White Paper on Families; Department performance 3rd & 4th quarter 2012/13: Ministerial briefings

Social Development

16 September 2013
Chairperson: Ms Y Botha (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

White Paper on Families 2013
- The family in South Africa was under threat and many were unable to play its critical roles of socialisation, nurturing, care and protection of family members effectively, due to various factors.
- Social ills that families had to contend with included poverty, high rate of unemployment, domestic violence, crime, high level of unwanted pregnancies, absent fathers, and a general decay in moral values.
- These challenges contributed to family disintegration and vulnerability, hence the development of the White Paper to try and address this.
- The implementation of the White Paper aimed for well functioning and resilient families that were able to nurture their family members.

Members raised serious concern about the escalating numbers of child headed households and teenage pregnancies.

Performance Trends for the period October 2012 – March 2013
Key priorities were to promote Early Childhood Development (ECD); to expand Child and Youth Care services; to combat substance abuse; and enable the provision of food to poor households (Food for All).

The DSD had received a good report from the Auditor General in its overall performance. Challenges were:
- The entire Supply Chain Management value chain was slow due to systemic weaknesses;
- Poor planning and non-alignment of budgets to planned projects (no proper costing of activities, lack of and late submission of procurement and expenditure plans);
- Limited capacity due to termination of service by many senior managers in the second and third quarters;
- The inspectorate for social security was not yet fully fledged or operational.
- The Department worked with other institutions both governmental and non-governmental in implementing some of its projects, and delays created by other institutions had an impact on the rate at which the Department delivered its mandate. Projects affected by this included the delayed approval of comprehensive social security reforms.
- Reporting lines with provinces needed to improve to address challenges such as lack of timely reporting by some provinces.

Third and Fourth Quarter Performance Report 2012/13 Financial Year
In Quarter 3 the Department spent R27.9 billion (24.9%), and in Quarter 4 the Department spent R27.6 billion (24.6%), with an average spending of 24.7% per quarter against the allocation. Total expenditure for the year was R111.1 billion (99.08%). Total grant expenditure for the year: R103.89 billion (99.06% of budget). The DSD and its agencies achieved an unqualified 2012/13 audit. The Department continued to maintain an overall spending of more than 98% for the year under review.

The Department was moving to universalisation of both the Child Support Grant and the Old Age Grant [removing the means test and giving the grant to everyone]. The country had one of the most successful HIV/AIDS programmes, and our life expectancy was gradually increasing. It was likely that people who in the past were dying now lived longer because of better treatment and support received from government. The projection made by National Treasury in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework when they looked at the growth and demand of grants it did not depart from the 3% of government revenue.

The Minister was disturbed to hear that people were still being turned away from South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) services, and instructed that a memorandum be sent out to SASSA service stations to say that no one should be turned away.

Another issue raised was the registration of child support grants. Most unemployed people went to the big cities, so the Department found that most unregistered children were not in the rural areas as previously thought, they were on the periphery of Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town, where the campaign to register children must be strengthened. UNICEF said two million children were unregistered and this must be corrected.
 

Meeting report

White Paper on Families 2013
The Deputy Minister of Social Development, Bongi Maria Ntuli, stated that in these times God was still in control. God was still raising men and women who desired to see change. A nation should not be judged by how it treated its highest citizens but how it treated its lowest citizens. To be free was not merely to cut off one’s chains but to live in a way that advanced the freedom of others; true freedom was self-discovery. In order to do that - along with the economy - the family was universally used as one of the centres without which no society could function. The country needed strong families and healthy families at the heart of a strong society. It was also in the family environment that an individual’s physical, emotional and psychological development occurred. It was from our families that we learnt unconditional love, understood right from wrong, and gained respect and self-affirmation. Those qualities engaged positively at school, at work, and in society in general. The absence of a stable, nurturing family environment had a damaging impact on the individual, often leading to behaviour that was damaging to society.

That was the gist of the White Paper on Families. We wanted to see that type of a family. From such a family, we could be proud to say we were building a nation. From that family we could be proud to say we were building a country, and from that family we would be proud to say this was a healthy place to live in. The issue of families was very important because without families there was no nation.

Mr Wiseman Magasela (Acting DSD Director General) indicated that Cabinet had adopted the White Paper on Families and the Department had traveled on a very long journey to arrive at this point. The emphasis was going to be on the programmes that the Department was driving to ensure that the objectives of the White Paper were met.

Ms Connie Nxumalo (Deputy Director General: Welfare Services) briefed the Committee on the details of the White Paper. Cabinet had approved the White Paper on 26 June 2013. Some of the points have were:
- The family in South Africa was under threat and many were unable to play its critical roles of socialisation, nurturing, care and protection of family members effectively, due to various factors.
- Social ills that families had to contend with included poverty, high rate of unemployment, domestic violence, crime, high level of unwanted pregnancies, absent fathers, and a general decay in moral values.
- These challenges contributed to family disintegration and vulnerability, hence the development of the White Paper to try and address this.
- The implementation of the White Paper aimed for well functioning and resilient families that were able to nurture their family members.

For the purposes of the White Paper the family was defined as: ‘A societal group that is related by blood (kinship), adoption, foster care or the ties of marriage (civil, customary or religious), civil union or cohabitation with connections that extend beyond a particular physical residence.’

The White Paper dealt with types of families in South Africa, including cohabitation; single parent families; female headed household; skip-generation households; child/youth headed households; same-sex relationships and marriages; polygamous marriages; migrant families, and others.

