Children's Amendment Bill [B19B-2006]: Deliberations on public submissions

Social Development

02 October 2007
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SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
3 October 2007
CHILDREN'S AMENDMENT BILL: DELIBERATIONS ON PUBLIC SUBMISSIONS
 
Acting Chairperson:
Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Summary of public submissions heard in August 2007
Children’s Amendment Bill [B19B-2006]

PMG Note: These minutes were provided by the Children’s Institute

MPs in attendance:
Ms Cheryllyn Dudley (ACDP)
Ms Caroline Makasi (ANC)
Ms Ms Janet Semple (DA)
Ms Hilda Weber (DA)
Ms M Gumede (ANC)
Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu (ANC)
Mr Louis Nzimande (ANC) (late)
Ms Winkie Direko (ANC)

MINUTES
Deliberations on the Children's Amendment Bill

The Committee continued discussing Clause 91 of Chapter 6 where they had left off the day before. Dr Maria Mabetoa of the Department of Social Development and Ms Ronel van Zyl of the South African Law Reform Commission were present.


Clause 91: Early Childhood Development
Ms Ronel van Zyl (SALRC) read out the dictionary definitions of cognitive (pertaining to mental processes) and social (interaction with members of same species) and physical (bodily).

Ms Semple: If DICAG have requested this they know what they are talking about lets keep it in.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Sensory pertains to services for children with physical impairments, communication relates to need for sign language for deaf children.

Ms Weber: Put it in.

Dr Maria Mabetoa (DSD): Cognitive is problem solving, how a person perceives things, information processing, language development, that is, it does not really cover sensory.

Ms Van Zyl: We can insert sensory, definition of cognitive relates to the mind and thought processes, sensory means of the senses as distinct from the mind.

The NGO representatives asked to summarise key points in the submissions

Ms Lucy Jamieson of the Children‘s Institute: Sensory and communication have been accurately defined and understood by the Committee. The pre-birth issue is important to disability sector, early childhood development sector most effective at delivering the service to expectant mothers to prevent disability.

Ms Van Zyl: Definition relates to a process in defining development do not want to limit a process. Leave it in the programme definition.

Ms Mary Newman of Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU): Age nine is important

Ms Dudley: Advice of the experts where is the harm?

Ms Weber: Pre-birth is not usually used, the term should be ante-natal.

Ms Gumede: Problem with pre-birth, talking of something that is not there yet. Cannot talk to the unborn child, caring for the expectant mother not the child.

Mr Nzimande: Comment from Ronel and Department, what are the services that are envisaged. What are the types of programmes would be delivered?

Ms Weber: Is it about preparing a mother for the birth of a children with disabilities, when we know that a child is going to be born with a disability?

Dr Mabetoa: The government has an integrated plan on early childhood development, which covers zero to 4, it does not make provision for pre-birth. Pre-natal programmes covered by the health legislation, trying to build early childhood development so that all the children from zero to 4 have access. Pre-birth is not manageable.

Ms Gumede: Pre-birth can be covered by health.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: can look at this in prevention and early intervention chapter.

Decision: sensory inserted after cognitive and communication inserted after social, age stays the same zero to school-going age


Clause 92: Strategy concerning early childhood development
Public submissions
Western Cape Networking AIDS Community of South Africa (NACOSA) (Children’s HIV/AIDS Network)-misquoted recommendations relating to Clause 91 were read out
South African Council of Churches (SACC)

Discussion
Ms Gumede: Propose that DPLG should be included in all the strategy discussions. How did we resolve “time to time”? Don’t like “time to time” must put in specific timeframe.

Ms Van Zyl: Decision by the Committee yesterday was - don’t like time to time for the compilation of the provincial profile.

Ms Gumede: Must be very careful about this must and may. Must be careful they [NGOs] just want the money. We should have a policy use may throughout.

Ms Semple: Spoke of inclusion of local government not DPGL, want transport included. NACOSA recommendations are in the wrong place.

Ms Dudley: Musts all in place, flag issue of nutritional support because submission was in the wrong place.

Mr Nzimande: Why are there two categories of children: children with disabilities and children with chronic illnesses?

Ms Van Zyl: Sub-Committee was formed to look at the definitions, decision when Act was discussed, disabilities and chronic illnesses must remain.

Mr Nzimande: Are children with disabilities and children with chronic illnesses being used interchangeably?

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: We are keeping the two categories separate.

