Department of Social Development on its 2013/14 Annual Report to the NCOP

NCOP Health and Social Services

11 November 2014
Chairperson: Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Social Development presented its 2013/14 Annual Report which looked at key priorities, strategic goals and their performance and expenditure in meeting strategic goals and achieving its clean audit.

69% of the targets were achieved and 31% were not; the percentage of achieved targets has continually improved since 2011. The Department over-achieved multiple goals and under-achieved in other areas.

Over-achievement occurred in some of the following areas: job opportunities; officials trained on HIV and AIDS management; number of youths reached; organisations trained; young people participating in skills development programmes nationally; the number of children adopted; and the number of early childhood development (ECD) centres audited.

Areas of under-achievement included: number of households accessing food through food security programme; number of people accessing food through Food Bank SA; total number of Care Dependency Grant beneficiaries; total number of Foster Care Grant beneficiaries; total number of Child Support Grant beneficiaries; and total number of Disability Grant beneficiaries.

Although the department received a clean audit from the Auditor-General and achieved the majority of their targets the Committee questioned the department’s performance. Committee members questioned if the department set challenges that were too easily achieved; how to address delays in filling of posts, paying non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and DSD’s role in ensuring people with disabilities receive proper houses and job placement. There was concern about food security. 

DSD said it will work with the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation to create a better performance plan and targets in the future. The targets were set according to the capacity of the department and available information. However, all the information needed for informed decision-making may not be available. DAD has met its 2% quota for employing disabled persons and it has the responsibility to ensure that both public and private sector are meeting their quotas.

The Chairperson noted that future plans should address how to make people more self-sufficient so that they can escape poverty and not rely on government funding. Under-expenditure is unacceptable when services that were promised are still needed. There is a need for improved planning. Improvements are currently not visible in terms of substance abuse. Improvements can be made on the matter of violence towards women, child abuse, disability housing, employment quotas, and healthcare. The Departments of Home Affairs, Basic Education, Health, Human Settlements and Social Development must work together to help the people.

Meeting report

Mr Coceko Pakade, DSD Director-General, explained that this briefing provides more provincial detail by providing a performance breakdown per province. The Department has identified and committed itself to addressing the following key priorities: 
1. Expand Child and Youth Care services (Isibindi programme)
2. Promote Early Childhood Development
3. Combat Substance Abuse
4. Provision of food to poor households (Food for all/Zero Hunger)
5. The protection and promotion of the rights of older people and people with disabilities

Mr Thabani Buthelezi, Chief-Director of Management, Department of Social Development presented the department’s performance and challenges. 69% of the targets were achieved and 31% were not; the percentage of achieved has continuously improved since 2011.Programme Performance included both over-achievements and under-achievements.

Achievements against the targets include:
- 15 advocacy workshops/seminars were held, out of 17
- 33 504 job opportunities created by the Department, out of33 307
- 32 590 non-EPWP job opportunities created, out of 27 814
- 1 355 organisations submitted administrative data to the Community Based Information Management System (CBIMS), out of 1 200
- 92 officials were trained on HIV and AIDS management, out of 90
- 549 355 youths were reached, out of 500 000
- 501 organisations trained, out of 450
- 86 community conversations facilitated, out of 64
- 8 080 young people participated in skills development programmes nationally, out of 450
- 458 stakeholders in all provinces capacitated to implement the Act and Regulations, out of 120
- 41 441 employees working with children were screened against the Child Protection Register (CPR) Part B, out of 30 000; only 227 were found unsuitable to work with children
- Increased the number of children adopted by 10%
- 12 987 ECD centres were audited in all provinces, out of 12 526 ECD centres
- A total of 36 476 620 people were reached through the DSD website and social media, out of 55 000.