Theoretical approaches that underpinned the White Paper to provide support to families included the Social Development approach, which believed that families needed social support in terms of development so that they could be able to support their families and strengthen family life. The Systems approach, which believed that families, viewed as a social system, were interdependent on other systems such as schools, the economy, churches, and any other system. If one of these systems did not work properl,y it had an impact on the functioning of the family. In the Lifecycle approach, families went through different life cycles in their status – marriage, birth, retirement, and so on, that had an impact on how the family coped in that situation. The Strengths perspective meant the need to move from the premise that families had their own strengths and to build on them rather than assuming that they were not able to do anything for themselves. In the Rights-based approach the Constitution focused on issues of rights so whatever the Department did in terms of support had to be in line with the Constitution.

Strategic priorities:
- Promotion of healthy family life: Affirm the importance of the family; promote positive values and moral regeneration; and encourage fathers’ involvement in their children’s upbringing.
- Family strengthening: Support the family in its care-giving function, and promote family solidarity.
- Family preservation: Prevention, early intervention, statutory intervention, reunification and aftercare.

The successful implementation of the White Paper would depend on a sound intersectoral and interdepartmental system. The White Paper on Families would be implemented at the different levels of government: national, provincial and municipal. Monitoring structures were outlined to ensure proper reporting and implementation of the White Paper by key stakeholders.

Discussion
Mr M Waters (DA) noted that the presentation mentioned issues that led to the breakdown of families, but failed to mention HIV/AIDS denialism as one of the factors.

Mr Magasela responded that DSD was a government department that implemented policies. Issues of HIV/AIDS did not exist in the framework of government, different administrations adopted different policies on whatever issues they determined. However, in the White Paper the DSD did raise the burden of disease on families. If public health provision was not of the best quality, the burden of disease was then transferred to families that these were often the poor families. The Department tried to locate within the political economy, the migrant labour system continued to ravage South Africa and there was a limit to the contributing factors the Department could include in the White Paper.

Mr Magasela rated unemployment, multi dimensional poverty, issues of health, issues of education, substance abuse, which in many instances was the very core of family disintegration. The issues of residence and workplace made many children spend most of their day without parents, without parental guidance, because the parents started working early and arrived home late. As a government department the DSD could not raise the issue of AIDS denialism.

Mr Waters noted on the document that went to Cabinet that in the North West in 2002 there were 5000 Child Headed Households, in 2007 that figure remained 5000, in 2010 it had dropped to 1276. Where did the Minister obtain the figure of 17 000 Child Headed Households in Tlokwe, after the report was adopted by Cabinet? They must have come from the Department, yet its own report said 1276.

Ms Nxumalo explained that the table was 2010 information from South African Child Gauge. The number had grown since then. However, when the Paper was processed the Department focused on information received just to show the trends. There was a high number of Child Headed Households that the Department continued to verify in terms of the Children’s Act. The Department assessed that there were almost 92 000 Child Headed Households. The numbers that were challenges of insecurity and malnutrition varied for each province and municipality. The children were vulnerable and needed support in terms of food security.

Mr Waters asked for some indications of what the costing of the White Paper would be, and also the implications to social workers that would be doing the work as far as reunification and keeping families together was concerned, given the fact that there was a massive shortage of social workers. The Minister had said in Parliament that there was a 77% shortfall. How would the Department ensure quality implementation of the White Paper given the workload faced by social workers?

Ms Nxumalo responded that the White Paper was costed with three scenarios; the report could be set to the Committee. The Department was currently engaging National Treasury to ensure that resources would be made available. Currently in implementing the aspects of the White Paper, the Department used its current baseline.

Ms Nxumalo agreed that there was a shortage of social workers, however the Paper considered that there were other professionals that could play a role in supporting families – Community Development Practitioners, Lay Councillors, Social Auxiliary Workers, and other professionals within the sector. The work was not limited to social workers but there was a specific role that social workers needed to play in supporting families.

Mr V Magagula (ANC) asked for clarification on the strengthening of families. Did that entail food parcels, or what did the Department want to achieve?

Ms Nxumalo clarified that the purpose was to ensure that there were policies that were family centred and to ensure that families were properly supported. Currently, taking an example of housing, if an individual applied for a house, one would look at the broader family and how assisting one person could assist everybody else. The whole family must benefit. If there was substance abuse in the family, one dealt with the whole family because it did not only affect that individual person.

Ms F Khumalo (ANC) welcomed the presentation and commented that it was clear and showed that the Department wanted to see very strong family units. The Deputy Minister had said without the family there would be no nation; that was very commendable.

Ms Khumalo commented that the presentation showed the social need, families were no longer living normal lives because of factors that daily pressured families. The Department was taking very serious action in taking care of our families. Which departments would be working with the Department in this work?

Ms Nxumalo responded that the Department had developed an Integrated Development Plan that could be forwarded to the Committee. The DSD alone could not make an impact, it worked with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Home Affairs, South African Police Service (SAPS), Human Settlements, Arts and Culture, both Higher Education and Basic Education, and could co-opt other key departments. The Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development were key in the implementation.

Ms P Xaba (ANC) was very happy that the implementation of the White Paper meant there would no longer be children sleeping under bridges.

