Department of Social Development on its Strategic Plan 2013

Social Development

22 April 2013
Chairperson: Ms Y Botha (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

In its strategic goals the Department gave prominence to areas such as Early Childhood Development (ECD) that formed part of government priorities and also linked to Education, and Chapter 9 in the National Development Plan spoke very strongly about ECD. The Department also prioritised Child Care and Protection Services given the current challenges our children faced around issues of protection; to combat substance abuse; to promote and protect older persons and people with disabilities; and food and nutrition security. Food security including job creation remained a key catalyst and in order to deliver prioritised support to non-profit organisations (NPOs), the Department looked at issues of infrastructure development together with the Department’s counterparts, customer care and appropriate service delivery models.

Child support and older person’s grants made up the bulk of expenditure on the Social Assistance programme, and reflected the government’s commitment to support the most vulnerable members of our society, namely children, the elderly and the disabled. The number of social grant beneficiaries increased from 15,2 million in March to more than 15,9 million at 31 December 2012, and are projected to increase to about 17,2 million by the end of March 2016.

The Department planned to improve the delivery of Social Welfare services through review of the implementation of the White Paper for Social Welfare and the Framework for Social Welfare Services.

The Department committed to produce a Draft Bill for Social Service Practitioners; and to introduce an effective regulatory system for funded NPOs, the commitment being to monitor the implementation of the Policy on Financial Awards.

The focus for older persons was to create an enabling environment for the protection and promotion of rights of older persons. The Department was looking at Community Based Care services across provinces to assess compliance in terms of norms and standards for about 90 Community Based Care services; and was also looking at 108 residential care facilities assessed for compliance in terms of norms and standards. The Draft Bill on Older Persons was also highlighted.

In order to promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities, the Department was working on the Draft Bill on social services to people with disabilities; and norms and standards for residential facilities.

The focus for children this year was to improve the quality of Early Childhood Development services by 2015; to strengthen child protection services through the implementation of child care and protection measures by 2015; and to protect and improve the quality of life of orphaned and other vulnerable children through the Isibindi Model.

On substance abuse, the idea was to reduce the demand for substances in communities by providing prevention and treatment services. Specific indicators were:

- The implementation of the National Anti-Substance Abuse Programme of Action by nine national departments;

- Capacity building of 120 stakeholders on the Prevention and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act No. 70 of 2008 and Regulations;

- Facilitate implementation of the social mobilisation strategy by capacitating 90 service providers; and

- Review and implementation of the New Drug Master Plan (NDMP) that had been approved.

Strategic objectives for HIV and AIDS were to develop and facilitate implementation of social and behaviour change programmes, working closely with loveLife; and to mitigate the psychosocial impact of HIV and AIDS and TB on targeted key populations. New infections had stabilised, which was an indication that the behavioural change programmes were working.

An additional allocation of R120 million was made to FoodBank South Africa, aimed at strengthening the Food for All programme.

Financial: There was a marginal increase in the budget allocated, decreasing over the MTEF.
MTEF growth trends – budget comparison (2013 Estimates of National Expenditure) (excluding transfers) reflected an increase of 1.9% to R652 million.

Operational allocation per programme and per economic classification reflected a total of R652.4 million. Compensation of employees constituted 52% of operational budget economic classification for the 2013/14 financial year. The jump from R307 million to R340 million for compensation of employees was necessitated due to the new organisational structure in the Department, money was allocated to fund the prioritised posts identified

Members raised grave concern that the Department was not training sufficient Social Workers and that the failure and dropout rate of students in the Social Worker Scholarship Programme was so high. The Department’s response was the universities could only take a certain number and so even with more funding the Department could only train so many at a given time. Many who failed were orphans without means, the Department agreed to assist them for one more year.
 

Meeting report

 

The Chairperson noted that Minister, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, was meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Health and was expected to join the meeting later. An apology was received from the Deputy Minister, Ms Bongi Maria Ntuli, who was unable to attend due to a meeting scheduled for Cabinet on Social Protection. The Acting Director General was in New York at the United Nations attending to population development issues.

Mr Wiseman Magasela (Acting Acting DG) led the delegation, which included Mr Rodgers Hlatshwayo (Chief Director: Strategy); Mr Peter Netshipale (Acting Acting DDG: Integrated Development); Dr Vuyelwa Nhlapo (CEO: NDA); Mr Phumlani Zwane (CFO: NDA); Mr Johnny Madiba (Acting CFO: DSD); the Acting DDG from Social Securities, as well as Mr Osborne Masilela (Entities Oversight: DSD); and Ms Connie Nxumalo (Acting DDG: Social Services).