Ms Van Zyl: In terms of transport, partial care facility is a physical thing need transport to the facility, does not relate to the programme. Same is true for DPLG versus local government. Local government will be responsible for provision of facilities.

Ms Gumede: Learnt at the DPLG presentation that there is no communication with the Department of Social Development. They said that the department is very stubborn.

Dr Mabetoa: Might have wonderful early childhood development programmes concern that programmes are not accessible, transport will be necessary to ensure access to programmes and visits. They should be included in the Act.

Decision: drafter will come back with decision on timeframe to replace “time to time”, include Department of Transport


Clause 93: Provision of early childhood development programmes

Public submission
Western Cape Networking AIDS Community of South Africa (NACOSA)
Childline North West
Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Council (
SACBC)
Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Children's Institute was allowed to input verbally on the importance of “must”

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Those that own private early childhood development centres can access resources to ensure that they can accommodate children with disabilities.

Ms Van Zyl: Departments have to draw-up a strategy for a well resourced early childhood development. Provincial departments also have to have a strategy, it must be in-line with the national strategy and it must provide for an appropriate spread of early childhood development programmes that are well resourced. S93(4) will ensure that services to poor children are prioritised. We are qualifying the “may”.

Ms Dudley: Satisfied with “may” not “must”. But gaping hole with regards to the children from 7 to 10 - very vulnerable age.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Covered by partial care and drop-in centres.

Ms Semple: Money allocated to Social Development programmes has been spent on other programmes.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: With provinces it becomes very difficult when it constitutionally cannot put on a “must”. They will not prioritise early childhood development. Leaving it to MEC to decide.

Ms Gumede: Now argues for May

Ms Dudley: What constitutional challenges will there be from the provinces if this is changed from “may” to “must”. Obviously you can’t have provision without a must. Respond to the concerns about court challenges.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Clause 93(4) covers priority to poor areas.

Ms Dudley: If “must” is in (1) it could perhaps open the province to other challenges.

Mr Nzimande: Suppose National Treasury said it makes no difference, they have to allocate, but does not have to be whoever. Very little confidence that the MEC will deliver. Go for a “must”.

Ms Semple: agree go for a “must”.

Ms Weber: Want a “must”.

Mr Direko: Former Premier - stick with a “may”.

Ms Gumede: “May” whether programme is wrong or right, you must fund me, if it is a “must”.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Need to read the Constitution, we might need to flag this issue. Children's rights are the only ones that are not subject to progressive realisation. Housing can be a “may”. It is in the competition of services that “must” becomes important. Children's rights - activist heart. Might end up with MECs in court rather than providing the service.

Dr Mabetoa: Departmental input: Figures zero to four 4.8 million children on the census register (Ms Bogopane-Zulu interjected that those figures are underestimates). From the Child Support Grant programme information: 700,000 children awaiting to get the grant. Those that are not getting it are because of a lack of documents. Could be 5 million children in the age-group. 2.4 million cost to provide early childhood development R12 billion, target half of the children. Targeting 1.4 children for the roll out of by the year if we have to provide for 4.8 it will be survival of the fittest and the rich kids will win, “must” for vulnerable children. “Must” will lead to court cases spend a lot of time fighting in court and not delivering service.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: What you are explaining is covered in 93(4)

Mr Direko: Rich NGOs pay for professors to meet and the vulnerable cannot afford that. Dealing with an educated elite that understands these things, they will take government to court if they do not get funding. Vulnerable poor will suffer.

Government will be laid open to pressure if we put a “must”.

Ms Van Zyl: Constitution has sections on children's rights, education and health. Two places where “must” easy to justify: child protection and child and youth care centres. Alternative care argument is easy to justify. Similar argument can be applied to child protection. Education is not subject to progressive realisation right in the Constitution, basic education is provided by the government. ‘Everyone has the right to access to health’ is progressive realisation.

Early childhood development does not feature in Section 28 of the Constitution. Early childhood development is not part of education. [Part of right to social services]

In law, provinces are autonomous. Constitution gives instances where national government can step in to intervene, but not on budgets.

It has been said that government needs a discretion, “must” compels. Give the government room to manoeuvre, shepherd them in the right direction. We all want to ensure that poor children get services, but the NGOs do not understand that they are making it more difficult for the poor to get services.

Ms Dudley: Ensure a “must” for the prioritised communities. Make 93(1) in relation to 93(4). Could be introduced incrementally.