Ms E More (DA) thanked the Department for recognising that families were the building blocks of the nation. The Committee always received nice presentations but when it came to implementation it became a bit hazardous. She was concerned about the intersectoral working together. It was seen in the past that this department would delay this and that department would delay that, all chaotic and in an uncoordinated way. The main issue was unemployment and zero tolerance to corruption, if that were addressed we would have our families back to some extent. In a family where no one was working, children did not go to school, young ones were raped. There must be more emphasis on employment. It had a ripple effect, if the unemployment issue were solved in this country, a lot of things would fall into place.

The Chairperson was concerned about the legislative impact of the White Paper on families because it would have quite a range of services like probation services, adoption services, services provided by provincial departments of Social Development, and also the National Department. She asked how the White Paper was linked to the White Paper on Welfare Services launched by the Minister.

Ms Nxumalo responded that it was linked, because when the Department developed the White Paper, Cabinet acknowledged the importance of families and said a White Paper would carry more weight. When the broader White Paper on Social Welfare was reviewed, the Department would have to take into consideration the proposals that were there, and other areas that might have been missed, to bridge the gap.

The Chairperson asked whether the Department was working on an implementation plan?

Ms Nxumalo replied it was, but acknowledged that intersectorally there were challenges for implementation. However, the fora created would assist the implementation because the Department also reported to its Social Protection and Community Development Cluster in terms of how it was doing and provided six monthly reports to the Cluster.

Mr Waters was concerned about the quality of information in the report. Table 2.6 of the actual report dealt with the proportion of children who were younger than 17 living with biological parents by race. Only 3.3% of all the children lived with their mothers, as opposed to 33% living with their fathers, yet the Department emphasised getting fathers more proactive in raising their children; it seemed that mothers needed to be more proactive. Mr Waters was shocked that such a report went through Cabinet.

Ms Nxumalo responded 3.3% for mothers and 2.1%, which showed even children staying with their mothers still needed their fathers; fathers played a critical role. The tables confirmed the issue of absent fathers.

The Chairperson interjected that the report said the proportion of children aged 17 years and younger living with biological parents 2002 and 2007. It said 46% in 2007 lived with their mothers only and in 2010 3.3% lived with their mothers only and 28% with their fathers only but in 2007 it was 2.8% with their fathers only. The statistics did not make sense, she asked Ms Nxumalo for an explanation.

Mr Waters suggested the Department go back and relook at the White Paper and what was being discussed.
On the question of the Child Headed Households in Tlokwe, if that was the increase over three years in one municipality, not a province, 1 276 was for the entire province not for one municipality, which gave an increase of 1332% in three years. He wanted to know why the Department did not have emergency interventions, why did it wait three years before it became a crisis. Taking those figures it meant that throughout the country there were 1.2 million Child Headed Households, what was the Department doing to help those children, apart from Tlokwe?

The Chairperson asked the Member to focus on the White Paper itself and to leave the issue of Tlokwe for another time. The Committee was looking at family policy as a whole.

Ms Nxumalo said she would verify that table and provide the Committee with the information.

The Chairperson asked that the Department ensure that information provide to the Committee was substantiated.

Mr Magasela said one of the organisations made a strong contribution to the White Paper was the Human Sciences Research Council. He would hate the Department to have created the impression that when it came to statistics, information and data, all was not well. Provinces fed information to the Department. There was correlation between what was received from them and counter checked against other sources such as Statistics South Africa. In order to make statistics rigorous and to stand up to scrutiny and challenge, through the National Statistics System, there were specific procedures that each department had to follow before issuing figures in a public document. The issue of data was far from what the Department would like it to be.

Mr Waters noted in the same report that teenage pregnancies dropped from 16.1% to 13.7%. The table said it increased from 19.1% to 24.4%, which meant that one in four female teenagers were pregnant. Which was the correct figure, 13.7 or 24.4%?

Ms Nxumalo said the table was to show the increase in teenage pregnancy and intervention was needed, as it was an area that had been neglected and the DSD did not have proper strategies to deal with it.

The Chairperson agreed that there was a mix up of figures on page 19 and asked the DSD to sort it out.

Ms Xaba was concerned that people in the rural areas complained that their children did not have Identification Documents, while that was for the Department of Home Affairs to sort out, the DSD needed to take that into consideration.

The Chairperson said that would be noted.

The Deputy Minister thanked the Member for raising the issue of implementation. The Ministry, the Committee and the Department were going to sit together as a family, look at the implementation strategy, and agree on how to implement the White Paper. She asked not to politicise families. Families were very important, and it was important to agree on ensuring that all the ills in families were corrected. To ensure that they were given love and taken care of, to assist them to be educated, and to create a better life for them. Children must be children, a father must be a father, a mother must be a mother, a sister must be a sister, and a brother must be a brother. All stakeholders needed to meet together to determine how to correct the social ills and ensure that our country was living again.

The Chairperson asked when the Department would be finished with the implementation plan?

Ms Nxumalo replied that it was done and would be sent to the Committee.

DSD Performance Trends for the period October 2012 – March 2013
Mr Magasela said the White Paper on Families cut across a number of government departments. Looking at projections for different social grants that were paid in the country, if for any reason the employment situation in the country were to worsen there would be greater demands for social grants. In order for the Department to see some of the primary objectives of the White Paper, other objectives would have to be realised, such as ensuring that more people were gainfully employed. Those dependencies came from other departments so the DSD would have to review how well it had done with the White Paper.

Mr Thabani Buthelezi, DSD Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation, briefed the Committee on performance trends and challenges in the implementation of the Ministerial priorities reflected in the Department’s Annual Performance Plan (APP) for 2012/13.

