Social Development's Strategic Plan 2012 with Minister and Deputy Minister

NCOP Health and Social Services

08 May 2012
Chairperson: Ms Rasmeni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Social Development (DSD) in the presence of the Minister and Deputy Minister presented its Budget and Strategic Plan 2012/13 to 2014/15. The overview and focus of the presentation was on key DSD Strategic Priorities; Promote Early Childhood Development, Expand Child and Youth Care Services using the Isibindi Model, Anti-Substance Abuse, and Provision of Food to Poor Households. Outputs, targets and budget allocations were also based on these key priorities.  

All Committee Members were not happy about the format of the presentation as it was directed at the National Assembly and did not provide a provincial focus for the National Council of Provinces. Lack of provincial breakdown of information and numbers was cited as the main shortcoming. Questions were asked about consultation was done on the banning of alcohol advertisements, the rationale for increasing the age limit from 18 to 21 for alcohol consumption, the neglect and dying status of early childhood development centres and old age homes, the lack of funding for the many non government and community based organisations facing financial difficulties who were performing DSD activities. Campaigns such as Ke Moja and Umkhanyakude were commended, but Members highlighted the need for actual visibility of these projects in all provinces. Also commended was the new SASSA card system that had been introduced. One Member doubted the effectiveness of the Lovelife programme as teenage pregnancies and substance abuse by young people were not decreasing. Other concerns were the need for recruitment of caregivers and social workers who had been trained but not absorbed by provinces, the quality of training and the subsidies given.

Led by the Minister, the DSD apologised for the presentation’s lack of a provincial focus. The Minister said the DSD aimed to make ECD compulsory and the subsidy would increase from R12 to R15 per child per day and this would be standardised throughout provinces. The Food for All campaign would be implemented in towns as well. The Minister promised to strengthen the relationship between the DSD and the Departments of Home Affairs, Police, Justice, Health, as well as Women, Children and People with Disability. A breakdown on the absorbtion of social work graduates was presented. Recruited caregivers would receive an NQF certificate. First preference in the recruitment process would be those already doing volunteer work as caregivers. The Chairperson asked the DSD through the Minister’s office to assist provinces by funding the social work programme.

Meeting report

Department of Social Development (DSD) Bugdet and Strategic Plan 2012
In the presence of the Minister, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, and the Deputy Minister, Bongi Ntuli, the Department of Social Development presented a strategic plan for the 2012 financial year. In introducing the strategic plan 2012, Mr Rodgers Hlatshwayo, Chief Director: Strategy, noted the Department’s mandate, vision and mission which provided its strategic thrust. DSD had seven branches and he explained their duties and responsibilities. 

Early Child Development (ECD)
This was the first strategic priority for the DSD which was meant to improve services to children in their first 1000 days of birth, with expected outcomes of improving access to ECD programmes and to quality basic education and long healthy life. The second priority was to Expand Child and Youth Care Services using the Isibindi model. The objective was to strengthen the services provided to children, especially vulnerable children snd in particular around protection services. The outcome was to make sure that children were safe. This priority linked up to the broader government outcomes of quality basic education and a safer society. The third priority was Anti-Substance Abuse. This objective was to reduce the incidence of substance abuse in communities by providing treatment and prevention services. The immediate outcome was to reduce social ills associated with substance abuse. The last priority was the Provision of Food to Poor Households under the auspices of the core programme called Food for All. The objective was to facilitate and monitor food for all programmes, with the outcome to improve access to diverse, nutritious and affordable food.

In putting the priorities into perspective, the DSD continued to work in other key priority programmes like the old age programme, the protection and broader participation of youth, social assistance, families, taking DSD to the people by working closely with people as an active citizenry, and lastly to continue supporting NGOs as they remained a critical support to the Department.

In explaining the priorities further, under ECD the focus would be on provision of quality ECD by raising the subsidy to R15 per child. All provinces would aim to achieve full participation by children in ECD programmes for 264 days over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). As long term strategy, policy measures to make ECD a public good, and thereby ensuring universal access would be at the epicentre of the Department’s policy. In addressing social infrastructure, the DSD was committed to audit at least 5 487 ECD centres this year, and more than 5000 next year. For over 2 years the Department was hoping to cover more than 10 000 ECD centres.

