. As we celebrate 60 years of the Freedom Charter, let us work tirelessly to ensure that crime committed against LGBTI persons is reduced,” he appealed.

Director-General, Ms Sindane said the department is trying all its best to respond to cases affecting LGBTI community speedily. “Once a person gets attacked, we ensure that we move fast enough to prevent it from happening again. It is so unfortunate that we have to wait until the cases are reported as there are no other ways of preventing it before it happens,” said Ms Sindane

Ms Phindhi Malaza of the Forum for Empowerment of Women urged all the civil society organisations to work together in ensuring that the rights of LGBTI persons are protected whilst engaging in a collective process. “We need to suggest ways on how to make the process work, and if things are not working according to plan, we need not to hang up but come up with solutions,” she advised.

Amongst challenges raised by the Provincial Task Team were resources (financial and human); regional office staff workload; PTT follow ups meetings; sustainable programme for the PTT; reaching out to the LGBTI constituencies and documentation.

Other issues discussed included a document on procedural guidelines which will address the issue of representation at national and provincial level, and development of prevention programmes to fight violence against LGBTI persons.

Ms Steve Letsike, who is a member of the NTT was elected as an interim co-chairperson of the National Task Team until a permanent co-chairperson is elected.


Published: 15 April 2015