Key priorities were to promote Early Childhood Development (ECD); to expand Child and Youth Care services; to combat substance abuse; and the provision of food to poor households (Food for all).

Performance trends: Children
▪ The annual target was to increase the number of children accessing ECD programmes up to school-going age by 20%, linked to the government outcome of a quality basic education, and the DSD outcome to improve access to Early Childhood Services.
- The Quarter 3 target was to increase the number of children accessing ECD and partial care services by 2%; the achievement was 0.2% (1 975 children).
- The Quarter 4 target to increase the number of children accessing ECD and partial care services by 3%, the achievement was 8% (65 349 children), gaining over the shortfall of the 3rd quarter.

▪ The second annual target was to increase the number of children in foster care by 10%, which related to government outcome that al people in South Africa are and feel safe, and the DSD specific of a safe and friendly society for children.
- The Quarter 3 target to increase the number of children in foster care by 2%; achievement was 13.7% (80 806 children).
- The Quarter 4 target to increase the number of children in foster care by 3%; achievement was 5% (27 266 children).

▪ Another annual target area was to increase the number of children accessing drop-in centres by 15% from a baseline of 41 381.
- The Quarter 3 target to increase the number of children accessing drop-in centres by 3%; achievement was 190% (78 735 children).
- The Quarter 4 target to increase the number of children accessing drop-in centres by 3%; actual achievement was 91% (37 693 children).

▪ Another annual target was to screen 4000 employees that were working with children against the CPR PART B from a baseline of 1500.
- The Quarter 3 target to screen 1 000 employees against the CPR Part B; actual achievement was 8 408 employees screened.
- The Quarter 4 target to screen 1 000 employees against the CPR Part B; actual achievement was 8 757 employees screened.

Performance trends: Anti-Substance Abuse
▪ The annual target was to finalise and facilitate approval of the regulations for the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act No. 70 of 2008, and DSD specific outcome reduce incidence of substance abuse in communities.
- The Quarter 3 target to facilitate proclamation of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act: request for the proclamation of the Act was done and awaiting final approval.
- The Quarter 4 target to facilitate proclamation of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act: the Act was proclaimed and Regulations promulgated.

▪ The annual target to facilitate approval of the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP):
- Quarter 3 target to build capacity for implementing the NDMP: the NDMP was submitted for consideration and presentation to Cabinet for approval.
- Quarter 4 target to build capacity for implementing the NDMP: NDMP 2013-2017 developed and submitted for tabling in Parliament.

Performance trends: Zero hunger/Food for All
▪ The annual target was to promote equitable access to food by 200 000 households, linked to the government outcome of vibrant, equitable, and sustainable rural communities contributing towards food security for all. The DSD specific outcome was improved access to diverse and affordable food.
- Quarter 3 target to facilitate access to food for 50 000 households: 102 654 households accessed food through Food Bank SA and 11 368 households accessed food through DSD Household Food and Nutrition security programme; making a total of 114 022 households who accessed food.
- Quarter 4 target to access food for 50 000 households: 117 790 households accessed food through DSD and Food Bank SA Food and Nutrition security programmes.

▪ Annual target to profile 20 000 households in 100 wards:
- Quarter 3 target to facilitate profiling of 60 000 households; 16 796 households were profiled.
- Quarter 4 target to profile 50 000 households: 98 429 households were profiled.

Performance trend: support to child headed households and orphans and vulnerable children
Linked to the government outcome of a long and healthy life for all South Africans and the DSD specific to mitigate the psychosocial and economic impact of HIV and AIDS and TB and other chronic illnesses.
▪ The annual target was to provide psychosocial support services to 98 000 orphans and vulnerable children.
- Quarter 3 target to provide psychosocial support to 24 900 OVCs: 165 753 OVC received psychosocial support services.
- Quarter 4 target to provide psychosocial support to 24 100 OVCs: 158 771 OVCs received psychosocial support services.

▪ Annual target to provide psychosocial support to 49 226 child headed households:
- Quarter 3 target to provide psychosocial support services to 14 766 child headed households: 2 021 child headed households received psychosocial support services.
- Quarter 4 target to provide psychosocial support services to 9 865 child headed households: 2 170 child headed households received psychosocial support services.

▪ Annual target to provide psychosocial support to 442 112 targeted households:
- Quarter 3 target to provide psychosocial support services to 132 633 households: 108 542 households received psychosocial support services.
- Quarter 4 target to provide psychosocial support services to 88 422 child headed households: 132 364 vulnerable households received psychosocial support services.

Performance trends: Services to Older Persons
The government outcome that all people are safe in South Africa is linked to the DSD specific outcome improved protection and quality for life for older persons.
▪ Annual target: Register 90 community-based care and support services to older persons.
- Quarter 3 target to register 23 community based care and support services to older persons: 39 community based care services were registered.
- Quarter 4 target to register 24 community based care and support services to older persons: 46 community based care services were registered.

▪ Annual target to increase registered residential care facilities to 206:
- Quarter 3 target to register 26 residential care facilities: 44 residential facilities were registered.
- Quarter 4 target to register 26 residential care facilities: 78 residential facilities were registered.

DSD Overall performance
- The Department achieved 45% of targets in Quarter 3; 32% in progress, and 23% not achieved.
- In Quarter 4 the Department achieved 62.7% of targets, with 19.7% in progress and 17.6% not achieved.

The DSD received a good report from the Auditor General in terms of its overall performance function.

