National Development Agency and SA Social Security Agency 2nd quarter 2013/14 performance report presentation, in presence of Minister

Social Development

25 February 2015
Chairperson: Ms R Capa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Social Development(DSD), in the presence of the Minister,  presented the targets and achievements for the programmes of the National Development Agency (NDA), followed by a presentation by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) on achievements for the same period. Prior to the presentations, the Minister gave a short introduction in which she explained that the DSD had taken over programmes relating to children and disabled people from the former Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities. A summit on alcohol and substance abuse was to take place later in the year, after discussions with the UN. The Minister explained the implications of the Constitutional Court challenge in relation to the tender document for service providers to make SASSA payments, and noted that the DSD was now busy amending its regulations to try to curb deductions from those grants by family members and loan sharks, the greatest challenge.  It faced some problems with NPOs and NGOs not reporting fully but was working with them to achieve improvements. Both DSD and NDA were trying to empower and assist cooperatives.

The Department of Social Development noted that the financial and performance parts of reports had been integrated, and the National Development Agency (NDA) briefly summarised the purposes of each of its five programmes (in the period prior to taking over functions from the other department). The key strategies of the whole Department were explained, and the five NDA programmes related to capacity building of community service organisations, research and development, resource (cash and in kind) mobilisation through sustainable partnerships to implement community development programmes, and governance and administration. Of the 24 performance targets, 18 related to this quarter, and 5 were fully achieved, but there had been substantial partial achievement on the others. The financial indicators were given in full. NDA had received R 89.2 million of the approved annual allocation of R 178 million, as revenue, from the DSD, by way of transfers, and spent R15.9 in implementation of projects funded by other partners. Of the total annual budget, 47% was spent. Funding of R20.8 was disbursed although there had been some under-spending due to challenges in implementing the new model. Underspending was also seen in the research and development and capacity development. The underspending in relation to social policy was due to litigation on the tender. Other programmes showed underspending although it was planned in the sense that the NDA knew the expenditure would come through in the next quarter. Members asked about the use of social media and other methods to reach people, suggested a focus on quality rather than attendance of training, and asked for clarity on which budget covered certain programmes, when money for rehabilitation centres would be transferred, and how far the process of building new centres had progressed. One Member questioned why, if the DSD itself was doing so much for the youth, the same work was apparently duplicated by the loveLife programme. Concerns were expressed that those working in the ECD centres in Limpopo in particular were not trained. The Minister made the point that it had been found that social workers tended to adopt a standard approach for rural and urban areas, whilst a specialist and differentiated approach was needed, so the DSD would be planning to host a conference for social workers. The DSD was also looking into a UNICEF report that 2 million children were not in the DSD system.

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) noted the key priorities, and said that the target was to reach 1.1 million new beneficiaries per annum.  363 979 new applications were processed in the second quarter, bringing the total number of applications processed from April to September to 730 729 (66% of the annual target). SASSA had seen an increase in grants in quarter 2, but there was a lapsing of some former grants also. There was an 8% increase in the Grant in Aid and a 3% increase in foster care grants. There was a particular increase of 2.2% in Western Cape. 43% of children aged up to one year were covered. The demand for .Social Relief of Distress grants was high as a result of formal jobs lost. The SASSA had achieved several service delivery improvements, in terms of time taken to process the grants, and was still working on getting all paypoints moved under cover. SASSA touched briefly on the challenge to the tender process, and reminded Members that SASSA was directed by the Court to extend the bid deadline in order to amend the tender documents. Over 80% of disputes had been resolved. Connectivity was at 93% but SASSA still had problems with electricity supply and copper theft. It was meeting with the Department of Home Affairs to integrate fully with the HANIS system. The Internal Reconsideration Mechanism was working well. The Interim Customer Care solution was implemented to track and manage enquiries, complaints and requests. The Fraud Management system was developed. Further posts were needed, but National Treasury still had to be persuaded to fund them. Fraud management was ongoing. Members were appreciative of this presentation but decided to defer their questions to a later meeting.

 

Meeting report

Chairperson’s Opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini in particular. She announced that the Committee Secretary and Committee Assistant were not able to be present, but others were standing in for them.

Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) noted that there was a new member from the EFF, who had not been introduced. She was duly introduced and welcomed to the Committee.

Department of Social Development presentation of 2nd quarter 2013/14 performance
Minister’s introduction
The Minister of Social Development firstly tendered the apologies of the Deputy Minister, who was
attending a conference in Vienna on the rights of people with disabilities, and presenting a paper on what South Africa was doing in that regard. She believed that the Deputy Minister’s visit would  give an opportunity to see what other countries were doing so that South Africa could escalate its work.

