The Committee met to consider and adopt its report on the Strategic Plan and Budget Vote of the Department of Social Development and its entities for 2011. Members approved the report but drew attention to certain points that the Committee and the Department needed to take note of.
It was highlighted that the shortage of social workers created a huge challenge for the Department as it resulted in problems in other areas. Members therefore urged that this matter should receive priority. They also discussed the Ke Moja Project, the late registration of Non-Profit Organisations and the small number of organisations that delivered services on substance abuse. Issues dealing with the Adopt a Cop programme, awareness campaigns and the standards and norms used for subsidising children in Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres were also examined. It was agreed that families should be involved in substance abuse (prevention or treatment) programmes. Such a step would encourage responsible parenting and communication with the child.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed Members to the meeting and announced that there was only one item on the agenda, which was the Committee’s consideration of the draft report on the Department of Social Development’s budget and strategic plan for 2011. She asked the Committee Secretary to take the Committee through the document being discussed.
Committee Report on Budget Vote 19: Department of Social Development and its entities
Ms Lindiwe Ntsabo, Committee Secretary, stated that the report included the strategic objectives presented by the Department of Social Development and its entities- the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), National Development Agency (NDA), and the Central Drug Authority (CDA)- to the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on 30 March 2011. The objectives had been formulated to respond to the overall government priorities and outcomes.
The key priorities that encompassed the Department’s overall budget vote and strategic plan were reported to be: reduction of substance abuse, tackling social crime, promotion and establishment of Early Childhood Centres, Community Development, Provision of Comprehensive Social Security, Strengthening of Non Governmental Organisations, Zero hunger..
Ms H Lamoela (DA) noted that every challenge in the document related to the shortage of social workers. Fixing that problem must become a priority in order to alleviate other challenges. The backlogs in social care grants were reaching disastrous levels due to the shortage of social care workers. This matter should be added as a challenge especially with respect to statutory work such as court orders and probationary work. Social work studies should be made available at all universities and all tertiary institutions.
Ms J Masilo (ANC) highlighted that the issue of Non-Profit Organisations (NPO) registrations had been raised because of the slow rate at which they were processed.
Ms Lamoela added that training was needed on how to run an organisation.
The Chairperson pointed out that there was not enough Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that delivered services on substance abuse.
Ms Masilo remarked that the Department should provide the Committee with the standards and norms used for subsidising children in Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres. How much were they subsidised and was it uniform? A breakdown was needed of the subsidy. The Department also needed to identify the NGOs working in the area of substance abuse.
Ms P Xaba (ANC) mentioned that the Department needed to look at the training of people who looked after children
Ms Lamoela added that Ms Xaba’s point needed to be stressed, the need to focus on training ECD thoroughly.
Ms S Kopane (DA) commented that the norms and standards for the ECD were not up to standard.
The Chairperson added that the learnerships must be made available to workers and educators at ECD centres to adequately qualify them to implement developmental programmes or the curriculum at ECD centres.
Ms Lamoela asked if the Ke Moja programme mentioned in recommendation 10.5 was being implemented in the schools and if so, the Committee needed to get a report on its progress as the problem of drug addiction and drug abuse was taking over the youth completely.
The Chairperson agreed with this suggestion.
Ms H Makhuba (IFP) said that the Committee needed to check the observation mentioned on the first page which said that parents needed to play a critical role.
Ms Lamoela agreed that parents and families needed to be involved.
Ms Masilo reminded the Committee that the partnership with the schools was launched five years before and that the Department needed to come and brief the Committee about the Ke Moja Project.
The Chairperson suggested changing the recommendation relating to Ke Moja, to state that the Ke Moja programme needed to be rolled out to all the schools including private schools in the country.
The Chairperson suggested that families should be involved in substance abuse (prevention or treatment) programmes. Such a step would encourage responsible parenting and communication with the child.
Ms Masilo asked how local ambassadors and volunteers could be included.
The Chairperson replied that such people could be used in order to make a greater impact in terms of the fight against substance abuse.
Ms P Tshwete (ANC) advised that the Department should check awareness campaigns in the community and the work carried out by the NGOs so that the government could work together with them in fighting substance abuse in the community.
Ms Lamoela said it was fine for the NGOs to help with the awareness campaigns but there was a need for a monitoring tool to make sure that programmes were legally registered and had qualified staff.
Ms Kopane suggested the involvement of SA Police in the fight against drugs.
The Chairperson said that recommendation 1 needed to add the Department to Justice, and the SAPS to come and address the Committee.
Ms N Gcume (COPE) reminded the Committee that before it got to the monitoring tool, it needed to remember that it had emphasised the development of Rehabilitation Centres around the country.
The Chairperson said that it was already considered only that they needed to be registered.
Ms Masilo spoke about the Adopt a Cop programme that was in some schools and was working well. While this programme was conducted during the school hours, the problem was after school.
Ms T Kenye (ANC) said that the Department needed to look at skills development programme to couple with the other programmes being delivered as some of the young people turned to drugs due to boredom and frustration.
Ms Lamoela replied that this was where the National Development Agency (NDA) needed to come in. The NDA had so many projects and Government did not have funding.
Ms Lamoela mentioned the lengthy process of reviews for foster care grants and their implications on the Children’s Act and the Child Justice Act and the need for amendments to those acts. The process of review of court orders was responsible for the delay of foster care grants and was related once again to the shortage of social workers.
The Chairperson said that the Department needed a mechanism to improve the speedy review of foster care court orders.
Ms Kenye suggested the addition of social relief to the process so that the people could be taken care of while they were waiting for the foster care grant as it took too long sometimes and the people were often hungry and needed basic supplies.
Ms Lamoela cautioned that some people were found in her constituency cheating on the grant as they did not give it up once they found employment but continued to receive it
Ms Lamoela also spoke of the need in the rural areas and that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) needed to address the Committee on the service delivery model for the rural areas.
The Chairperson suggested that paragraph 12.2 be deleted.
Ms Lamoela raised that other points would be missed and recommended to add partnering with other Government Departments.
The Chairperson reminded the Committee that it suggested before the need to see more private public partnerships.
The Chairperson said that the NDA needed to increase its monitoring and evaluation of funds.
Ms Lamoela highlighted that the biggest portion of the NDA budget went to administration and what was left over was for the projects.
Ms Tshwete reminded the Committee that the NDA identified the amount of money that went to admin when they presented the second time which indicated that the portion for admin had changed. .The Chairperson clarified that the member was talking about a project they visited in East London.
Mr Magagula moved for the adoption of the report, seconded by Ms Makuba.
The meeting was adjourned.
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