Social Protection and Community Development Cluster Briefing
29 Aug 2011
The Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini and her Deputy, Bongi Ntuli, answered questions posed by the media after the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster's post Cabinet Lekgotla Media Briefing document was presented (see Appendix below for Media Briefing document).
Journalist: Would you be able to give us a bit more detail in terms of this draft integrated programme of action regarding to anti-substance abuse programmes in all provinces. Do you have statistics available as to how many beds are actually available in public health facilities for treatment of those addicted to alcohol and substance abuse? What plans are in place to boost the numbers of such treatment facility beds? It has been an ongoing complaint by a number of civil society organisations that even if people wanted to seek assistance they can’t because there are no beds available. And perhaps you could also elaborate whether the ban on alcohol advertising is still on the table. Thank you.
Journalist: Can you give a bit more details on the integrated project plan to accelerate services in rural areas and also the 297 new ECD Centres, are these government centres or private centres. And then the Food for Waste Programme, what exactly is that and then also is there any reason why the other Ministers are not here because we heard that this was going to be a briefing by Human Settlements, Public Works, Health and everyone. I know you are speaking on their behalf but if you could say if there is some reason why they didn’t come because I don’t see much about human settlements in here. Thanks a lot.
Journalist: Just on these work opportunities from EPWP Programme, how many are permanent jobs and how many are short-term? Out of these 308 000 work opportunities how many of such are short-term and long-term.
Journalist: My question relates to the setting up of a national agency to handle textbook procurement. I just need to get some clarity will that be based within the Basic Department of Education or independently and how is it going to work with the Department.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini: Okay we will start with Rural Development.
Programme Director: We don’t have our colleagues from Rural Development present but we have Department of Public Works in
Lucky Mochalibane (Dept of Public Works): The first question on Food for Waste, what it is it falls under the environmental sector of the EPWP as you know that EPWP has four sectors these being mainly the infrastructure sector, social sector, environment sector and the non-state sector. The Food for Waste falls under the environmental sector and it is aimed at underserviced municipalities that don’t have enough resources to carry out waste management on systematic and regular basis. Instead what has to happen is that there’s a partnership between the Local Government and the community whereby the community is encouraged to collect its own waste and this waste will be taken to the offices of the Local Government where it will be weighed and in exchange thereof the community will be given food vouchers that they can immediately redeem in exchange for food. The programme is being rolled out as indicated throughout the country. It is mainly poverty alleviation and a hunger alleviation programme.
The second question was with regard to the number of jobs, colleagues would have been aware by now that you know EPWP is mainly about short-term work opportunities most of which are linked to the duration of the projects. However there are certain sub-programmes within the programme you know such as your Food for Waste as well as your Early Childhood Development where we have seen the duration of jobs being prolonged and as it stands, I don’t have the breakdown on the figure that is there of 308 000 work opportunities but in general that is the principle behind the EPWP.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini: Can we agree that we are going to give figures a bit later. Zane, alcohol and substance abuse.
Zane Dangor: Thank you Minister. I think there were two questions dealing with the issue of whether there’s a ban on alcohol advertising is still on the card, I think the way we are talking about this and the technical team and on the IMC is that we in line with the World Health Organisation recommendations looking at restriction of alcohol advertising specifically in respect to time, content and location of such alcohol advertising. We are looking at models used elsewhere in the world particular the kind of model used in France so we will as a technical team table that to the IMC quite soon. When people talk about banning, I think the banning was used in relation to sponsorships particular in relation to sport of course those things are still on the cards. I also need to point out that there is a lot of focus on the issue of advertising but there are many other measures that are being discussed at the level of the Inter-Ministerial Committee like proposed restrictions on drivers, there’s also talk on work that needs to be done on reducing the density of outlets particularly illegal outlets that are selling alcohol in the townships. These are a whole set of recommendations that will be tabled as a technical committee to the Ministers for consideration quite soon and then in terms of treatment that is the other question that was asked. I think as Government we are concerned about the lack of access that many people have to treatment and much of it is due to the fact that very few of the treatment centres are actually state owned, a lot of it is controlled by the private sector or by NGO’s with those departments and others funding those NGO’s to provide the treatment. So part of our strategy is actually to look at how do we put in place more state owned treatment facilities is one of the issues that we are looking at as well. So there is a sharing of concerns about the fact that there is not enough access particularly for people who can’t afford private treatment centres. I think those were the two questions linked to substance abuse.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Rural Development: The question was how the Department is going to accelerate service delivery in the rural areas this year. In fact the Department is planning to provide basic human needs in all the rural areas starting next month. However the Department will not only do this because basically its function is to initiate and co-ordinate these services in the rural areas because these mostly cut across the various departments. For instance the provision of housing you would have to work with the Department of Human Settlement and the provision with Transport and Roads and the provision of water with Water Affairs. Whatever what we intend to do is to speed up all these services so that the rural areas could be improved both socially and economically. Thank you.