Department of Social Development (DSD) strategic plan
Mr Rodgers Hlatshwayo (Chief Director: Strategy) briefed the Committee. The Department’s medium term strategic goals were to:
• Increase household food and nutrition security
• Improve service delivery by standardising social welfare services, focusing on quality
• Prevent new HIV infections, address the structural and social drivers of HIV and tuberculosis, and mitigate the impact of those diseases
• Reduce income poverty by providing social assistance to eligible individuals
• Create an enabling and conducive environment within which NPOs can operate
• Improve the quality of and access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) services
• Strengthen child protection services through the implementation of childcare and protection measures
• Reduce the demand for illegal and addictive substances within communities
• Facilitate social change and sustainable development, targeting youths and adults in their communities
• Create an enabling environment for the protection and promotion of older persons’ rights and people with disabilities; and to
• Strengthen families by providing comprehensive social services.
 


It was decided to give prominence to certain areas, such as ECD that formed part of government priorities and also linked to Education, and Chapter 9 in the NDP spoke very strongly about ECD. The Department also prioritised Child Care and Protection Services given the current challenges our children faced around issues of protection; to combat substance abuse; to promote and protect older persons and people with disabilities; and food and nutrition security. Food security including job creation remained a key catalyst and in order to deliver prioritised support to NPOs, the Department looked at issues of infrastructure development together with the Department’s counterparts, customer care and appropriate service delivery models that would deliver basic services.

Programme Performance

Programme 1: Administration
Under the programme Strategic, Risk and Business Processes, the Department looked at an Integrated Service Delivery model for the Social Development Sector in order to sharpen the manner in which it delivered the services. Of concern was the issue of target setting and the Department was committed to produce a target setting framework that would assist provinces to target better in relation to the population and the demand; and the Department continued to work on the area of risk. In terms of transforming the social infrastructure portfolio in support of service delivery, the Department planned, through the Infrastructure Unit, to come up with an infrastructure optimisation model to map all the facilities, such as where the ECD was located and the proximity of ECD to other facilities, and access to other services provided by the Department. The Department was looking to improve about 25 Social Development offices across provinces, and to train 540 officials on the Culture Reform programme.

In terms of Communication, the objective was to improve public access to DSD information and services. The plan was to reach about 55 000 people via a DSD website and other social media such as Face book, Twitter and others; and about 25 000 people through marketing and other initiatives. The Minister and Deputy Minister would continue to engage with the public.

In terms of Entity Oversight the target was to implement Public Entities Oversight and Management Strategy; to monitor implementation of performance using the score card.

The focus on Monitoring and Evaluation included updating the Social Development M&E System; to produce Bi-Annual Service Delivery Monitoring Reports within the prescribed timeframe; to produce Institutional Performance Reports; to produce a social profile of vulnerable groups; and to develop the Multi-Year Evaluation Plan and Strategy.

Programme 2: Social Assistance
The objective was to reduce poverty by providing income support to eligible individuals.

• Child support and older person’s grants made up the bulk of expenditure on this programme, and reflected the government’s commitment to support the most vulnerable members of our society, namely children, the elderly and the disabled.

• The number of social grant beneficiaries increased from 15,2 million in March to more than 15,9 million at 31 December 2012, and was projected to increase to about 17,2 million by the end of March 2016.

 

• Spending increased significantly from 2009/10 to 2012/13, mainly due to the extension of the age limit for the child support grant to 18 years, and the equalisation of access to the older person’s grant at 60 years.

• In 2011/12, the asset and income threshold for the older person’s grant was increased as part of a broader social security reform process.

• Greater awareness is being generated on the grant-in-aid and care dependency grant, and expenditure is therefore projected to increase over the current MTEF period.

 

Programme 3: Social Security Policy and Administration
The objective was to promote an effective and efficient social security system to protect poor and vulnerable people against income poverty. The target was to produce four oversight reports on adherence to norms and standards for social assistance programme; to produce an Annual Survey Report on Social Assistance Services; and to produce uniform and coherent information on social expenditure.

With regard to Appeals Adjudication, the target was to adjudicate 50% of appeals within 90 days of receipt.

With respect to the Inspectorate the Department planned to have a policy approved for the social security inspection by 2013/14.

Expenditure on appeals adjudication would increase in order to speed up adjudication appeals, increasing the number of appeals adjudicated within 90 days to 65% in 2015/16.

Programme 4: Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation Support
The Department planned to improve the delivery of Social Welfare services through review of the implementation of the White Paper for Social Welfare and the Framework for Social Welfare Services.

- A study would be piloted in two provinces this year and it was expected to cover all the provinces by 2014 as far as the review was concerned.

- Implementation of generic intervention processes in provinces to be monitored.

- 800 scholarships to be awarded to social work students (raising the total to 5 550).

- The scholarship programme to be evaluated and a draft assessment report for the scholarship programme produced.

