The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on population and development and the work of UNPFA in South Africa. They encouraged the Committee to exercise oversight over South Africa’s population development programme and the achievement of its Millennium Development Goals in this area. UNFPA explained that population dynamics and reproductive health were essential to development and needed to be an integral part of any poverty reduction strategy.
The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICDP) changed the world’s focus from numbers to rights and dignity. At that conference 179 governments, including South Africa, agreed to work together with partners to achieve universal access to education, especially for girls, reducing infant and maternal mortality and to guarantee reproductive health. Those goals and principles were incorporated into the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). However, there still remained a large gap between what was written down and what affected people in reality. Urgent action was needed to strengthen health systems and to protect the rights of women and girls.
Much progress had been made in South Africa and globally since 1994, a lot of laws were removed that restricted access to reproductive health and to women’s rights, many more girls were now attending school, more births were attended by skilled health care personnel, women and couples were choosing to plan their families and determining the number of children they had. However half a million women died each year of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth and in this country, in 154 out of every 100 000 births, a woman died giving birth.
The empowerment of women and girls through education, access to resources and equal opportunities was important to determine not only maternal health but for social development. What was needed was functioning health systems, policy infrastructure, human resources, supplies and data. UNFPA was working to support government around that. National commitment was key, not only government but also academia, civil society, communities, and health practitioners. The right policies must be in place and the financial resources, both domestic and international, had to be provided. The time to the ICDP mission goals of 2014 and the time to the Millennium Development Goals of 2015 was short. The Committee was encouraged to develop awareness and build momentum in achieving these goals.
In discussion with the Committee, it came to light that progress around the Millennium Development Goals was limited and indicators suggested that South Africa was lagging behind on the attainment of most of the MDGs, with the exception of promoting gender equality and empowering women. The maternal mortality rate in the last three-year period showed an increase of over 20% as opposed to the previous three-year period. The major causes were non pregnancy related infections (HIV/AIDS); complications of hypertension; obstetric haemorrhage; pregnancy related sepsis and pre-existing maternal diseases.
In the second briefing, the Department of Social Development spoke on the “The War on Poverty” Campaign. This was Polokwane resolution initiated and led by the Presidency and it was responsible for coordination and integration of service delivery across spheres of government and social partners. There were 43% of people still trapped in poverty. Urban poverty was rising, rural poverty decline was slowing down and rural poverty was twice that of urban poverty. About two million people who qualified did not receive SASSA’s Social Protection Services. The campaign aimed at profiling wards and then households and identifying their needs. That information enabled the programme to be able to respond to the needs of people from an individual up to a community level. Services delivered after household profiling was done included the issue of vital documents, grants, distribution of food hampers, health care, education and housing. This programme was being piloted in the Free State. There would be a graduation process where once the household had been assessed and services provided, the household would move from a situation of lack to a state-supported phase and then to self-sustaining phase. Within the comprehensive development framework, one started from protection and moved to transformation. That would enable the household or the community ultimately to generate sustainable income.
The Committee were very interested in what was happening in each province with the War on Poverty campaign and wanted detailed outcomes and objectives, monitoring and evaluation. There was also the question of the communication plan and how the War on Poverty was communicated to the target areas. The presentation was also part of that communication because the Committee was also a stakeholder. There would be follow-up meeting on the campaign.
The Chairperson welcomed the UNPFA team and explained that the Committee had invited them so that they could explore a working relationship with UNPFA and enhance the oversight role of the Committee.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) briefing
Mr Mark Schreiner thanked the Committee for the opportunity to share some of the issues around population and development and how they related to the work of the Committee and to introduce the work of UNPFA in South Africa and to explore areas where the UN could support the work of the Portfolio Committee to achieve its goals. He was joined by his Assistant Representative, Ms N Zindela, and Ms Christa Kruger from the Department of Social Development. He noted that additional slides had been added to the document tabled before members.
The UNFPA was an international development agency that promoted the right of every man, woman and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. It supported countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy was wanted, every birth was safe, every young person free of HIV/AIDS, and that every girl and woman was treated with dignity and respect. The work of the UNPFA was guided by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICDP) and a twenty year programme of action. The ICDP of 1994 had changed the world’s focus from numbers to rights and dignity. At that conference, 179 governments, including South Africa, had agreed to work together with partners to achieve universal access to education, especially for girls, reducing infant and maternal mortality and to guarantee reproductive health. Delegates from across the world agreed that every person had a right to sexual and reproductive health and that empowering women was highly important in improving the quality of life for everybody. Those goals and principles were incorporated into the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and provided the unifying framework for development cooperation.