Child and Youth Care
DSD would consolidate services to orphans and vulnerable children, especially those living in child-headed households to enable them to access vital services and support. DSD would consolidate services to orphans and vulnerable children, especially those living in child-headed households to enable them to access vital services and support. To recruit the first contingent of child and youth care workers as part of the 10 000 target to be trained over the MTEF using the model called Isibindi. The model had proven to be effective in providing direct support to children in their homes and at community level through safe parks and life skills programmes. An additional programme would be focused on youth development through engagement on leadership programmes. Youth leadership camps would be stationed across provinces to empower youth. Skills development would be directed to them as well through the DSD bursary programme and profiling of Child Support Grant (CSG) primary care givers which would facilitate potential entry of economically active youth into the labour market, hopefully linking them to the broader infrastructure drive of government in terms of employment.

Anti-Substance Abuse
In order to prevent people from falling into deeper poverty and reduce vulnerability, the Department would have intensive focus on Anti-Substance Abuse campaigns aimed at educating South Africans on the dangers of abusing substances, introducing policy and legislative reforms that would bring coherence to how government deals with alcohol and illicit drugs. For example, legislation around the banning of alcohol advertising, raising the age limit from 18 to 21 for alcohol consumption, closing down of illegal shebeens, would be some of the practical strategies the Department would want to put across. This would go a long way in reducing social ills and crime expressed in the form of domestic abuse and violence especially on children, women, people with disabilities and older persons. To accomplish these strategies, DSD would strengthen
the Ke Moja campaign to target all vulnerable groups and work with civil society groups such as Soul City, Love Life and others.

Food Security
Social grants continue to be vital in improving access to food in households that were most likely to experience hunger. The rollout of the Food for All campaign would be targeted in specific communities, starting with KwaZulu-Natal. The Department would provide a platform for coordinating government’s interventions central in addressing citizen’s rights to food working with other departments such as the Department of Agriculture with the aim of fighting food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition.

Social Security and Social Assistance
DSD had noted a gap for children between 0-4 years and the need to expand coverage. The Department was committed to extend
CSG coverage for 0-4 year olds to 66% by March 2012, the Old Age Grant beneficiary coverage to 2 828 223 by March 2013 and general Child Support Grant beneficiary coverage to 11 491 702 by March 2013. The long term views were to ensure uniformity in social security provisioning by 2015, consulting and finalising the policy on mandatory retirement, death and disability benefits by 2013, and fast tracking the establishment of a Social Security Policy department by 2013. It would provide a comprehensive database of profiled CSG primary caregivers and beneficiaries by March 2013, and about 2 000 CSG primary care givers would be linked to economic opportunities by 2014. Another objective was to ensure the provision of access to internal remedies to applicants of social assistance by 31 March 2014. Hence DSD was setting a target of 90% of lodged appeals adjudicated within 90 days of receipt.

The objective of the new Social Security Inspectorate to be established by March 2015was the maintenance of the integrity of the Social Assistance Framework and Systems. The
Inspectorate Programme Management Unit already exists and its role was to oversee the establishment process and evaluating all research projects and activities. The DSD would commission a study to comprehensively review the current social security legislation, and also table an approved Inspectorate Policy Proposal to Cabinet. A Comprehensive Report (quantitative and qualitative) on the current levels of social assistance fraud, leakage and misconduct would also be provided.

Welfare Services
The objective was to improve the quality of welfare service by implementing the welfare services framework for the social work profession in the sector by March 2015. The DSD was to commission the comprehensive evaluation study on the state of social welfare services in SA by March 2013, to conduct impact evaluation on the scholarship programme by March 2013, to improve sector support to social development stakeholders and statutory bodies and NGOs by 2014/15 and facilitate the approval of the policy on social service professions by March 2013. It would conduct a scoping exercise towards the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework for funded NPOs by March 2013. Rollout of the National Implementation Plan on the Policy on Financial Awards to Service Providers (PFA) would happen by March 2013. In relation to protection of older person rights, 90 community based care and support services would be fully registered in terms of the new Older Persons Act plus 206 residential facilities registered. The DSD would convene nine provincial and one national Older Persons’ Parliament.

The DSD was to facilitate
the approval of policy and a draft bill on Social Development services to people with disabilities by March 2013. It would also train 45 senior managers and 66 middle managers on disability mainstreaming by 2013. Registered partial care facilities would be increased by 10% by March 2013, and would conduct a comprehensive audit of 5 487 ECD centres in all provinces by 2012/13. Other objectives would be to improve access to child care and protection through Alternative Care services, a 5% increase in the number of children accessing adoption services by March 2013, 10% increase in the number of children accessing foster care services by March 2013, 15% increase in the number of children accessing drop-in centres, and 10% increase in the number of children accessing Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs.). In that, 4 000 employees working with children would be screened against Child Protection Register by 2012/13. In reducing the incidence of social crime through capacity building and monitoring of programmes and policy implementations by provinces, the DSD would train 360 practitioners and service providers on a social crime prevention programme, accreditation for diversion services and minimum norms and standards by March 2013, whilst monitoring the implementation of the national integrated social crime prevention strategy action plan by all provinces in 2012/13. It would facilitate the implementation of the gender based violence prevention programmes in nine provinces by March 2013, develop and pilot the accreditation system on anti-human trafficking in 13 shelters nationwide by March 2013, and facilitate the approval of the National Drug Master Plan by 2012/13.

Community Development
The objective was to support and monitor the implementation of community development services and programmes, by training 580 Community Development Practitioners. It committed to improve capacity building of 300 Community Based Organisations on Community Development by March 2013. On the professionalisation of the Community Development Worker (CDP), DSD would
develop an occupational framework for community development. Already the DSD was having road shows in promoting this. It planned to support and monitor the implementation of community development services and programmes by profiling 200 000 households in 100 wards by March 2013, by the placement of 100 Change Agents in wards by March 2014, and mobilising 100 communities in 100 wards. The Department was to facilitate and monitor the implementation of Food For All programmes by promoting equitable access to food for 200 000 households by March 2013. A detailed overview for creating a conducive environment for civil society organizations and communities was fully outlined.

Budget presentation
Mr Coceko Pakade, DSD Chief Financial Officer, presented the MTEF allocation. Oversight was key in monitoring DSD delivery partners and NGOs that the DSD was funding. He mentioned the joint audit approach between the DSD and SASSA, through joint audit committees. The key priorities for the MTEF allocation were oversight, internal auditing, strengthening of entity oversight, policy monitoring and implementation from the social security side, and lastly the financial management unit. Under ECD, 5 487 ECD would be audited. The Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) was a national component endorsed by the Minister in her budget speech, and the Isibindi model would be managed at national level. Another priority would be improvement in Conditions of Service, this spoke to salary adjustments. Also highlighted was the establishment of the Inspectorate had its dedicated funding. Budget Cuts were not possible for the DSD considering the programmes rollouts and standardisation of subsidies to all provinces. All funds mentioned could not be utilised for expenditure on other line items without going back to Parliament for endorsement. Details of transfers and subsidies were also mentioned which included: Social Assistance transfers, SASSA, Social Work bursaries, Love Life programmes, National Development Agency, National Councils and Membership fees that DSD affiliates to. The Operational Budget Allocation and the increments were also noted.   

Ms B Mncube (Gauteng, ANC) asked that in future, a provincial breakdown should be provided for all facts and figures.

Ms D Rantho (Eastern Cape, ANC) reiterated Ms Mncube’s request. She noted that the report was meant for the National Assembly Portfolio Committee not the NCOP, as their delegates were from provinces interested in their specific provinces. Given such a general report, the Select Committee would not be able to assist the Minister in performing her duties in the provinces. She made a comment on the recruitment strategy by the DSD, making an example about the HIV/AIDS situation in the Eastern Cape regions. The comment was basically meant to ask the national office to inform them so they could work together in promoting and marketing the key priorities. 

Mr S Plaatjie (North West, COPE) questioned the implementation approach and rationale to be used by the DSD in banning the alcohol adverts, in increasing the age limit for alcohol consumption from 18 to 21 and the issue of consultation with stakeholders. In South Africa if a person was 18 year old, that individual was regarded as an adult. He referred to the closing of illegal shebeens and asked who would be responsible for this. He wanted to know more about the Ke Moja campaign, requesting the DSD to share about the success of this campaign. His last question was about the refugee budget and the national database in this regard. Were there classified statistics on the numbers of intended beneficiaries to be assisted by the DSD.

Mr M De Villiers (Western Cape, DA) said she would liked to have seen the names of the directors in charge of the seven DSD branches. What was the current situation on ECD allocation per child compared to the R15? On ECD, was the DSD going to address the social infrastructure in schools, and how? How many children were still not in ECD centres? She asked DSD to specify from which province the recruitment would take place. On the financial challenges faced by the non profit organisations, what was the situation in connection to the budget? Would the Umkhanyakude project in KZN be rolled out to other provinces as well? On child support grant beneficiary coverage, he expressed his concern that he did not want people to depend totally on social grants. He asked for information about giving job opportunities for those who were fit to work.

Mr W Faber (Northern Cape, DA) repeated the complaint that the presentation was aimed at the National Assembly, there was no breakdown per province on employment, social worker recruitment and programmes. He asked what was the quality of training given to social workers, how were they going to be recruited, were part-time teachers to be considered? Citing his problem with Love Life, he said it was failing given the high percentage of teenage pregnancy in the country.

The Chairperson also made a remark about the presentation, saying when presenting a report in the NCOP it should be provincially informed. Her question was whether the food security programme would be expanded to urban poor areas such as informal settlements? The DSD should brief the Committee on the regulation of the recently promulgated Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, for the Select Committee to make informed inputs. She commended the Department on the plan to commission the comprehensive evaluation study on the state of social welfare services, and the appointment of commissioners to head the inquiry into the state of social welfare services. She asked whether the old age homes were funded by national or provincial government, and whether the DSD had had an opportunity of conducting an audit on these institutions, so as to understand the financial challenges they are faced with. The Chairperson asked the Minister to elaborate on the nature of the anti-human trafficking shelters and whether there had been a study commissioned on these shelters.

Ms M Boroto (Mpumalanga, ANC) commended the DSD on the new card system, mentioning that it was working although there were some sceptics especially from old people. He asked the DSD to look at the welfare of the old people after receiving their pay, for possible abuse. Some of the community members were asking why they have to change their original banks, in particular those who were already using banks for their grants.

The Chairperson welcomed the review on the programme of social worker bursaries. There were provinces that were struggling to absorb social workers after they had completed their studies. Could the DSD indicate exactly which provinces and the problems they were experiencing?

Minister Dlamini started by apologising for the format of the DSD’s presentation, acknowledging the difference between NA and NCOP, and the need to break down numbers according to province. The Food for All campaign started in the North West, although it was not the number one province that had this challenge. The reason was because of those who died because of dehydration in that province. In elaborating further the Minister highlighted the problem of malnutrition in South Africa especially on children below the age of 5 which was around 6% nationally when compared to the international accepted figure of 3%, uMkhanyakude was at 10%. The DSD had agreed to include in this campaign towns. At the periphery of towns there were hungry people go to towns looking for jobs, with no access to food. The Minister relayed the DSD’s shock after finding out the extent of malnutrition around EThekwini and in Gauteng. The DSD would target all areas where there was malnutrition. Working together with the Department of Health, the DSD acquired research-based figures per province on malnutrition.

On Child and Youth Care workers, she said the priority would be where there were orphans and vulnerable children with the highest percentage of HIV/AIDS. In answering the question about consultation on the banning of alcohol advertisements, there had been a summit last year with all stakeholders present. The alcohol industry was invited but did not attend. The Department of Health was going to draft the Bill on alcohol advertising as it was their area of responsibility. The DSD however had already started with the draft to be presented to the Inter-Ministerial Committee, and the DSD was just a coordinator in this regard. 

The Minister indicated that consultation would be a continual exercise, with the industry, taverns and shebeen owners. Some taverns and shebeen owners had valid reasons for their businesses. However the fact of the matter was people and families were destroyed by this type of business. According to research 65% of deaths were caused by alcohol and substance abuse. A comparative study had been done of countries where legal consumption of alcohol was from the age of 21. The findings were that there were fewer “incidents” in those countires compared to those where 18 years was the age limit. The police were addressing the closing of illegal shebeens and looking at the time factor, this was already in practice in the Northern Cape and Free State.

The Minister said DSD would be reviewing the Ke Moja campaign and the report would presented to the NCOP. In citing some of the challenges faced by this campaign, the Minister mentioned the quality of people working on this project, marketing and advocacy. On the refugees grant, the DSD depended on the national register from the DHA. She commended the DHA for cleaning up the register. The R15 subsidy would be standardised and be the same for all provinces, in particular in rural areas where this had always been a challenge with ECD centres receiving a lesser amount. The problem was ECDs were run by NGOs, and when they received the money, they did as they pleased with it. Another challenge was that ECD was not compulsory in South Africa even though practical examples showed that children who attended ECD programmes perform better when they got to school. This should be a national programme where every citizen was involved, including the disability institutions.

The Minister agreed with comments suggesting that NPOs and CBOs were facing financial difficulties. For each child per household and ECD, the DSD had been allocated R1.2b for the next financial year, and R40m to audit ECD centres. This was to understand what was basic for all ECD centres, for example, curriculum, care givers and their level of education.