She pointed out that when some of the responsibilities of the former Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities were moved to the Department of Social Development (DSD or the Department) this Department took on more responsibility, especially in regard to those with disabilities. The President had also formed a committee of people with disabilities from various sectors. The Department was going to be meeting with and working with that committee, which should help to improve the Department's work. She was not opposed to the suggestion that the work in regard to people with disabilities move to the Presidency, and, as an activist for women's rights, remembered the battle to get a Ministry for Women, but emphasised that all vulnerable people's rights should be equally respected. For that reason her Ministry would strive to ensure improvement of government and community involvement with people with disabilities.

The Deputy Minister was also going to attend a meeting with the UNODC Executive Director to discuss the issues of alcohol and substance abuse. A summit on alcohol and substance abuse would be arranged later this year. DSD also wanted to exchange notes with the UN and see how to strengthen the campaign against alcohol and substance abuse.

She further raised the "hot issue" of the tender that her Ministry was instructed to start from scratch, but noted that although work had started, the matter was being referred to the Constitutional Court and the DSD and Ministry had been trying to respond to a number of questions raised by various stakeholders and to ensure that they were as transparent as possible. She believes that the fact that the documents had been released to the court and were open to be viewed should encourage transparency. The government had appointed a person to be in charge of procurement, which should help with transparency. She would give further update reports when appropriate.

The Ministry had added a few issues in the Tender document such as deductions. When the DSD started with the process of re–registration for social grants, it had initially decided to cut on the deductions that were made without the permission of older persons. Because of the regulations, various companies threatened to take the Department to court and DSD had to withdraw that decision and was now busy amending the regulations. The tender document stated up front that no deductions from the grant would be allowed. She had initially been opposed to that. However, the providers had then pointed out that the contract allowed a person to use the grant to buy electricity or airtime. DSD had now requested all grant recipients to swear to affidavits that they had not requested deductions. This was a cumbersome process but the DSD was still working on how to resolve it and wanted to re-focus and deal with the tender. DSD knew that this was part of its responsibilities and was concerned to try to minimise other people getting access to grant recipients' money.

The Department was also trying to strengthen Non Profit Organisations (NPOs) and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who were involved. Some were very new to the system and had not submitted their reports but DSD was trying not to cut them out of the system, but rather work with them through any problems with the procedures. The Department was going to focus on the ten points that were discussed in the NGO summit, and would carry out monitoring and evaluation to make sure that NPOs and NGOs were working to improve the lives of people .

The National Development Agency (NDA) was still focusing on early childhood development (ECD) and capacity building and was doing very well. The DSD and NDA were trying to empower and assist cooperatives (coops).

She noted that the current Director General would shortly be leaving to move over to become the Chief Operations Officer of the Independent Development Trust (IDT)

The Chairperson said that, in regard to people that continue to deduct, she suspected that this practice was widespread and asked what the employees of DSD were doing, as they apparently tended to regard reports of deductions as irritants and would not allow the elderly to record the amounts deducted. She pointed out that the deductions were made in respect of young mothers also. The manner in which others were accessing the money in the grants was going to cause a problem in the long run, and the question was how to improve services along with the increased demand.

National Development Agency (NDA) 2013 – 2014 Quarterly performance and Financial report
Mr Coceko Pakade, Director General, DSD, thanked the Minister for the overview, and also expressed appreciation to the Committee for the work it did, and for sharing the experiences of the people that they served. The National Development Agency (NDA) had now integrated the financial and performance parts of the report so that it was easier to see how the entity was performing. He wanted to stress that the report covered the second quarter of the 2013/14 financial year, prior to the DSD inheriting any functions from the former Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

Mr Thabani Buthelezi, Head: Monitoring and Evaluations, DSD said he would briefly summarise the purposes of each programme and then deal with the analysis for the period July to September 2014.

The Department had the following key strategies between 2014 - 2019:
To expand child and youth care services, through the Isibindi programme
To attend to social welfare sector reform
To increase access to childhood development
Strengthen community development interventions
To combat substance and gender  - based violence
To increase household food and nutrition security through the programme Food for All
To protect and promote the rights of older persons and people with disabilities

He indicated that there were five programmes, and referred the Committee to the attached presentation for more detail on those.

In 2014/15, the NDA was implementing the following programmes in order to achieve its mandate:

Programme 1: Capacity Building
The purpose of this is to build and enhance capacities of Community Service Organisations (CSOs) to deliver better services to poor communities; through training, mentorship and incubation of CSOs operating in poor communities

Programme 2: Research and Development
This programme is meant to produce evidence-based information that is capable of influencing and directing national and institutional policy on development programmes implemented by the civil society sector, public sector and business sector

Programme 3: Resource Mobilisation
The purpose of this programme is to mobilise resources in cash and in kind through sustainable partnerships towards implementing community development programmes implemented by civil society sector.

