The presentation highlighted the various agreements that the Department of Social Development had entered into. It showed the various priorities of the Department within Africa and the rest of the world. International relations engagements of the Department were aimed at developing and nurturing social development partnerships. There had been workshops and visits between the Department and various countries. These visits had allowed South Africa to teach some and learn from others. The Department was involved in various bodies including SADC, the United Nations and the African Union but had prioritized interactions within Africa
The discussion raised questions about when the agreement with Zimbabwe to train officials had been signed and did it centre on training South African officials or Zimbabwean ones; what had been the outcome of the Early Childhood Development workshop in Russia; programmes for South African drug mules incarcerated abroad; what South Africa benefited from the various visits of other countries.
The presentation on State Owned entities focused on the concerns and recommendations of the Portfolio Committee in reference to The National Development Agency and the South African Security Agency.
Department of Social Development (DSD) briefing on International Agreements
Mr Edzi Ramaite, DSD Director: International Relations, provided an update on current international relations engagements in the Department of Social Development. He provided not only a focus on international engagements in the multilateral sphere but emphasised the work done with the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the provinces.
Mr Ramaite begun by saying that in response to government’s strategic thrust of creating a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world, DSD’s International Relations engagements were aimed at developing and nurturing social development partnerships. This had been done through the promotion of bilateral activities that made the most effective contribution to poverty reduction. It had been done through the harmonization and integration of policies through participation in multilateral structures and organizations. These included African Union, SADC, and United Nations. The Department served on a number of international social development organisations.
Mr Ramaite said when strategic priorities had been determined, the Department was guided by a number of factors. They served on the International Cooperation Trade and Security cluster (ICTS) where they got guidance and direction. One important aspect was that seven of South Africa’s provinces bordered foreign countries so it was clear that they would face similar challenges and should seek similar solutions.
Mr Ramaite directed those present to slide 7 as a summary the Departments strategic priorities. The first was bilateral agreements, relationships at this level needed to inform what was said at, say, regional levels. One could not go not go to higher levels of agreement and converse on an issue without first discussing it with bilateral partners. The next level was that of the African Union. The department participated in the United Nations whilst having areas where there was North-South cooperation.
Continued prioritization of African Continent
Mr Ramaite said in terms of priorities there were four major priorities determined by the ICTS cluster. The first was the continued prioritization of the African continent particularly because South Africa belonged to Africa. There were activities in the AU such as the Minister participating in AU meeting of Ministers of Social Development held every two years. The forthcoming meeting would look at issues around children, persons with disabilities and older persons. This had allowed Africa as a continent to speak with one voice and harmonize programmes. They participated in AU meetings of Ministers for Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention and AU Population and Development. The other major priority for South Africa was post conflict resolution and support. As a Department they needed to come up with programmes for post conflict support.
Mr Ramaite said the Department had an agreement signed with Zimbabwe last year November as well as working groups focusing on children, social security and poverty eradication. What had usually happened within bilateral agreements was that documentation was shared and exchanged as well as experiences. There were invitations to conferences as well as decisions were made on what issues the two would want to cooperate on. With Zimbabwe there was cooperation on the issue of unaccompanied minors. The Department had a cross border committee they worked with and were finalising the standard procedures which would inform officials on what to do with unaccompanied children. They sought to have national and regional workshops. They had a cooperative agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Department had placed a team of officials in the country where they had helped with the capacity building of more than 200 officials. The focus had been on project management, human resources management and basic office administration. They had been ordered by the two presidents to organise a donor conference. The Minister had already given the go ahead for the hosting of a delegation from the DRC to look at priorities and the way forward for cooperation. What was clear was that most people were moving into bloc formation and as South Africa was part of SADC they tried to advance the same positions as their partners. In the DRC the Department had trained senior officials and the exercise had cost them almost R3 million. Usually they tried not to make their costs so high by working with partners.
Mr Ramaite said that the Minister hosted the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights where he elaborated on some of things the Department had done in relation to human rights. The Deputy Minister hosted a minister from Mauritius as the country wanted to learn about South Africa’s community projects and poverty alleviation programmes. The Director General hosted a delegation from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on the work done on disability.