Challenges – Internal
- The entire Supply Chain Management value chain was slow due to systemic weaknesses;
- Poor planning and non-alignment of budgets to planned projects (no proper costing of activities, lack of and late submission of procurement and expenditure plans);
- Limited capacity due to termination of service by many senior managers in the second and third quarters;
- The inspectorate for social security was not yet fully fledged or operational.

Challenges – External
- The Department worked with other institutions both governmental and non-governmental in implementing some of its projects, and delays created by other institutions had an impact on the rate at which the Department delivered its mandate. Projects affected by this included the delayed approval of comprehensive social security reforms.
- Reporting lines with provinces needed to improve in order to address challenges such as lack of timely reporting by some provinces.

Third and Fourth Quarter Report – 2012/13 Financial Year
Mr Clifford Appel (Acting CFO) briefed the Committee.
In Quarter 3 the Department spent R27.9 billion (24.9%), and in Quarter 4 the Department spent R27.6 billion (24.6%), with an average spending of 24.7% per quarter against the allocation.

3rd Quarter expenditure per programme:
Administration R59.8 million
Social Assistance R26.1 billion
Social Security Policy and Administration R1.5 billion
Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation support R165.5 million
Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery R67.6 million
Total for Quarter 3 R27.95 billion

4th Quarter expenditure per programme:
Administration R77.9 million
Social Assistance R25.94 billion
Social Security Policy and Administration R1.5 billion
Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation support R82.8 million
Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery R69.6 million
Total for Quarter 3 R27.67 billion

Total expenditure for the year R111.1 billion (99.08% of total budget)

In terms of quarterly expenditure per economic classification at the end of Quarter 4:
Compensation of employees 96.95%
Goods and services 91.69%
Transfers and subsidies 99.1%
Payments of capital assets 81.96%
Total 99.08% of budget

Increased spending for goods and services in the last quarter was due to October month activities, National Youth Camps and dialogue, Older Person’s golden games, and NPO Submit and provincial dialogues.

The DSD spent about R26 million on social assistance grants per quarter.

Social Assistance Grants
Old Age Grants averaged R10 billion per quarter with a total spend of R40.4 billion (99.97%)
War Veterans averaged R2.3 million per quarter with a total of R9.5 million (73.97%)
Disability Grant: R4.3 billion in Quarters 3 and 4, a total of R17.6 billion for the year (97.6%)
Foster Care: R1.4 billion in Quarter 3 and R1.2 billion in Quarter 4, total of R5.3 billion (94.96%)
Care Dependency:  R471.8 million in Quarter 3 and R471.9 in Quarter 4, total of R1.8 billion (99.42%)
Child Support Grant: R9.6 billion in Quarter 3 and R9.55 in Quarter 4, a total of R38 billion (99.42%)
Grant-in-Aid:  R6.1 million in Quarter 3 and R61.1 million in Quarter 4,a total of R237.9 million (97.08%)
Social Relief: R55.1 million in Quarter 3 and R99.2 in Quarter 4, a total of R239.2 million (93.77%)

Total grant expenditure for the year: R103.89 billion (99.06% of budget)
Under spending on Social Assistance Grants totalled R989.07 million

Savings of R104 billion related to unpaid grants as well as expenditure lower than projected when setting budget requirements specifically on Foster Care, Disability, Care Dependency and Child Support Grants.

The DSD and its agencies achieved an unqualified audit for the 2012/13 financial year.

The Department continued to maintain an overall spending of more than 98% for the year under review.

Challenges with Social Assistance Grants
- Increased demand for services versus declining resources
- Shortage of Social Workers resulted in inability to provide statutory services as required by specific legislation, for example the Children’s Act, Older Persons’ Act, and so on.
- War Veterans Grant numbers and expenditure were affected by no new applications and the demise of beneficiaries.
- Disability Grant numbers and expenditure were affected by people with chronic conditions being excluded from the social assistance system.
- Care Dependency Grant numbers were affected by a low number of children assessed as care dependant, and an exclusion error – children with sensory, communication and temporary disabilities were excluded from the system, mainly due to lack of understanding of disability.
- Foster Child Grant numbers and expenditure were affected by the delay in finalising foster care placement orders, which affected the number of applications for foster care grants; and inadequate capacity in terms of social workers to assess new applications.

Discussion: DSD performance and financials
Ms More referred to the Deputy Minister’s remarks and said she did not politicise anything. She was speaking to issues of implementation that were a challenge.

The Deputy Minister insisted that issues must not be politicised, but dealt with as a family.

Ms More referred to the Child Protection Register and asked, in terms of both Quarters 3 and Quarters 4, how many of the 8 408 employees that were screened were found fit to work with children, and how many were found not fit to work with children.

Ms Nxumalo said those figures would be provided.

Ms More referred to Older Persons and asked for clarification about the golden games.

Ms Nxumalo clarified that various programmes were implemented for the aged. The golden games were informed by various sporting codes. They were held at provincial level and every year there was one national programme to bring the participants together.

Ms Khumalo noted that there was an increase in the number of older persons registered. How did that affect the targeted number in terms of the support staff to take care of the older persons?

Ms Khumalo referred to Social Assistance Grants. Under spending was R989 071 million and savings on total budget of R104 billion related to unpaid grants. What were unpaid grants?

Ms Dianne Dunkerley (General Manager: Grants, SASSA) responded that if a grant was not collected within 90 days, it would lapse. Looking at the year under review, re-registration, in which there was a significant number of cancellations, of people voluntarily giving up their grants. 941 persons in those two quarters either did not come forward or gave up their cards voluntarily because they were not entitled. Therefore the savings of R989 million out of R104 billion was reasonable against that number in terms of what grants were cancelled.