Under-achievements against the targets include:
- 122 612 households accessed food through food security, out of 300 000
- 346 632 people accessed food through Food Bank SA, out of 700 000
- DSD services were provided at 15 Community Work Programme (CWP) sites in 7 provinces, out of 9 (all except Gauteng / Western Cape)
- A total of 59 Quality Assurance Panel members were trained on the policy framework for the Accreditation of Diversion Services in all provinces, out of 63
- 48.76% (827) of appeals were adjudicated within 90 days of receipt, out of 50%
- The total number of Care Dependency Grant beneficiaries is 120 632, out of 135 347
- The total number of Foster Care Grant beneficiaries is 512 055, out of 515 939
- The total number of Child Support Grant beneficiaries is 11 125 946, out of 11 488 501
- The total number of Disability Grant beneficiaries is 1 120 419, out of 1 135 218

The Department noted its contributed to government's 12 key outcomes such as a vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities and food security for all. Other outcomes include the following:
- Studies carried out by among others Statistics South Africa; including the Presidency’s Fifteen Year Review, suggest that the Social Assistance Programme is the single most important driver of the decline in poverty has had a significant impact on reducing poverty, redistributing income and reducing inequality.

- Studies carried out by the Department and other institutions have uncovered various positive developmental impacts of the child support social grant in promoting nutritional, educational and health outcomes, including a significant contribution to the attainment of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Goal 1, the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

Two of the current projects were explained:
- The Mikondzo Project is a service delivery improvement intervention focusing on 1300 poorest wards in 23 priority district municipalities in the country. It was implemented successfully in all provinces and immediate interventions were provided in some of the areas visited. A comprehensive service delivery improvement plan is being developed.
- The Call Centre on Gender Based Violence operates as a 24-hour toll free line staffed by 42 social workers and 7 social work veterans.

The following challenges were identified:
- Executive Support: Management meetings not achieved due to meetings postponed or cancelled.
- International Relations: Bilateral Agreements signed due to delays in response from counterparts as well as the schedule of principals not allowing meetings
- Office Accommodation: Feasibility study on shared offices for DSD, SASSA and NDA not completed. Options for a suitable accommodation are being consulted with DPW.
- Policy Development: The policy for amending the NPO Act was not approved due to extended consultations. The Community Development Occupational framework was not approved due to extended consultations with HWSETA and DHET.

Mr Clifford Apple , DSD CFO, detailed the financial expenditures for the 2013/2014 financial year. The department received a clean audit from the Auditor-General. 99.8% of the allocated budget was spent. The largest amount was spent on social assistance and policy and administration. Integrated service delivery had the most under-expenditure. The department spent the most in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

SASSA over spent their allocation funding by 7%. NDA underspent their allocated budget by less than 2%.

Limpopo was the only province with a qualified opinion. The Eastern Cape and Free State province remained unqualified with findings. Gauteng and Northern Cape remained unqualified with no findings.

Funding pressures include the following:
- ECD:
The lack of quality assurance in terms of ECD centres, as all centres are not funded for 264 days a year. There is shortage of funds to increase the coverage to more children.
- Social Worker Absorption:
The lack of funding for carry-through costs of the absorbed Social Worker Graduates as well as the absorption of additional graduates.
The lack of funding for provision of child and youth care worker (CYCC) stipends and employment of these workers.
- Substance Abuse Centre:
Eastern Cape, Free State, North West and Northern Cape lack funding for the running costs of the Substance Abuse Centres.

The Chairperson congratulated the national department on their clean audit; the department is a good example for the other departments. The Chairperson asked the department about the future and how to make people more self-sufficient so that they do not rely on government funding. A budget increase may be necessary so that people can become business people of tomorrow and escape poverty.

Mr Pakade explained that the leadership of the Minister and the department’s political environment contributed to the successful audit results. Cooperatives and grants have been restructured to account for departmental changes.

The Chairperson asked if Programme 3’s expenditure was a mistake.

Mr Appel responded that it was not a mistake; 100% of the budget was spent on that programme.