Programme 4: Governance and Administration
The purpose of Programme 4 is to promote and maintain organisational excellence and sustainability through effective and efficient administration that includes performance, employee well-being, containment and brand recognition.

Mr Tabani stated that the NDA had 24 annual performance targets, of which 18 targets were due for reporting in quarter two. He stated that five targets were achieved and that 13 were not achieved. He stated that the targets recorded as “not achieved” had reached 75% achievements as against the set targets, so that in fact there was partial achievement.

He further referred the Committee to the tables on the slides which showed the programme, the annual target, what had been achieved, what had been partially achieved, the annual targets that were not due for reporting and what had not been achieved. (See attached document)

Mr Clifford Apel, Chief Financial Officer, National Development Agency, highlighted the financial performance in the 2nd quarter, as follows:

-The NDA had received R 89.2 million of the approved annual allocation of R 178 million, as revenue, from the DSD, by way of transfers
- In respect of Third Party Funds (Mobilised Resources): R15.9 million had been spent in implementation of projects funded from resources mobilised from other partners
- 47% of the total annual budget of R214 million had been spent

In respect of Mandate Expenses, funds worth R20.8 million were disbursed to funded projects against the budget of R37.4 million. The R16.6 million under spending was due to the challenges experienced in implementing the new funding model for the first time in 2014/2015.

On Research and Development, R1.2 million was spent on conducting evaluation projects against a R2.8 million budget. The R1.7 million was due to the delays in commissioning evaluations of funded projects.

In relation to Capacity Building, there was under spending  due to the delays in finalizing the implementation plans for the roll out of the programme in collaboration with the provincial Departments of Social Development.

49% of the Administration budget had so far been spent.

In terms of expenditure, Mr Apel explained that there were a whole lot of targets and achievements. For Programme 1, although there was achievement, there was a significant increase under the Ministry because of the appointment of a new Deputy Minister and there was increased staff and work.

In terms of the social policy, there was a slight under spending and that was mainly to do with the litigation on the grants. The DSD had strengthened measures and had seen less litigation coming through.

In Programme 4, there were some areas where there was under spending, but most of these would be taken care of in the 3rd and 4th quarter, like the substance abuse summit, the older persons games, and the youth summit. These were hosted provincially and then they culminated in the national events, so expenditure tended to be shown only at the end.

In Programme 5, there was under spending under the Substance Abuse Advisory Services, but again the expenditure was in quarter 3.

In terms of the economic classification, although it looked like a small consideration, the Department had done a lot in regard to achieving targets.

Discussion
Ms B Abrahams (ANC) thanked the Minister on the evaluation and stated that it was good that the DSD was using social media to reach people, which was clearly working, but wondered if the same was true for those in the rural areas. She asked if there was evaluation done at the end of the programme in the rural areas? She stated that there was a need to focus more on the quality of the training instead of attendance.

Ms Lunuka Oliphant, Minister’s Spokesperson, responded that the Department did not only use social media, but also used radio platforms in different languages in order to reach out to people better. In terms of advertising, the Department used radio and local community media to reach people.

Mr Pakade responded to the question of quality of the training and said that the Department did attend to this and he would report fully on the quality in the next report.

Ms E Wilson (DA) asked whether the  Mikondzo fell under the DSD or SASSA, and in which budget it was covered.

Mr Pakade said that Mikondzo was under DSD, SASSA and NDA and that the services by the three departments could not be looked at separately and in isolation from each other. It was properly budgeted for.

Ms K De Kock (DA) asked about substance abuse, when  the money from the rehabilitation centres would be transferred and how far the process had gone in terms of these rehabilitation centres being built?

In terms of the victim empowerment programme, she noted that a substantial amount of money was being spent on the Command Centre, and asked what process was followed in the establishment of that Centre.

Mr Pakade noted that there was a plan for transferring the money for the centres and the figures were: Eastern Cape - R6 million;  Northern Cape  - R1.5 million, North Western Cape - R6 million and that this was based on a cash flow plan.  The Department was working with National Treasury, and if there was any unspent money there would be the proper procedures followed to transfer.

Ms H Maxon (EFF) asked a question, and was answered, in an indigenous language.

Ms E Wilson  (DA) noted that there was a lot in the presentation about empowering the youth. If the Department was doing all this work, then the question arose why the job was still being done by loveLife. She expressed concern about paying twice for the same job. She noted the large amounts paid to ECD centres but in Limpopo the Committee had been told that most of the people in those centres were not trained, so she enquired why the DSD was funding ECD centres if they were not doing their job.