However, there still remained a large gap between what was written down and what affected people in reality. While girls had access to family planning and care during pregnancy, maternal mortality still represented one of the world’s largest inequalities; and women continued to die each and every minute around the world giving birth. Urgent action was needed to strengthen health systems and to protect the rights of women and girls.
UNFPA’s work pointed to the connection between the areas of population, poverty, education, environment and health and helped to highlight the areas that required urgent action and investment. Population and Development meant that people were both the means and the ultimate beneficiaries of development.
Population dynamics and reproductive health were essential to development and needed to be an integral part of any poverty reduction strategy. Integrating population into development meant the need to explicitly consider population in its social, economic and demographic characteristics at the national, regional and local development planning processes, as well as determining how those indicators could be used to set targets for monitoring and evaluating assessment programmes. It was critical how the population strategies were integrated into existing development framework. South Africa had a National Population Policy towards the establishment of a society that provided an equitable quality of life for all South Africans. UNFPA was one of the partners to help government to implement that policy and operated within a framework of $13 million.
Ms Zindela highlighted some of the programme areas in which UNFPA was working:
Country Programme 2007-2010
The programme currently undertaken was developed through extensive consultation between government, the UN and important stakeholders within the country, NGOs, CBOs, Faith-based Organisations and other stakeholders.
Programme Outputs – Reproductive Health
UNFPA focused on the prevention element of HIV/AIDS and supported government in that regard, with a very strong focus on young people, women in particular. Within the UN system, the UN Joint Team on HIV/AIDS and UNFPA convened the prevention technical task team. It also supported the strengthening of capacity of health care workers so that they were able to deliver high quality Sexual and Reproductive Health services (SRH), and supported capacity building of doctors and nurses on cervical cancer screening; and trained doctors and nurses in family planning. UNFPA put in a lot of effort on the female condom programme and supported government female reproductive health monitoring and evaluation efforts.
Programme Outputs – Population and Development
UNFPA supported the government established networks with other countries in the region that had advanced population programmes that South Africa could learn from to advance its own programmes.
Programme Outputs – Gender
The emphasis was on gender based violence and UNFPA supported government in the provision of comprehensive services for women, specifically victims of gender based violence. Since the establishment of the new Ministry on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, it supported government to institutionalise that Ministry to foster interdepartmental collaboration on gender mainstreaming. UNFPA also assisted government to learn from other countries in the region that already had well-established ministries of gender and a track record of interdepartmental collaboration.
UNFPA in the South African Context
Mr Schreiner continued that the UN’s role was to find strategic areas where it could make a meaningful contribution to the development of policies and how they could be implemented so that people had the skills and service delivery could take place. Government had vast technical capacity gaps that undermined well-intended policies; the main challenge was in the implementation.
UNFPA Partnership with Parliament
UNFPA had long experience of working with parliamentarian groups in supporting them to formulate international and regional groups, particularly around population issues, across the world. It worked with those groups in trying to bridge the relationship between them across the countries and regions to benefit from sharing those experiences and lessons.
It wished to assist the Committee on the area of increased budget allocations for population and development issues. Funding for reproductive health had suffered significantly since the targets were initially set fifteen years ago, largely due to HIV/AIDS. The UNFPA was working to try to integrate the response to both HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. It also worked with parliamentarians to link population and development issues to some of the global agreements such as the Millennium Development Goals, which had a role in monitoring the country’s progress.
Referring to the regional parliamentarian groups across the world and portfolio committees in most countries, one of the roles of the UN and UNFPA was to help facilitate exchange between those parliamentarian groups, for information, for sharing of lessons learnt and best practices. UNFPA was interested in providing support amongst parliamentarians at a regional level, recognising especially the role that South Africa had in the region, as a leader, as a voice to reflect Africa’s issues both within the region and the global platform.
A lot of progress had been made in South Africa and globally since 1994, a lot of laws were removed that restricted access to reproductive health and restricting access to women’s rights, many more girls were now attending school, more births were attended by skilled health care personnel, women and couples were choosing to plan their families and determining the number of children they had. However, there were still about two hundred million women around the world in need of family planning and many women that could not exercise their reproductive rights to decide freely and responsibly the number of children they had. Half a million women died each year of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. In this country, of 154 out of every 100 000 births, a woman died giving birth.
