The Parliamentary Research Unit and Content Advisor gave a detailed analysis of the 2009/10 Annual Report of the Department of Social Development and the 1st quarter spending trends of 2010/11, compared to 1st quarter spending trends of 2009/10. They outlined the scope of the programmes, the achievements as stated in the Annual Report, and suggested that those areas which showed under achievement or under spending should be further interrogated. It was noted that under Programme 1, certain policies were not finalised, and there was underachievement in some provinces. Programme 2 showed deviation from targets in the training of health professionals, and delays in finalisation of studies because of budgetary constraints. Youth and adult social assistance beneficiaries were not yet linked to employment opportunities. In respect of Programme 4, there were provincial discrepancies in the funding models, and monitoring and evaluation systems were needed. The progress of the attempts to develop a framework to link poor, vulnerable and marginalised people to sustainable livelihoods must be established. It seemed that the Department was failing to follow up on non profit organisations who did not submit their annual reports as required. In relation to the spending in 2009/10, it was noted that 99.3% of the budget of R86.5 billion was spent, with spending rates for each of the first three quarters being above the benchmark and under spending in the 4th quarter, due to less than anticipated numbers of beneficiaries applying for grants.
The first quarter performance for 2010/11 showed a total spending of 27.2%, with a breakdown being given of the spending by programme, and comparisons given to the previous financial year. Large overspending was attributed to advances paid to the Social Assistance Transfers and National Student Financial Aid Scheme. It was recommended that the Committee should enquire into delays in submission of invoices by the Department of Public Works, administrative delays in transfer payments to Love Life, and that more attention was needed by the Department into identifying and mitigating risks, including administrative and implementation delays, which then suggested the need for greater monitoring and evaluation. Procurement units should be well capacitated.
The Department of Social Development then gave a detailed presentation on the performance in the various programmes of the Department, setting out the achievements and the plans that had been successfully concluded. Particular attention was paid to the extension of the Child Support Grant, the extension of the Old Age Grant, the regulations under various pieces of legislation and the development of guidelines and policies in respect of the Older Person’s Act, Children’s Act, Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, and the Child Justice Act. There had been policy discussions and development in a number of fields, including the policy for the Social Services Profession, policy on Financial Awards to Service Providers, an implementation plan for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and minimum standards for residential facilities for people with disabilities, as well as a strategy for supporting children with disabilities. Further strategies were developed for shelters for victims of abuse, prevention of gender-based violence, services to women, statutory services for child headed households. The implementation plans for the Policy Framework and Strategic Plan for Child Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation were developed. The procedure for adoptions was outlined. National Community Development frameworks had been developed, including a social strategy for India/ Brazil/ South Africa. Poverty interventions and youth development were described. The challenges to the Department included delays in implementing the Social Relief Policy and Social Relief Bill, delays in the interdepartmental process on retirement forums and delays in approving the Institutional Framework for Social Security Provision. The high rates of unemployment meant that the demand for the social safety net was expanding. Members questioned the court cases in Free State, the reasons why food banks were not sited in rural areas, the hemp project, and whether graduates in social work were being employed. Members enquired whether there were dormant funds in the Department, enquired about the downscaling and closing of social work colleges, and the necessity for the Department to train more people on the ground. They also were interested in the future of social welfare for older persons.
Department of Social Development Annual Report 2009/10: Analysis by Parliamentary Research Unit
Ms Siyavuya Koyana (Gudula), Parliamentary Researcher, gave an analysis of the 2009/10 Annual Report of the Department of Social Development (DSD or the Department) to the Committee. She noted that the work of the Department was divided into programmes.
The aim of Programme 1 (Administration) was to focus on policy formulation, corporate governance, and support services, which were then broken down into a number of other categories. It also included executive management services, including Ministerial services, Deputy Ministerial services, and services to the Office of the Director-General.
The achievements of the Department over the 2009/10 financial year were highlighted. A database on social grants was developed, as was a draft audit policy and an anti-corruption and fraud strategy. The completion of user requirement specifications for the integration of Computer Peripheral Repairs (CPR) and Child and Youth Care Application (CYCA) were also highlights. She noted that the vacancy rate of the Department had been reduced to 10%, exceeding its own targets by 5% and compared the number of vacancies in 2008/09 and those in 2009/10. She also noted that the regulations under the Children’s Act, Older Persons’ Act and Social Assistance Act were drafted and implemented.
