Social Protection and Community Development Cluster Briefing
13 Feb 2012
Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Department of Social Development; Deputy Minister Thulas Nxesi, Department of Public Works; Minister Richard Baloyi, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; Minister Mildred Oliphant, Department of Labour; Deputy Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks, Department of Human Settlements and Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogapane-Zulu, Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disability briefed the media and replied to questions at the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster Briefing.
(see Appendix below for Media Briefing document)
[Note: Transcript of Questions & Answers provided by the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster]
Journalist: Minister Nxesi can you tell us more on the building of the dam on the
Journalist: I just wanted to enquire as to the green paper on Land Reform, just some more on what it entails, how it is going to work and stuff like that.
Journalist: I just want to know from the Minister of Public Works, how many jobs do you envisaged will be created as a result of the Infrastructure Development Programme that the President talked about? And to the Deputy Minister Human Settlements, do you have an assessment as to how many people feel into the category of those who don’t qualify for bank loans as well as RDP houses will be assisted through this R83 000 that you are talking about?
Journalist: I would like to ask the Deputy Minister of Women, Children, and People with Disability about the Gender Equity Bill. How far is it and what is the timeframe for the Bill?
Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogapane-Zulu: Thank you very much, Ministers, Deputy Minister, members of the media, good morning. The deadlines for the Gender Equity Bill, the process is there the country must first adopt a Gender Equity Policy which is what we are finalising in terms of giving it back to what Gender Equity is as outlined in the Bill of Rights. So we are in the process of finalizing the policy first because the Bill cannot be drafted until the country has agreed on the Policy. So we will be finalizing the Policy not later than July. The consultations on the Policy have started. The Draft Policy is out there for public consultation so that we are able to; once the Policy is adopted we will then start the drafting of the Gender Bill because it has to be informed by the Policy.
Zou Kota-Fredericks: Thank you very much. We are not quantified in terms of numbers but we know exactly what category we are speaking of in terms of this area. You are talking about your police, your nurses, your teachers, we are talking about the professionals who fall into the category of getting jobs between R3500 and R15 000, that is the area we are focussing on at the moment.
Minister Thulas Nxesi: On two issues, one on the issue of the green paper. The Minister of Rural Development and Land Affairs who is leading the Economic Cluster will be ideal to deal with this question. But of cause as a person who has been there the Green Paper broadly looks into four levels of ownership. It talks about the private ownership of the land, the State land and introduces a number of institutions like the Land Management the value general. It also looks at the foreign land ownership and the communal land ownership. Those are the issues that are in that particular Green Paper. We would be very reluctant to talk about the details of that because that falls with the Minister of Rural Development and Land Affairs. The Economic Cluster will also be coming to some briefings. The same question in relation to the jobs which will be created as a result of the big infrastructure announcement. It will be that particular Cluster which will be able to talk about that. However what we are saying is in some of those projects we are insisting that if we want to create jobs we must talk about labour intensive metals of delivering that infrastructure and that is how we will also be creating jobs. We will deal with that matter at the level of that particular Cluster because some of the Ministers here are also part of that Cluster. That briefing is also coming.
Journalist: I take it the Youth Wage Subsidy is not going to materialise this year. So what happens to the money that was set aside for it if it is not going to happen this year? Secondly in the Gender Equality Bill will the rights of intersex, lesbian, gay, transgender people be included in that Bill. And if not then what is the progress of the task team that is supposed to be dealing with the violence experienced against lesbians and gays within the townships?
Journalist: Minister the last paragraph on page 9 of your statement where you talk about the review of the appeal EPWP to allow jobs creation in rural areas. When are we likely to see this happening if it hasn’t happened already on the ground? Just explain how exactly it is going to be done?
Journalist: Minister relating to the Military Veterans Bill. Do you have an idea of how many veterans will qualify and what the cost implications are for the State?
Journalist: To the Deputy Minister of Human Settlement. Where there any efforts from your side to try and get more money from maybe the National Treasury to finance the MDI? I mean if you are talking about nurses, police and other professionals surely R1bn is barely enough.