Ms Van Zyl: two separate ideas.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Committee agrees that 93(1) is a “may”. If we say “must” fund poor communities, then affluent communities that do not meet the criteria will not get any funding.

Ms Weber: Problem with wording of section 93(4), are we going to be responsible for providing shelter.

Ms Van Zyl: No, that simply describes the communities have to prioritise.

The State Law Advisor agreed with Ms Van Zyl because she has the background and the experience, and they do not want to open up government to legal challenge for funding for the places that are lacking services.

Ms Semple: proposed a change of the word order as follows:

Decision: Change 93(4) The funding of early childhood development programmes must be prioritised in communities where…


Clause 94: Norms and standards

Public submissions
South African Congress for Early Childhood Development; ELRU

Discussion
Ms Dudley: is there a need to include running water? Ms Van Zyl: no covered in the chapter on partial care.

Decision: No change

Clause 95: Early childhood programmes to be registered

Public submissions

South African Congress for Early Childhood Development; ELRU

Discussion
Ms Van Zyl: Two areas where changes are required need to cover people who roam around not just partial care facility and child and youth care centres. Exemption for education will never register education programmes with Social Development. Full scale war if we force them to register.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Why? If they run anything for zero to school-going age they must register with Social Development.

Dr Mabetoa: Come to an agreement that all government departments must register. We need a record. Education understands that.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Education must comply, zero to school-going age are not yet in their net.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Lovelife example Education only scrutinised their part and that became harmful, because the material was not age appropriate.

Ms Van Zyl: This will be a new requirement, we must ask them.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: We need to work towards uniformity, we all know what government is like in terms of delivery of services.

Decision: All government departments to be subject to registration.
S95(1) delete a person operating or managing a partial care facility or child and youth care centre

Clause 96: Application for registration and renewal of registration

Public submissions
Department of Home Affairs


Discussion
Ms Bogopane-Zulu: With my training companies we use a different process to register the programmes with the SETAs, than when we register the company. 96 (4) says partial care facility.

Ms Van Zyl: That is a mistake.

Ms Dudley: Why do we need to separate out here and not elsewhere?

Ms Van Zyl: We must change the section because some services are provided directly to communities and not through child and youth care centres and partial care facilities.

Decision: Change partial care facility and child and youth care centre to early childhood development programme sections 96(1)(a) and 96(4)

(a)        be lodged with the provincial head of social development of the province where the [partial care facility or child and youth care centre] early childhood development programme is situated in accordance with a procedure prescribed by regulation;

(4)        The provincial head of social development must renew the registration of [a partial care facility] an early childhood development programme before the expiration thereof if the application for renewal was lodged at least 90 days before the registration was due to expire as contemplated in subsection (3)


Clause 97: Consideration of application

Public submissions
Department of Home Affairs
Childline North West

South African Congress for Early Childhood Development and ELRU

Clause 98: Conditional registration
was read out but the public submissions were not.

Discussion on sections 97 and 98
Ms Bogopane-Zulu: The submission talks to facilities not the programmes.

Ms Dudley: Compare wording, does the legislation cover the requests by ELRU and Congress – need copies of the submission.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Recommendation rejected because it is covered by conditional registration and 93 what, what…

Ms Van Zyl: Conditional registration covers this situation, it was introduced. Their concern over training can be inserted into 97(2)(c).

Consequential amendments add (2)(c) training, (2)(d) sensory and communication, change ‘partial care facility and child and youth care centre’ to ‘early childhood development programme’ (3) definition of fit and proper cross-reference to section 120.

97(4) is this covered by Clause 101.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Does this need to be a social worker?

Ms Dudley: Link with Clause 101, we want the report of the suitably qualified person to be considered.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Must be an assessment not a report, because it is a programme.

Dr Mabetoa: We cannot move away from the registration must be a report when a person looks after more than six children. It is not a social worker but a social service professional.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: But this is a programme, what report do I consider to register a programme. The person must use a measure therefore it is not a report it is an assessment, they must use a tool to measure. How an assessment panel.

Ms Newman: Trained early childhood development professional could know what to look for.

Decision: 97(2)(d) add sensory and communication as per s91(1) above; and change partial care facility and child and youth care centre to early childhood development programme as per s96

S97(4) cross-reference to s101.