The empowerment of women and girls through education, and through access to resources and equal opportunities were important to determine not only maternal health but for social development. What was needed was functioning health systems, policy infrastructure, human resources, supplies and data. UNFPA was working to support government around that.
National commitment was key, not only government but also academia, civil society, communities, and health practitioners. The right policies must be in place and the financial resources, both domestic and international, must be provided. It was important to set clear accountability lines for all partners to ensure coordination and joint reporting. Partners like UNFPA and the UN system must live up to their commitments to provide technical and financial support and programme countries must deliver on their priority outcomes, including securing domestic resources. The time to mission completion of 2014 and the target of the Millennium Development Goals of 2015 was short but he was confident that the awareness was widespread. Momentum was building, strong partnerships were in place and together it could be done.
A short video was screened with the powerful message about the importance of investing in a girl.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Schreiner and his team for the presentation.
Ms Kenye said that perhaps the low female condom uptake could be because it was complicated and had a specific stipulation of time to be worn for a certain period before sexual activities and asked how that problem could best be managed. She asked if research been done to check the cause of the high number of maternal deaths?
Mr V Magagula (ANC) asked why the sub-offices were in those particular provinces; and whether social workers could be given some financial assistance.
Ms P Xaba (ANC) asked how the NGOs were identified, as most were located in the urban areas and not deep in the rural areas where the need was.
The Chairperson commented on regional cooperation between parliamentarians. There was a SADC Parliamentary Forum and it was relevant and important for the Committee to explore engagement with the Portfolio Committees of other countries in the SADC region and that should be done through the Parliamentary Forum; that they engaged on these population issues and the challenges and heard how other were dealing with some of those issues.
Maternal mortality was a real issue and she suggested Mr Schreiner reach out to the National Council of Provinces and inform the provincial legislatures about the role UNFPA played and supported their Committees to ensure that government incorporated population development policy into the planning cycles, as they were supposed to. In terms of oversight, this was a section that had not been explored. It was very important to have that partnership with UNFPA, and the help of Social Development, especially with the population section, to look at how the quality of oversight could be improved and the population policy was employed adequately.
She asked Mr Schreiner for an example of one of the countries in the SADC Region that had made great strides in terms of the MDGs, perhaps Malawi or Botswana. Botswana was faced with very high HIV/AIDS infection. How were they doing in achieving targets for the MDGs?
Ms Zindela responded that the reason identified for the low female condom uptake in the country was insufficient education and advocacy on its utilisation. The public needed to be educated on the advantages of using it because with a female condom the woman was in control. UNFPA was putting in place a comprehensive advocacy programme in partnership with the Department of Health, and also needed to demonstrate how the female condom was used and to that effect had even procured pelvic models for use in demonstrations.
UNFPA was working on the four sub-offices and not the rest of the country because it was focusing on the provinces with the least progressive socio economic indicators compared to the rest of the country. Also because of resources they did not want, at the beginning of the programme, to spread themselves too thin within the country as a whole and not be able to achieve the desired impact. So it made sense to start with the provinces that needed immediate attention.
In terms of strengthening the capacity of health care workers and providing stipends, UNFPA support was in capacity building for health care workers employed by the government in the public hospitals, so there was no issue of remuneration. They were supporting people who were rendering that service so that they did it right, and because of the challenge of cervical cancer in the country were providing more support. There was no need to provide stipends for people who were already public servants.
In terms of why UNFPA identified NGOs, CBOs and other partners, they did not work with the partner without government endorsement but responded to government requests and were not national or Pretoria based. They worked with NGOs in rural areas. In the Eastern Cape, they worked with Student Partnership Worldwide and were focusing on putting in place youth development centres in the most remote areas of the Eastern Cape, and were working with the SA Human Rights Commission and the Commission on Gender Equality in order to arrive at a public education campaign against forced marriages in the Eastern Cape.
Mr Schreiner responded to the issue of the maternal mortality rate. There were high rates of the use of maternal and child health services yet poor and worsening health outcomes. The Department of Health recently lodged a confidential enquiry into maternal deaths with a report called ‘Saving Mothers Report’ in which it was seen that the maternal and neo natal child mortality was increasing, despite 84% of women giving birth in health facilities, which was quite high. The report, over the last three years, showed that there was an increase of over 20% in the number of deaths reported as opposed to the previous three-year period. The major causes were non pregnancy related infections (HIV/AIDS); complications of hypertension; obstetric haemorrhage; pregnancy related sepsis and pre-existing maternal diseases.