Mr Ramaite said that in terms of SADC the problem the Department faced was the body replied too much on donors which meant social development was weak. However the Department usually participated in various meetings upon invitation. Last year the Minister had led a delegation to Namibia to participate on youth and victim empowerment.
Mr Ramaite said that in terms of strengthening South-South relations, there was the meetings of India, Brazil and South Africa. The IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) social development strategy had been finalised. The implementation plan had been finalised on the experiences the Department wanted to share with India and Brazil. There was already a working group with the two nations that focused on community development, social security and poverty eradication.
Relations with the North
Mr Ramaite said that in terms of relations with the North these were maintained as the North would always be important on issues around technical support and benchmarking. The department had participated in meetings held by the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Senior officials had participated in the Early Childhood Development Workshop held in Russia. The Department had participated in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development which supported them in terms of policy and research. They participated from time to time in the working group on employment Labour and Social Affairs. The Department had a strong relationship with the European Union (EU). There was a working group on Social Development and employment in which the Department cooperated with the Department of Labour. They had a draft agreement, at the level of the Director General, which had been submitted to the EU. The major focus of this draft agreement was youth and unaccompanied minors. The Department’s directorate was working with the Department of Labour to put in place projects that could support unemployed youth.
Mr Ramaite said that the Department participated in the United Nations Population Fund which had supported their Population and Development Unit in terms of capacity building. The Department was soon to host the Chairperson of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Mr Ramaite said in terms of these engagements that sought to strengthen political and economic relations, there had been an agreement with Cuba which went very well. There was the Masupatsela Youth Pioneer Project which aimed at empowering unemployed youth. Six Cuban professors were stationed in various provinces who taught the youth in the areas of community development, community service and issues around integration. This project unfortunately came to an end but most provinces were eager to have it continue. The department was looking for technical support to continue the project. They engaged the Cuban embassy to look at other issues as the agreement looked at issues of community development, NPO support and social security. What had happened with Cuba was the two countries had always invited each other to their respective workshops. In the briefing being done for the Minister, the Department would suggest that the Minister go to Cuba to thank the Cubans for the fact that cooperation had gone well.
Mr Ramaite said the Department was cooperating with Japan through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on the issue of disability. They had provided capacity building to officials in Japan. Last year the Department had had officials from provinces and national go to Japan for capacity building on disability. Japan had now donated ten vehicles to the Department that were to be distributed amongst provinces. The Directorate responsible for persons with disabilities had workshops on disability mainstreaming and the convention on disability with all the provinces due to the support of JICA. They had even been willing to work with the Department and the JICA project was hopefully soon to be launched. Members of JICA had indicated that this year there may be an invitation extended to heads of provinces to go to Japan for further training.
Mr Ramaite said in terms of China, a statement of intent had been signed. The plan was to look at issues pertaining to Social Security and the training of social workers. The Department had already hosted two delegations and had a visit from the Vice Minister from China.
Mr Ramaite said agreements had been signed with Mali. The focus had been on the training of social workers. They had hosted delegation had gone to the University of Venda (with whom the Department was working). They sought to see how they could support the University in the training of social workers as well as social auxiliary workers.
They had hosted the Vice Minister. Mauritius had sent a request for the Department to assist them, working with the University of Witwatersrand, to help with training of Braille trainers. They had a donor unit in the department and were now looking for technical assistance.
Mr Ramaite said that the Department was supposed to host the Minister from Brazil for social development in February but she could not visit due to poor health. His visit was in turn postponed to the second week of April. In terms of Brazil they had always cooperated very well (there were two agreements: on social security and social development). They had often invited the department to workshops and conferences. In January senior officials had gone to Brazil on issues of poverty which was an area that they had worked well together on. Already as a Department they had formed a policy on poverty eradication and they hoped to get lessons from Brazil.
Mr Ramaite said that the Department often worked with Mexico around social security and poverty. The Department had hosted their Vice Minister. The Social Security Unit had been looking towards hosting the delegation from Mexico and the department was looking towards the financing of that.