She then noted some areas of concern on this programme. She pointed out that on page 24 of the Annual Report, the Department stated that Official Development Assistance (ODA) could not be carried out since the National Treasury conducted a similar study. Furthermore, on page 31 of the Annual Report it was reported that ODA could not be reached due to lack of staff capacity. Activity Base Costing model (ABC) did not occur as planned, and she added that this model could not be realised in a period of one year. The Quality Assurance Review (QAR) recommendations were not completed due to financial constraints. The finalisation of the approval of the policy framework, guidelines, and procedure manuals for budget planning were not achieved. The target of implementing the Social Development Information Management System in all provinces was not met, as it was only implemented in seven provinces.
Ms Koyana (Gudula) noted that Programme 2 (Comprehensive Social Security) aimed to develop policies and programmes to provide income support to the children, elderly, disabled and households in distress, through social assistance and policies that mandated employed persons to contribute to social insurance. There had been some achievements on this programme, which included the increase in the numbers of beneficiaries on the social assistance programme, by 7.7%. Cabinet had approved the extension of Child Support Grants to those between the ages of 15 to 18 and implementation of this began in January 2010. Men who were now eligible for pensions, aged between 61 and 62, were enrolled on the scheme and began to receive their old age grants. She set out the increases (see attached presentation) for the Child Support Grant beneficiaries (increase of 9.1%), Old Age Grant (OAG) beneficiaries (6.57%), and Foster Child Grant beneficiaries (7.62%), and Care Dependency Grant (CDG) figures (5.32%).
The concerns in relation to Programme 2 were that there had been a deviation from the target, by 100%, in the training of health professionals in the use of assessment tool for care dependency grant. There were delays in the finalisation of the study on social budgets as a tool, due to financial constraints. The policy on youth and adult social assistance beneficiaries, to link them to employment opportunities, was not finalised.
Ms Koyana (Gudula) set out that Programme 3(Policy development, review and implementation support for welfare) aimed to create an enabling environment for the delivery and accessibility of integrated social welfare service, in partnership with all relevant stakeholders. The achievements for this programme included the national plan of action for student scholarships being developed and approved by Heads of Social Development (HSD). Protocols for managing the abuse of older people were aligned with the Older Persons Act. Provinces were consulted on the Financial Awards Draft Policy to Service Providers and a desktop analysis was done. Regulations under the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act were drafted. North West and Limpopo were capacitated to implement the Ke Moja Programme, which reached 90 master trainers. The integrated plan for implementing Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) policy guidelines was developed, in order to protect people affected by crime and violence. Regulations under the Children’s Act were finalised and approved and a final policy framework for statutory services to child headed households was developed.
Ms Yolisa Nogenga, Content Advisor for Parliament, then detailed that Programme 4 (Community Development) aimed to create an enabling environment for empowering poor, vulnerable and previously marginalised groups, including youth, women and people with disabilities, in order to achieve sustainable livelihoods. She set out the achievements, which included the acceleration of the registration of non profit organisations (NPOs) , giving the figures for those approved, which marked an increase of 14%. She also detailed how many NPOs had submitted their annual reports. There were improvements in the participation in Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and a concept document and training of 100 Community Development Practitioners (CDPs) was achieved, and a Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) toolkit for them was developed. A framework for linking poor, vulnerable and marginalised people to sustainable livelihoods and economic activities was developed. R3.3 million was contributed towards the establishment of a national food bank network, and she suggested that Committee Members should pay an oversight visit to that sites. She then set out the figures for recruitment and training of mentors and youth development Masupatsela pioneers. Norms and standards for Home and Community Based Care (HCBC) were developed and a orientation Programme was developed and conducted in local NGOs. Most importantly, a new HCBC Monitoring and Evaluation system was developed.