UNFPA supported the recommendations in trying to improve health care knowledge, health care provider knowledge, non-emergency obstetric care, ensuring adequate screening and treatment of major causes of factors affecting maternal health were identified early, improving the quality and coverage of reproductive health services, the management of staffing the equipment norms, and the availability of blood for transfusions.
Community involvement and empowerment of the community around maternal reproductive health in general was very important.
Looking at condom use in the country, a lot of the challenges around sexual and reproductive health issues were challenges and opportunities around culture and the enabling rights of women and girls, from the perspective of culture and cultural sensitivity. Often the cultural traditions and beliefs were stronger than the laws in place, and were often what prevented women from getting to clinics to deliver, or to use a condom or negotiate condom use with her partner. There was a need to engage at a deeper level to try and facilitate the change of individuals, families and communities. Strategic partners needed to be identified to be able to intervene and approach these issues at the root of the cause, which was often the cultural beliefs and practices around the issues.
On regional cooperation of parliamentarian groups, UN and UNFPA’s role was to facilitate that exchange between parliamentarians for sharing of information, to learn some of the lessons and best practices taking place in other countries, and to support that dialogue among parliamentarian groups. There were four Regional Parliamentarian Groups across the world, they were coming together at the end of the month in Addis Ababa, the home of the African Union, to look at the issues around population and development and progress made, and to foster dialogue and cooperation between them. UNFPA also had a regional office based in Johannesburg that was responsible for UNFPA’s work across Sub-Saharan Africa; and what was happening across the SADC region and other areas across Sub-Saharan Africa, so could explore how to do the exchange and cooperation between countries.
On the Portfolio Committee’s oversight role, UNFPA could work with the Committees to understand how to monitor and evaluate implementation, how to make the message available so that everybody could understand, and organising visits to a community to see projects in action.
Progress around the Millennium Development Goals was limited and indicators suggested that South Africa was lagging behind on the attainment of most of the MDGs, with the exception of promoting gender equality and empowering women.
Tanzania had very strong parliamentary forums and committees and played an important role in monitoring progress within the country, holding government accountable, and the relationship and link they had with the communities were very effective in ensuring that their voice was heard at the highest level, and could be a country worth exploring.
Ms Zindela added that support for the NCOP, UNFPA would appreciate suggestions from the Committee as to where it would like it to intervene.
Ms S Kopane (DA) noted that according to the presentation the government had vast technical capacity gaps that undermined the achievement of well-intended policies as a main challenge to implementation. What was UNFPA doing to assist with the implementation of the National Child Protection Register and the Sexual Offences Register? Was the delay due to a lack of capacity or of political will?
Ms Nelson said the teenage pregnancy rate in schools was alarming, what was their finding in regard to those figures?
Ms Kopane was concerned about cervical cancer; the DOH did not have the resources, what was UNFPA doing to assist the DOH to improve their resources?
The Chairperson said members needed to understand that the UN was not a vehicle of funding but of the realisation of population policies, there was nothing wrong with the policies, it was the capacity, and as Members of Parliament how did they ensure that women had access to pap smears and gynaecological check ups and to all the services. The role of parliamentarians in their constituencies was highly undervalued, they needed to see how they could make a difference and keep government on its toes.
On the issue of female mortality it invested billions of Rands over the past fifteen years in terms of primary health care, and secondary hospital establishment. We had good academic hospitals but there were not enough.
There was also the issue of after care, women gave birth, went home and got sick and died; something was wrong. Those things could only be picked up when working in communities and she found the proposal from Mr Schreiner to go to areas as a Committee where the population policy was implemented and to make services available, very interesting. Local Government also had to implement population policies in their planning, so what was happening?
Mr Schreiner agreed that the incidence of teenage pregnancy in the country was alarmingly high and government was very aware of that and was trying to understand the causes. There was sensitivity around providing reproductive health services to adolescents and young people, but evidence had shown that young women and men were learning to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections; condom use remained low but was being used more frequently. The country was making efforts to provide sexual reproductive health services for adolescents and young people, but there was still the belief, which was false, that sexual and reproductive health service encouraged sexual activity among young people. It was also difficult in many cultures to accept sexuality issues among young people. Another barrier was that a lot of the services were done in a piecemeal approach and were not integrated.