Objectives for the Social Service Provider Management and Support were to develop a regulatory framework for social service practitioners by March 2016, for which the Department committed to produce a Draft Bill for Social Service Practitioners; and to introduce an effective regulatory system for funded NPOs, the commitment being to monitor the implementation of the Policy on Financial Awards.

The focus for older persons was to create an enabling environment for the protection and promotion of rights of older persons. The Department was looking at Community Based Care services across provinces to assess compliance in terms of norms and standards for about 90 Community Based Care services (10 per province). The Department was also looking at 108 residential care facilities assessed for compliance in terms of norms and standards; and the Draft Bill on Older Persons was also highlighted.

In order to promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities, the Department was working on the Draft Bill on social services to people with disabilities; and norms and standards for residential facilities.

The focus for children this year was:
- to improve the quality of Early Childhood Development (ECD) services by 2015;
- Strengthen child protection services through implementation of child care and protection measures by 2015;
- Protect and improve the quality of life of orphaned and other vulnerable children through the Isibindi Model.

Issues prioritised for families included capacity building of stakeholders on the White Paper on Families, and capacity building on Fatherhood and Active Parenting programme for teenagers.

Substance Abuse: The idea was to reduce the demand for substances in communities by providing prevention and treatment services. Specific indicators were:
- The implementation of the National Anti-Substance Abuse Programme of Action by nine national departments;
- Capacity building of 120 stakeholders on the Prevention and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act of 2008 and Regulations;
- Facilitate implementation of the social mobilisation strategy by capacitating 90 service providers; and
- Review and implementation of the New Drug Master Plan (NDMP) that had been approved.

Social Crime Prevention and Victim Empowerment: The Department aimed to reduce the incidence of social crime through programmes, policies and legislation by March 2016; to improve victim empowerment services through programmes, policies and legislation by 2016; and to improve interdepartmental coordination within the Victim Empowerment Sector.

Youth: The Department also sought to empower youths for sustainable development and social change.

HIV and AIDS: Strategic objectives were to develop and facilitate implementation of social and behaviour change programmes, working closely with loveLife; to mitigate the psychosocial impact of HIV/AIDS and TB on targeted key populations; and to strengthen community based systems. New infections had stabilised, which was an indication that the behavioural change programmes were working. The Department to submit a draft evaluation report together with LoveLife.

• Most funds would continue to be disbursed to loveLife, enabling it to increase and extend its HIV/AIDS awareness programmes, and on scholarships for social work students. By 2015/16, the number of students benefiting from these scholarships is expected to reach 6 550.
• From 2009/10 to 2012/13, expenditure on social crime prevention and victim empowerment increased significantly in order to provide for the implementation of the Child Justice Act (2009).
• Expenditure on the Substance Abuse sub programme increased in 2011/12 and 2012/13 in order to provide for the development of regulations under the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Act.
• Expenditure on goods and services increased substantially in 2011/12 and 2012/13, due to additional allocations for an ECD audit and the establishment of system to facilitate the rollout of the Isibindi Model.

Programme 5: Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery
Special projects focused on the social aspects around the EPWP

 

 

 Programme:

- Increase job opportunities, skills and income levels in the Social Development Sector. The Department was looking at about 33307 work opportunities created, 3199 full time equivalents created through the Incentive grants, and 27814 non-EPWP jobs created.
- Promote community driven development: this programme carried special projects of community works programmes. The Department planned to expand the Kwanda programme that was started, giving opportunity to communities to showcase what they were doing around development, and also to drive their own development. Nine new Kwanda sites were to be added.
- Provide social protection to military veterans: three services were provided (Psychosocial counselling, Social Relief of Distress (SRD) and job related services).

DSD aimed to create an enabling environment for Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs), looking at processing of applications within two months of receipt in terms of registration; adjudicating 80% of appeals within three months; approved policy for amending the NPO Act; training 2500 NPOs on governance and compliance with the NPO Act; and to train 300 provincial officials on management of the NPO sector.

Mr Hlatshwayo turned to Community Development. The Department committed to:

- Support and monitor the implementation of community development services and programmes. The plan was to train 600 Community Development Practitioners (CDPs); to train 400 community-based organisations (CBOs) on community development practice; to support institutions of higher learning to align their curriculum with Community Development national qualifications NQF Level 5 and 8; to continue profiling households; to reach 200 Wards through mobilisation programmes; and to provide socio-economic support to 450 change agents in targeted wards.

- Create an environment for community development practice through the Community Development Occupational Framework. The Department committed to facilitate the development of Norms and Standards for Community Development. The Policy Framework on Community Development was before MinMEC.

- Facilitate and monitor the implementation of food security programmes, particularly looking at the number of households accessing food security programmes. The target for 2013/14 was 300 000 households benefiting, and 700 000 people accessing food through food banks. An additional allocation of R120 million was made to FoodBank South Africa, aimed at strengthening the Food for All programme.

DSD Financial Outlook
Mr Johnny Madiba (Acting CFO: DSD) briefed the Committee on the financial outlook over the MTEF to support the targets presented.

The baseline was R120.9 billion, additional funds allocated to baseline R35 630, adjustments to baseline (savings) (R451 826 million). The MTEF allocations to be included in the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) were R120 billion, increasing to R137 billion over the MTEF.

Earmarked allocations over the MTEF included the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) admin budget of R6.3 billion, of which fraud investigations R70 million, Social Assistance Grants R113 billion, ECD Audit R16.5 million. Social Work Scholarships were reduced to R250 million, Establishment of Inspectorate R14,9 million, FoodBank South Africa R30 million, National Development Agency R171.7 million, and LoveLife R48,1 million.

There was a marginal increase in the budget allocated, decreasing over the MTEF.

Mr Madiba went through the allocations per programme and per sub programme for Social Security Policy and Administration. Under the allocation per sub programme for Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation Support Mr Madiba highlighted the major drop in the figures for Children because of the ECD audit. In the previous year the Department allocated R24 million, it went down to R16 million.

The Allocation per Economic Classification consisted of compensation of employees R340 million, goods and services R297 million, Transfer and subsidies R120 billion, and payment for capital assets R6.4 million, totalling R120.7 billion.

Mr Madiba detailed the key transfers and subsidies, of which Social Assistance Transfers was the major figure at R113 billion.

Operational Budget Allocations 2012/13 to 2015/16
MTEF growth trends – budget comparison (2013 ENE) (excluding transfers) reflected an increase of 1.9% to R652 million, increasing accordingly.

Operational allocation per programme and per economic classification reflected a total of R652.4 million. Compensation of employees constituted 52% of operational budget economic classification for the 2013/14 financial year. The jump from R307 million to R340 million for compensation of employees was necessitated due to the new organisational structure in the Department, money was allocated to fund the prioritised posts identified.

The Chairperson thanked the officials. The Committee should get a detailed briefing on the Kwanda Programme and FoodBank. Mr Magasela agreed, saying they would expect an invitation.

Discussion
Ms E More (DA) referred to social crime prevention and victim empowerment under the sub programme Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation Support. She was aware that the DSD, the Department of Health and others participated in the Victim Management Team and had to submit reports to Parliament on an annual basis on the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act and that to date the Department had not submitted its report, and asked why?

Mr Magasela responded that the DSD was part of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster and worked at that level.

Ms Connie Nxumalo (Acting DDG: Social Services) indicated that it was not that the Department was not submitting reports; it had to submit via the Department of Justice because they consolidated the report. However, the Department had since learnt that it was expected to submit a separate report. This year the report would still be submitted to the Department of Justice en route, but would also present it as an individual department to Parliament as per requirement. There was confusion of interpretation of that clause; it was the same clause with the Child Justice Act, but with the Child Justice Act the Department submitted the report to the Department of Justice.

Ms More asked what was the link between that Social Crime Prevention and Victim Empowerment and how it was going to function in terms of the R39 million? Why was there was a financial allocation in the budget for that when the report was not being submitted?

Ms More asked for more information on the establishment of youth programmes in three provinces, and which provinces were they?

Mr M Waters (DA) was concerned that a number of sub programme allocations had been reduced. He understood the reduction under Children because of the high allocation in ECD assessments, but, for example, older persons had a reduction of about one third of the budget, youth also about 30% reduction, and substance abuse a reduction of about R2 million. Given the importance of substance abuse what was the justification for those reductions, and what implications did that have on service delivery?

Mr Magasela responded that the Department had the ENE for financial expenditure for the MTEF period. That reduction in terms of allocations related to several things. Firstly, the utilisation of historical data where National Treasury looked at what Treasury had been using the money on. What happened with particularly older persons, youth and substance abuse was an issue of efficiency savings. The ENE related to issues such as the utilisation of venues by the Department, to things such as advertising, which would include promotional materials, subsistence and travel. Those were the non-core aspects of the programmes where the reductions were at. The core function that was project development in those areas as well as assisting provinces in the implementation of the policies developed by the Department remained.

Mr Madiba added that the efficiency saving exercise was necessitated by the Cabinet approval that all departments should embark on in defining areas where they could identify savings over the MTEF and all departments were expected to identify the 1% reduction, 2% reduction, 3% reduction over the MTEF.

Mr Waters also asked what were the implications to NPOs that were specifically rendering services for those sub programmes?

Mr Magasela responded that the Department was re-evaluating and reconstructing the kind of relationship it wished to have with NPOs, including the issue of resourcing them as well as an ongoing interface between the Department and the NPO Sector. While the Department expected NPOs to provide annual reports and financial statements, the monitoring thereof was not at the desired level. There were questions around monitoring and registration and failing to ensure that NPOs were carrying out their commitment. If some of the stages were statutory, ie government was expected to discharge those various services, what then became of the issue of funding them. If government funded them 100% then they became government and the Department would have to dictate to them everything that they did. That did not mean the Department was running away from the challenge of standardising, for instance, government subsidisation of older persons in the Eastern Cape. It ought to be uniform and the same across the board.

Mr Netshipale added that two types of monitoring were inherent in the NPO sector. One related to how an NPO would ensure that its governance was in order by providing DSD a report in terms of the NPO Act of 1987, on an annual basis to ensure that that NPO was still operating. The Department would look at whether the NPOs had submitted all reports, which was an area where a lot of NPOs were not complying. Following the NPO summit held last year a lot of issues were raised and the Department was at a stage where the resolutions and the action plan had been developed in all the areas to assist NPOs to report back. There was the issue of duplicating for financial purposes to be funded, and reporting back on NPO Act requirements. This year the Department would go back to those NPOs to ensure they were aware of the issues they had to adhere to in terms of NPO governance and compliance to the NPO Act.

Areas identified from the NPO summit:
1  The NPO registration where the regulatory framework was so stringent that it should be ensured that the regulatory framework and, the NPO Act forms were available in all nine languages, and that the registration process was done quickly.
2  Development of the funding models, policy and financial reward implementation discussions with Treasury. There were serious complaints in terms of resource mobilisation and NPOs in the rural areas were not accessing funding.
3  Transformation among the NPOs. Some NPOs were still racially based, especially the old age homes that admitted clients based on ethnicity.
4  The issue of the 10 Point Plan. When NPOs registered they needed to look at addressing a comprehensive approach of dealing with the citizens’ problems that led to poverty, inequality, and service delivery. A resolution was taken.
5  Capacity building. A plan has been developed; the NDA has been mandated, together with the Department, to begin to implement a capacity building programme for NPOs, especially the CBOs in the very rural areas.

A programme of action related to all five areas would be dealt with comprehensively. The Department would take this back to Treasury, especially on the issue of resource mobilisation, that the Welfare Sector was very scarcely funded and a lot of NPOs were not accessing funding.

Mr Waters noted that registration and monitoring of NPOs was reduced by R3 million. Last year there was an issue of deregistration of thousands of NPOs because of lack of information. If NPOs were not monitored and registered properly how could they be expected to fulfil their functions and how could seamless registration be ensured when money allocated was being reduced?

Mr Magasela responded that government relied very much on the use of consultants. The DSD paid particular attention to that and the reduction to the allocation had to be understood in that context. The Department was now, in many instances, doing the work internally. Huge savings were made that were primarily directed at consultants and this did not in any way compromise the quality of the work in the DSD.

Mr Waters referred to the organogram in the Annual Performance Plan as opposed to last year’s. Last year’s was full, with everyone’s names. This year there were no names. Everyone was acting, which would have an impact on the performance of the Department. He asked for an indication of all the Deputy Director posts that were vacant or acting, and an indication of how long those positions had been vacant because according to the Annual Report those positions were supposed to have been filled within three months.

Mr Magasela responded that the posts of senior management of the Department, both Director General and Deputy Director Generals (DDGs), were the prerogative of the Minister. The Minister would decide when those posts were advertised, when interviews were held, and whom the people were selected to those positions. Traditionally the Department had one Director General with five positions at Deputy Director General level. Currently there was the Acting Director General.

- Director General: interviews for the position were held and the understanding was that appointment would be within the next month.

- Deputy Director General responsible for Social Welfare Services: interviews were held and finalisation of appointment of the successful candidate was in the process of being finalised.

- Deputy Director General, Integrated Development: Interviews were held and it was expected that appointment would be made very soon.

- Deputy Director General, Comprehensive Social Security: the position was advertised; a shortlist had not been done.

- Chief Operations Officer: the position was advertised; a shortlist had not been done.

Mr Waters asked whether the positions of DDG Finance, and Corporate Services were DDG positions?

Mr Magasela explained that the current Acting DDG was the Chief Financial Officer so when the Director General position became vacant the then CFO was appointed Acting DG and since 1 April the appointment of Acting DG was extended by a further six months. Mr Johnny Madiba was currently Acting CFO. There had not yet been a position of DDG Corporate Services, however in the newly approved organogram it was the intention to appoint a person into that position

Mr Waters referred to the Appeals Adjudication Process for Social Security Policy Development. The presentation said 50% of appeals must be dealt with within 90 days, however last year’s report said 90% had to be dealt with in 90 days. What was the justification for the reduction of 40%?

Mr Magasela responded that lots of social grant applications were subjected to adjudication. In order to offset the huge number of appeals DSD was receiving, SASSA developed an internal review process before the applicant appealed, which ensured that there were no doubts about decisions SASSA made. The revision was made downwards as DSD was over optimistic about having to deal with appeals that had to be adjudicated within 90 days. The Department had not considered the challenge of access to documents.

Ms Virginia Petersen (SASSA CEO) added that the actual process of the review took a period as well, so looking at the two concurrent processes there was no way of the Department looking at it. Almost simultaneously a client dropped off a letter, clients also had to be educated in the process; they tried to duplicate the process so there was a delay in the secondary process, which was appeals. It was a duplicate process.

Mr Waters referred to funding to NPOs. There had been a lot of unpleasantness from the NPO sector with regard to how little they received for statutory services that government was supposed to provide and they were doing on behalf of government. Government was not providing sufficient money. He had recently visited old age homes in the Northern Cape, North West, and Free State. The different subsidies in each province was stark. In the Northern Cape the lowest was R955 per person, and North West R2750. Was the Department looking at conditional grants for such services, because the problem with the equitable share was provinces used it for what they liked.

Ms Nxumalo responded that currently each province was funded using its own costing model. The Department had finalised a costing model and was working with Treasury in terms of a funding model, which would alleviate the problem of differentiation in the provinces and ensure uniformity for funding in provinces.

Mr Waters referred to the Scholarship Programme. How many social work graduates were actually being employed and what was being done to see that they were being absorbed in each province? There were problems last year with graduates not being absorbed in the provinces.

Mr Waters said according to last year’s report there was supposed to be a draft bill tabled for people with disabilities; why was that not met?

Ms Nxumalo agreed that it was not drafted last year, the Department was finalising the policy and was informed that it had to revisit the policy considering the UN Convention to be able to draft a bill. The Department was ready to draft a bill this year; it could not be drafted last year because the policy was not approved by the Presidency. A bill could not be drafted if the policy was not endorsed by the Policy Unit within the Presidency to be able to inform the Bill.

Ms F Khumalo asked whether the youth programmes would go to districts after the provinces, and whether the Kwanda programmes would go from provinces to the districts?

Mr Magasela responded that the provinces were the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo.
The intention was to go down to districts. The Department was currently trying to develop models and was testing them before extending them to the rest of the country. The same applied to Kwanda. Kwanda was intended to be a national lesson to showcase what communities could do for themselves, with the idea that provinces would adopt it and go down to district level as well.

Ms N Gcume (COPE) was concerned as to how the people in the rural areas would get to the FoodBank.

Mr Magasela responded that the footprint was urban. It was the issue of convenience and logistics that took it to the major cities. The FoodBanks were very far from the areas where the people were living, however the foods that were housed and stocked in the FoodBanks in urban areas did reach rural areas, not to the desired extent. Looking at plans for the current financial year going forward, the idea was to establish more FoodBanks in rural areas as part of the Department’s Food Security Programme.

Ms Gcume asked which institutions offered Community Development qualifications? She suggested to alleviate the shortage of social workers, short courses be offered to assist the community.

Mr Magasela committed to send a whole list of accredited service providers providing that training.

The Chairperson said the question was about there being no visibility of community development in communities.

Mr Magasela replied that it was about the model being used. In that same community there were Community Development Practitioners, Health Development Workers, National Rural Youth Service Corps, and many care workers that went to the same household. There was a long list of Social Services professionals and Community Development Workers of different caps going into the same communities.

Ms Gcume referred to services for military veterans and asked where were the centres and in which province? Implementation was not what the Department expected them to be.

Ms Gcume referred to training of NPOs, asking why was there poor service delivery when they were trained? Did the officials who trained get quality training to transfer?

Mr Magasela responded that most of the time they were properly trained.

Dr Vuyelwa Nhlapo, National Development Agency (NDA) CEO, added that from her experience of working closely with community groups on various programmes, some of the projects collapsed and some of the reasons were conflict amongst themselves in terms of managing the funds allocated; mismanaged funds; capacity issues. Capacity building had been identified as an important area in strengthening those projects.

Ms Gcume asked what was the number of unfilled funded posts?

Mr Magasela responded that the current vacancy rate was 10%, vacancies for 14 Directors, 6 Chief Directors, 3 DDGs and one DG post.

Ms Gcume asked for clarification as to why compensation of employees (52%) should be more than goods and services (46%)?

The Chairperson said the Committee was happy the Department won the appeal on the SASSA Adjudication Process. She noted an advertisement in the newspaper about SASSA beneficiaries that received their grants via the bank could contact the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) service provider to have their pensions paid into their bank accounts. She asked whether that communication reached everywhere in the country at community level. It was important that people who went into government offices, when they opened their rural daily they would find it there. What awareness campaign was embarked on?