Journalist: To the Minister of Social Development. Could you please give us an update on what exactly the status is of the Retirement Reformed Proposals, where are they at now? When do you think you will be able to implement them? To Minister of Public Works, can you please just fill is in a bit more on your thinking about public works jobs and various community works vs. using these big infrastructure projects to create jobs and the various efficiencies or lack of efficiencies. Basically what is your thinking where will you create the most jobs most cost effectively? Lastly to the Minister of Labour if you could please tell us now that NEDLAC has completed its processes around the Labour Law Reforms, when will you be responding and publicising the new Bill?
Minister Thulas Nxesi: On the review of the EPWP’s Integrated Incentive Model the work has started. It started late last year when we had a conference inviting all the Municipalities to do an assessment and deal with the weaknesses in the system.
The major witness was that the Municipalities were not accessing the incentive grant because they had to present. It became very clear that there was no capacity to deal with those issues. What we have agreed now, we are putting technical people in our regional offices. We are working with the various Municipalities to develop those plans and make those applications. We have also agreed with the Treasury that in terms of the grant we would make 40% upfront available then the rest will come after they have presented the report in terms of how they have used the 40%. Initially they will not get anything until they have presented the plans. But now we are giving them upfront 40%, we are utilizing those technical people who are assisting in the Municipalities because we have long been talking about a capacity programme of the Municipalities. We think that has helped because a lot of them have come upfront to make applications based on that technical assistance which they are receiving from our Municipalities. And most of the jobs will be in the infrastructure in particular when we are talking about the building of the roads. We are not talking about large constructions of the dams which will be of cause given to the big companies. But we are talking in the main the provincial roads and other social sector programmes which we will be putting in place. One of the exciting programmes which we have started it is a programme called Food for Waste where we mobilising in each ward in some of the selected municipalities a group of unemployed people to do the cleaning. We are paying the wages especially in those rural wards but we are forcing the municipalities to ensure that they supply the necessary facilities. We sit with them and plan how those programmes have to be implemented. The Community Works Programmes, maybe the Minister of COGTA can say much about that but those work together. Even in terms of the reporting that figure which we are giving is inclusive of the two programmes.
Minister Richard Baloyi: Just in addition we need to stress that the background to the Community Work Programme is that you are looking at improving in the area of EPWP Programme. To then say how do we create some sort of permanence so that instead of looking at work that you like for instance around the construction of road. That when it comes to the end then it means the end of the work you have created. How do you create some sort of permanence? That is why we then said the Community Work Programme comes into the picture where you then see, you will identify projects, target about a 1000 participants and look at a situation where you stagger their work in such a way that you sustain. They are not working for a whole full week but you sustain that to say you have some sort of permanence. We have reported in terms of close to 90 000 actually that we have created in terms of jobs against the target of 87 000. And we are looking at actually up scaling that whereby the year 2014 we are actually looking at achieving a target of a million.
Mildred Oliphant: 6 finalised the two Bills; it is the Labour Relations Act Amendment Bill and the Basic Condition of Employment Act Amendment Bill. At the present moment those two pieces of legislation (unclear) where they are finalizing the draft of that Bill. Immediately after that I will report back to Cabinet. After the Cabinet has taken a decision then it will go to the State law advisors then it will go to Parliament. It will be dictated to about the finalisation of the formulation of those two clauses are remaining. I think by May or June those pieces of legislation will be before Parliament.
Deputy Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks: Thank you Minister I agree that the billion won’t be enough to do the work that we envisaged to do. But at the same time as a Department we need to demonstrate that we are able to spend the billion given to us. That is why we are saying that the housing delivery cannot be the responsibility of Government alone. That is why as Human Settlements we have also launched the programme known as Each One Settle One in which we are encouraging South Africans, donors, private sector and employees to build houses for the people. We hope by doing that we will be able to do dent in ensuring that the backlog is being reduced.
Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogapane-Zulu: Two questions the first one is the Committee that is dealing with looking at the issues of the whole gay lesbian and transgender society is work in progress, we are partnering with the Peace and Security Cluster on that regard. With regards to the Gender Bill whether it would have, I think I need to just outline that the Draft Policy as it stands now does not necessarily have a section that will put people in saying this is the gays and the lesbians. Because the Bill is intended to actually regulate the power relations between men and women which is basically that is why it is called the Gender Policy. It is about male female which automatically whatever would apply to women would automatically apply to lesbian people. The Bill does not necessarily go into the actual rise that people are supposed to be given. It actually looks at services in terms of programme implementation in terms targets in a job etc. It would not be necessarily rolling out or setting standards but it will be regulating the power relations but also the benefits as they are split between male and female in a broader sense. So they would automatically qualify and they automatically be represented. The issues in terms of violence, the gays, and lesbian society will be represented in the council as it will be coming into operation as a sector that will be representing themselves. So they will definitely be represented because the council takes the form of the South African National Aids Council where sectors will be represented so that the partnership can be formed. And the necessary progress in terms of fighting the spread can then be increased. That is why they would at the council will have a seat as gay and lesbian society and they will represent themselves to be able to highlight the realities of violence against themselves. So at a council level definitely but the Bill itself it is not outlining the rights in that particular category specifically.
DG of Military Veterans: In response to the question on what the Military Veterans Act, it is now an Act, the president assented to it in December. The Act does seek to ensure that the welfare of military veterans which has since democratization been neglected will be catered for. That is within the context of the delivery of social services to military veterans as a specific category. It actually spells out access to healthcare, education, skills development, training, housing, welfare and so on. In terms of what the costs implications of that are or the targeted population we currently have over 57 000 military veterans on our database. However that figure is not final as we have already embarked on a process to update our database and we are also working jointly with other sister Departments in that regard. As well as in terms of entering into service level agreements about the actual delivery. So it will be in addition to whatever programmes that the rest of Government is already doing.
Journalist: What about the cost implications please?
DG of Military Veterans: The cost will be finally determined once we have finalised our database clean up in terms of exactly how many. It doesn’t mean that even if we have the figure I have indicated of the military veterans that all of them would necessarily be eligible. The will be a means test that is entered into in line with existing policies of Government for instance if you need access to housing there is a means test that is entered into and so on in the different areas.
DG Social Development: On Retirement Reforms Proposals the inter Departmental task team has completed what is called the consolidated document on these reforms. Which sets out principles that have been accepted of introducing amendatory scheme of retirement provisions. It also makes firm proposals on institutional arrangements which were taken into account the fact that there are a number of social security institutions that currently resort to different Departments OF Government. We will be presenting this document to the IMC which is supposed to convene in the next 6 weeks or so. Once that document is approved by the Minister it will then serve before Cabinet and once Cabinet has endorsed the proposals the document will then be circulated for public engagement. NEDLAC as a forum is one such site that has been identified as a place where engagement with labour and employers is going to happen. We will also give members of the public the opportunity to engage on the proposals on retirement.
DG: Thanks Minister. The proposals on the youth wage they will be part of the briefing and presentation at the upcoming economic cluster briefing. So we would have to wait for that, thanks very much.
Minister Mildred Oliphant: Chairperson I would want to emphasise that the economic cluster will also respond to the question on projected numbers of jobs that will be created through the infrastructure program as well as details on the queries of the Umzimvubu. Thank you.
Journalist: My question is directed to the Minister of Social Development. You are talking about the child and youth care workers. When are they going to start and their recruitment are they going to be recruited from the areas where these children are residing? And could you expand on the role they are going to play. Would it be the role which is exact like the professional social workers? And can you expand on the assistance they are going to offer for these children like are they going to make sure that they have food, ensure that they have access to education and health and if they have someone to look after. The other question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Women, Children, and People with Disabilities, if she can tell us more on the National Council Against Gender Based Violence? When are they going to be operational and are they going to be based in the old offices or all over the provinces.
Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogapane-Zulu: Thank you very much Minister. As I indicated the council is going to be mirroring in a way the South African National Aids Council of course the Chairperson of the Council is going to be the Deputy President of the Republic and it will be a multi-sectoral council. The council will come into operation in April so the nomination as indicated because it is a multi-sectoral council, sectors will be required as they do in the South African National Aids Council. The intention is that the partnerships will come and we can together as partners look at what are the strategies and how best can we deal with issues of gender based violence. The Department of course will be secretariat and we will ensure that the council functions and that the multi-sectoral program that will be developed by the members or the sector representatives on the council is implemented. So we will take the responsibility of the co-ordination and the consolidation of that particular council as the department. And as said in the Minister’s presentation the council will come into effect in April so the ministry and the presidency will together start the processes of the finalisation of the sectors as well as sectors being invited to actually nominate their representatives. But we are looking at having the first meeting in the first quarter of the first financial year which will be the first meeting to constitute the council and for the council itself to finalise its modus operandus so that we can then be able to say this is what they will be taking from the experiences we have had with the South African National Aids Council, this is the elements that we are keeping and this is the elements that we are improving. And that is basically the intention, thank you very much for the question.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini: On the issue of child and youth care workers. Yes we will be recruiting communities but we will ensure that we recruit relevant and correct people and I think we all know that there are registers that we have for people who have records of abusing children and all other things. So we will ensure that we recruit child and youth care workers who are not in those registers but also we are not going to helicopter people to various communities. We will be recruiting young people and some of them who have been doing volunteer work because we don’t want to bring in people that are not part of communities because we still insist that children must be taken care of by people who know them. And then the second issue is the issue of how are we going to do this. Firstly we want to ensure that we protect the rights of children who don’t have parents we want to ensure that they don’t fall within the cracks because you know in a family where there are no parents, firstly some of the children have to start caring for their siblings and not enjoy a childhood. So we want to ensure that we provide a basic care and give parental care and guidance to children who don’t have parents. Thank you very much.
Journalist: I have two questions one for the Minister of Co-operative Governance. Yesterday we heard COSATU was calling for the scrapping of provinces and as far as I know this process is with the ANC at the moment but is your Department looking at it? Where is this process in terms of government? And a question for the Minister of Social Development, the government positioned paper on social security reform; the President last year said it would be out in 2011. Where is that paper, he didn’t mention it again in this year’s State of the Nation Address. So where is that paper?
Journalist: My question is to the Minister of Social Development. Minister the re-registration of social grant beneficiaries, why are we doing it can you give us more in terms of how you will do it and how do you make sure people who legally gets social grants don’t drop off the system. And also any indication of the scale of people who do get social grants who shouldn’t be getting them?
Journalist: I want to know does everybody who receives social grants get them through SASSA or are there any other agencies that do that. And a second question to the Minister of Public Works on pg 6 it says here by the end of the second quarter of this financial year, 549 000 jobs or job opportunities were created against 868 000. The 868 000 was over what period and were those opportunities a target for this financial year or for the second quarter of this financial year.
Journalist: To the Minister of Public Works what are your targets for the Expanded Public Works Programme up to 2014? We have heard that the community works project is R1m so I am just interested to know what the EPWP is? And then secondly to the Minister of Social Development you said that the tender for payment of social grants has been awarded. Was that just awarded to one company if so what was the reason for just giving it to one company and what was the value of the tender. Thanks.
Journalist: Just referring to the figures on the number of informal settlements, you say that the number has been reduced from 2700 to 2450. This seems to contradict what the police commissioner’s in hearings on their provincial crime stats said last week. Just about every one of them referred to a mushrooming of informal settlements which is affecting the crime rates. If you can just answer to that discord.
Deputy Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks: I think this should be understood in the vein of saying that mushrooming of informal settlements is a statement that shows that there is a process of people moving from the rural areas to the cities, so it is on-going but it doesn’t contradict the fact that we are reducing them in terms of our own work that we are doing. This is based on the statistics that we have taken and the work that is tabled in terms of the department the actual work but the fact that the policemen are saying the mushrooming of informal settlements impacts on their work is true but the fact remains that the department are steadfast in ensuring that we reduce the established informal settlements. Thanks.