An agreement had been signed. They were inviting a delegation from the country as they had often had delegation’s visit Uganda to look at issues around HIV/Aids. Heads of provinces had been going to Uganda to share on HIV/Aids.
The Department had been working with Angola on disability and the Director for Older Persons had listed Angola on the list of invitees for a workshop
Mr Ramaite said currently there was nothing much with Chile. They had agreed with Chile and Mexico that there was to be a workshop on Early Childhood Development. Unfortunately when they had that ‘dreaded disease’ this could not happen, but it was an issue they were currently pursuing.
South Sudan had invited officials to share experiences on social security and it was a long term relationship they had been advised to pursue. There was a draft agreement.
T here was an agreement that would be signed as soon as the Ministers’ schedules permitted and next week they were to host the Director General of Social Development from Lesotho. They had restructured their Department of Social Development and wanted advice from this department. Senior managers would be presenting. The Chief Director for Strategy and all senior managers will be present and there was an expectation of a delegation of five on 14 and 15 March.
Swaziland had invited our advisor to the Minister during the time they were restructuring their department.
There was a draft agreement with Ghana and there was a delegation going to look at some of their projects.
Mr Ramaite said there had been a delegation that went to Singapore and they had had very good projects in terms of families and older persons. The Department was working to see where they could ask for Singapore’s assistance.
The Minister hosted the Vice Minister of Sweden on issues of Social Security and the Department was hoping for a partnership but they had already been working with the country to strengthen their youth program as they had good programs. The Directorate for Youth had coordinated all the provinces so that they would be able to work with Sweden.
Tanzania had a good program on community development and the Minister had instructed the Department to look into the projects the country had.
Mr Ramaite said that the Department had been advised to slow down in its relations with Tunisia after the recent unrest. The then Minister had negotiated an agreement with his counterpart however when Tunisia had its political challenges, the Department was advised to slow down in its relations.
Mr Ramaite said that the Department participated in a number of UN Organisations. In February the department participated in the Commission for Social Development. Through this Commission the Department had managed to place Social Development high on the agenda of the UN. South Africa was the only country that had chaired the Committee for Social Development twice. South Africa and in particular the Department was responsible for negotiation of social dimensions on NEPAD on behalf of the Africa Group, the G77 and China. The Commission looked at issues around families, persons with disabilities, older persons and youth.
Mr Ramaite said the Department participated in the Commission on the Status of Women. The focus had been on rural women and development. In April they would be participating in the Commission on Population and Development. They had played a major role and participated on behalf of Africa in this Commission. They participated in Commission on Narcotic Drugs and Commission on Crime Prevention. South Africa had ratified the Convention on Disability. What they sought to do as a department was strengthen their partnerships with UN agencies. The agencies had contributed in terms of capacity building and contributed in terms of international negotiation spheres. This was because all the officials within the Department had gained exposure which had allowed them to represent the country well.
Mr Ramaite said there were a number of international organisations the Department had participated in. The first was International Social Security Association (ISSA) where the Director General served on the Board. The Deputy Director General of Social Security served on some of the committees as did the Chief Director of Social Security. They had gained a great deal in participating in this Association especially in the realm of capacity building as well as in advocating the issues for Africa and the developing world. The Department coordinated the ISSA Southern African activities.
The Deputy Director General sat on the board of International Social Service. This organisation was responsible for intern country adoption in which countries shared experiences.
Mr Ramaite said the Minister sat on the board of Partners in Population and Development. This organisation had helped in capacity building on issues of population and development.
Mr Ramaite said there was a mushrooming of international engagements and the new one that South Africa sat in was BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). The Director General had been mandated with coming up with a Committee on Social Security related to BRICS. There had been a plan to host a meeting in February but unfortunately this could not happen.
The Department only worked on invitations that came directly to the Director General, Minister, Deputy Minister or if they came through the Presidency. The Department usually discouraged officials coming up with personal invitations or invitations from the internet. What the Department did was to draft a submission and check budget. The Director General had to approve and all international engagements were approved by the Minister.
