Social Development Portfolio Committee Reports on Millennium Development Goals & SA Social Security Agency 2009/10 Annual Report

Social Development

30 May 2011
Chairperson: Ms Y R Botha (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee Report on the Millennium Development Goals was considered. The Committee had requested a progress report from the Department on its role in attaining on Goal 7 (Ensure environmental sustainability) and Goal 8 (Develop a global partnership for development). However, the Department had furnished a progress report only on Goal 8 but not on Goal 7. The Committee took a decision to complain in writing to the Minister about this. The Committee was also not happy with the level of HIV/AIDS testing for males which when last checked sat at 31.8% compared to women which was 71.2%. Males should be encouraged to go for HIV testing. The Committee agreed that male circumcision had contributed towards the decrease in the rate of HIV/AIDS amongst men between the ages of 15-24. Campaigns about male circumcision needed to be intensified and was included in the Report as a recommendation. Female representativity in Parliament in 2009 sat at 44%. There was an overwhelming sentiment that the 50% mark should have been reached already. The Committee adopted the Committee Report as amended.

The Committee Report on the South African Social Security Agency 2009/10 Annual Report was adopted unamended. The Committee also decided to conduct oversight visits the Eastern Cape in June/July 2011 and the North West Province in August 2011.


Meeting report

Committee Report on the Millennium Development Goals
The Chairperson noted the Committee had on the 19 April 2011 been briefed by the Department of Social Development on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She noted that the mandate of the Department was wide and hence it faced challenges. Income disparity, unemployment, AIDS and the current global recession were some of the challenges faced. The Report was placed before the Committee for consideration. The following MDGs were singled out by the Chairperson:

Goal 1:
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
The Chairperson stated that the number of people within the one dollar to two dollar ratio had decreased. The poverty gap ratio had declined. The new census in 2011 would reflect the relevant figures. She added that studies had shown that the Social Assistance Programme had reduced poverty. The Child Support Grant had had expanded and covered children from the age of 0-18. The number of males and females below the poverty line had declined. The figure for the number of females living below the poverty line was however higher than that of males. It was concerning as females were inevitably the carers in families. The Expanded Public Works Programme had played a significant role and had contributed towards the attainment of the aim of creating 1 million jobs by 2009. There had been a decline in poverty.

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
The expansion of the CSG (Child Support Grant) had also played a role in early childhood development and at primary and senior school levels. The Chairperson felt that the CSG together with free basic education and food feeding schemes at schools meant that there was no longer any reason for a child not to be attending school.

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
The Chairperson felt confident that SA would meet its target. There were more females than males in schools and at tertiary education institutions. Parity between males and females was also aimed for at Parliament. In 1994 female representation in Parliament sat at 25%. The figure should rise to 50% not only in Parliament but also at government level. She pointed out that in the Northern Cape 50% of all executive managers were women and 64% of legislature speakers were women.

Goal 6:
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
There was a decrease in malaria. Cross border initiatives had played a role in the decrease. The HIV prevalence in SA had also stabilised. The figures on HIV/AIDS had decreased amongst youth. HIV Prevention Programmes by the Department and partnerships with loveLife had contributed greatly towards the decreased figures. In 2009 31.8% of men had undergone HIV/AIDS testing. The figures for females tested were much higher. Part of the reason for high female testing figures was that pregnant females were obliged to get tested.

Goal 8:
Develop a global partnership for development
The Chairperson stated that the Department had embarked on global partnerships. Contracts with international organisations had been entered into. 

She continued by pointing out resolutions that had been taken by the Committee. The Committee had requested the Department to report on the achievement of Millennium Goal 7 (Ensure environmental sustainability) and Goal 8 (
Develop a global partnership for development). The idea was for the Committee to have a six-monthly interaction on this with the Department.

In response to the Chairperson asking if the Department had fulfilled the Committee’s request, the Committee Secretary answered that the Department had furnished a report on Goal 8 but not on Goal 7.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee would write a letter to the Minister complaining that the Department had only responded to the Committee’s request regarding Goal 8 and not on Goal 7.
She asked if Members wished to make comments and specifically asked Mr Magagula if he wished to comment on the reduction in the rate of HIV/AIDS amongst males between the ages of 15-24.

Mr Magagula commented that the increase in male circumcisions had contributed towards the decrease in the rate of HIV/AIDS amongst men between the ages of 15-24.