Deputy Minister Bongi Ntuli: Thank you very much Minister. I will just highlight a few issues on rural development as you know that rural development is not working alone they are working with other Departments more particularly social development. As I am speaking to you now, Social Development has got a campaign that it is running which is called Taking the Department of Social Development to Communities. In those campaigns we try to assist people not to rely on social grants alone but to migrate from social grants to economic activities for instance I have been in the Free State last week where we bought about 600 sheep for a group of 16 people who have a mentor and also cattle to make themselves sustainable. So when we talk about rural development we talk about developing people so that they can be able to assist themselves. Yes we do give them food, we distribute food programmes but the campaign would be more of people sustaining themselves. Thank you.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini: On the issue of substance and alcohol abuse, I think one point that Mr Dangle came up with that I would like to stress is that actually the shortage is at a community level when people are supposed to be integrated to communities when they have to be out patient go for checking in and whatever, that is where we have a problem. That is why as Social Development we are changing the approach to fund NGO’s we want to fund NGO’s that are focussing on the programmes that are driven by the Government or programmes that are a priority in the Government.
The issue of ECD Centres, ECD Centres are not fully Government driven and the second issue is that they are dealt with by different departments for instance Social Development looks at the funding or at nurturing children when they are at the ECD Centres but building an ECD Centre is the responsibility of Local Government.
Secondly the training of caregivers is at the level of basic training. So it is the responsibility of three Departments but it is run by civil society organizations. And that is why we think it should be prioritized and that is why Cabinet has taken a decision that four Departments have to meet. Because ECD is supposed to be at the Apex of all other Departments that are dealing with the issues of ECD because ECD is part of education and education is the apex priority of the Government. On the issue of education, I supposed the Department of Education is busy discussing the issues of how the whole thing is going to be handled. They will be able to respond when the right time comes but they have identified that there are major problems if this is done everywhere. Then lastly, it is GCIS that coordinate the briefing sessions so I think they are better placed to respond to the question of why the other Ministers are not here. But welcome Deputy Minister Goda, if there is a question on Human Settlement the Minister if here. Thank you.
Journalist: Just a quick follow up question in terms of the food for waste food vouchers. What sort of food vouchers are they, are we looking at Pick n Pay, Checkers those kinds of grocery store providers? Is it a cash for food voucher, what are we looking at? And then just a follow up in terms of, there was a recent Parliamentary question in connection with foster children grants. Delays on processing, just over 33 000 of such grants because of the very low numbers of social workers. The question is twofold, what has been put in place to increase the number of social workers? What is being done to try and address the backlog? And what is the situation of the social services grant agency continuing to pay foster grants of about a 160 000 children even though effectively those foster care orders have lapsed. There was a court case in May which ordered that the grants ought to be paid ongoing until this whole matter is sorted out.
Journalist: Last year when, I think it was Minister Motsoaledi who announced a proposed ban on alcohol advertising. I think he was very specific, he had said proposed ban and not restrictions. It seems a bit like, could we read it as Government going soft and going to restrictions instead of a complete ban on the advertising of alcohol?
Journalist: Most of my questions have been captured before. I just want to know has the Department of Education identified the lack of social workers in education as a problem and what is going to be done regarding that?
Zane Dangor: No I don’t think it is Government going soft. In fact if one looks at the kind of issues that are being tables, the restrictions will be quite significant. Even when people use the term banning I think it actually looks at significant restrictions in how alcohol is marketed within the public. Particularly using your electronic media and your print media which is accessible to people, particularly a younger audience. I think the approach we are taking is that research shows that when young people are exposed to alcohol marketing there is a tendency for earlier drinking, harder drinking and problems later in life. So we are actually taking this quite seriously, we are looking at words that are being used particularly in the kinds of questions and also in our discussions. We have to use and we are guided by the word of assembly and best practice on these issues. So when we talk about restrictions on location, time and space that is the correct way of dealing with it because it could mean that there will be a complete ban for example of alcohol advertising on television, but it could mean that you still have space for advertising in other areas. This still needs to be discussed; I think the language that we choose is because we need to table this in front of an IMC to deliberate on it, it still needs to go through various discussion processes. And I think that is the reason we choose the language n the way that we are. I think there has been a very explicit expression about sponsorship because sponsorship is linked to sport and it also makes this inaccurate link between sporting praves and alcohol use. And I think there we are looking at the issue of the inappropriateness of sponsorship link to sport and the fact that young people participate in sport in particular the word ban has been used very specifically with issues of sponsorship and sport. But again I am saying these technical issues will be tabled before an IMC and it will be discussed so there is no going soft on these issues I think it is just a question of the language we are using. So it mustn’t be misinterpreted as going soft at all.