Clause 98 Decision: No change


Clause 99: Cancellation of registration

Public submissions

National Health and Welfare Council: Full Gospel Church of God in SA (NHWC)
South African Congress for Early Childhood Development and ELRU.

Discussion
Ms Dudley: Should there be some protection for organisations against malicious complaints? Should the provincial department be compelled to assist programmes contemplated in sub-section (a) that are struggling to meet the prescribed norms and standards?

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Government is forced to look at all the factors before cancellation of registration checks and balances protect organisations. Assistance is provided in s99(3).

Ms Dudley: kids need care we don’t want to discourage the backyard if that is all that is available.

Decision: No changes

Clause 100: Notice of enforcement

Public submission

ELRU recommendation and motivation

Discussion
Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Campaign to popularise the norms and standards, when people enquire about registration or register they will get information on the norms and standards?

Ms Dudley: Read it that people will have access to assistance to comply with the registration.

Ms Van Zyl: Assistance is covered in 99(3).

Decision: 100(b) add the service provider to ensure that person complies with the notice of enforcement

Clause 101: Assessment of ECD programmes

Public submissions

South African Congress for Early Childhood Development and ELRU

Discussion
Ms Van Zyl: Explained the cross-reference. Clause 304 is the inspection of child and youth care centre and partial care facility assessors must carry ID cards, have powers outlined in regulations. Which includes right of access to facilities.

Clause 101 is necessary for regular inspection of registered early childhood development programmes. Clause 304 permits general inspection and includes unregistered facilities.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Is it the same person who does the assessment and the application?

Dr Maria Mabetoa: Two registrations partial care facility and the early childhood development programme. Person must assess the content and the layout of the programme, and environment

Ms Van Zyl: provincial Head of Department of Social Development or his delegate that considers the application, usually a senior official. Not the suitably qualified assessor.

Dr Mabetoa: quality assurance is linked to norms and standards therefore ELRU suggestion is covered.

Ms Gumede: there will be hundreds of applications, if only one person that person will be so tired, it must be a team.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: function can be delegated to municipalities, each one will have their own assessor.

Ms Van Zyl: legal drafting terminology singular covers more than one. Therefore person means persons.

Decision: No change

Clause 102: Assignment of functions to municipalities

Public submissions
Department of Home Affairs

South African Congress for Early Childhood Development and ELRU

Discussion
Ms Van Zyl: Do we need to read it because it is the same as 88.

Ms Zulu:are We delegating the assessment functions?

Ms Van Zyl: Functions to be delegated are - registration, application, consideration of application, conditional registration, cancellation, notice of enforcement, and assessment.

Error in (4) cross-reference should be “subsection (3)”

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: On (3) the social worker story would that not be a suitably qualified person.

Ms Van Zyl: Not suitably qualified person like s101. All delegations in the municipality must be to someone with a social work background.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Don’t agree. We don’t have social workers, and we are delegating early childhood development functions. If that municipality doesn’t have a social worker then we can’t delegate the functions. Albert Luthuli doesn’t have a social worker.

Ms Dudley: ELRU proposal is social service professional, and that the person should be trained and sensitized to the needs of the early childhood development sector.

Mr Nzimande: agree social service professionals. Also every local government must have special programmes are part of the ruling party’s plan, local government will have trained personnel to handle these programmes.

Dr Mabetoa: Social development is responsible for children 0 to 4, if you say any early childhood development practitioner you might as well give it to education. Support social service professionals because they have specific training. Must put that into the clause in partial care (Clause 88).

Ms Weber: Are community development workers being trained? In what? What has the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) to do with early childhood development?

Ms Van Zyl: The Municipal Systems Act requires that the municipal manager is the person to whom functions must be delegated.

Ms Gumede: Clause 102(8)(b) “may” should be a “must”.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: Discussed yesterday.

Decision: Use social service professional 102(3)

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: What happens to appeals? Is that a deliberate omission?

Ms Van Zyl: That is a “three o’clock in the morning slip”. I will put it in, no room for additional clause, but will examine the appropriate location.

Decision: Add appeals procedure for the cancellation of registration.

Clause 103: Regulations


Public submissions
South African Congress for Early Childhood Development and ELRU

Discussion
Ms Van Zyl: Numbering is incorrect.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu: No instrument to compel the Minister to make regulations. Rules Committee is looking at delegated legislation.

Ms Van Zyl: Don’t register services only programmes therefore just programmes in section 103.

Decision: Only numbering to be amended.

Meeting adjourned.

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