Ms L Zwane (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) welcomed the DSD presentation. She questioned if the budget allows the targets to be over-achieved. She asked what the repercussions and plans are for the departments who do not submit their human resources plans because they might be left behind when allocations are made. How does DSD plan to deal with this? She asked what the department’s role in ensuring that people with disabilities receive proper houses is; she questioned if the 2% quota for employing people with disabilities was actually achieved. She inquired how to address delays in filling posts, paying non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and invoice submissions so that goals are met on time without any over or under-expenditure. Lastly, she commented that the parent involvement programme is necessary to help keep kids out of crime and violence; and she wonders if the areas without this programme will be able to receive it in the next APP.

Ms K Mampuru (ANC, Limpopo) congratulated the department on their clean audit. She asked if the department can capacitate the community development workers because they are the source of the programmes. Offices are hectic in Limpopo and other regions, community development organizations can assist the department in the provinces. There are services still needed but yet there is under-expenditure, what measures are in place to ensure that people are provided as many services as possible?

Mr M Khawula (IFP, KwaZulu-Natal) said that a department can put the information that they would like into the report so that it reflects positively on the DSD so he thanked the department for allowing time for the Committee to question their report; it reflects a good administration. He asked if the targets that were set were not realistic and if that is why they were over-achieved; the targets were not set in front of these members so it could be so. He was wondering if there was more current information that includes South Africa specifically instead of Africa in general. He asked under which category does underspending and inability to fill positions fall because the radio claims that social workers are not being employed; if social workers were trained and not hired, this is problematic. He hopes that this is not the case.

The Chairperson clarified that areas of underspending might be due to shifting funds amongst the programmes. This results in over-achievement in some programmes and under-achievement in other programmes.

Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA, Western Cape) asked if there is any collaboration between DSD and the Department of Basic Education to address issues regarding drug abuse. She asked if there are any awareness programs that deal with the preventative approach to the problem and how those programs are being implemented.

The Chairperson appreciated the good work that has been done but people still need education, poverty relief, and homes. Issues of women and children abuse are still problems as well. The Chairperson asked how the department measures if their intended results were achieved. DSD must make sure that those who are receiving aid are able to use that aid to get out of poverty. The Department of Home Affairs, Department of Basic Education, Department of Health, Department of Human Settlements and the Department of Social Development are the core departments; they must work together to help people from childhood onward. Monitoring must take place over time. The Chairperson questioned if South African Social Security Agency has gone beyond establishing offices and actually made progress on the ground all around the country. In terms of the set targets, there was overspending and underspending, because money was not spent on everything that was promised to the people. Are there any special considerations for the holidays and the needs at that particular time of year. In the Chairperson’s experience, she was involved in a programme where 8 000 toys were distributed to orphans. The Chairperson asked if the department has planned for that, because this is an acceptable example of over-achievement.

Mr Pakade agreed that money was shifted in order to over-achieve certain targets; however, there are competing demands that do change between five years ago when plans were set and now. The need far exceeds the Annual Performance Plan (APP); not everything that needs addressing can be included in the APP. In the past four years, there have not been new funds because of the current world financial situation. There has not been new money from Treasury, except in specialized areas, despite all of the new initiatives. Therefore, funding is moved to meet new priorities. Gender-Based Violence strategies, like the Mikondzo Project have new command centres under development that compete with drug prevention strategies. The Accounting Manager must find a way to make it work, but it is a zero-sum game. There must be a balance and something must give. The APP cannot include everything because there is not enough money. The APP cannot be maintained for the entire five years, but any adjustments can be reported to Parliament. Services for those with disabilities will be addressed by the Presidential Working Group on Disability. From a governance and structural point of view, a tool is necessary for measuring the target achievement for accessibility, education, and compliance on local and international levels as well in the private and public sectors. A tool is needed to measure housing and jobs for disabilities. The Minister of Social Development has recently been given this function, but an effective instrument is needed to implement oversight; this is currently underway. Over time, DSD targets have been set to the best of DSD's ability because South Africa lacks research and data for informed decision-making. The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and the department’s strategy unit are working together on how to best set the proper targets.