Virginia Petersen: (SASSA CEO) With regard to foster care. After the North Gauteng High Court ruling Minister used an instruction to SASSA to insure that all the foster care grants are upheld. Minister also instructed that a task team be set up including Justice, SASSA and DSD. The kind of interventions that has been designed is to call back social workers who are in retirement for example to assist us with a short term intervention to reach as many children as we can. So the matter will be reported on again at the next Minmec.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini: Maybe to add on the issue of the shortage of social workers. In 2006 Public Administration declared social work as a scarcity in
Then schools, I think it is the same response. But what is important is that the Children’s Act instructs Department of Education to have a psycho services and I think we will be coming together to see how we can fill in that gap. They have already started with the process of trying to institutionalize psycho social services in the Education Department.
Lucky Mochalibane (Public Works): The name of the programme is specific it is Food for Waste so waste is being exchange for food vouchers, they are not cash vouchers. Yes it is done in collaboration with local grocery stores, they might be local supermarkets, they might be your big chains depending on the area. Normally the areas where the programme is implemented are either your spontaneous settlement or your under serviced rural areas It is an arrangement with the local service suppliers.
Journalist: Just a follow up to what the special advisor was saying. When are they tabling the report to the IMC and when is it likely to go before Cabinet on restrictions on alcohol advertising?
Minister Bathabile Dlamini: I can talk about Cabinet because I am not on the Technical Committee the special advisor will talk about the Technical Committee. We have already, we are in the process of tabling, they might be discussed around September, October. Maybe one other thing I think is very important which we keep on not mentioning. The police are already busy with their work of closing illegal shebeens, it is ongoing work. Maybe we need to do what they did with the fire arms, have a big event where we will destroy all the bottles. Number two the issuing of licenses, there is a moratorium there which means there is work already going on. Thank you.
Journalist: My question on where the Textbook Procurement Agency will be placed has not been answered.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini: I think it is going to be a national agency. We don’t want to say something at the end, we found wanting on the issue. It is going to be a national agency then the Department of Education will make a pronouncement after finalizing the whole thing. I think what is important is that South Africans should be happy that books are going to be cheaper because we found out the same book is charged differently in different provinces. So they are going to be cheaper and someone is going to ensure that they go to school at the correct time, think we should be happy about that. The Department will be saving money for other priorities because education is an apex priority. So I think for us as Government we think this is very important to try and insure that we strengthen our programme of ensuring that we take families out of the psyche of poverty because if you take children to school you fight poverty in another way. Thank you.
END OF MEDIA BRIEFING
Media Statement by the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster on the occasion of the Media Briefing following the Cabinet Lekgotla,
30 August 2011
Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media
Thank you and welcome to the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster media briefing session.
The purpose of this briefing is to provide the Cluster‘s progress in relation to government’s five priories and also elaborate on future plans to achieve the priorities indentified by the recent Cabinet Lekgotla. The briefing will also focus broadly on progress with respect to some of the 12 government outcomes as well as on a range of service delivery areas that form part of the Cluster’s mandate.
We continue to make impressive progress with regard to the implementation of the second phase of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). To date more than 308 000 work opportunities have been created since the beginning of the current fiscal year, with the most of the work opportunities created in the infrastructure sector. The measures outlined in phase 2 will refocus our resources to ensure expansion of further job opportunities in other programmes such as Community Safety, Mass Participation in Sport, Khari Gude Mass Literacy, School Nutrition Programmes and Cemetery Management Programme. Other initiatives include Waste Management Programme.
The Department of Public Works in partnership with the Independent Development Trust (IDT) has initiated and is implementing the Food for Waste Programme. The Programme is aimed at assisting municipalities to provide the Waste Collection Services specifically where municipalities are unable to provide such service. The Programme is currently being rolled out in the nine provinces in 30 municipalities. The programme has so far managed to create over 3000 job opportunities for the poor and vulnerable communities.