The Chairperson referred to Performance Trends: Services to Older Persons.  The 4th Quarter target was to register 26 residential care facilities, 78 residential facilities were registered. Was that due to poor planning by the Department in terms of its targets or slow processing of registration? Why did the Department register 78 instead of the 26?

Ms Nxumalo responded that that was due to under targeting, a challenge that the Department was constantly confronted with.

Mr Buthelezi added that targeting was one of the challenges the Department had in terms of performance review, it also affected the second quarter where there was poor performance but it picked up at the end of the year. At times it required the implementation of additional programmes to include provincial departments to ensure performance reviews that were programme specific together with the support of Finance as well.

The Chairperson asked why the spend on War Veterans Grants was only 73% of budget?

Ms Dunkerley explained that those were people who fought in World War 1 and 2 and in the Korean War. It was as a result of people dying annually. In the second quarter 606 war veterans went down to 587 due to dying through natural causes.

The Chairperson welcomed the Minister, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, to the meeting

The Chairperson noted that the Child Support Grant (CSG) was very well accessed by South Africans in general; did the Department see the grant growing in terms of demand? The Child Support Grant and the Old Age Grant were optimally accessed.

Ms Dunkerley responded that whilst currently there were 11 million children on the CSG, at the start of the year it was 10.2 million. During the re-registration programmes, 350 000 children’s files were incomplete as a result of the child not staying with the primary caregiver who was not clearly identified. The mother could be in Johannesburg while the child was in KwaZulu-Natal or in East London. When the Department did the re-registration it found that 'gogo' was the primary caregiver for that child, and the money should not be collected in Gauteng, it should be collected in East London. Those were the matters the Department was currently dealing with. For the first quarter a slight decline would be seen in CSGs, and then there would be an increase after children had been identified through research, particularly in the Western Cape, Gauteng, Durban, on the periphery of the cities. Parents were not sure whether they qualified because of their earnings, so the Department would do an extensive campaign on the means test for the CSG, which would see an increase after that initial decline against the 350 000. It was not that the children were not there, it was who they were with and who was receiving the money, and those cases were currently being investigated. So there would be an increase in the latter part of the year.

Whilst dealing with the re-registration cases, there would be an increased demand as people were further informed of their rights, particularly in terms of the means test. The Department would have to look at some reform of the policy where men and women (spouses) were listed. If that happened, then women would be able to come forward a lot more whilst their husbands had incomes. At the moment that was still the need of the means test. But there would be a demand, and moving to 2016 where there would be uniformity and everybody would be entitled in terms of the uniform universal grant.

Mr Magasela added that the Department was moving to universalisation of both the CSG and the Old Age Grant [removing the means test and giving the grant to everyone]. It was also about demographic trends. The country had one of the most successful HIV/AIDS programmes, our life expectancy was gradually increasing and it was likely that people who in the past were dying now lived longer because of better treatment and support received from government. The projection made by National Treasury in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework when they looked at the growth and demand of grants it did not depart from the 3% of government revenue.

The Chairperson asked, in terms of the equalisation of the Old Age Grant, was there an increase in men over the age of 60 accessing that grant now?

Ms Dunkerley responded that there seemed to be a spurt of men coming onto the system. In this country men tended to make better arrangements for their aging than women; the Department would continue to monitor the equalisation. People who should be on were on because of contact made during the past year and a half and an increase was seen in both men and women who previously were working in government departments, particularly at the first one to two levels in government, and therefore qualified to come onto the system. Re-registration yielded a result of 93% of the 16 million grants effecting 1.7 million people who had come forward for a face-to-face re-registration, which was attempting the biometric receipt of their cards.

 The Chairperson asked for more information on the under spending on Social Assistance Grants.

Ms Xaba expressed concern that a granny who did not have a leg and was unable to walk and therefore not able to get to the SASSA offices to re-register, found that her grant had been stopped. At a previous presentation, SASSA had said they would visit such people in their homes.

The Chairperson said it was unfortunate that this person was missed in terms of the house visits. The Department must look at the percentage of people who went through the registration process and fell through the cracks.

Ms Dunkerley responded that some people because of their age took it for granted that the Department would call and make appointments. Officials would go to the homes and the people would not be there. The target for finishing home visits would have been exactly a month after the closure of re-registration. But because of appointments and having to take all the equipment, it could take up to two hours to process because the officials would have to go to the residence. Some people were dependant on their families phoning the Department to make the arrangements. Some people did. The percentage was 1%. The majority had to complete home visits by the end of next month. It was expected that people would be in their homes if they were put on the system. Some people over 75 were not in this country and were not entitled to the grant if they were out of the country for more than 90 days. The law stated that the recipient had to be resident in this country. If the person visited children overseas, they had to inform the Department for what period of time. The Department had to check on homes to see whether the people were there. There were many anomalies that came out of the re-registration process. The Department tended to re-establish everybody who was over 75 and check where they really were.

Ms Dunkerley apologised for the case the Member raised, and if there was anybody else that had been overlooked in the home visits, which had not yet been completed. The Department would check whether his/her name was on the list and make every effort to visit them.

Ms Xaba said she was caring for the people in her constituency because the Department was not doing so, what about the people who were not in her area?