Minister Richard Baloyi: Top on the agenda of Co-operative Governance is to continue to support and strengthen provinces. We are doing so as that is the current constitutional dispensation we said of ourselves that government shall have three spheres and that includes provinces. So in as far as what every day dominate what we are doing as COGTA is to continue to strengthen them so that they continue to live up to what is expected of them as a sphere of government. The debate as to whether we are scrapping provinces as the question has indicated the issue that is being raised of course people will continue to have views about our dispensation but what we can then indicate and call on all of us to do that’s why when we pronounced in terms of what we have to do is to make sure that through co-operative governance we strengthen provinces and we will call on everybody, on society to support us in that venture. Thank you very much.
Deputy Minister Thulas Nxesi: 868 000 is the annual target and if we have already close to 600 000 in terms of our second quarter report that is an indication that we are very close to our target for the year. We will be releasing another report the third quarter report which will be, we think that we will go beyond our own target but there’s also the fourth quarter but remember I don’t want to say the exact number but in the next two weeks we will be having that particular report. The annual target or the target for 2014 we want to make sure that we maintain what we have created but as we increase we have been playing around with the figure of 1.5m for 2014 because we want to expand this particular programme. But let me invite some of you that as we speak now the select committee on appropriations is also dealing with this question there is a detailed presentation on public works which will be starting at 11:00 by those who are leading the EPWP in Public Works. So there will be those details.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini: I think the DG was very clear on the issue of comprehensive social security; actually last week we had an IMC which looked into the outstanding issues and there was agreement that we are going to have another full IMC because in that meeting it was only finance, labour and social development because we are the main stakeholders and then we are going to have the broader IMC and then after the IMC go to cabinet and report and then the policy paper will be released for consultation. On the issue of registration, yes we want to ensure that we pay correct recipients and that is why we are going to register everyone and even children and older persons we will visit them at their homes so as to ensure that they are correct recipients and we also want to deal with what has been said that we are sometimes paying wrong people. And then we have been working together with the SIU and I think on a monthly basis or once in two months we do find people that are getting grants incorrectly and there are cases that are pending and some of we have dealt with. So I think this is an endeavour to try and ensure that we pay correct people and right now we have the report that says that there are more than 2 million children that we have not yet reached as social development for grants. It came out of the research that was done by UNICEF and Social Development, so this is part of efforts of ensuring that we pay the correct people and those that deserve more particularly the poor. I would like the DG to respond on the issue of the tender.
DG Social Development: On the issue of the tender, perhaps I should start off by saying that SASSA published a tender document which invited tenders to be given in respect of each province so there are effectively nine provincial tenders that went out. And according to the reports that we have received from SASSA in all nine provinces the successful bidder turned out to be the same company, Cash Pay Master Services. The value of the tender over a period of five years is estimated at R10bn which is far less than what we are currently paying per annum in respect of the handling fee for the payment of social grants. That is as far as I can take that question for now. So only one service provider has been successful and that service provider will be tendering payment services in all nine provinces of our country. I think there was a question whether SASSA is the only access point for grants? It is the only agency that government has but people do get payment through various channels we have people who receive their grants through the mainstream banks, we also have people who get their grants through the Post Office and those who don’t get their payments through banks or the kinds that I have described, they actually get cash payment and that cash payment is done at the present time until the end of the financial year through three service providers. Effective April 2012 only the Cash Pay Master Services will be responsible for the rendering of that service to the beneficiaries, thank you.
Journalist: Follow up question to what the DG of Social Development has just told us. He says that the R10bn on the tender is far less than what we are currently paying. Can he tell us how much we are paying at the moment and whether the R10bn is per year or is it for the five years. Thanks.
DG Social Development: The R10bn is for the five years, I think the minimum we have been paying has been in the region of just over R2bn per annum and our transaction fee averaged at about I think R28 per transaction or per beneficiary if you like that has been brought down to about R16 that in itself tells you that we have reduced the cost. In a space of five years which takes into account your adjustments of inflation and the like if in a space of five years you pay R10bn it does tell you that you have in fact contained your costs over a period of five years. That is why I am saying that the costs has come down from what we have been paying over the years and there have been disparities we have not been paying the same fee to different service providers that we currently have but now we have a floor price and that made it possible for us to bring all the cost under the amount of R10bn over the next five years. Thank you.