Ms Petersen responded that in terms of communication SASSA used community radios, pamphlets, local newspapers, but were aware that people in the deep rural areas may have missed it so were ensuring that stakeholders, such as churches received the “You and your card” pamphlet. SASSA would continue to communicate with translation services in the language of choice.

The Chairperson asked if there was significant growth in accessing the Care Dependency Grant? The baseline allocation had increased significantly over the MTEF period. Was there an outreach to the disability sector? She asked DSD to reflect on what it was doing in terms of its responsibility to the disability sector.

Ms Petersen said the projection was 158 000. 1 400 in 2010/11; 2 800 across the country during the 2011/12 year. Outreach was quite intense but SASSA would go out more to focus on certain areas to see whether the children’s number was in line with the Health statistics for 24 hour care, which was what the Care Dependency demanded for a disabled child.

The Chairperson was pleased to see that expenditure on the Appeals Adjudication was increased to speed up the adjudication of appeals.

The Chairperson asked the Department to refresh Members’ memories on what was the ultimate goal for the Scholarship Programme, 66 000 was ideal, but what was the original target to make an impact? She was interested to know the failure rate in the Scholarship programme. There was also a provincial scholarship programme. How many graduates had been absorbed?

Ms Nxumalo responded that the Department was working towards 66 000, however the Department needed to review the ratio in terms of the numbers needed. The 66 000 was just based on the Children’s Act, there was other legislation and other programmes so one had to ensure there were enough social workers to attend to those challenges. For the current scholarship, the Department was working towards 66 000. Since the scholarship started, 476 students had registered who could not finish, and 6 339 students were failing but were prepared to continue with the programme to qualify and graduate as social workers. Since the scholarship started in 2008, 806 graduates were absorbed, 2009: 1 244, 2010: 1 177, and 2011: 444 were absorbed. For 2012 there was a special allocation to absorb the number of graduates graduating from 2013. So provinces had already absorbed all the graduates using the special allocation from Treasury. Some students were writing supplementary exams and still waiting for results.

The Chairperson noted only 444 graduates in 2011, and the target was 66 000. She asked how many social workers that had gone through the scholarship programme, were now in the field.

Ms Nxumalo replied that currently there were more than 6 000 in the field. Since its inception 8 565 scholarships had been awarded. In 2007/08 1 428 scholarships were awarded; 2008/09 1 462; 09/10 1 310, 2010/11 1 410; 2011/12 918; and in 2012/13 2 037 scholarships were awarded. Dropouts and failure rates were not deducted.

The Chairperson said it was very important that the country had 6 000 social workers, and out of the 8 000 scholarships 3 000 had graduated thus far, without taking into consideration the intake for 2012. DSD had done fairly well with the scholarships but in time to come would always be sitting with the target of 6 000; a better alternative was required. She asked if DSD had any plans for the Social Auxiliary Workers relieving the shortage of social probation officers and other services. Were there plans to bring Social Auxiliary Workers into the system? Otherwise the target was not realistic.

Ms More noted that in 2008 1 462 scholarships were awarded but 806 graduated. She was concerned that 666 people either failed or dropped out, it seemed there was a huge problem in terms of support. In 2011 the Department had 918 scholarships and only 444 graduated – 474 either failed or did not make graduation. She asked for a full report since the scholarship had started, so that Members could get a clear picture.

The Chairperson suggested it could be an issue of personal responsibility of the person receiving the scholarship.

Ms M Mafolo (ANC) was concerned about the dropouts and asked what the Department had in place to ensure commitment, as there were other people who needed such opportunities.

Ms Nxumalo reported that the challenge of the dropouts was students failing and leaving university. Some diverted to other professions. However, the students signed a contract as to what was expected from them. If they failed, the Department did not fund the following year, so some students found it very difficult to fund the year they had to repeat. The Department took into consideration that some were orphans and did not have means so would fund one extra year.

The issue of Social Auxiliary Workers was an area that needed strengthening. In terms of Social Workers the universities indicated they could only take on a particular capacity based on the number of lecturers and classes, so even with more funding the Department could only train so many at a given time. 2 548 Social Auxiliary Worker posts were filled. Social Auxiliary Workers also terminated or diverted to other professions. 173 vacant posts were to be filled to support the Social Workers currently employed.

Ms Nxumalo committed to send a full report to the Committee on the Social Worker Scholarships, the failure rate and dropouts and the impact on the programme.

Ms Gcume asked for clarity on the Compensation of employees at 52% being more than Goods and Services at 46%.