Mr Magagula agreed. People received a paper to say they were No. X, it could take a week of coming to the registration point and still they would not get registered. They came with their children, who should have been at school.  He acknowledged that SASSA was doing very well in terms of finances and in receiving an unqualified report.

Ms Dunkerley responded that the population size against that of the office mentioned was not acceptable. The Department had looked at that area to determine whether to start two further offices there. The problem was endemic. There was an issue of further work that had to be done, particularly officials in their office, and Ms Dunkerley undertook to report to the Committee at a later date when the Department had conducted the work it was doing at the Maponya Mall. The Department would also be starting two more service points in that area, but certain things had to be done that required investigation. Ms Dunkerley was prepared to come back to the Committee at a later date with a more detailed report.

Mr Magasela said to Ms Xaba that one of the passions the Minister had was for SASSA and DSD, through auxiliary social workers, through child care workers, through community development workers, to ensure that the examples as given did not come as a surprise, because it was about the Department going to citizens and not waiting for citizens to come to the Department in order to get service. In cases like the one referred to where the aged found themselves not registered due to being unable to go to a SASSA facility, right now the Department was implementing the Mikondzo Project, which looked at how the DSD with its agents did the following things:
- Location of the services: where the services were in relation to where the people were located.
- Access: how readily were the citizens able to access any service they needed, be it a social worker or a SASSA official.
- The quality of the Department’s services.
- The availability, the readiness and the competence of the people who worked with the Department.

The underlying issue was that the Department was now going to the people, rather than going to an imbizo outreach, there was a big challenge in the community so the Department had to be structured in terms of a plan. The Department was very clear about where DSD and its services sat and was accessed by the people.

Through warding in KwaZulu-Natal they had regular meetings with all government departments so if there was a need for a birth certificate or an elderly person who would be in situation described by Ms Xaba that would be known because the child care workers, the auxiliary social workers, the social workers, community development workers, all came together and met on a regular basis, and where problems were immediately addressed. The Department was looking at a way of interfacing with the communities to eliminate surprises coming up.

The Minister, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, said that for the past two months there were activities related to the month of October [which was Social Development Month]. In all provinces there were children that stayed on their own, there was malnutrition, need for access to psychosocial services, as well as need for grants. A desktop study done on grants had showed many people started applying for grants only when their children were already two to three years old.

People still paid a lot to travel to get to services and even if DSD said this must come to an end, still it continued. DSD had to learn from other departments because other departments had learnt from it. Home Affairs had learnt a lot from Social Development and the Department learnt from them, such as the issue of giving numbers to people. No one should be turned away at the Department’s service points; she was very disappointed to hear it was still happening. Ms Xaba was correct in saying we must do home visits because we were going to assist in terms of what was really happening on the ground. She instructed that a memorandum be sent out to SASSA service stations to say that no one should be turned away.

When people re-registered they must be given funds to come back because the poor had to pay for transport from money they did not have. That situation must be corrected as soon as possible.

Minister Dlamini agreed to the issue of closer monitoring but the Department was again attending to access in terms of pension pay points to ensure that in far flung areas the Department worked with businesses, and have more pay points and ensure that people were able to access services at ward level, starting with the 1300 wards that fell under the poverty-stricken grouping. The Department would soon be launching programmes. It was important that DSD was seen as a department that created employment.

Children must be registered at birth because South Africa was part of the United Nations decision: The First 1000 Days. If one wanted to cover the first 1000 days, children must get a grant from birth.

There was the issue of demographics.

Another issue was the registration of children. Most unemployed people moved to the big cities, so the Department had found that most unregistered children were not in the rural areas as previously thought. They were on the periphery of big cities such as Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town, where the campaign to register children must be strengthened. UNICEF had said two million children were unregistered and that must be corrected.

 The Minister commended paying the CSG until eighteen years, South Africa was one of only a few countries that paid child support grants. In dialogue with the youth after the budget speech this year, those who experienced child-headed households asked what happened to them after they passed Grade 12? Although there were bursaries, what about the basic things young people needed at university?

In terms of  foster care, when it came to tertiary education the Department could fund up to the age of 21 years, which meant that was very focused, it was for school going children, not for everyone.

The Department should also look at children who were recipients of the CSG and also look at issues of definition because the Constitution defined a child.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister.

The Chairperson picked up on what Mr Magasela had said about Maponya Mall. On its oversight visit, the Committee had picked up that the CEO had given instructions that people could not be registered after 4pm, and people were turned away after 4pm.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister and Deputy Minister for participating in the meeting. It had been a fruitful session with the White Paper on Families. It was the Department's last reprieve, when presenting to the Committee, that documents had to be available before the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix:
Minister for Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, at the Project Mikondzo Media Briefing: Sunday, 01 September 2013 

In the past two years the Department of Social Development has undertaken various outreach programmes, including Social Development Month (during October) and Taking the Department of Social Development to the people.  Through our outreach programmes we have been able to uncover many developmental problems in communities that contribute to the tripple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality in our country.

Child- and youth-headed households are of great concern because of the various problems the young people have to contend with as they struggle to survive without parents.  It is not a normal situation for children to start being adults, by taking care of themselves and their siblings, at a young age.  Many of them are abused by neighbours who take advantage of the fact that they have no older person looking after them.

As we have been visiting many parts of the country, we have found many children who are not taken care of, some because they have no one to take care of them, and some because of the dire circumstances of their families.  Many of them suffer from malnutrition, others are abused.