End of briefing
Post-State of the Nation Address
14 February 2012
SOCIAL PROTECTION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT MINISTERIAL CLUSTER BRIEFING
Directors-General and CEOs
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Welcome to the Social Protection and Community Development cluster briefing.
In his State of the Nation Address, The Honourable President Mr Jacob Zuma identified the tackling of poverty, inequality and unemployment as a central theme for the work of Government in the year ahead.
In this regards, the role of this cluster is to rally the social sector of government through its integrated and comprehensive programme interventions, to protect South Africans from the vicious cycle of these triple challenges and the tapestry of social ills that continue to afflict our society.
In responding to these challenges, as part of its outcomes approach, Government, through the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), provide income support in the form of social grants to about 15.3 million South Africans, 10.3 million of whom are children.
SASSA is developing a new payment model to be supported by effective administration and management systems, to enable it to directly pay “the right social grant to the right person, Njalo!”
Meanwhile, SASSA has awarded a tender to the Cash Paymaster Services to continue the payment of social grants for the next five years at a reduced cost. While it reaches out to ensure that all eligible persons receive their relevant social grant, this year, SASSA will continue to work hard to eliminate and detect fraud as well as corruption within the social grants system.
As part of these efforts, SASSA will re-register all its beneficiaries.
Despite the proven effectiveness of social grants in protecting the poor against abject poverty, especially at the recent peak of the global financial crisis, perceptions abound that the child support grant leads to teenage pregnancies and that young mothers abuse the grant. The Human Sciences Research Council study had debunked these myths.
To further enhance our efforts of fighting food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition, Cabinet established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Food Security, co-led by the Ministers of Social Development and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The IMC is tasked to deliver an integrated, inter-sectoral programme, based on the Brazilian model of “Fome Zero” (Zero Hunger), which is aimed at the fulfilment of the citizen’s rights to food. The fulfilment of this right will generate demand for the supply of nutritious food and the state will use state procurement of food as a catalyst to grow and support food production and local procurement.
All these gains could easily be undermined by the growing scourge of substance abuse, in particular the abuse of alcohol. The Inter-Ministerial Committee will this year intensify the campaign to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol and substance abuse.
Government recognises the need to protect the rights of the South African child. We acknowledge the millions of children who have been robbed of their childhood and forced to assume adult responsibilities and are heading their households. The recruitment of Child and Youth Care Workers will start this year to assist in the care and nurturing of orphaned and vulnerable children.
In a quest to improve the foundation phase of education in
Ladies and gentlemen,
Another area where successive apartheid regimes managed to keep our people under the yoke of poverty was to deny them access to assets that will empower them to make financial decisions. The ANC-led government took a conscious decision to make the delivery of housing a cornerstone of its programmes to deal decisively with asset poverty that still characterises the South African landscape. To date our government has delivered over 3 million subsidized housing since 1994. And as a result,
Ladies and Gentlemen;
The Department of Social Development has over the last five years developed extensive policy proposals on the reform of social security as a critical component of a decent work agenda. These include a focus on the domain of social security and include amongst others the removal of the means test for the old age grant so as not to punish those who have saved through a provident fund.
We further proposed the introduction of a mandatory system of retirement, the introduction of state provided contributory disability benefits and income of their survivors in the event of the death of a worker. However, for those in low income jobs we propose that government subsidises their contributions.
In its 100 years of existence, the ANC both as a liberation movement and a governing party has developed a pedigree as the champion for the poor and the unemployed. The recent downturn in the economy has resulted in job losses. To this end, the Unemployment Insurance Fund has provided a safety net that has continued to give those who have lost their jobs sustenance. In continuing to play this very significant role in alleviating the harmful effects of unemployment, UIF provided relief to 590 000 unemployed people between April 2011 to January 2012 and disbursed up to R4.7 billion.