The department was to host the Brazilian Minister. They would host a delegation from Lesotho on the 14 and 15 March 2012. They were going to host a delegation from Thailand. The Department had witnessed a mushrooming in the countries coming to benchmark from the country particularly in the area of the Social Security system.
In terms of outgoing events the Minister had participated in the Commission on the Status of Women. The Ministry for Women was the lead department but DSD had been invited to participate. In April it would be participating in the Commission of Population and Development. There was the International Social Services held in Geneva on 21-25 May 2012. The European Forum for Restorative Justice was to come about in June however the Department did not have exact dates. The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice was to be held in April. There was to be a bilateral visit to Australia and India (the Minister would lead the delegation) as well as an International AIDS Conference during 22-27 July in the USA.
The Department had developed guidelines in terms of coordination in all international relations issues and engagements such as finances, insurance and conduct during meetings. If an official traveled within 14 days they needed to produce a report. The Department looked at types of accommodation that could be used and the rules and responsibilities. The Department participated in the cluster where they regularly reported. They had an internal coordinating structure where those interested in international relations participated. They had the international relations coordinating committee in which they sat with provinces and tried to avoid duplication within the provinces. They had tried to do it so when the Minister or DG traveled they took some heads of provinces with them. They had drafted the engagement strategy based on the White Paper on International Relations. The Department had an intranet page on international relations in the department where information was available. Officials could access and post all reports on their activities.
SADC, AU and Social Development
Mr Ramaite said that in terms of the benefits, social development was now at the top of the agenda in SADC and the AU. The Department had hosted the SADC Minister for Social Development twice however there had not been a meeting of SADC Social Development Ministers.
The Department’s bench marking exercises had contributed to strengthening policy and problem development including the establishment of SASSA. Capacity of officials in negotiations, conflict resolution and international project management had been enhanced and many countries had gained something through visiting the Department. The Department had worked with the University of Oxford in the training of Social Policy. They had now trained more than 100 officials on Social Policy. They worked with Carleton University in Canada on monitoring and evaluation. Last year four officials had visited Canada and this year more would visit. The Department had a partnership with the University of KwaZulu Natal on population development.
Mr Ramaite stated that one challenge the Department had faced was that there was no net calendar for international relations engagements. The only engagements they were able to control were those that were based in the Department but usually they were mandated by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Another major challenge was that partner countries did not have the funds to implement projects. There would be agreements that certain projects should happen but it would be South Africa that would need to locate the funding and at times donors could get saturated. Project implementation was in turn a challenge. The Department promoted trilateral cooperation; one example, being the work done with UNICEF in relation to unaccompanied minors. This helped with assistance
Mushrooming International Agreements
Mr Ramaite said the mushrooming of international engagements was a problem. Before there had not NEPAD, IPSA or BRICS thus the department was being faced with mushrooming international engagements. The Department was however dealing well with this issue.
Mr Ramaite said the Department had wanted to emphasise that international relations was about partnership and South Africa was now a member of the International Community. It could not shy away from its responsibilities. Although the Department had made a huge mark internationally there were still challenges but it had done very well. They were committed to capacity building of their officials and had managed to promote a generational mix. International relations was not about instant results but about the big picture. At times one could sign an agreement but there would be no projects for a year. But these relationships provided not just projects but support in various international forums such as the AU and the UN.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for the presentation
Ms J M Masilo (ANC) said she understood that the Department got invitations from the Women’s Ministry but where did they fit in?
Mr Ramaite replied the Department did work with the Ministry on Women on a number of issues. This was the case with the Convention On Persons With Disabilities which resided in the Ministry on Women but the Department did work with the Ministry on this convention.
Ms Masilo asked if the Department had a budget for its international relations activities.
Mr Ramaite replied there was no central budget for international engagements at the international relations directory thus each branch had its own budget. Provinces had their own budgets so they could pay for either incoming or outgoing visits. The Department did work with a whole host of international partners with outgoing or incoming trips often paid for by SADC, AU, UN, EU or any other international partners. When the Department did strategic planning, branches were encouraged to budget for their international activities.