The objectives of the programme are to create job opportunities, fighting hunger and poverty, promoting clean environment and promoting recycling, waste reduction and reuse.
The recent Cabinet Lekgotla identified the Community Works Programme, as one of the key job creation and service delivery improvement programmes. Between April 2010 and March this year, the programme created 89,689 job across 45 municipalities covering 417 wards throughout the country. These measures are indicative of the proactive strategic approach the cluster has taken by investing in labour intensive programmes to boost job creation.
One of the first steps to protect children against poverty is to guarantee access to education at an early age, which lays a solid foundation for economic and social development. With this in mind, the Department of Social Development launched the national Early Childhood Development awareness campaign in June this year, focusing on registration of ECD facilities in rural areas and provision of subsidy to eligible children.
As part of the campaign, 297 new ECD centres were registered in the first quarter alone, with 6 300 eligible children receiving subsidy. One of the key elements of this campaign is to ensure equalization of subsidy for all eligible children in ECD centres; irrespective of the where they live in the country. We have also completed the National Integrated Plan for ECD, which includes a new approach to the funding of Grade R.
As we have been emphasizing over the past several months, procurement reforms especially for textbooks is a key element of our commitment to improve education. These reforms include the setting up of a national agency to handle all textbook procurement related matters. Provincial departments will mainly deal with the distribution of textbooks. We hope that with the new approach we will eliminate current challenges, ensure more competitive and transparent bidding process as well as ensure timely delivery of the exact quantities and at the scheduled time.
The School Nutrition Programme has been extended to all secondary school learners in Quintile 3 in eight provinces. To date, 8.6 million learners benefit from the programme.
This government has committed itself to substantially improving the quality of life of our people because high overall level of health of the population is vital for economic growth and development. One relevant aspect, in this context, is the ability to have access to quality and reliable data on South Africa’s key health outcome indicators such as maternal mortality ratio; infant mortality rate and child mortality.
The recent report by the Health Advisory and Coordination Committee indicates that the current baseline life expectancy of South Africans is 56.6 years (54 years for males and 59 years for females). Our target is to increase the life expectancy to 58.5 years by 2014/2015. With regard to maternal and child health, the baseline under-5 mortality rate is 56 per 1, 000 live birth. This is simply not acceptable. Our aim is to reduce the number of under-5 mortality by 10% by 2015 as part of Goal 5 of Millennium Development Goals.
The Department of Health will champion a major initiative to improve the health of women and children. A key element of this initiative is the significant reduction of mother-to-child transmission rates of HIV which contributed to reduction in maternal and child mortality rates. Empirical evidence suggests that the transmission rates have significantly declined from 8% to 3, 5% nationally.
By the end of June this year, the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign, had reached over 14, 7 million South Africans. Of this number, 13 million people were tested in the public health facilities. The significant achievement this campaign has attained in one year is indicative that we are slowly restoring public confidence in public health. We have the chance for the first time in this country, to create a unified, coherent and effective public awareness on HIV and AIDS, and our aim is to build on the success of this campaign.
We are concerned about the recent spate of traffic accidents involving public transport, including the recent bus accident in which 14 school children lost their lives. This month alone, an estimated 60 people died in separate accidents, mainly in the
In line with the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, Minister of Transport, Ndebele has called on all MECs to ensure that all provinces intensify the implementation of road safety programmes. This will include improving visibility and clamping down on traffic law violations.
In a related development, the Department of Social Development will continue to roll out the anti-substance abuse programme in all provinces. A draft integrated programme of action has been submitted to Cabinet for approval.
The Department has finalised the regulations that will bring the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Act into operation. In addition, the Department has reviewed the National Drug Master Plan and the structure of the Central Drug Authority (CDA) with the view to strengthen government’s determination to tackle alcohol and substance abuse.
Comprehensive Rural Development
Improving the quality of life for rural communities continues to be a priority for the cluster. As part of the zero-hunger programme, more than one million beneficiaries are accessing food through the existing food distribution programmes.
As part of the War on Poverty campaign, we have conducted 26 935 households and 594 community profiles. These profiles are necessary to ensure proper and targeted interventions in areas where there is a need for services.
To date a total of 7956 young people from rural communities are participating in the National Rural Youth Service Corp (NARYSEC). Training programmes include disaster management, construction and information management. This will contribute to skills development as well as service delivery improvement in rural areas.