In addition, the Minister of Labour approved various initiatives aimed at creating employment through training and re-skilling of workers in order to give them capacity to compete in the open economy. The job creation initiatives of the Department of Labour include funding provided by the UIF for the following:
· Funding for the training of the Unemployed scheme. The scheme is aimed at developing skills in specific artisan trades with a view to trainees being eventually employed and possessing scarce skills. The training for the Unemployed scheme is done in partnership with the various SETAs.
The Compensation Fund is making strides in improving policy in the rehabilitation of employees and re-integration, post occupational injury or occupational diseases. Furthermore, a policy framework is being developed to provide guidelines for all stakeholders that include employees; employers; healthcare providers and the general public for vocational rehabilitation.
In the effort to bring more vulnerable sectors within the social protection floor, efforts are underway to amend provisions of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act. This will include other sectors of our society like domestic workers who are not covered at the moment.
In response to the problem of poverty accentuated by high rate of unemployment, the government spearheaded the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) aimed at alleviating poverty through the provision of short to medium term labour intensive work opportunities to the poor and unemployed South Africans.
By the end of the second quarter of this financial year, about 549 982 job opportunities had been created against the target of 868,000. Chief amongst this is the contribution by the Community Works Programme which created more than 79 000 work opportunities in the same period benefitting women and the youth particularly from the poor rural families. In addition, the Human Settlements Programme created over 50 000 direct jobs, 4 653 indirect jobs and 21 446 induced job opportunities.
The emphasis therefore on infrastructure expansion in the SONA creates the ideal opportunity to introduce a labour-intensive approach in the context of large capital projects. It is envisaged that many EPWP work opportunities will be created.
The EPWP Integrated Incentive Model has been reviewed with a rural bias to enable rural municipalities to access the funding upfront thus enabling those municipalities to start with new projects to create work opportunities.
In addition, through the combined programmes of business support, enterprise financing and labour intensive activities in the social sector, 1355 new jobs were facilitated by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in the past year. A total of 2039 young people were enrolled on the matric rewrite project and close to 5000 were provided with career guidance.
Under the protection of vulnerable groups, the cluster will finalise consultations on the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Policy which will lead towards the Woman Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill. The Bill will promote compliance to gender equality within both government and the private sector.
The continued spectre of violence against women and children has led to the establishment of the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence which will be operational in the new financial year. Reduction in the incidences of gender-based violence and greater public awareness and partnerships between government and civil society are some of its expected results.
The cluster also launched a campaign to make sure that people with disabilities get better access to public amenities including educational institutions, housing, medical facilities, emergency services, public transport, information and communications.
Members of the media,
To address the inherent inequalities in the property ownership patterns, the R1 billion Mortgage Default Insurance (MDI) announced in 2010 will start operating in the new financial year. The MDI will mitigate the default risk on mortgage loan repayments to the Banks.
Through the revised Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP), people who earn between R3 501 and R15 000 will access a subsidy from Provinces of up to R 83 000. This will enable them to secure housing finance of up to R300 000 from an accredited Bank.
After 17 years of democracy, government is concerned that some Military Veterans still do not completely enjoy the fruits of freedom. To address this anomaly, the Military Veterans Bill seeks to improve their conditions in respect of healthcare, education, housing and welfare.
The National Traditional Affairs Bill will also be introduced following extensive national public hearings. The Bill is amongst others intended to restore the dignity of the Khoi San communities who, for centuries have experienced the worst form of oppression and injustice. The Bill will go a long way in enhancing social cohesion and deepening democracy.
The year 2013 will mark the centenary of the Native Land Act of 1913, which took away 87% of the land from African people. The constitution requires that the state must realize the restitution of land rights for those who were dispossessed by the Act. We have only redistributed 8% of the 30% target of land redistribution for 2014 that we set for ourselves. The process is slow and tedious and there is general agreement that the willing buyer – willing seller option has not been the best way to address this question. That is why we introduced a new policy framework - the Green paper on Land Reform.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster values your support as the media. “Working together we can do more”.
I thank you.
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