Ms E More (DA) asked when had the agreement with Zimbabwe been signed and when was implementation. In terms of the R3 million being spent to train officials, was it South African officials training in Zimbabwe or Zimbabweans training in South Africa?
Mr Ramaite replied the agreement with Zimbabwe was signed in November 2011. An implementation plan was already drafted. On issues of unaccompanied minors, there was going to be a meeting at the end of the month to plan for the national and regional workshops. There was already a proposal to the DG and Minister that the working groups meet to finalise projects
Mr Ramaite replied the R3 million talked about was for the training of DRC officials. Most government departments had had officials based in the DRC and the Department had been using their own training agency to do the training which needed to be paid for. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) had had the African Renaissance fund which had funded some of the partnerships within Africa. What Departments had done from time to time was request that DIRCO aided in the funding of some of these activities.
SADC Meeting on youth and development
Ms E More wanted to know when the SADC meetings on youth and victim empowerment were held and what had the outcome been.
Mr Ramaite replied that the Deputy Minister had participated in a SADC Ministerial meeting. With SADC the challenge had been that they relied on donor support. There was not much happening in terms of social development at the moment. South Africa has in turn argued for the strengthening of the AU and SADC secretariat. The report on this was going to be made available at a later date.
Compliance with UN standards
Ms More said it was interesting that South Africa had responded to both international conventions on human rights in terms of establishing the minimum standard of service. But had an evaluation been done to check that there was compliance with the standards?
Mr Ramaite replied the Director General had chaired the Departments input on the Human Rights Commission. Each department had been requested to report on areas that affected their department. This report would be made available.
Outcomes of Early Childhood Workshops
Ms More asked what had the outcomes been for the Early Childhood Development workshop in Russia. She was impressed with the work that had been done with different countries but there was still a lot to be done.
Mr Ramaite replied he did not have the dates for the conference in Russia but he did have the reports.
Ms Maria Mabetoa, Deputy Director General of Welfare Services, said that the Russian conference was on early childhood care and education during the period 27-29 September 2010. The outcomes of the conference were resolutions that were not new to South Africa and were issues the country battled with at the moment. One example was early childhood education, nutrition and maternal health reinforced educational prospects and improved attendance and performance. The gaps that were identified included the fact that policy frameworks across other countries were still weak. There had been no holistic approach to early childhood development and it remained in the periphery in most countries. Institutional delivery was very weak and South Africa had tried to strengthen this in the countries through inter sectional collaboration. Early Childhood Development access was still lacking as some children did not have access to it especially in the rural areas. Children with disabilities and in conflict or post conflict situations were highlighted as not having access. Quality was an issue as when children had access, the quality of the development needed to be up to standard. There was a report with the outcomes but these were some of the ones highlighted.
Report on progress of various agreements
The Chairperson said there was a need to get more information on the progress of the various agreements. She wanted to propose that the Committee get progress reports from the Department. She understood that it did take time for things to happen but the Committee would still appreciate a progress report on agreements signed.
Mr Vusi Madonsela, Director General of the Department of Social Development, stated they would provide reports on signed agreements. They would set out in the reports the fruit achieved and what was still in the pipeline.
The Chairperson said that cooperation with South Sudan was of particular interest to her as it was a new nation. The issue of social security provided a life line to communities in dire poverty, thus it would have been interesting to see the types of models the Sudanese were coming up with.
Mr Madonsela said they would focus on cooperation with South Sudan.
Mr Ramaite said the issue of South Sudan was important and the Department had been directed by the cluster to work with the country.
Role of the Committee
The Chairperson said that if one looked at the work the Department was doing in terms of women and children and peoples with disabilities, there was a need for the Portfolio Committee to study the documents relating to these aspects and re-assert themselves. They needed to figure out which forum they would need to engage in as a portfolio committee. There was a role for Social Development to play in many forums. There was a need for the Director General to find a role for the Committee to play in international affairs.
Mr Madonsela said in terms of the role the Committee would play, he suggested having a time with the Committee where the two groups looked at the international relations profile and identified the areas where the Committee believed it had a role to play. The Department could make suggestions in the context of such a conversation. He did not want to speculate over the possible relationship between the Committee here and ones in other countries but it would be good to see on a Committee level, how both parliaments could be empowered and exchange information. However this topic could not be exhausted here and now and perhaps a session could be held in order to tackle the issue.