Mr S Mabilo ( ANC) stated that the CFO emphasised the fact that there was an overall improvement in the 2nd quarter, so credit must be given where due. He enquired if there were similar projections for the 3rd and 4th quarter, and, if not, then what the reasons might be for non-achievement.

The Minister also added to the discussion by stating that there is a preliminary report on Mikondzo. The Department had been working with the University of Kwa Zulu Natal and would shortly be able to present findings. Having visited the rural areas, the Department found out that social workers wanted to do work in urban and rural areas in a similar way but those were two different areas and they needed to be handled differently. DSD had come to the conclusion that it must have a conference of social workers and talk to them about the different challenges. UNICEF said there are 2 million children that were not in the DSD system, and the Department would have to look into that.

In regard to ECD, it was true that there were some untrained women working there. The Ministry could not, however, refuse to fund these ECDs because they were not trained, and instead accepted that it must train them. In other countries, people in ECD centres were highly qualified. The DSD has come up with a curriculum to train ECD personnel, and that curriculum was being tested and, once confirmed, would be implemented.

Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) made a point of order, asking Members to address the Chairperson when they had questions, and to note the answers so that the same issues would not be repeatedly raised.

Ms Wilson said that some of her questions had not been answered but she would follow up on them in writing.

South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) Presentation to Portfolio Committee on Social Development; Quarterly Financial & Performance Reports
Ms Virginia Petersen, Chief Executive Officer, SASSA,  briefed the Committee on the SASSA second quarter performance and financial report. She discussed the key priorities of SASSA which were reducing income poverty and providing social assistance to eligible individuals, improving service delivery, improving internal efficiency and institutionalising social grants payment systems within SASSA.

She also reported on the programme performance of July to September 2014. The objective was to provide social assistance to qualifying beneficiaries. The target was to reach 1.1 million new beneficiaries per annum.  A total of 363 979 new applications were processed in the second quarter, bringing the total number of applications processed from April to September to 730 729 (66% of the annual target).

As regards increasing the number of grants, from 15.0 million to 16.053 million, Ms Petersen stated that SASSA saw an increase of 1.3% from the preceding quarter but that there was a lapsing of 679 101 grants in quarter 2.

SASSA looked at two key grants; the Child Support Grant (CSG) and the Grant in Aid. There was an 8% increase in the Grant in Aid and a 3% increase in foster care.

In terms of the provincial outlook, Ms Petersen stated that there were increases throughout the provinces but it was important to note the 2.2% increase in the Western Cape. 

As regards the goal to reach 70% of children between ages of 0-1, the total number of grants, counted in payments, as at September 2014 stood at 516 130, which represented 43% of the children in this age group. The numbers increased by 27,916 (0.5%) from the previous quarter.

In terms of the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants, the demand was high as a result of formal jobs lost. 93 000 applications were processed in quarter 2.

She then outlined the service delivery improvements. 96.23% of applications were processed with 21 days (4.11% increase from the last quarter) and 3.7% applications were processed after 21 days (these were mainly disability grants). SASSA was looking at reducing the days in the future, potentially 10 days. 15 local offices and 17 pay points were improved in the second quarter. There were still many pay points, out of the 9 000 pay points, that were still in the open, mostly in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

The Integrated Community Registration Outreach Programmes (ICROP) programmes increased from 170 to 593.  As regards Implementation of the payment tender, the tender was advertised in October but was challenged in the Constitutional Court. SASSA was directed to extend the bid deadline in order to amend the tender documents.

There had been 4 722 disputes lodged with the CPS call center and 1 384 disputes lodged with the SASSA Call Centre and over 80% of these matters had been resolved.

In terms of ICT infrastructure, connectivity to business systems in all SASSA local offices was at 93%. The biggest challenges remained as power failure and copper theft. The HANIS system (for checking identity across platforms) was developed. SASSA would have a meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs so that there would be live interaction with HANIS.

The Internal Reconsideration Mechanism was working well. The Interim Customer Care solution was implemented to track and manage enquiries, complaints and requests. The Fraud Management system was developed.

The filling of posts was a difficult point. There was a challenge in convincing National Treasury to fund the posts that SASSA needed. There had been 611 appointments, with 95 being permanent, 642 terminations and 74 promotions.

There had been a decrease in litigation. The total number of litigation cases at the end of September was 107, divided into 41 in the first and 66 in the second quarters.

Fraud Management achievement on targets was still at 60%. From 1 April to September 2014, a total of 745 cases were received, 484 of which were in the 2nd quarter.

Discussion
The Chairperson thanked Ms Petersen for her presentation, and noted that a lot had been presented and that Members needed some time to look at the presentations in detail in order to have a better discussion of the issues raised. She then suggested that the meeting be adjourned to allow Members to look at the information provided, to allow for a more in-depth discussion and conclusion in the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned
 

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