Ms Zindela said UNFPA had not been involved with the Child Protection Register and the Sexual Offences Register. Their support was in training officials who were responsible for data administration and to assist government to generate policy-relevant data, including MPG relevant indicators. UNFPA had not been involved but would respond on a request basis. The low capacity in the administration of the registers went beyond the issue of political will. There was high turnover amongst the people administering the registers, so government needed to work in terms of retaining people. UNFPA could play a supportive role in ensuring that the registers worked if the Committee requested it.
On cervical cancer screening and the issue of the minimal resources the DOH had to provide comprehensive cervical cancer screening services, the UNFPA was not about providing more financial support, its strength was mainly on technical support and in some instances actually the relevant equipment for the DOH, and were also training doctors and nurses on their use and were institutionalising it with the University of Pretoria.
The Committee could advocate for the allocation of more resources for cervical cancer screening.
Studies on teenage pregnancy were conducted by the Department of Education with technical and financial support from the UN Children’s Fund, and DOH also did a study on teenage pregnancy, but the two looked at it from different angles. The study of DOH was supported by the World Health Organisation, so a lot of support came from the UN.
The Chairperson said the Committee would deliberate on the issues and come back to the UNFPA for further engagement. It had had a presentation from UNICEF and from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime on what they were doing and where they could be of assistance.
Ms Christa Kruger said it seemed that the major challenge would be collaboration between the various departments, DOH and DSD, as well as the various ministries because it was not only Social Development that was involved in population and development. It would assist a great deal if the Committee would support that collaboration. It would mean a great deal to Social Development as well as UNPFA and the whole population development programme. Capacity was lacking, there were not enough people to do the job and she asked the Committee’s support in the provinces. In terms of international organisations, they would like their Chief Director to brief the Portfolio Committee on their international engagements.
The Chairperson thanked UNFPA for adding value and opening the Portfolio Committee’s eyes to how it could reach its oversight role and how it could improve by some intervention the lives of their constituents.
The War on Poverty Campaign Report
Ms Sadi Luka (Chief Director: Community Development: Department of Social Development) presented the report. The current situation was that 43% of people were still trapped in poverty, urban poverty was rising, rural poverty decline was slowing down and rural poverty was over twice urban poverty.
Nature and Scope of Anti-Poverty Initiatives
Those who were poor often suffered multiple service deprivation and did not have access to human development services, infrastructure services, governance and administration services, justice and crime prevention, social services and economic services.
About two million people who qualified did not receive SASSA’s Social Protection Services and did not have access to vital registration, food security, water and sanitation, housing, health care, education, early childhood development and other services.
Mandating Party’s Polokwane Resolution
The War on Poverty was responding to the mandate of the ruling party and the Polokwane Resolution around ensuring that as a country, it:
- defined clearly the poverty matrix of our country;
- developed a database of households living in poverty;
- identified and implemented specific interventions relevant to these households;
- monitored progress in these households as programmes took effect in graduating them out of poverty;
- addressed all indigence, especially the high numbers of women so affected;
- examined the experiences of other countries to ascertain defects in our system;
- coordinated and aligned anti-poverty programmes to maximise impact and avoid wastage and duplication;
- accelerated training of social workers at professional and ancillary levels to ensure that identified households were monitored and supported; and
- promoted the intensification of the joint effort of all South Africans to promote social cohesion and human solidarity.
Institutionalising the new mandate
The War on Poverty Campaign was initiated and led by the Presidency and the Presidency was responsible for coordination and integration of service delivery across spheres of government and social partners.
The first launch was in the Free State and the whole process was in terms of identifying wards. The same process was used in all the other provinces where the launches had taken place. Once the ward was identified, then information was gathered as to what was happening in that ward before going into a particular household. They had to understand what the situation was and where the opportunities and constraints were so once the household profiling was done, then the programmes would be informed by both the situation at community level and also within the household.
A questionnaire was developed for door-to-door visits to establish what services the household was able to access and what the situation in that particular household was.
Services delivered after the household profiling was done included the issue of vital documents, grants, distribution of food hampers, health care, education; housing and other issues were addressed.
Where tunnels were established, three households would take responsibility for managing and maintaining a tunnel and would grow food and would not only be able to eat from the tunnel but also be able to sell and enable families to supplement the grant.
Key Instruments and Service Delivery Areas
- At community level were community workers and practitioners, programmes and initiatives, health, education and provision of transport services; and facilities such as schools, clinics and housing. It was important to establish what the situation was so that programmes and plans responded to the challenges at that level.
