Committee Report on Department of Social Development Strategic Plan

Social Development

23 April 2012
Chairperson: Ms Y Botha (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee noted that the Central Drug Authority still needed to appear before the Committee, but this may not happen prior to the budget vote. Although a Member raised questions on matters raised in the media in relation to supply chain matters at the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), the Committee Chairperson noted that these matters were sub judice.

The Committee considered the draft Committee Report on the strategic plans of the Department of Social Development and its entities. Some grammatical changes were noted, and the report was also amended to reflect that the responsibility for birth registrations rested with both the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and with parents and care givers. The report also must reflect that Central Drug Authority laboratory results and lists of provinces were awaited. A DA member said he had raised concerns that should be included in the report. Other Members disagreed, saying that the rest of the Committee had not agreed with him on that point, and therefore it was not adopted as a resolution of the Committee. Similar points were raised by this Member also in relation to resolution of SASSA contracts and he asked that the Report should reflect a recommendation from the Committee that the SASSA bid committee should appear before the Committee. The Chairperson noted that the legality of such a request was still be investigated, and other Members also said that not all other Members at that meeting had agreed on that point. There was discussion on whether there had been actual agreement or disagreement, or whether it was merely that no objections were voiced, and it was also noted that once again it could be problematic if this Committee were to insist upon an explanation while court processes were still running. The Chairperson suggested, as a compromise, that it merely be noted that a report would be needed, but the DA Member objected strongly, and felt that this was an attempt to change what had been decided, and left the meeting. The expression of thanks to the Central Drug Authority was removed from the Report. The Report was adopted by the Members still remaining in the meeting, with amendments.

The Committee also adopted, with minor technical amendments, the minutes of 28 February, 6 March and 13 March.

Meeting report

Opening comments
The Chairperson welcomed the Committee, and noted the apologies.

Mr M Waters (DA) raised an issue raised in the previous week in relation to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) contracts, and allegations in the media. He had already raised this issue with Ms P Tshwete (ANC), when she was acting as Chairperson, and she had noted that there would be a chance to engage with SASSA prior to the budget hearing. He asked if this would still happen.

Mr Waters also questioned when the Central Drug Authority (CDA) would be appearing, noting that this should also take place prior to the budget speech.

The Chairperson responded that the CDA would be accommodated in the Committee programme, but their issues were not as crucial as those of the National Development Agency (NDA). The Committee had some time constraints but would slot this into the Committee programme.

In relation to the matters raised in the media, and the SASSA bid committee, she added that the supply chain processes issue was with the court, and it was therefore inappropriate for the Committee to deal with it at present. She noted that the Committee should have received a briefing, but noted that concurrent processes between the court and the Committee should not run. She also said this briefing would not occur before the budget speech.

Adoption of Committee Report on Department of Social Development and entities’ Strategic Plans 2012 to 2015
The Committee went through the draft Committee Report on the Department of Social Development (DSD) and entities’ strategic plans.

The Chairperson noted that the new name of the Department should be included in a footnote.

Grammatical changes were noted on pages 1 and 6.

The Chairperson noted that an amendment was needed, noting that the responsibility for birth registrations rested not only with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) but also with parents and care givers. She added that DHA had offices in hospitals to make these processes easier.

The Chairperson noted a grammatical correction to page 8. Also in relation to that page, she noted that the Committee still awaited the CDA laboratory results and lists of provinces.  

Mr Waters also indicated that a concern raised by him in a previous meeting should be included in page 8.

The Chairperson responded that the Committee did not agree and Mr Waters should raise this issue in his speech to the House.

Mr Waters replied that his concern, and the fact that the Committee did not agree with it, should still be noted in the report. He confirmed that he intended to raise the matter in his speech.

Ms M Mafolo (ANC) said if the recommendation was not presented in the report, it meant it was not supported by the whole Committee, hence the reason why it was not noted.

Mr Waters noted that in this case, he would ask that his objection to the adoption of the Committee Report be recorded.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee was still going through the report, and noted some more grammatical errors, which Members agreed should be changed.

The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to remind the Committee which reports were requested from SASSA.

The Committee Secretary noted that these were the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) progress report, a report on the restructuring of the provincial offices, and one or two other issues.

Members noted and corrected a grammatical error on page 12.

Mr Waters raised a point on page 14 about the resolution of the SASSA contract. He suggested that the Report should reflect a recommendation from the Committee that the SASSA bid committee should appear before the Committee. He said he understood the need for a legal opinion, but this was still a resolution of the Committee at that meeting and should be reflected as such.  

The Chairperson felt the legality of that request should first be reviewed, and she would come back to the Committee on that point.

Mr Waters insisted that the recommendation to call SASSA’s bid committee in for interrogation was accepted by the Committee at that meeting and it should be reflected.

Mr V Magagula (ANC) did not agree with Mr Waters, saying that the entire Committee did not agree on that point.

Ms H Makhuba (IFP) added to the discussion, saying that other Members did not object when the point was raised. She felt there was no discrepancy between what Mr Waters and the Chairperson had said. She felt a further briefing by SASSA was necessary, even if this was after the budget vote, because of time constraints.

The Chairperson stated she had a problem with Mr Waters’ insistence that the Committee had agreed to call the bid committee of SASSA in for an explanation. She again explained the problem of trying to run dual investigations concurrently, between the court and Committee. If new evidence emerged before the Committee, this could compromise the court process.

Mr Waters suggested that the Committee minutes should be checked, as these would to show that no one raised objections to his recommendation.

The Chairperson said she would revise that decision, if this was said. She felt that the Committee should be briefed by the entity itself, regarding the outsourcing of the grant payments tender.

Mr Walters complained that the Chairperson could not change what was decided in the Committee meeting. He repeated that the recording of the meeting should be obtained and listened to, and that should be reflected as a resolution in the report.

Ms Mafolo added there was currently no time frame for a briefing or explanation.

The Chairperson said she would review what the Committee could and could not do, would look at the minutes, and would revert on that issue. Where there was no consensus, there was no Committee resolution in effect.

Mr Waters again objected, saying a decision and resolution was taken in the previous week, and it should be reflected.

The Chairperson responded and said there was no consensus, except to the effect that the Committee should be briefed on the matter of the outsourcing of the tender.

Mr Walters said someone should check the recording.

Ms Mafolo felt time was against the Committee. Her recollection was that Mr Waters simply raised the issue, but it was not formally discussed, so it was not a resolution but rather his recommendation.

Mr Magagula disagreed with Mr Walters that there had been any agreement, saying the rest of the Committee had not even entertained the suggestion. The Chairperson stated the matter would be discussed, but he agreed that it was not correct or fair to discuss issues that were before the court. 

Ms N Gcume (COPE) agreed with Mr Magagula that there was no agreement by the Committee with Mr Walters.

The Chairperson responded that, in order to move on, it should be noted in the Report that the Committee would be briefed on the issues.

Ms Mafolo stated that if the matter was before the court, it could not be discussed by the Committee. She suggested that the Committee take a vote on the matter.

The Chairperson said that was not necessary. She reiterated that it should be reflected that the Committee would need to receive a briefing.

Mr Waters strongly objected to this, said again that he felt that the Chairperson was attempting to change what had been decided, and left the meeting.

Ms T Kenye (ANC) asked if anything had yet been received from the National Development Agency (NDA).

The Chairperson replied that nothing was received as yet.  

The Chairperson questioned why the Committee should express thanks to the CDA, as it had not exactly been helpful. She noted that no thanks should be recorded.

The Chairperson noted, under the recommendations section, that the Committee should be kept abreast of the restructuring progress of the provincial offices, and given new details. She noted that this Report, once adopted, would be tabled in Parliament.

Members present at this point voted to adopt the Report, with the amendments.

Committee Minute Adoption
Minutes dated 28 February 2012
The Chairperson went through the minutes page by page. She said that the resolution of the cash payment system was an old decision, taken in February.

Ms Mafolo remarked that this was before the matter went to court.

The Chairperson said this was reflected in the decision taken later.

Members adopted the minutes, with minor technical amendments.

Committee Minutes dated 6 March 2012
The Chairperson noted that Members had no comments on pages 1 to 5. In relation to page 6, international relations work had already been done, and it was merely the formulation of the Committee’s role that was needed.

The Minutes were adopted, subject to minor technical amendments.

Committee Minutes dated 13 March 2012
The minutes were adopted with minor technical amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.

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