Ms Conny Nxumalo, DSD Deputy Director General: Welfare Services, responded that provinces that do not submit their human resources plan have consequences; however, all provinces submitted their plans, although they were late. Late submissions were not included in this report. The human service reports indicate what capacity the Province has in terms of money and skills as well as what they need. The previous Department of Women and Children’s function has been carried over. The department’s job is to ensure that housing and jobs for those with disabilities is met in both the public and private sector. DSD works with the Department of Human Settlements on the Group Housing for Special Needs program that aims to accommodate the elderly and people with special needs, especially women, who do not want to live in a facility. The Active Parenting Programme needs to increase capacity so that it can be implemented in all of the provinces; it will be expanded to include training young women how to be a parent as well. Drug issues are an international and societal problem. There is a national Drug Master Plan and legislation; however, there are problems with implementation. The Minister is chairing the inter-ministerial committee that deals with drugs. There is a national awareness programme that targets youth and their parents directly; however, it is not popularized and needs to reach more people. There are relationships with the following: Department of Trade and Industry; Department of Basic Education; the Department of Higher Education and Training; the Department of Health; Medicines Control Council; National Youth Development Agency; the Department of Transport; the Department of Justice; and, the Department of Economic Development to ensure that there is coordination. They are all part of the National Drug Master Plan. Donations in kind often include activities like Christmas toys.

Mr Fhumulani Peter Netshipale, Deputy-Director General: Integrated Development, Department of Social Development, remarked that the community practitioners programme trains practitioners how to work within their communities, community development support is there. DSD contributes to poverty alleviation, one initiative is it gives grants but it also does household profiling done by the CDW programme to find who is living in the house and the condition to determine if interventions are needed. The other aspect of the poverty alleviation programme is the EPWP. For Child-headed Households, he provided an example of Mpumalanga which can pinpoint where these households are. A needs assessment has been done during household profiling, and an integrated plan developed. Another example is a programme in KwaZulu-Natal where all relevant government departments have been instructed to help all affected children. The last programme includes an integrated household food and  nutrition programme that includes DSD, the Department of Health, and the Department of Basic Education to ensure that children receive nutritious food. DSD is establishing the Food and Development Centres where a minimum of 122 people can eat one meal at each centre per day in areas of great poverty. SASSA and the department work together to provide the Relief of Social Distress aid to households for a period of time as prescribed by the SASSA Act where no one is working and is without food. There are great needs out there, because people are in abject poverty; however, not all of the needs can be remedied. The LoveLife programme focuses on youth and HIV/AIDS in all 9 provinces, although not all programmes are strong in every province. This programme reaches over 8 000 youth in the informal settlements on an annual basis; there is still room for improvement as it is not comprehensively in all areas. It is looking at farms. There has been a better uptake on issues of condoms; the prevalence of AIDS among males from the ages of 15 to 24 has decreased. LoveLife has been helpful in combatting women and child abuse issues.

Mr Pakade replied that social development communication and branding has improved. The infrastructure plan includes government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are working together to establish basic minimum standards as well as the basics for social development offices. He spoke about logos. There is an intergovernmental relationship in which logos interact with government services. The infrastructure strategy looks into the functionality and design of offices. SASSA office are already branded.

He believes that the Chairperson is correct and an integrated approach must be taken toward poverty. This is why the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation was put in place, because there needs to be an entity that makes sure that integration, entrance points, and exit points are present. The anti-poverty strategy of government and the departments’ new rollout with every involved stakeholder needs a system of monitoring the services provided to each household. It has piloted the National Integrated Social Information System (NISIS) is used for profiling and as a database for tracking what services individuals/households receive. Continuously tracking these things will allow government to track the lifecycle of individuals who are aided by the system to analyze progress. NISIS includes all of the outcomes of the different departments to identify overlaps and progress across departments.

On the Gini coefficient, Mr Buthelezi said that the department has been designing government interventions and working on grants with UNICEF and the Financial Fiscal Commission to curb the effects of the economic downturn, especially job loss, on women and child poverty. A qualitative follow-up showed that the households did improve, although income disparity is still problematic. Without the 72% of funds spent on grants, households would probably be at 0.74% instead of the current 0.69%. DSD recognizes that a complementary approach is needed though, but there is research that the grants have been effective and impacted positively on income inequality  so far.

