Independent Development Trust on Poverty Relief Programme: briefing

Social Development

15 October 2002
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Meeting report

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 October 2002
INDEPENDENT DEVELOPMENT TRUST ON POVERTY RELIEF PROGRAMME: BRIEFING


Chairperson: Adv Masutha


Documents handed out:
IDT Poverty Relief Programme Slide Presentation

SUMMARY

The Independent Development Trust summarized their achievements in distributing money focussing on poverty alleviation. Members were informed on the challenges still facing their organisation on poverty alleviation. Members were enlightened on finance allocation to various provinces with the largest amount being allocated to the poorest provinces such as Kwazulu Natal, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. Fund distribution for the 2002/2003 budget year was discussed.

MINUTES

Ms Radebe, IDT Board Member, introduced her panel. She welcomed the opportunity of this briefing because it extended and encouraged future communication with the Committee. Mr Nkwali, Senior Programme Manager of the Independent Development Trust, gave a presentation on Poverty Relief Program. He gave an overview of the IDT, disbursements statistics of 2001/2, monitoring and reporting statistics, including challenges and achievements of the IDT. (Please refer to document for details.)

Discussion

Prof Mbadi (UDM) stated that he was still concerned about issues raised last year. The duty of IDT was to alleviate poverty but in the Eastern Cape many women who were involved in manufacturing traditional wear complained of a lack of assistance from IDT. The other project was the HIV/AIDS initiative, which was also being ignored by IDT despite the fact that officials from IDT visited these two projects. Why were these two projects not in IDT records? How was the aged in rural areas being assisted? There were two projects for the elderly in the Eastern Cape which were not receiving aid from IDT. One was in Magudla in Maluti and the other in Macele in Tsolo.

Ms Rajbally (MF) asked if the projects being funded by IDT were situated in rural areas only? What was the status of poor people in urban areas?. Did the IDT have the mechanism to sustain its projects?

On the same issue of sustainability Ms Tshivhase told delegates that she and other members of parliament visited areas in the Limpopo province with the aim of obtaining first hand information on how the poverty alleviation programme was progressing in that province. She stated that most projects in Limpopo were now redundant which was an indication that IDT did not posses a mechanism to sustain its projects.

Ms Gandhi (ANC) asked how new projects were funded. How were funds allocated to projects.

Ms Lulu Gwagwa (CEO) of IDT told members that IDT was a schedule two public entity, which meant that it was not funded by the government on a yearly basis like organisations on schedule three. When they started in 1998/99 they received a lot of applications for funding but they could not afford to accommodate all of them. IDT when it started was an organisation which mainly worked with community based structures. With current resources it would be much easier for IDT to carry out its obligations to the community. The budget for 2002/2003 allowed them to be able to sustain projects and programmes they were involved in.

The Department of Social Development had moved from being viewed as a welfare department to being a social development department. That shift meant that IDT like their department would also concentrate more on social development unlike when they started in 1998/1999. On the question of whether IDT supported entrepreneurship - IDT was not involved in funding because other organisations like Intsika enterprise and Khula enterprise performed this function. Ms Gwagwa noted that there were other projects that could not be sustained because they depended on funding from the department and could not generate their own income. To them Ms Gwagwa noted, sustainability meant support for various initiatives beyond financial means.

On the issue of programmes they had funded so far the IDT team mentioned that they had a list of all the projects they had funded and that list was available if people wanted to see it. Projects earmarked for 2002/2003 were not on that list yet. IDT agreed that on the issue of the aged in the rural areas it would be difficult to establish an old age home in such places. Since then they had involved the aged in a number of initiatives. Some of them were involved with raising of children and other self-help projects. IDT also supported activities by the aged in the rural areas. IDT did not support projects in rural areas only but also projects in urban areas. They gave Kwazulu Natal as an example; they mentioned that there were lot of projects in that province based in urban areas that were being funded by IDT.

IDT mentioned that before a project was established in an area the community had to be mobilised with the aim of making them aware of the project(s) lined up for their area. The reason for involving the community was that if they (the community) supported projects in their area it meant that such projects could be sustained. The IDT did not monitor projects they were funding. The IDT's Community Liasing Officers (CLO) visited projects they were funding to assess the progress being made. The CLOs were the foot soldiers of IDT because information gathered in places they had visited would be computerised for future references. On the issue of projects in the Eastern Cape IDT mentioned that they had received several applications from that region and they were at the moment funding a lot of projects in the Eastern Cape.

The role of IDT the delegates told members, was to support the department of social development in managing the projects: they set up projects and they also monitor them and supported them it they needed any further financial assistance. The onus was on the department to make sure that these projects operated properly. IDT's main duty was to dispense funds to various organisations. At the moment there was Project Management Team (PMT) at the national level established by both the department and IDT. The duty of PMTs was to coordinate and integrate the dispensing of funds. The problem here was that on regional and local level there was no PMTs. IDT mentioned that integration and corporation on regional and local level would benefit the community.

IDT was asked to state which criteria they used to approve projects. Members said that in the Western Cape IDT approved seven projects and out of those approved an individual from Observatory was granted a substantial R1, 5 million despite the fact that person did not have a clear residential address.

Members also wanted to find out who actually approved these projects. Members noted that IDT stated that its programmes were community driven but then approved projects in the affluent suburban areas at the expense of the poor.

Members asked why Western Cape was allocated more funds on the youth category? IDT was advised to make use of community based radio to market their projects and to make themselves known to the communities. In the Eastern Cape (Ms Tshwete) MECs were not aware of any projects funded by IDT.

IDT acknowledged the fact that there were certain members of parliament and MECs and chiefs who were very critical of the functions of their organisation. IDT stated that it was people like that who knew about poor people in their areas but acted as gate-keepers. Cooperation was needed between IDT and such people.

The issue of using community radio, IDT agreed was a good idea, which could be considered for future initiatives.

On the issue of how projects were approved, IDT mentioned that it was the districts that identify projects and then applications would be handed over to the provinces which would be approved.

On the issue of the Western Cape and Youth programmes, IDT stated that youth programmes in each province should have two youth projects. In the case of Western Cape they decided to have only one youth programme and all funds were allocated to that project. This did not mean that Western Cape got more money than other provinces. IDT response to the issue of projects approved without people having residential or proper addresses was that it was the duty of the department to make sure that all projects were registered.

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