- At the household level to assess the location, the dwelling type and what the human development indices were and what type of services were required and the extent to which those services could be accessed.
- At an individual level, profiling would establish the type of human capital existing in the household and the status of health, income level, skills levels, education levels and whether the persons had access to social insurance as well as social assistance. That information enabled the programme to be able to respond to the needs of people from an individual up to a community level.
The consequences of poverty traps were insecurity as those who were poor would always be the most vulnerable; citizenship rights were very limited, social discrimination and poor income opportunities.
It was important as government and as departments to ensure that dealing with the poor did not disempower them further but that they were empowered. One must also look at development approaches, and whether approaches continually disempowered people or empowered people to stand and access and fight for their own rights.
Household Graduation Process
Once the household had been assessed and services provided, the household must move from a situation of lack to a situation where they had something to relate to. The process was a state-supported phase and self-sustaining phase. Within the comprehensive development framework, one started from protection and moved to transformation. The identification phase, within that social development framework, there was an element of protection. The stabilisation phase was prevention and support by the departments that had to provide those services. The development was about promotion. Once the household was stabilised, it had to promote the situation of rectifying the livelihood strategies, and that could be done through education, skills training, and social and economic infrastructure, through linking them to opportunities for income generation as well as strengthening their livelihood.
The last phase, which was self-sustaining, was where the community was transformed and had become empowered, and that was the consolidation phase. That would enable the household or the community to generate sustainable income.
The Chairperson explained that this presentation was at the Committee’s request.
Ms Nelson asked how far they were in terms of the programme roll-out and meeting targets for this financial year.
Ms Lamoela noted that there were tremendous challenges and asked who monitored that programme?
Ms H Malgas (ANC) was also interested in monitoring and evaluation. With the roll out of the pilot in the Free State, was there an improvement in the quality of life? How did monitoring and evaluation take place? On the integrated approach, were departments responding?
The Chairperson welcomed Mr Masiphula Mbongwa, Director General of Agriculture.
Ms Nelson referred to the roll out plan. This financial year there were 12 districts, 36 municipalities, 152 wards involved. She asked for the names of those districts and wards so the Committee could know exactly where the programme was taking place.
Ms Lamoela asked what the three selected areas to run the pilot were. What about accelerating the training of social workers at professional and ancillary levels to ensure that identified households were monitored and supported – were there any strategies in place?
Ms Xaba asked whether the provincial, regional and local offices had this information?
Poverty was all over, how did one identify what criteria was used and how were other areas identified so that the programme could be spread?
Ms Malgas asked whether delivery to the poor was taking place in the Eastern Cape.
Ms Kenye was also concerned about monitoring and evaluation. It was good to have the Monitoring and Evaluation Team in the Office of the Presidency, but if it didn’t disseminate down to the lowest level it made no difference. Were there any teams in the other spheres of government for monitoring and evaluation, so that the processes were disseminated down from national to the individual?
Ms Lamoela asked whether the communication strategy was rolled out and if it were possible to have a copy of the communication strategy, especially the one intended for use in the rural areas.
The Chairperson asked the DG what was happening in the provinces.
The DG responded that there was something happening across all the provinces. KZN, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo had profiled a total of more than twenty thousand households. The profiling of the households was extremely important because out of that would come referral to the various departments and service providers. And having referred the needs of the households to those service providers, they would pursue those departments relentlessly in terms of delivery, monitoring and evaluation, and set themselves specific objectives as a national task team. One of which was that within ninety days, non-negotiable deliverables must have been delivered. Non-negotiables were birth certificates, the registration of children to the Early Childhood Development Centres.
Other provinces had chosen the political leadership in each of the provinces to confirm the areas which were the most deprived. There were specific criteria drawn from Statistics South Africa for all the provinces, ranging from the most to the least deprived, so they went to the political leadership and said according to Stats South Africa those were the areas. They confirmed and added some. In some areas such as North West there was still a debate, purely because some members, particularly at council level in the municipalities, wanted all their areas to be on, so that was where the delay was.
Ms Malgas referred to the pilot project in the Free State and the ninety day non-negotiables. That project was a year old; had it improved the quality of life of the people?
Ms Nelson asked which municipalities in the North West were responsible for the delays.
A member posed her questions in an African language.
Ms Lamoela asked whether the Western Cape had identified its areas and whether a pilot project had been started in the Western Cape.