The Chairperson stated that Mr Magagula had made an important point. The male circumcision campaign should be intensified. She suggested that it be included as a Committee recommendation. Circumcision reduced sexually transmitted diseases amongst men. The Committee had no objection to the suggestion.

Ms S Kopane (DA) suggested that circumcisions be done in hospitals where the environment was sterile.

The Chairperson responded that doing it in hospitals alone would not be practical and there were also traditions to consider.  The Department of Health did provide for health workers to perform circumcisions in the bush but it was done safely and under sterile conditions.

Mr Magagula felt the issue to be very important.

The Chairperson agreed and stated that the issue would be taken on board. She pointed out that from 2005 to 2009 there had been an increase in the numbers of persons with HIV who had gained access to antiretrovirals (ARVs). The figure of 31.8% of men tested for HIV/AIDS was far too low and needed to increase. Men should go for testing. The figure for the testing of women was 71.2% and this was considered good. The Committee should ask the Department and Non Government Organisations (NGOs) to intensify their campaigns to encourage men to go for HIV/AIDS testing.

Ms Kopane stated that the figures showed that more women were infected with HIV/AIDS than men. She emphasised that women should insist that men use condoms. The reality was that many women tend to give in to the demands of men.

Ms J Masilo (ANC) stated that substance abuse by men and women was an issue that needed attention. She suggested a campaign be launched about this.

Mr Magagulu stated that more women than men were undergoing HIV/AIDS testing because pregnant women were required to undergo such testing. Both men and women should be encouraged to undergo testing.

The Chairperson reiterated that parity in politics was required. The figure in 2009 for women in Parliament was 44%. The 50% mark should be reached given that the majority of voters in SA were women.

Ms Masilo pointed out that a large portion of the female Members of Parliament were from the ANC. Perhaps other political parties should also follow the ANC’s example of encouraging female Members of Parliament. She noted that women were better represented at local government level. She stated that perhaps female representation in politics would reach acceptable levels by legislating on the issue.

The Chairperson was wary of legislation. Legislation relating to female representativity in politics would fall within the sphere of the Portfolio Committee of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and People with Disability.  She preferred that Parliament reach the 50% female representation mark without having to legislate on the issue. Equal representation in political life was what was being striven for.

Ms Kopane highlighted the issue of women and economic empowerment.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee took the stance that there should be an effort in the economic sector especially in agriculture that women should get their share.

The Committee adopted the Report as amended.

Committee Report on South African Social Security Agency 2009/10 Annual Report
The Chairperson stated that much of the Committee Report’s contents emanated from what had been contained in SASSA’s Annual Report.

She focused primarily on the recommendations made by the Committee:
▪ The Agency should do awareness campaigns on old age grant equalization for males of 60 years and the extension of child support grants to 18 year old beneficiaries.
▪ The Agency should improve the review of social grants. The review period was far too long.
▪ The Agency should focus on monitoring and evaluation measures and on risk management as they were critical tools to curb the challenges faced.

The Committee adopted the Report.

Committee Minutes
The Committee adopted the minutes of 22 March, 30 March, 12 April and 18 April 2011 as amended.
 
Arrangements for oversight visits to the Eastern Cape and North West Provinces
The Committee Secretary provided the Committee with an update on arrangements for the oversight visits. She stated that the Committee’s application for the visits had been approved by the House Chairperson and the Chief Whip. The visits were scheduled from the 27 June – 1 July 2011.

Ms Masila pointed out that the North West Province was vast and very rural. She urged the Committee not to visit the same areas over and over again.

The Chairperson however cautioned that there were constraints in that the Committee would not be able to visit deep rural areas. Two days were to be spent in each province. She felt that two days per province was insufficient and suggested that the Committee visit only one province and schedule a later visit to the other province. The suggestion was made to visit the Eastern Cape Province and to postpone the visit to the North West Province till August 2011.

The Committee agreed.

The Chairperson also informed the Committee about an invite it had received from the Department for a
Population Association of Southern Africa (PASA)  conference that was scheduled to take place in Bloemfontein from the 6 to 7 July 2011. The Committee had the option of either sending a multi party delegation or the entire Committee.

Given that the conference was scheduled during constituency period, the Committee agreed to make an application for the entire Committee to attend.

Ms Kopane referred to instances where the Committee had taken resolutions and asked what was to ensure that resolutions were implemented.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee support staff make a presentation to the Committee on its Strategic Plan and Operational Plan.

The meeting was adjourned.


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