The Minister agreed with the view that people should not be made to depend on grants, however vulnerable people should not suffer as a result of that notion. The DSD had asked SASSA to provide a breakdown of young people who were receiving the grant. Currently 10.8 million children were receiving the grant in 2011. On the type of training to be given, the DSD always looked at accredited people. The problem raised by practitioners in the ECD conference was that NGOs were repeating themselves in terms of training, and they asked the DSD to monitor them. This was the responsibility of the Department of Basic Education as it appointed the NGOs. The DSD would then have to strengthen working relations with the DBE and be specific about the curriculum.        

The DSD would employ unemployed youth, but for both social work and caregivers, the preference would be to give those who had already volunteered doing home-based care. In regard to Lovelife, the Minister indicated that communities were not contributing to nurturing children. What must be taken into consideration was that the DSD and Lovelife were competing with the pressure of “social networks”. Based on her constituency work in Mpumalanga, the Minister felt that Lovelife was doing what it could. It was just that South Africans were really not supporting the cause. The DSD continually met with Lovelife to assist them in shaping and redirecting their programmes.

She said that the audit had been done on old age homes. The DSD understood the challenges. In June/July the DSD would be visiting provinces, talking to NPOs, and making unannounced visits to institutions with older persons, disabilities and with vulnerable people. On human trafficking the DSD would have to come back to give a full report on the challenges in this regard, with the Departments of Justice, Police and that of Women, Children and People with Disability.

On why people had to change their bank, the Minister suggested that the DSD would have to come back to NCOP with SASSA to explain the re-registration process. The new company was the reason for grant beneficiaries having to change their card and the system had changed.

Mr Coceko Pakade,
Acting Chief Executive Officer of SASSA, also apologised to the Select Committee for lack of focus in the presentation. He noted that the breakdown was available and would be given to the committee secretary. The challenge faced by the DSD related to provincial allocation where there were anomalies in that actuaries would allocate more for certain provinces and less for some. For example, Limpopo had a challenge with its allocation.

Dr Mabel Mabetoa (DDG: Welfare Services) in outlining subsidies and rate per child per day, mentioned the rise would be from R12 to R15 in this financial year. Four provinces were already on R15 per child. Some ECD practitioners were paid a lesser amount compared to others. On the quality of training of youth care workers, the Child and Youth Careworker would get an NQF certificate in child and youth care. It would be the training-on-the-job exercise using the services of an accredited service provider. On the absorption of graduates, Free State had absorbed all its graduates, KZN had absorbed all 375 graduates, Gauteng would need around R16 million to absorb all its graduates, but they were talking to other NGO sectors to absorb some of the graduates, Western Cape had 69 graduates and it was planning to employ them as interns with possible permanent positions. In the Northern Cape there was no problem with absorption, Eastern Cape had 88 graduates but there were backlogs in that province, North West was not absorbing its 116 graduates, Mpumalanga had 93 graduates to absorb and Limpopo had 237 to be absorbed.

Mr De Villiers wanted to know about the progress on the infrastructure development of ECD centres.

In response, Mr Pakade explained that the interventions that were currently happening by provinces and the NDA, the target would be for worst case scenarios. The challenge in this regard was to make ECD compulsory in the country, and with government taking full responsibility for ECDs centres. The role of Local Government was being assessed as it was the key role player. However the audit being conducted would assist the DSD to understand where these centres were, as some of them were operating in back yards and garages.

Mr De Villiers asked the DSD how it would handle the decrease of R24.4 million to R16.5 million on the ECD audit. Another question related to the decrease in Social Assistance from R1.458bn in 2012/13 to R1.298bn in 2013/14, with Administration increasing from R20m to R30m.

Mr Pakade explained the allocation was a base figure on the number of ECDs to be tackled in year 1 and year 2, ideally the department would wanted to perform the bulk of their work in year 1. However, if some work was not finished, what was outstanding would overlap to year 2. The system that DSD was using in conjunction with Stats SA in terms of age growth and mortality, made the Department save in the last 2 years around R1b in Social Assistance. This was monitored on a monthly basis. On Administration, the budget had been cut already for 2012/13 as SASSA was projecting to save around R800m per annum through the new payment system.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister, Deputy Minister, and the delegates for the presentation, asking the DSD to forward a report illustrating the breakdown per province. The Chairperson also asked the DSD through the Minister’s office to assist provinces by funding the social work programme which was currently facing difficulty for effective implementation in some of the provinces.

The meeting was adjourned.


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