Under this programme, there were also issues of concern. There was a need to address provincial discrepancies in the funding models of NPOs and HCBC, and a Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E) system was needed to assess whether all organisations funded were delivering as required. This was only operating properly in KwaZulu Natal. There was a need to assess the progress in development of a framework to link poor, vulnerable and marginalised people to sustainable livelihoods. There was no proper report on what letters had been sent to the NPOs that failed to submit their annual reports.
In respect of Programme 5 (Strategy and Governance), Ms Nogenga noted that this aimed to lead the strategic planning process across the national and provincial departments, and should ensure that the Department’s core strategic functions were integrated into its oversight, monitoring and evaluation capacity. It also was to improve social policy planning and strengthen policy implementation by all entities reporting to the Department. Through the development of customised planning frameworks for the provinces and the national department, an annual risk assessment exercise was developed. Consumer Care and Human Capital Strategies were implemented in the provinces. The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPW) had been expanded beyond HCBC and ECD to include Kha Ri Gude, the National School Nutrition Programme and the Mass Participation Programme.
First Quarter 2010/11 performance and expenditure trends analysis: Research Unit
Ms Bridgette Diutlwileng, Senior Researcher, Parliament, gave a presentation on the total spending trends of the Department in the first and second quarters of 2010/11 financial year. She noted that in the first quarter, there had been a total spending of 27.2% of the main appropriation of R95,929 billion. This showed expenditure of 2.2% above the projected expenditure. There had been an improvement on the spending shown in the same period in the previous year. The expenditure of 27.2% was attributed to the advances paid during March 2010, in relation to the Social Assistance Transfers, and to the increased first payment to the National Student Financial Aid Schemes (NSFAS) in respect of the Social Work Scholarship programme.
The spending in 2009/10 had amounted to 99.3% of its 2009/10 adjusted budget of R86,5 billion. The spending rates were above the benchmark of 25% for each of the first three quarters of the financial year. The Department had under-spent marginally in the 4th quarter, mainly due to a reduction in the number of beneficiaries applying for grants.
She then outlined more details on the spending, by programme. She set out that Programme 1 had spent 19.7% of its budget of R180, 7 million in the 1st quarter, a 5.3% departure from the expected figure, and a figure that was well below the spending of 31.8% by this programme in the first quarter of 2009/10. She noted that there were delays in submissions of invoices from the Department of Public Works (DPW), and recommended that the Portfolio Committee should inquire into those delays, which related to invoices for office accommodation, water and lights expenditure.
Ms Duitlwileng said that Programme 2 spending amounted to 27.1% in the first quarter, of the budget of R95.1 billion, which was underpinned by the advance payments paid in March 2020 in respect of the 2010/11 Social Assistance Transfers. This rate was slightly higher than what had been achieved in the 1st quarter of 2009/10.
Programme 3 spending in the 1st quarter of 2010/11 amounted to 44%, instead of the projected 25%, which was 5.3% higher than the comparative spending in 2009/10. This related to the first payment made to the NSFAS in respect of Social Worker bursaries.
Programme 4 had, in the 1st quarter of 2010/11, spent 15.5% of its budget of R194, 3 million, which was not only lower than the projected spending, but also lower than the 21% spending recorded for this period of 2009/10. The low spending was mainly attributed to the administrative delays in the first transfer payment to LoveLife and other non government organisations (NGOs). She suggested that the Portfolio Committee should enquire into this.
Programme 5 spending in the 1st quarter of 2010/11 was at 19.3% of the budget of R71.3 million, lower than expected, and much lower than the spending of 33% in this quarter in 2009/10. The lower spending was attributed mainly to the late receipts of invoices in respect of the procurement of goods and services.
She recommended that the Department should be more vigilant in identifying and mitigating risks such as administrative delays in relation to transfer payments, and implementation delays in relation to planned projects. This meant that M&E should form an integral part of the implementation of projects phase. The Department should also ensure that its procurement unit was well capacitated, so that it could identify and mitigate risks to procurement processes, such as late receipt of invoices.
Department of Social Development Annual Report 2009/10 presentation
Mr Vusi Madonsela, Director General, Department of Social Development, outlined the vision and mission of the Department of Social Development (see attached documentation). He noted that the Strategic Priorities of the DSD included the need to address child poverty, adult and older person’s poverty, promote youth development, social cohesion, and support civil society and strengthening of communities. It was also committed to supporting governance and institutional development, and promoting regional and international solidarity and development.