Ms P Mququ (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked if the department’s command centre for gender-based violence has been following up effectively.

Ms Zwane asked for clarity surrounding the 0.69% and the 0.74% regarding income-inequality that was mentioned.

Mr Buthelezi clarified that it was currently at 0.69%, but would have been at 0.74% without intervention.

Ms Zwane asked how this was calculated in terms of the population.

Mr Pakade answered that the Department of Home Affairs would have this information.

Ms Zwane asked if the department would have information on population growth.

Mr Pakade said that population growth is affecting by many factors including immigration.

Ms Zawane inquired as to the status quo.

The Chairperson requested that the dialogue be more inclusive of the entire Committee.

Ms Zwane questioned if there are any plans to ensure that the IT systems are improving. She heard that the Department of Home Affairs has the best IT system and that it can be shared with other departments. She asked if the department plans to partake in information sharing. She asked if campaigns that teach people about women rights are targeted based upon research and how the intervention decisions are made. She asked if there are plans to prevent underspending in the future because it is a problem.

Ms Nxumalo commented that the Command Centre has trained 42 social workers and there are 10 social workers per district currently trained to do follow-ups. DSD has attended to 2 518 cases; this includes sexual harassment, physical violence, abuse, rape, and abandonment of children. Physical violence was most prevalent and 629 cases of violence were responded to. There are improvements being made in terms of aiding the victims and prevention.

Mr Appel remarked that there are systems in place regarding under-expenditure. The under-expenditure on Programme 2 will still be the case as SASSA is still in the process of vetting grant beneficiaries and re-registration; it will continue to delay the spending, although it might improve over the next financial year. Transfers to non-profit organizations (NPOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) have caused delays. DSD tries its utmost to ensure NGOs are capacitated and compliance requirements explain the payment delays. There are penalties for service providers. There are systems in place to expedite procurement and capacitation as DSD is aware that it affects service delivery on the ground.

Mr Thokozani Magwaza, DSD Deputy Director-General: Comprehensive Social Security, explained that registration on the SASSA side needs to have more money budgeted straight to SASSA, instead of through the department. National Treasury instructed the department to document this as under-expenditure.

Mr Pakade continued that the monitoring of launched programs must be integrated because it involves districts and provinces, For example, Mikondzo has captured information in great detail. DSD is partnered with the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Experts have assisted the department in analyzing the data in order to identify the outcomes. Other poverty alleviation programmes require a lot of stakeholders on the ground; they need to be migrated into the Food for All Programme. The Mikondzo approach is all encompassing and it is a model for future programmes. The Household for Nutrition Programme and Mikondzo programme all fit into the national plan. It is all coming together.

Mr Netshipale clarified that the prevalence of malnutrition of children under five was highest in Mokgori in the North West and KwaZulu-Natal therefore they got the children nutrition programmes. In the North West 33.3% of households experienced hunger more often. A household relief programme is preferred over the Food For All programme. There are three approaches to access food: to provide food parcels to households; NPOs that provide food delivery; and command centres that cook and provide food. Community Nutrition Development Centers produce their own food and promote cooperatives for food production. It deals with hunger, poverty, and community development. It ensure that the Early Childhood Development and drop-in centres provide tested nutritious food.

The Chairperson asked again about children who do not have food at Christmas time.

Mr Pakade responded that the department has been considering this for years but the challenge is quite broad. It is a daunting task to reach everyone. The Chairperson is correct about mobilizing South Africa around this issue at Christmas time.

The Chairperson indicated that there is a need for improved planning. The Chief Financial Officer and the strategic planning employees are surely aware of this need. Improvements are not visible in terms of substance abuse. There needs to be more vigilance. The Chairperson concluded by identifying areas that need continuous improvement; this included violence against women, child abuse, disability housing, employment quotas, and healthcare.

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