Mr Sipho Shezi, Special Advisor to the Department, said that to look at the International Relations field, social development had become an expression of international relations policy for South Africa. The role of the portfolio committee was very important at the moment especially in light of the ruling party’s attempts to define the African agenda.
Drug Mules: Widows and education of the public
The Chairperson raised the issue of drug mules and citizens ending up in foreign jails as well as being executed. She was sure that somehow the Department did play a role in terms of knowing who was where and what was happening as well as looking at the particular needs of those prisoners. There were quite a number of South Africans in prisons abroad especially in South American prisons. She asked what role social development played in preventing and raising awareness amongst the population of the dire consequences of these activities. This work was not only the mandate of the South African Police Service but the Department as there were many dimensions to this phenomenon outside crime. The Department needed to figure out their role in this.
Mr R Bhoola (MF) said that he wanted to take the issue of drug mules forward in relation to widows. He asked the Department in terms of their international agreements had they had insight into such a phenomenon so that they could compare research material to devise policy imperatives. Drugs was a growing problem and South Africa could not just continue to build prisons to solve the issue. The question that needed to be raised had been were there any agreements internationally that had an impact on programs that could address the growing drug problem.
Ms M Mafolo (ANC) asked about the agreement (she did not remember the name of the agreement) which dealt with the issue of mothers aboard. She sought clarification on what the agreement entailed.
Mr Madonsela replied that the issue of drug mules was quite complicated. There were a number of people held in foreign prisons who claimed to be South African but were not. This was due to the fact that many people who were not nationals had obtained travel documentation stating they were. This did not mean there were not South Africans held in foreign prisons. Up till now South Africa had dealt with issues of drug trafficking as a trans-national crime. The country had looked at it from the view of how to combat it from a crime and not a social phenomenon. The Department had not had a program that targeted would-be drug mules with the view of informing them about the consequences as a crime and social phenomenon. Specific groups had been targeted with the view of informing them of the dangers to health, livelihood and future. There had been more of a focus on the use and abuse of drugs and not so much the crimes that were committed. It was possibly an area that the Department could open themselves to. Many people who found themselves in this situation were people who sought to escape poverty and this in turn linked in with their work to alleviate poverty.
Mr Madonsela said the execution of nationals was a complicated issue but one that lay outside the purview of the Department. The Department could have made a presentation based on the right to life to a country holding a national in jail in order to change their sentence to life imprisonment or even to have them brought home. However this was something that a justice cluster or an international relations cluster would be best placed to investigate. Of particular importance to the Department was children born to South African citizens in jails abroad. There was currently a program which resided under Welfare Services which sought to repatriate children born in jails abroad. He had not been aware of children who had been left out of that program.
Mr Madonsela said that there were policy imperatives that, although not specific to widows, could generally speak to survivors. He was not aware of other programs that may have been drawn from elsewhere in international engagements.
Ms Mabetha said that through International Social Services and DIRCO the Department was contacted concerning people prisons with children in other countries. This ensured that the children were either in alternative care or cared for by their families. There were generic programs on the issue of drugs such as the Livee Life program but they did not have a specific focus.
Mr Selwyn Jehoma, Deputy Director General of Social Security, said that despite all the travelling the Department had done they had not picked up any specific policies in relations to widows or widowers. What they had found was most developed countries had mandatory retirement and disability and survivor benefit systems that ensured that in the event of the death of a breadwinner, then there was an income stream. This was coupled with social services. There was the ‘lone parent scheme’ which allowed for social assistance for the children and for the widow. These were the programs the Department knew of but there would definitely be more investigation on the matter.
NEPAD and African Peer Review Mechanism
Ms T Kenye (ANC) said she saw a gap where there was no mention of NEPAD and the African Peer Review Mechanism as the goal was to strengthen Africa. She asked what the role of NEPAD was and if they had engaged the African Peer Review Mechanism.
Mr Ramaite replied that at the UN South Africa had negotiated the NEPAD resolution on social development. What the Department had realized was that NEPAD focused more on economic and agricultural issues with nothing much on social development. South Africa through DIRCO had presented for the first time the social aspect of NEPAD. There was soon to be a workshop to redefine the social dimension of NEPAD.
Mr Ramaite replied the Department participated in the African Peer Review Mechanism even though it was coordinated by the Department of Public Service and Administration. There had however not been much on Social Development. The Department had produced reports in terms of the questionnaires sent out relating to social issues.
Benefit to South Africa
Ms Molau asked what South Africa gained when all other countries came to view her projects.
Mr Madonsela said that, especially in those countries that came from the African continent, one of the biggest challenges was South Africa had many pull factors one of which was its social security system. Refugees had now been entitled to the type of benefits usually reserved for nationals. Thus what South Africa stood to gain was not immediate and the bigger picture must be viewed. The only way to stem the tide of people only moving to South Africa was to assist countries within SADC and beyond to establish similar programs. South Africa would be able to help those countries develop their systems in order to encourage people to stay there and develop their own countries. It was an indirect benefit in that sense. There was a responsibility for South Africa to make sure Africa was a better place.
Mr Jehoma said with social security the Department had gone through changes. From 2000-2005 a great deal of attention was placed on improving social service delivery and the Department had visited mainly developed countries as not much could be learnt from developing countries. This had been done with a view of improving administration and developing SASSA. The success coming from those had led to developing countries visiting South Africa. They did this not only because they learned from the social assistance policies but because they had very good coverage and many admired that the social grant to children came without conditionalities. Some countries had wanted to explore that. The second round of interactions was based in improving social security with a mandate to review the pension system. There the Department had learned from countries like Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Argentina. Most countries that visited South Africa could not learn a lot from them. The learnng process was seldom reciprocal expect for the case of Latin America.
Mr Shezi said there might have been some issues that may have been slightly more pronounced in terms of the benefits that could be derived from some of the developing countries. One example would be Uganda which had done amazing things with the NGO and NPO network and there was no doubt that there was a lot to be learnt from that.
The Chairperson said that Ugandans were interested in the work done as a committee and the interactions in terms of a multiparty democracy. The link with them had already been established. The narrative that was given had been so badly typed that it needed to be retyped and then attach all progress reports.
Presentation on State Owned Enterprises
Ms Yolisa Nogenga, Committee Content Advisor, presented the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development to the Presidential State Owned Entities Review Committee. This presentation covered the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the National Development Agency (NDA), noting challenges as well as the concerns and recommendations of the Committee.
The Chairperson then allowed the Department to give input and explained that this was a summary of the work the Committee had been doing and the resolutions that had been tabled. This report was the view from the Portfolio Committee on what they thought should be addressed. Member confirmed it was a true reflection of the work that had been done.
Mr Madonsela said the report resonated very well with that had taken place in the various meetings he had been in.
The Chairperson said what was good about the Committee is they met often and had engaged with SASSA on service delivery issues constantly. The strength of the relationship was that there was constant engagement. This report was a good parameter to measure performance and when the Department returned with a quarterly report they could measure some of the issues. There had not been time in the past to discuss quarterly reports because of other matters. Thus the Department could incorporate some of the issues into their quarterly performance.
Mr Jehoma and the Chairperson clarified the recommendation about the NDA giving capacity to Early Childhood Development.
Mr Shezi wanted to embellish the point made that there were certain initiatives that the Minister was driving partly in response to issues the portfolio committee had raised. One of the things that came out during the engagement with SASSA was the increased number of beneficiaries. It was important to note that there had been a very significant initiative the minister was driving at the moment around food security issues. The number of beneficiaries needed to be looked at in terms of those kinds of initiatives.
Mr Shezi said that the relationship between the Ministry, the department and the committee largely relied on the vigorous interaction it had had. As a consequence to that, due to some issues that had been raised by the committee, the Minister was driving a review process of the NDA. This review process was going to alleviate some of the issues that had been raised.
The Chairperson thanked those present and the meeting was adjourned.
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