Mr Madiba explained that compensation of employees increased from R307 million to R340 million. The increase was as a result of a special allocation by National Treasury for the Department to upgrade the Internal Audit Unit. About R8 million was allocated over the MTEF and would continue in terms of upgrading the Internal Audit Unit. The other reason for the increase was due to having identified certain savings, especially on consultants, and some of the funds were earmarked to beef up the new organisational structure and to fill the critical posts.

Ms Gcume asked for clarity on Social Relief of Distress (SRD) programme. People said they got SRD for a month but the Department said they must get SRD for three months, and up to six months if the condition did not change.

Ms Petersen clarified that three methodologies applied to SRD: SRD given to undue hardship in the case of a disaster, such as people in a war, on returning home. SASSA would give them one food parcel, which was once off. General SRD for undue hardship was three months; people had to apply for it to ensure that their situation did not change. SASSA had a programme that addressed malnutrition and food security with children, together with Health, for six months supplied at home and also spent time with the mother through other integrated programmes and they did exit after six months.

Ms Gcume said people complained that they called the SASSA call centre for Child Support Grants but could not get an answer.

Ms Petersen gave the SASSA Helpline call centre numbers: 0800 601011; 0800 600160; (012) 400 2322.

Mr Waters referred to the Child Protection Register. The report said the Department intended to screen 30 000 people; he asked in what field those people were, what they would be screened against, and how many people were currently on the register?

Ms Nxumalo confirmed that the target was 30 000 based on the current number of applications received for screening for employment for people who should be screened and certified whether they could work with children.

Mr Waters asked what amendments to the Children’s Act did the Department anticipate bringing to the Committee?

Ms Nxumalo responded that there were two proposed amendments. The first amendment was minor changes to accommodate specific changes to some of the Forms. The second amendment was because DSD wanted to ensure that provincial social workers were allowed to do adoptions and other sections that were critical for the Child Protection Register. Ms Nxumalo committed to making the document available.

Mr Waters noted that the Department would be implementing the White Paper on Families and asked when the Committee would be engaging on the White Paper on Families before implementation by the Department?

Ms Nxumalo responded that the Department was available on invitation to share with the Committee on the final draft that was going to Cabinet soon.

Mr R Bhoola (MF) was aware that services had to be delivered through a particular programme and whilst the policies were being drawn to deliver to the mandate of particular programmes, there seemed to be a grey area along that. The monitoring to evaluate the progress and the success rate of those programmes had to be a detailed report so that Members would be able to look at, for instance the 60 000 social workers.

Mr Bhoola noted training of NPOs and the Youth and mention made about the mobilisation of community development, increasing the target to about 200 wards, which was a positive direction. He asked what was the process with regard to that, because looking at the various wards referred to, various departments were represented.

Mr Netshipale responded that comprehensively in the area of NPOs there was a need for a more robust approach for mobilising NPOs in the small areas. A road show was planned following the dialogue the Department had last year. One of the things identified was that as a district, one could have ward forums where NPOs could come together and the Department could give them more information and also a crash course on how to manage their NPO sector. That was done together with the NDA as part of its Youth capacity building.

On issues of community development and mobilisation in wards, DSD targeted the 1300 wards that government had targeted. Each year the Department would target a certain number of wards (last year it targeted 300, this year an extra 200 wards), where it profiled those households, in order to identify issues ranging from poverty, malnutrition, lack of food, and Child Headed Households, which were recorded in a register. The Department developed guidelines where provinces needed to identify those areas and try to provide capacity to those communities, together with local government. The Ward Committee engaged with communities with the view that whatever was done in that community also featured in the ITP (?) register.

The Department had a major challenge about youth mobilisation. Last year the Department started dialogues to identify the youth with the view of providing skills, including life skills. This was done in conjunction with the Department of Health, Statistics SA, the Department of Local Government, and Department of Sport.

Mr Bhoola referred to the integration of other departments, was the Department coming up with policies that also required other departments to deliver concurrently on a certain programme?

Mr Magasela explained that government had to ensure that South Africa delivered quality services, particularly to people who were ravished by poverty. The issue of integration was a big challenge to government. Departments could not share budgets and the Department could not fund the same set of activities. Areas such as ECD the DSD could not develop curriculum, that curriculum for ECD practitioners was with Education and the Department worked well with them and were able to integrate with them on that kind of issue. There were specific areas where it became very important to work with other government departments. SASSA would not have reached the level that it had if it did not have a very close working relationship with Home Affairs, particularly in the area of birth certificates for children as well as official documentation for caregivers of those same children. In terms of big integration where there was alignment, and synergy, a lot of work still had to be done.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for the presentation and for engaging in discussion. Issues needing further attention were noted, and also interaction in terms of the report the Department would be forwarding to the Committee on the Scholarship Programme.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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