Mr Madonsela also outlined what each programme of the DSD would cover (see attached presentation). He started by outlining the programme performance for Programme 2. He noted the approval by Cabinet of the extension of Child Support Grants to children aged 15 to 18, which came into effect in January 2010. The number of Child Support Grant recipients grew by 9.1%. The number of Foster Child Grants had been increased, and an annual growth rate of around 7.62% was projected. The Care Dependency Grant saw an annual growth rate of 5.3. He noted, under this Programme, that the Social Assistance Amendment Bill was submitted to Parliament in March 2010 for public comment. The recipients of the disability grant had declined, due to the review of social grants provided for in the regulations under the Social Assistance Act. Age equalisation for the old age grant was changed, enabling men from age 61 now also to apply, and those in the 61 and 62 years category were enrolled and began to receive their old age grants during the reporting period. The total number of older persons receiving the grants was now at 2.55 million. The War Veterans Grant recipients declined by 18% from 1 500, to 1 216 by March 2010. A study on income support to unemployed adults was finalised and policy options were developed, and a study on the Social Assistance for Caregivers grant was finalised, with policy options also developed here. The Social Insurance policy proposals were completed, and were included in the Consolidated Government Document being prepared by the Inter-Departmental Task Team on Social Security Reform. A Social Security strategic framework was also developed, and was included in the consolidated government Document on Social Security Reforms. A well-attended and successful seminar with the theme “Social Security Reform” had been held in Namibia on 18 and 19 October 2009. He outlined that the provision of social assistance benefits to vulnerable groups had included the extension, through South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) of the Child Support Grant and Old Age grant. Over 14 million South Africans had access to the social grants system.
Mr Madonsela turned to Programme 3, and said that a business process had been mapped and redesigned in ten service areas, in order to standardise social welfare services nationally. A baseline study of existing norms and standards, and on 130 policies, had been conducted, and legislative frameworks had been developed. 775 stakeholders had been capacitated on generic forms and standards and the Integrated Service Delivery Model (ISDM). In addition, a review on social welfare services delivery framework within the ISDM, in consultation with the broader sector and academic institutions, was conducted.
Mr Madonsela said that the Heads of Social Development (HSD) had approved a plan of action for managing the scholarship programme. The Department had awarded 4 200 scholarships to social work students, to build capacity in the social services profession. 2 484 students had graduated since the initial scholarship provision. The Department had also held a career fair in five provinces, in partnership with provincial departments, to increase the number of youth pursuing a social work profession. A draft Policy for the Social Service Profession, in consultation with provincial departments, had been developed. Furthermore, an analysis of the policy on Financial Awards to Service Providers had also been conducted and the findings were discussed with line functionaries and NGOs. Funds were transferred to 21 national bodies to provide financial support in order to improve service delivery.
The Minister had approved Regulations under the Older Person’s Act in March 2010, and the Act had come into effect in April 2010. The Department had also finalised guidelines for implementing the Older Persons Act. A protocol on managing abuse for older persons, in line with this Act, had been developed. An audit of residential facilities for the elderly had been finalised, as well as an audit on frail care services. An implementation plan for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was developed. An integrated policy, and minimum standards on residential facilities for people with disabilities, had been incorporated into the Comprehensive National Police Framework on Disability, aligning it with the UN Convention, was finalised. The minimum standards for residential facilities were rolled out in all provinces. The final report of the costing of policy for analysis and assessment had been submitted. The Department had trained all provinces on transforming protective workshops to ensure the employability of disabled persons. The Department had also developed a policy on rehabilitating people with disabilities, and providing them with community based services. A strategy for supporting children with disabilities was finalised.
The Department had developed regulations under the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act. The after care and reintegration model for victims of substance abuse had been approved. Preparations for the second biennial summit on substance abuse were completed. The Department had hosted the Ke Moja (I’m fine without drugs) read shows, and had reached 90 master trainers.