The Chairperson reminded members that the War on Poverty was not just a 2009 project; it had started last year and was gaining momentum and was being rolled out to every province. She asked whether any of the projects from last year had been evaluated.
The Director General responded that when they went into areas and households, they identified that most of the needs were short term. The idea was to deal with the most immediate and pressing. Many of those received food hampers and birth certificates.
SASSA and Home Affairs were there; the police were there because of the affidavits.
They had not yet done an impact assessment, but needs such as birth certificates were met, which in some cases were used so that a child could write exams. They were monitoring one child the Deputy picked up in the Free State and was now doing her first year in nursing. Members of the team built a house for an eighty-year-old gentleman.
An ECD centre was built in an area of Limpopo and was being well utilised by many children. The Western Cape project was never formally launched, but there was a jamboree in Delft and about seven areas in the Western Cape were also on board.
Ms Luka added that they also coordinated the submission of reports from all the provinces. Two reports were received from Mpumalanga called post launch provincial activities. Twenty-four wards were targeted in Mpumalanga and some of the achievements were having already established the local War Rooms which had 53 data collectors who had been trained and ten field workers. In Nkomazi an ECD Centre was funded and school uniforms were provided. A report was also received from Limpopo. From a Social Development point of view, they were requesting provinces to submit their post launch reports so that achievements and challenges could be identified and addressed.
The Department of Social Development was rolling out bursaries for the training of social workers. The challenge was that universities had a quota and they needed more than the universities could accommodate. The Department was also looking at building capacity of all social service professionals. They worked very closely with the municipalities because the municipalities had a strong component of community development workers.
The Chairperson asked the DG for a commitment to come back to the Committee to report on the outcomes of those projects in existence, on the progress and challenges of the projects in the different provinces, so that members of the Committee could go back to their constituencies and assist, without intervening in the work of government. All wanted to see a reduction in poverty.
The DG committed to that, except for the North West, where there were some problems. They would welcome assistance from the Committee in terms of unlocking blockages.
A committee member commented in an African language.
Ms Xaba said the provinces would make “sweet” reports but perhaps on going there they would find all was not so well. She asked for reports on all the provinces reflecting what had been done, and the Committee would go and see whether that had really happened, and assist. There was a need to look at the monitoring and evaluation. There was a crisis around trucks delivering services to the rural areas, in one of the provinces they had been stopped because maintenance was difficult. In that particular local office that served five to six towns there was a little Golf that could not go to the deep rural areas, and there were no funds to maintain the truck. Those were the things that affected delivery.
Mr Magagula cautioned that when implementation had to take the medium term, which on going into community profiling that was in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) of the municipality. Once the IDP had been made, it took five years to achieve it. Maybe after a year the IDP would be reviewed but other than that, not any changes would be made to it, How would they go into the IDP to put in what was coming to the community?
The DG listed the areas and wards covered in Gauteng and KZN. They no longer did just the thirty households; they did the rest of the ward.
Ms Luka explained that in terms of the Integrated Development Plan and how this fitted within the IDPs, there was the short term, medium term and long term. Currently the IDPs focused more on infrastructure than on the social elements of integrated planning. So the process enabled municipalities to integrate within the IDPs, social development issues that were often not very strong in the IDPs. When the IDPs were reviewed, it would make sure that all those issues identified were mainstreamed. Social development was not well represented within the IDP processes. About a hundred PCPs were trained to participate in the IDP processes and sector in those elements that were not very strong. They also worked very closely with the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs to review and to look at those social elements and were looking at mainstreaming social cohesion as one of the key performance indicators for municipalities. So in the short, medium to long term those issues that emanated from the profiles they looked at, how to be factored in both now and during the review processes.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Luka and DG Mbongwa for the presentation. The presentations were quite detailed, giving a picture of what was being done. The Committee looked forward to further engagement, especially related to what was happening in each province with detailed outcomes and objectives, monitoring and evaluation.
There was also the question of the communication plan and how the War on Poverty was communicated to the target areas. The presentation was also part of that communication because the Committee was also a stakeholder. There would be follow-up meeting.
Committee Programme and Oversight Visit to Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape
The Committee discussed the programme. On 27 October: Briefing by Department and three entities on their Annual Reports. It was agreed to visit Mpumalanga, near the border of Mozambique and Swaziland, and also the Eastern Cape and target the very rural areas around Lusikisiki around the 11 November. The programme was adopted with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
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