The recapitalization and development programme, which is aimed at making land reform projects more productive is currently implemented in 171 farms across the country, creating at least 1 316 permanent jobs and 2724short-term employment. Within a short period of time, this programme has greatly improved the productivity of land reform projects. The success of this programme will go a long way in providing food security for all.
Ladies and gentlemen, the recent Cabinet Lekgotla has committed to an integrated project plan by September 2011 to accelerate the provision of basic services in rural areas as well as addressing service delivery backlogs in 21 identified rural districts.
Crime and Corruption
Conscious of the devastating impact of crime on the social fabric of our society, the Social Crime Prevention Strategy has been approved by all the relevant clusters. The strategy is aimed at breaking the cycle of crime at its most critical point, particularly among young people.
The focus of this strategy is on crime prevention, with particular emphasis on the underlying causes of crime and the development of partnerships and practical approaches that will be effective at community level. The strategy will be presented to the Inter-Ministerial Committee and Cabinet before the end of this year.
The programme to construct police stations and other police facilities continue at a brisk pace with infrastructure erected and delivered nationally. Projects at Botokwa and Jane Furse (Limpopo), Tsakane (
Skills development and other human capital initiatives
As reported in previous briefings, one of the this sector‘s priorities is to improve the quality of life in informal settlement by providing access to quality accommodation, basic services and secure tenure. We are pleased to report that to date the Informal Settlements Upgrading Programme has exceeded the target by providing services in 52 383 sites against a target of 27 054 sites.
In addition a total 8 655 rental housing units were delivered through the Social Housing Programme (2 918 units), the Institutional Subsidy Programme (569 units) and the Community Residential Programme (5 169 units).
The Housing Development Agency (HDA) is now fully operational. To date the Agency has acquired 309 land properties and the provincial departments have acquired an additional 4 944, 5 hectares of land in support of our government’s initiatives to provide sustainable human settlements.
In a related development, approval for the new Mortgage Default Insurance Guarantee Scheme has been obtained from the National Housing Finance Corporation and shareholders. All commercial banks have expressed their interest in support of this initiative. By providing default insurance to financial institutions, our government’s aim is to ensure that we put home ownership within the reach of the majority of our people.
For the period under review, the Department of Water Affairs received 1 148 water use licence applications. Of this number, 156 licenses were issued as follows: 49 for agricultural use, 30 for industry; 30 for mining; 36 for municipalities and 11 for afforestation.
Of the 21 mines monitored to date, only thirty percent are compliant. Concerted attempts through regular monitoring are made to ensure that the mining sector complies with the water use licences. This will include consensus on setting targets for the sector.
In the same period, the Blue and Green Drop reports were produced. For the Blue Drop Report, a total of 162 municipalities and 914 water supply systems were assessed. This number is up from the 153 municipalities and 787 in the previous year. This assessment act as positive stimulus and contributes to creating awareness for gradual and sustainable improvement across the country, thus an improvement in the results of the Blue Drop report related to water quality.
Of the 821 waste water treatment works assessed for the Green Drop Report, thirty one percent were found to be compliant. While we note this positive progress, a lot more still needs to be done to reach an acceptable level of compliance.
Social Security Reform
We continue to make progress on many other fronts, particularly on our endeavour to build an inclusive society. At the end of the first quarter 5 820 households and 23 733 social grant beneficiaries were linked to economic opportunities.
With regard to social security reform, the policy on mandatory retirement provisions is awaiting approval by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Social Security Reform before presentation to Cabinet. Other initiatives include the assessment tool for children with disabilities as well as work on Social Relief Policy and Social Relief Bill.
The Social Relief Policy and Social Relief Bill seek to create a new institutional and legal framework and delegation of responsibilities to provinces to ensure a timely humanitarian relief in the event of sudden contingencies.
As we come to the end of the successful Women’s Month, the cluster has and continues to build up momentum towards the achievement of our government’s priorities, with particular focus on the economic empowerment of women. In this regard the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities is currently working on the Gender Equality Bill, which seeks to address gender parity issues as well as compliance and accountability in both the public and private sectors.
In partnership with the World Bank, the Department is also looking at measures to ensure that the New Growth Path and Jobs Fund address issues of women economic empowerment in job creation programmes. This will include the development of gender barometer to gauge progress.
More than ever before, we are determined to accelerate the pace of delivery on key priorities of the cluster and to act with even greater determination and focus on meeting the needs of the people of our country. We will continue working collectively to ensure that this progress is not only sustained, but elevated to a higher level during the course of the current financial year and many years to come.
I thank you.
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