He outlined the provisions in relation to families. Under the Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) and Social Crime, a strategy on shelters for the victims of abuse was approved. The guidelines on services relating to human trafficking, rape, domestic violence and violent crimes were approved. A strategy for engaging with men and boys on the prevention of gender-based violence was also approved. The Department had also drafted and finalised the Social Crime Prevention strategy. A blueprint of norms and standards for secure centres had been drafted. The National Policy Framework on diversion services for children in conflict with the law had been drafted and finalised. The Department had also built capacity, in six provinces, for family preservation and had reached 200 service providers. A strategy on services to women was drafted and finalised.
Mr Madonsela then spoke to the Child Care and Protection Services, which related to the Children’s Act. The regulations under this Act had been in effect since April 2010. The provinces had submitted a revised plan for implementing this Act. The policy framework and strategy to the Child Care and Protection Forum had been finalised and submitted. The Department had also amended the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, in line with the final regulations promulgated under the Children’s Act. It had also capacitated the Child Care and Protection Forum and Early Childhood Development (ECD) Forum to implement the framework, had finalised and piloted the training guidelines, and provided a Train the Trainer guide to the Child Care and Protection Forum.
Mr Madonsela tabled slides on the functional Child Protection System. Part B of the Child Protection Register had been developed, as part of the efforts to build a functional child protection system. A result matrix for the Implementation Plan for the Policy Framework and Strategic Plan for Child Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation had also been developed. In line with the need for alternative care facilities and programmes, the Department had completed a rapid appraisal of Child and Youth Care Centres (C&YCC), but it was not always to place a child in the same geographical area as his or her family. An alternative care strategy was to be drafted. A research report on cluster care models and their costing had been completed.
Mr Madonsela outlined the provisions in relation to adoptions. The Register of Adoptable Children and Prospective Adoptive Parents (RACA) policy document had been finalised and approved. A manual adoption register was developed, and 2 602 national adoptions had been registered, as well as 293 inter-country adoptions. A policy document on the accreditation process had been developed. An adoption strategy had been presented to the Welfare Services Forum, HSD, and MinMEC. Practice guidelines on local and inter-country adoptions were produced and distributed. International Social Services (ISS) Council meetings were hosted in Cape Town in 2009 and ISS guidelines were completed and approved.
A policy framework for statutory services to child headed households was developed, under the unit for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). It also incorporated a draft strategy on Children Living and Working on the Streets.
In terms of Early Childhood Development (ECD), he noted that a concept paper on national partial care had been developed. The Department had registered 2 514 ECD centres in 2009/10, bringing the total to 16 250. Children accessing the ECD services had risen to 717 657, of whom over 430 000 received state subsidies. The DSD had also developed a computerised national information management system for partial care and ECD, and developed a Monitoring Framework for the implementation of the National Integrated Plan for ECD.
Mr Madonsela then described the achievements under Programme 4. A National Community Development Framework had been developed, as well as an India/ Brazil/ South Africa (IBSA) social strategy. The Department had developed the skills development plan for Community Development Practitioners (CDPs), and the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) approved R2.03 million for the CDP skills development programme.
The DSD completed a Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA) toolkit. 40 CDPs were then trained to use the SLA toolkit. In regard to community food banks, he indicated that a roll out and criteria for establishing new food banks was done in five provinces. The Department spent R3.3 million on the establishment of food banks in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth. That project had created 91 jobs.
He described the Poverty War Room Interventions. The DSD had generated a household profiling tool and utilised this in the wall-to-wall profiling of greater Giyani, as part of the War on Poverty Campaign (WOPC) contribution towards the 67 minutes of Mandela Day.
DSD had developed and approved various cooperation agreements, contracts and service level agreements (see attached presentation for full details), including academic institutions. The service level agreements amounted to over R8 million. More than 2 100 grant beneficiaries were now linked to economic activities. It had also launched the HEMP project and had created a total of 84 jobs, of which 32 were in the farming of hemp, 35 in the product development, 17 in the technical support and marketing, with beneficiaries generating substantial savings.
In relation to youth development and poverty alleviation programmes, Mr Madonsela noted that DSD had commissioned an audit of youth service in Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal. A desktop analysis on all DSD policies, legislations and research had been conducted and a report had been compiled. In relation to the National Youth Service (NYS) and Masupa-Tsela Youth Pioneer Programme (MYPP); the DSD and National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) reviewed and reprinted a training manual for the massification of the NYS. 90 officials were trained. Business plans were developed to implement the different NYS projects (see attached detail for employees). An annual review of the first phase of MYPP had been conducted. Masupa-Tsela curriculum was being accredited, and the University of Fort Hare Senate should shortly advise of its decision. The DSD had assisted in the establishment and support of a Youth Desk at the Pretoria Central Police Station, and with coordination of the Youth Multipurpose Centre for the Nkungumathe Youth Forum. The training of district officials and HCBC organisations, as well as community caregivers, was detailed. A strategy for monitoring LoveLife was also developed.
Mr Madonsela noted that the DSD faced several challenges. These included the delays in implementing the Social Relief Policy and Social Relief Bill, because DSD needed to consult broadly. The policy proposals on retirement forums formed part of an interdepartmental process, and lack of consensus in IDTT had delayed the drafting of this legislation. The proposed Institutional Framework for Social Security Provision had not yet been approved, and so the legislation could not yet be drafted. As a result of the high rate of unemployment, there was a continuous demand for an ever-expanding social safety net. Other challenges related to the Department’s own capacity constraints, the need for reprioritisation, appeals backlog, and protracted procurement processes.
Ms S Kopane (DA) stated that some NGOs had taken the Department to court in the Free State on issues relating to its financial policy. She asked for clarity on the matter, and wished to know how the Department’s attention to such matters detracted from its ability to perform its tasks.
Mr Madonsela answered that the outcome of this case had been that the provinces would be allowed to have their own financial policy. He hoped that this would dissuade other NGOs from following a similar, detrimental, route.
Ms N Mcume (COPE) asked why the food banks were not situated in the rural areas where they were most needed. She also asked how viable the hemp project would be, and whether this crop would grow anywhere in the country.
Mr Madonsela responded that the greatest difficulty in this project lay around the licensing requirements, since hemp was closely related to cannabis. Hemp would grow well only in certain climatic conditions. In the Pondoland area of the Eastern Cape there had been progress, and a large scale venture was anticipated. He stated that the hemp project would not give access to the market for the illegal cannabis dealers.
The Chairperson asked Members not to direct questions to the National Department that were better answered by the provinces.
The Chairperson asked what had happened to those graduates who had been trained in social work, and wished to know whether they were effectively absorbed into posts where they were needed most.
Mr Madonsela answered that the absorption of the graduates was the responsibility of the provinces, and that there were ongoing negotiations with NGOs in that regard. The DSD was also looking into the training of auxiliary social workers so as to create a holistic service to communities. He also assured the Committee that his office was working with universities to ensure intake of sufficient numbers of trainee social workers.
The Chairperson wished to know whether there were any dormant funds within the Department.
Mr Madonsela said that the question of dormant funds were still being investigated, but if they did exist, then the provinces would have the prerogative to determine where the money should be focused instead of it being returned immediately to the national coffers.
The Chairperson enquired about the downscaling of social work by universities and colleges, citing that the Social Work College in Franschoek was apparently due for closure.
Mr Madonsela confirmed that this College was due for closure, but said that that decision had been vetoed. He was doing his level best to ensure the sustainability of colleges, while also working with universities.
The Chairperson suggested that, in view of the challenges due to capacity constraints, it was perhaps time for the DSD to train people to conduct the actual work on the ground, instead of training managers.
Mr Madonsela said that the overemphasis on empirical sciences by the universities should not undermine the importance of the humanities, and he requested some support and assistance from the Portfolio Committee in that regard.
Ms W Nelson (ANC) enquired about the future of social welfare for older persons, now that policies on the older persons’ residential facility had been finalised.
Mr Madonsela answered that the necessary steps would be agreed between the Department and the provinces. He added that the norms and standards of the older person’s residential facilities were also to be determined by both the DSD and the provinces.
Ms H Lamoela (ANC) wished to know the scope of the ke moja project.
Mr Madonsela stated that this initiative was only functional in the North West and in Limpopo. Other provinces were at liberty to begin the project themselves.
The meeting was adjourned.
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