Our violent past as a country continues to trouble us as we see the persistence of violent behaviour in our communities.  Gender-based violence, violence against children, and bullying are still a great cause for concern in our communities.

The disintegration of the family unit is also a critical challenge that brings with it many social ills.  Many of our children drop out of school and young girls fall pregnant because the family has disintegrated. There is no doubt that alcohol and substance abuse contribute immensely to these problems.

Loan sharks continue to abuse and take advantage of our people, especially the elderly who depend on government grants for their livelihoods.  Through the dialogues we held with children and youth from child-headed households in May, we also learned that they do not know how appropriately their social assistance is used.  This creates a fertile ground for loan sharks and poses a challenge to us as government.  We believe that government and civil society has to offer further education to our grant recipients on the appropriate use of grants.

While others want us to help them use their grants appropriately, some collect grants just to abuse them.  We have uncovered many examples of young women who receive the child support grant on behalf of children when they don’t live with the children nor provide for them.

Our approach to these challenges, ladies and gentlemen, must be a holistic one linking our welfare services, social assistance and integrated development.  The beneficiaries who enter our system through welfare services and move on to receive social assistance, must eventually be in a position to stand on their own through our integrated development services.

We realise that, despite the achievements since 1994, more still needs to be done to improve the lives of all South Africans.  We are committed to continuously improving the way we deliver services to the people of South Africa through proper monitoring and evaluation and direct interaction with municipalities and local stakeholders.  The Department is continuously reviewing its service delivery model in order to meet the changing developmental needs of all South Africans, especially the vulnerable groups, including children and youth, older persons, and people living with disabilities.  We recognise the need to build partnerships with all sectors of society for the advancement of development.

It is for these reasons that we announce the roll out of our new service delivery improvement strategy, Project Mikondzo – a Xitsonga word meaning, “footprints”.  This is an indication that we want to increase our footprint and reach every corner of South Africans we haven’t been able to reach before with our services.  We do this to improve our responsiveness to the needs of our people and break down the structural barriers created by apartheid that placed government far from people.

The key objective of Project Mikondzo is to improve and extend the reach of the services that the Department and its entities, SASSA and the NDA provide to South Africans at a community level.  We will focus on South Africans living in poverty, the marginalised and the vulnerable who are the primary targets and recipients of social development services.  The geographic location and population concentration of South Africans living in poverty is largely in the former homeland areas.

This service delivery improvement strategy will therefore be targeted at the one thousand three hundred (1300) poorest wards, which are part of the 23 District Municipalities identified by Cabinet for prioritisation.  The municipalities identified face many of the challenges we have outlined above and other service delivery challenges.  This provides the Department with an opportunity to strengthen and improve the impact of its policies and programmes.

The service delivery improvements we want to introduce will be informed by our engagements with provincial and municipal authorities, councillors, ward committees and social workers who will provide us with first-hand information about the situation on the ground in their various areas.

We will set up a command centre with a 24/7 toll-free helpline through which communities can report difficult service delivery matters.

Project Mikondzo will also pay attention to strengthening civil society organisations, through the NDA, to help us deal with the challenges of food security, early childhood development, gender-based violence, and capacity building of NGOs.  We must ensure the availability and accessibility of facilities that assist vulnerable groups.

Access to Early Childhood Development Services is at the top of our agenda.  The ANC’s 53rd National Conference resolved that the first one thousand (1000) days of the child’s life up to the age of four must be prioritised and called for universal access for at least four (4) years of Early Childhood Development.  The Conference further stressed that Early Childhood Development must be made a public good.

There are plans in place to ensure that all Early Childhood Development Centres are registered and early childhood practitioners appropriately trained.  Programmes for parental training are also on the pipeline.

Further to improve the provisioning of Early Childhood Development services, the Department of Social Development has begun an audit of early childhood development centres to obtain information on the nature and extent of early childhood development provisioning, services, resources and infrastructure in order to inform and support on-going policy and planning initiatives.  The audit began in the Northern Cape on 19 August.  The Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State will be audited during September; followed by the North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo in October; and conclude in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng in November.

The success of Project Mikondzo will therefore be measured by the accessibility of the Department and its entities to the people.  Our teams have already entered the Mpumalanga Province through the Social Cluster of that Province.  In Limpopo we have entered the Elias Motswaledi District Municipality; the Amathole, O.R. Tambo and Alfred Nzo District Municipalities in the Eastern Cape; and the West Rand Municipality in Gauteng.

In order for this initiative to produce the required results, we need the cooperation of all relevant stakeholders, especially the public.  The enabling factors for our success is cooperation between stakeholders, more importantly communities, community based organisations and non-governmental organisations.  We have been able to achieve more in areas where there are functional community structures.  We have not been successful in areas where communities are not actively involved in their own development initiatives.  These are areas where local government structures such as Municipalities, Ward Committees are not so supportive or strong in advocating for the social development cause. 

We also call on you, the members of the media, to partner with us by bringing to our attention any matters of concern regarding service delivery that you encounter as you go about your work of holding us accountable so that the necessary interventions can be brought about.  I am sure many of us saw Cutting Edge this past Thursday when it broadcasted a very heart-breaking story of an elderly woman who has to look after a bed-ridden autistic child.  Project Mikondzo is about identifying such desperate cases and putting our resources into action so that no South African has to live under those circumstances.

We therefore call upon our communities and all other stakeholders to cooperate with us in this initiative as we identify service delivery gaps and devise ways to take us further into the second phase of our democratic transition.

Working together we can do more!
 

Share this page: