Deputy Minister and Department of Social Development: Annual Report 2009/10 briefing

NCOP Health and Social Services

24 January 2011
Chairperson: Ms R Rasmeni (North West, ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Deputy Minister and Department of Social Development 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 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.  National Community Development frameworks had been developed, including a social strategy for India/ Brazil/ South Africa. Poverty interventions and youth development were described. 

Another presentation was given on the financial statements for 2009/10. This highlighted underspending in the Department. It also highlighted that, for the first time, the Department had received a qualified audit opinion, and this related largely to the fact that the Department and SASSA held dual accountability, and the SASSA matters were contained in the Department’s report. The basis of the qualifications, and the Department’s response, were set out.

Members asked a number of detailed questions. They were particularly interested in the oversight and accountability relationships between the Department and SASSA and noted that SASSA would brief the Committee and that the Department would, after holding its own meetings, then also compile a full report for presentation to the Committee. Members also expressed their concerns about accountability of registered NGOs that were not submitting reports, the reason for an NGO bringing a court application against the Department, the reasons why food banks were not sited in rural areas, and the Department’s plan for assisting projects that were not performing well. Other questions included the criteria for establishing projects, Early Childhood Development,
poverty alleviation projects, the backlogs in appeals and whether Independent Tribunals were assisting, and problems at paypoints for the old age grants. The Department was asked what it was doing to ensure proper monitoring and evaluation, whether some projects were sustainable, the impact of delays in finalising the Memorandum of Understanding on the Child Protection Register, and to explain exactly what interventions were planned.

Meeting report

Department of Social Development Annual Report 2009/10: Deputy Minister’s overview and Departmental briefing
Ms Maria Ntuli, Deputy Minister of Social Development, gave an overview of the presentation on the Department of Social Development (DSD or the Department) Annual Report 2009/10. The vision, mission and strategic priorities were presented. The importance of poverty was stressed, and it was noted that this must be addressed by all Members across all parties. The Deputy Minister also outlined the intention to have those currently dependent on social grants developing into entrepreneurs who could support themselves. The aim was to work together to alleviate poverty in all the provinces.

Mr Vusi Madonsela, Director General, Department of Social Development, tabled the Annual Report and the Department’s presentation and called on his staff to give the presentations.

Ms Thilde Stevens, Acting Chief Director Monitoring and Evaluation, Department of Social Development, outlined the programme objectives for Programme 2: Comprehensive Social Security. In the area of Social Assistance: Children's Benefits; she noted that Cabinet approved 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% between March 2009 and March 2010.  The number of Foster Child Grants increased at an annual growth rate of about 7.6%. The Care Dependency Grant experienced an annual growth rate of 5.3%.

In the area of Old age, disability, and war veterans grants, Ms Stevens noted that the Social Assistance Amendment Bill was submitted to Parliament in March 2010 for public comment. Recipients of the
disability grant had declined, due to the review of social grants provided for in the regulations under the Social Assistance Act. There had been age equalisation for the old age grant with those aged 61 to 62 being enrolled and beginning to access their grants. The total number of older persons receiving the grants was now at 2.55 million. The War Veterans Grant recipients declined by 18.9%, from 1 500 down to 1 216 in March 2010.  A study on income support to unemployed adults was finalised and policy options were developed.  A study on the Social Assistance for Caregivers grant was finalised and policy options were also developed.

In the area of Social Insurance, Ms Stevens noted that Social Insurance policy proposals were completed and 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 included in the Consolidated Government Document on Social Security Reforms. A well-attended and successful seminar under the theme “Social Security Reform” had been held in Namibia on 18 and 19 October 2009. 

She outlined that when considering social assistance benefits to vulnerable groups through South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), key achievements included the extension of the Child Support Grant and Old Age Grant. Social assistance beneficiaries increased by 7.7%.

Ms Stevens then turned to Programme 3 and read the programme objectives. The business processes had been mapped and redesigned in ten service areas in order to standardise social welfare services nationally. Baseline studies of existing norms and standards, services and process were conducted in respect of 130 policies, including legislative frameworks. 775 stakeholders had been capacitated on generic forms and standards as well as on the Integrated Service Delivery Model (ISDM). A review on social welfare service delivery framework within the ISDM, in consultation with the broader sector and academic institutions, was conducted.

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. Career fairs in five provinces aimed to increase the number of youth entering the social work profession. A draft Policy for the Social Service Profession, in consultation with provincial departments, had been developed. An analysis of the Policy on Financial Awards to service providers had also been conducted and the findings were discussed with line functionaries and representatives of the NGO sector. Funds were transferred to 21 national bodies to provide financial support in order to improve service delivery.

Ms Stevens noted that the State President had approved Regulations under the Older Person’s Act in March 2010, and this had come into effect in April 2010. The Department had also finalised guidelines for implementing the Older Persons Act. A protocol on managing abuse of older persons, in line with this Act, had been developed. An audit of residential facilities and of frail care facilities had been finalised. An implementation plan for the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was developed.

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.  A policy and minimum standards on residential facilities for people with disabilities had been finalised and integrated into the comprehensive national policy framework on Disability, aligning it with the UN Convention. The minimum standards for residential facilities were rolled out in all provinces. 

The Department had drafted 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) road shows, and had reached 90 master trainers.

Ms Stevens outlined the Department's achievements in relation to Families, 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.

Ms Stevens then spoke to Child Care and Protection Services, specifically regarding the implementation of the Children's Act. Regulations under the Children's Act came into effect in April 2010.  The provinces had submitted revised plans for implementing the Children's Act.  The policy framework and strategy was finalised and submitted to the Child Care and Protection Forum. The Department had also amended the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, in line with the final regulations promulgated under the Children’s Act.  The Department had finalised and piloted the training guidelines, and provided a Train the Trainer guide to the Child Care and Protection Forum.

Ms Stevens presented 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 able to place a child in the same geographical area as his or her family.  An alternative care strategy was drafted. A research report on cluster care models and their costing had been completed.

Ms Stevens tabled slides 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.  2 602 national adoptions and 293 inter-country adoptions had been registered. 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 the Early Childhood Development (ECD) area, she noted that a concept paper on national partial care had been developed. The Department had registered 2 514 ECD centres during the reporting period, bringing the total to 16 250. Children accessing the ECD services had risen to 717 657, of whom over 428 807 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.

Ms Stevens then presented the department's achievements on Programme 4: Community Development.  She noted that a national Community Development Framework (CDF) 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, she indicated that a rollout strategy and criteria for establishing new food banks was developed 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.

She described the War on Poverty 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).  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, and 17 in the technical support and marketing, with beneficiaries generating substantial savings.

In relation to youth development and poverty alleviation programmes, 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. Six Cuban professors were recruited, oriented and offered English language courses.  These Cuban professors were then placed in the provinces.  An annual review of the first phase of MYPP had been conducted with the support from the Cuban officers. Masupa-Tsela curriculum was being accredited, and the University of Fort Hare Senate decision was being awaited by the end of the reporting period. 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.

Under the HIV/AIDS section the Department reviewed a policy framework on Home/Community Based Care (HCBC).  The Department funded 1 401 HCBC organisations complying with the norms and standards for HCBC.  An HCBC Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system to improve data collection was implemented in four provinces.  A curriculum framework for community caregivers and a training manual for the caregivers were developed, including a Psychosocial Wellbeing Skills Development Programme receiving accreditation with HWSETA.  660 community caregivers were trained in the skills development programme.

In regards to Non Profit Organisations, she noted that there was an annual increase of 14% in the number of registered organisations.

Turning to Programme 5: Strategy and Governance, Ms Stevens noted that the Department’s Strategic Plan was tabled in Parliament as required.  The Department participated in the 54th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March 2010.  Emphasis, during this session, was placed on the sharing of experiences and good practices with the view to overcome existing obstacles and new challenges, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals.

In the area of Monitoring and Evaluation, the Department contributed to the design and implementation of a Public Expenditure Tracking Study in collaboration with the National Treasury, the Department of Basic Education and UNICEF.  The Department also carried out two major sector capacity-building initiatives, benefiting 120 individuals.  The most notable was the five-day International Programme for the Development Evaluations Training (IPDET), a joint initiative by the World Bank and Carleton University in Canada.

The Department developed a new five-year population strategy, based on the outcome of the 10-year review and an assessment of the implementation of population policy in the country.  Departmental research projects focused on poverty, teenage pregnancy, youth, gender, HIV and AIDS, children, population policy, and Population, Environment and Development (PED).  The Department established population and development information and knowledge systems, including a database populated with contact details of population policy stakeholders in the public and private sector.

The Department developed two key documents, namely a Corporate Governance Framework and a Protocol on Governance, to ensure and uphold good corporate governance practices in line with the King III Report.  The Department moved the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) beyond the pilot programmes of the HCBC and ECD to include the literacy campaign, Kha Ri Gude ,the National School Nutrition Programme and the Mass Participation Programme.  The social sector created 206 421 job opportunities through the EPWP.  A Conditional Grant of R56 million was made available to the HCBC programmes of both the DSD and the Department of Health.  The Kwanda programme was shown as a 13-part development reality TV series during September and November 2009.  Kwanda was explained as an interactive social sector communication and mobilisation project managed jointly by the DSD, Soul City, SABC and others.

Ms Stevens then presented the achievements of the Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals.  In particular she noted that the process for establishing the Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals was almost complete.  Three clusters were established, based on the number of appeals by region, and these were described (see attached presentation). The Appeals Tribunal adjudicated 35% of the appeals backlog and by the end of the reporting period 3 421 litigious appeals had been lodged, most notably in Kwa-Zulu Natal. 

Ms Stevens noted that the Department had participated in a number of international initiatives. Most notably, the Minister signed agreements with Mali and China on practice exchanges and the Department finalised the India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Social Development Strategy.

Ms Stevens outlined the challenges experienced within the Department.  The draft Social Relief Policy and Social Relief Bill was delayed as a result of the need to consult broadly.  The policy proposals on Retirement Reform required support from many other departments.  A lack of consensus within the IDTT delayed the drafting of legislation.  The proposed overarching Institutional Framework for Social Security Provision had not yet been approved and therefore legislation had not been drafted.  Due to capacity constraints, the Department could not fully monitor compliance with the Non Profit Organisations (NPO) Act by all registered NPOs. The reduction of social assistance appeals backlog was affected by inadequate funding.

Presentation of Financial Report 2009/10
Ms Dorothea Snyman, Acting Chief Financial Officer, DSD, presented the Financial Report for 2009/10. She noted that the Department spent 98.62% of its final appropriation.  93% of this spending was on transfers to households, with only 1% being spent on operational costs.  Of the 1% spent on operational costs, the Department spent 99.25% of the final appropriation.  Almost half of the operational expenditures were spent on compensation.

Ms Snyman stated that it was most important to understand the dual accountability of the DSD and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) over the social assistance grants payments.  In view of the existing accountability arrangement, the management of the social assistance grant administration function by SASSA impacted directly on the audit report of the DSD, since the social assistance grants expenditure was disclosed in the Consolidated Annual Financial Statements of the Department.

Ms Snyman stated that the net under-spending in this financial year was R1,19 billion.  The main areas of under-spending were in Transfers and Subsidies, relating to the payment of social assistance grants and the Emergency Relief Funds that were not utilised.

Ms Snyman then presented the Auditor General's Report.  She noted that for the first time DSD received a qualified audit opinion on its financial statements.  The qualification related to the materiality of the cost implication of the projected number of social assistance grant beneficiary files that could not be provided for audit purposes, or the existence of incomplete files. She summarised the remaining audit findings as 20 findings in respect of compliance and 27 in respect of internal controls. However, she noted that there had been a decrease on such findings, from 73 in 2008/09 to 47 in 2009/10.

Ms Snyman outlined the finalised Action Plan for monitoring the progress made to address the findings of the Auditor General.  Short term strategies included addressing transfer of funds across the regions, destruction of old files, reconstruction of files, elimination of backlog on loose correspondence, and review of beneficiaries.  Medium to long term strategies included automating the current manual grant value chain and employment of staff.  The Audit Committee also recommended that there should be a review of the current accountability arrangements between the Department and SASSA, or a change in the oversight authority of the Department over SASSA.

Department’s Legislative Programme for 2009/10
Ms Snyman tabled a list of the legislative amendments made during the period. The Social Assistance Act, 2004 was amended and approved by Cabinet.  Implementation began in January 2010.  Regulations under the Older Person's Act, 2006 were approved in March 2010 and came into effect in April 2010. Regulations under the Children's Act 2005 were approved in March 2010 and the Act came into effect in April 2010.  Draft regulations were being developed for the Prevention and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, 2008.

The Chairperson commended the Department on its achievements but noted that the accountability lines between the Department and SASSA were of concern and required attention, as also supported by the report from the Auditor General.

The Deputy Minister stated that the Department was already working on the issue.

Mr Madonsela confirmed that the issue of accountability was receiving attention by both the Department and the Auditor-General.  This matter was on the agenda for a meeting between the Minister of Social Development and the Minister of Finance.  However, it involved more than accountability lines.  A change in the flow of funds would simply shift the responsibility for the money to SASSA, and this would not resolve the problem.  Wherever the financial statements were qualified made no difference as it did not solve the problem. Certain investments that SASSA had made needed to be addressed, such as the automation of systems, which would form part of the meeting between the Ministers.

The Chairperson asked if there were any timeframes for this.

Mr Madonsela stated that he was unable, at this stage, to give any time frames.

Ms M Boroto (ANC, Mpumalanga) expressed concern about non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Although accelerated registration was welcomed, these NGOs often did not have the support or resources to conduct their work, for which they were receiving money, and this might be the result of inadequate monitoring by the Department itself. Some NGOs did not submit their annual reports, making it impossible to account for what they received. She wondered how this would be resolved.

Ms Boroto asked why the food banks were established in large towns and not rural areas. 

Ms Boroto also asked about poverty alleviation projects.  Projects were established, yet no actual alleviation of poverty occurred. She asked what the Department was doing to assist such projects.

Ms Boroto wanted to know the status of the appeals backlogs, and whether the Independent Tribunals were assisting, and, if not, the reasons.

Ms Boroto asked the reasons for the delay in the draft Social Relief Bill.

Ms Boroto expressed concern about and enquired as to the condition of the pay points where old persons received their grants.

Ms Boroto asked that time frames be provided for the completion of the policy on social assistance for caregivers. 

Ms Boroto expressed concern over SASSA files not being provided to the Auditor General, but was satisfied with Mr Madonsela’s response.

Ms B Mncube (ANC, Gauteng) noted the qualified report from the Auditor General, and said that the issue of SASSA’s operations as an arms-length agency of the Department must be strengthened. 

Ms Mncube noted the lack of monitoring and evaluation of the provinces in respect of Programme 1, ascribed to staff shortages.  She asked what mechanisms were being put into place for 2010/11. 

Ms Mncube also expressed concern about the working hours of social work staff in the provinces, since they did not seem to be available when required by the people.

Ms Mncube noted that there were people being denied social assistance, although the Department was under-spending in this area.

Ms Mncube noted that scholarships under the Welfare Services Transformation were provided to students in five provinces, and enquired which were targeted and what the criteria for selection were.

The Chairperson noted that although there was a separate meeting planned to discuss SASSA, some of the issues were relevant to today's briefing.

A Member asked who was responsible for defining the relationship between the Department and SASSA. 

Mr S Plaatjie (COPE, North West) asked if the Kwanda project was sustainable, whether it was time-bound project, what was its aim and who participated.

Mr M De Villiers (DA, Western Cape) asked the Department to explain the cooperation agreements between the Department, and China and Mali.

Mr de Villiers also wanted to know about the unforeseen administrative delays around the budget planning and monitoring. 

Mr De Villiers asked the Department what the budgetary impact would be where beneficiary targets exceeded the estimates.

Mr de Villiers requested more details as to why an NGO had brought a court application against the Department.

Mr De Villiers asked the Department to explain the apparent discrepancy in the figures for the numbers of master trainers, stated as both 100 and 90.

Mr De Villiers stated that the Department reported that 717 657 ECD children were registered in the ECD centres, but only 428 807 received State subsidies. He asked for further explanation on the difference in the figures.

Mr De Villiers, in relation to the establishment of the National Youth Programme, asked why this was only started in some provinces, and why also the HCBC was only started in a few provinces, and what the reasons for selecting those provinces were.

Mr De Villiers asked why the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Justice regarding the Child Protection Register was delayed, and what impact this delay would have.

Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) stated that the SASSA issues had posed problems for more than a year, confirmed by the Auditor General's report, which was unacceptable. He urged the Department to focus on programmes that offered real benefits.

The Chairperson asked the Department to elaborate on SASSA's inability to monitor due to unforeseen system challenges.

The Chairperson also asked the Department to explain what interventions are planned to rectify other deviations.

The Chairperson lastly enquired what the Department planned to do to assist struggling projects. 

The Deputy Minister responded that she was about to organise a team to visit the provinces, to see what was happening on the ground. The Ministry aimed to have provincial champions to keep the DSD informed. She agreed that the issue of abuse at pay-points must be addressed. Although she had not been aware of security personnel assisting people to jump the queue, she would address this issue as well. 

The Deputy Minister reiterated that SASSA was an agency of the Department and she had already given an assurance that the Department was taking care of matters that related to the two entities.

Mr Madonsela said that he would address the aspersions of incompetence cast on the Department. He explained how the State structured its entities and where the different mandates resided. He stressed that DSD did not, as a national department, attend to implementation of policies, but that it rather developed policies that must be implemented through the provinces. The National Department provided support to provincial departments.  Mr Madonsela explained that SASSA was created because DSD was too small to administer grants for the nation. SASSA had a national footprint.  He stated that SASSA was only about four years old and it had inherited its current functions, and was attempting to fix the systems while also continuing to administer programs.

The Chairperson commended the Department on the report.

Ms S Luke, Chief Director, Department of Social Development, responded to comments on the capacity of the NGOs.  The NPO Directorate in DSD was training practitioners to support NPOs, although the training focused on compliance with the Act.  With reference to the food banks, she stated that there were issues around warehousing and distribution of food, with the food banks using NPOs to distribute food to communities in need.  A rural food bank initiative had been developed with the Department of Agriculture.  She stated that the goal was to build capacity of the beneficiaries. 

Ms Luke also addressed questions around the NYSP, noting that it targeted three provinces simply to train officials who could then implement programme guidelines. This was not a DSD programme alone, but it cut across all departments.

Ms Luke responded to questions about the markets by saying that DSD worked with the Department of Trade and Industry to look at products for quality, to link products with business plans and to see if there was a market for a product in a particular area. 

Mr Madonsela added that DSD linked with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for agricultural products, in order to provide support and expertise in those areas.

The Deputy Minister added that the issue of procurement from small farmers was in the planning stages within the DSD.

Another DSD representative replied to questions regarding lack of support and resources for Community Home Based Care and NGOs. She stated that lack of support was a cycle of capacity building, compliance and funding.  The Department had to start in certain provinces when dealing with both capacity building and monitoring.  Capacity building was a long-term process that would take time to implement.  She noted that provinces must also commit funds to ensure sustainability.

Another representative of the DSD responded to the question on Social Relief of Distress, saying that the finalisation of the draft had taken a long time. The current provisions were drafted in the 1990s.  The first discussions had not produced much, and they were taken back to the provinces. The new Minister would be reviewing the results.

The same representative also commented on the debate between providing food vouchers as opposed to cash. He stressed the need to revisit the debate on dependency, and the view that grants did not create dependency.  Secondly, he noted that the DSD responded to a need, and that other departments responsible for job creation should also be questioned as to what they were doing to prevent so many people asking for social grants.

The Deputy Minister requested, in regard to further points about SASSA, that the Department should be given the opportunity first to hold the meetings with SASSA, and then to report back to the Committee and answer the questions raised.

The Chairperson reminded Members that SASSA would shortly be briefing the Committee.

Mr Madonsela reiterated that the Department was responsible for policy oversight and that SASSA was responsible for implementation.  He stated that if any other duties were transferred to the Department, then the Department would effectively be doing the work of the Chief Executive Officer of SASSA.

Ms V Petersen, Programme Manager for Appeals, DSD, said, in response to the question on the status of the appeals tribunal, that there were offices in nine provinces and the backlog would be cleared by September 2011.

Ms Maria Mabetoa, Deputy Director General: Welfare Services, DSD, answered questions on the career fairs in five provinces and said that DSD had not organised these, but was invited to them by SABC. The scholarships were not limited to provinces where career fairs were held but were offered in every province.

Ms Mabetoa explained the Court application. A Free State NGO had brought the application, claiming inadequate funding for statutory services and non-compliance with the constitutional obligations of the Department, general problems with transfers of funds to NGOs, and failure by the Free State to implement its costing models. She noted that national guidelines had been developed and that all provinces must implement these guidelines by next year. 

Ms Mabetoa explained the discrepancy regarding the children registered in ECD and those receiving subsidies by saying that all children had to be registered, but only those from poor households were funded.

Ms Mabetoa also noted that the delay in signing the MOU with the Department of Justice was a result of the need to obtain information on convicted persons who could be working with children.

Ms Luke explained the Kwanda project to the Committee. This was designed for those who really wanted to participate, and who volunteered.  She stated that the programme was designed for community driven development.

Mr Madonsela stated that the DSD would be considering the issue of elder abuse. 

Mr Madonsela stated that there was no legal relationship between the provincial department and SASSA, but it was a relationship of cooperation. 

Mr Madonsela stated that agreements between South Africa and China and Mali related to broad areas of social cooperation and registration of NGOs. 

Mr Coceko Pakade, Acting Chief Executive Officer, SASSA, stated that SASSA would brief the Committee fully on SASSA issues, and briefly outlined some of the challenges faced by SASSA.

The meeting was adjourned.


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