Department of Social Development on 2015/16 Plans, with Minister

NCOP Health and Social Services

05 May 2015
Chairperson: Ms L C Dlamini (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department briefed the Committee on the Strategic Plan 2015-2020, Annual Performance Plans 2015/16, and the DSD Financial Outlook.

In the Strategic Plan 2015-2020, five key sector priorities over the Medium Term Strategic Period (MTSP) are identified. These guide the strategic objectives and high-level outputs the Department and are as follows:
reforming the social welfare sector and services to deliver better results, improve the provision of Early Childhood Development (ECD), deepening social assistance and extending the scope for social security, strengthening integrated community development interventions and improving household food and nutrition, establish social protection systems to strengthen coordination, integration, planning, monitoring and evaluation of services.

These overarching sector priorities were serviced by nine strategic objectives of the Department over the MTSP, which were carried out through 61 high-level outputs.

The Annual Performance Plan 2015/16 was divided across Programme 1: Administration, Programme 2: Social Assistance, Programme 3: Social Security Policy and Administration, Programme 4: Service Standards, Children, Social Crime Prevention & Victim Empowerment, Youth, HIV/AIDS, Rights of Persons with Disability, and Programme 5: Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery.

Programme 1 focused on improving responsiveness, efficiency, and monitoring through the improvement of social portfolio infrastructure, adaptation to results based indicators, automation of complaint management, development of a Five Year Human Resources Plan (2015-2020), and gender mainstreaming into DSD components.

Programme 2 focused on increasing the number of social grants for eligible individuals (old age, children, war veterans, disabled, care dependency, foster care, grant-in-aid) across the MSTP. Also, increase the social relief reaching affected individuals timeously.

Programme 3 was concerned with universalisation of older person’s grants, increasing the value of the Child Support Grant (CSG), and developing policy to ensure employment, cover a variety of benefits, and include informal sector workers.

Programme 4 encompassed Service Standards, Children, Social Crime Prevention & Victim Empowerment, Youth, HIV/AIDS, and Rights of Persons with Disability and many high-level outputs for the MSTP across these areas. Service Standards focused on developing legislation for social development and strategies to deliver service and enhance and retain skill. It also contained provisions for a social service professional supply-demand model, scholarships, dispensation review and other general policy and amendment review. The Children section was highly concerned with provisions, funding and services of the ECD and how they could be monitored and improved. Also, it targeted legislation and children accountability systems and sought to strengthen both. The section on Social Crime Prevention & Victim Empowerment detailed a number of bills and plans to be carried out or implemented in the forthcoming MTSP timeframe. The Youth section focuses mainly on high-level output targets to mobilise the youth in programmes, camps and clubs, in addition to greater youth development strategy review. Programme 4: HIV/AIDS deals with psychosocial support availability, fostering competence, and revising behavior to curb the epidemic. The Rights of Persons with Disability ultimately seeks to increase empowerment and self-reliance through policy and workshops and enhance monitoring through a Disability Inequality Index.

Programme 5: Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery, looks at the implementation of a National ASRHR Framework Strategy, and effective and efficient National NPO registration, the implementation of Mikondzo outreach program, the enhancement of community support mechanisms, and enhanced capacity across a number of Department services.

The Financial Outlook first summarises MTEF Allocations, Reprioritisation, Baseline Reductions, and Carry Through Costs for the MTSP 2015/16-2017/18. MTEF Allocations are R138,168 billion for 2015/16, R148,106 billion for 2016/17, and R157,917 billion for 2017/18 – an average annual increase of 6,4%. The majority (94.16% or R130,093 billion) of allocation is in Social Assistance. In terms of economic classification, the majority (R137,394 billion) falls under transfers and subsidies as Social Assistance Grants (R130,093), South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) (R6,657 billion), Social Work Scholarships (R276 billion) and others.

The 2015/16 Operational Allocation is R779 710 million, down from R787 853 million in 2014/15. Although this is a decrease, the Operational Allocation is computed to increase 5,25% annually from 2014/15 to 2017/18. The Operational Allocation is split relatively evenly between its four components with Administration taking the largest (38% or R297 million), Welfare Services Policy Development and Implement Support second (33% or R260 million), Social Policy & Integrated Service Delivery (16% or R124 million) and Social Security Policy and Administration last (13% or R98 million).

Meeting report

The Chairperson thanked the Minister for her attendance and praised the Department of Social Development for its performance in basic tasks like managing the size of the budget and the number of groups and people that it dealt with. There, however, was room for improvement in the Department’s impact on issues such as child abuse, violence against women and children, and Early Childhood Development (ECD). She got the sense that no one was taking responsibility for the education of the children and so it was the responsibility of all the Committee to do so. She provoked future debate on past and future human settlements with the ECD.

Ms Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Department of Social Development, added that the Department had received a clean audit, but that did not necessarily mean they were making an impact on the community.

Department of Social Development (DSD) Strategic Plan 2015-2020
Ms Nelisiwe Vilakazi, Chief Operations Officer, Department of Social Development, presented the Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The Strategic Plan outlined five key sector priorities over the Medium Term Strategic Period (MTSP) as follows: reform the social welfare sector and services to deliver better results, improve the provision of ECD, deepen social assistance and extend the scope for social security, strengthen integrated community development interventions and improve household food and nutrition, and establish social protection systems to strengthen coordination, integration, planning, monitoring and evaluation of services.

Welfare Services: Transformation and Welfare Services: Social Crime Prevention and Victim Empowerment fell under the MTSF priority: reforming the social welfare sector and services to deliver better results. Under Welfare Services: Transformation, the Department identified strengthening social welfare service delivery through legislative & policy reform as its strategic objective. Welfare Services: Social Crime Prevention and Victim Empowerment, received the same MTSF priority, to which the Department answered with reducing the incidences of social crime, substance abuse and facilitating the provision of support services to target groups as its strategic objective. Further directing action were more a number of more specific high-level outputs the Department could target to move on these objectives.

The Department’s strategic objective on the rights of persons with disability also fell under the aforementioned MTSF priority. The Department’s objective here was to promote the empowerment and rights of persons with disabilities through the development and implementation of legislation, policies and programmes.

For Welfare Services: Children, MTSF prioritised: improving the provision of ECD, which the Department specifically targeted, in addition to strengthening child protection services.

The MTSF priority: deepening social assistance and extending the scope for social security, fell under Social Assistance efforts. Two strategic objectives encompassed this priority. First was the need for an effective and efficient social security system that protects poor and vulnerable people against income poverty by 2019. This would be accompanied by an extension of the provision of social assistance to eligible individuals by 2019.

The MTSF priority to strengthen integrated community development interventions and improve household food and nutrition fell under Community Development efforts. To satisfy this, the Department saw a need to facilitate and coordinate community development efforts that were aimed at building and sustaining vibrant and sustainable communities by 2019. Additionally, it would contribute to poverty eradication and elimination of hunger through support to community driven programmes and the provision of food and nutrition security services by 2019.

Lastly, to fulfill the MTSF priority: establish social protection systems to strengthen coordination, integration, planning, monitoring and evaluation of services, the Department planned a general improvement in Social Development Sector performance through monitoring and evaluation by 2019.

DSD Annual Performance Plan 2015/16
Ms Vilakazi presented the Annual Performance Plan 2015/16 which detailed the high-level outputs for the five programmes: 

Programme 1: Administration, detailed the following high-level outputs: improved social infrastructure portfolio, develop an automated Complaints Management System (CMS), gender mainstreamed into DSD Laws, Policies, Strategies and Programmes, National Integrated Social Protection System (NISPIS), results based framework for social protection developed, and development of a Five-Year Human Resources Plan (2015-2020). Towards improving the social infrastructure portfolio, the Department targeted operationalisation of 4 public in-patient substance abuse centres in 2017/18. The CMS was planned to be rolled-out to National, Provincial, and Services offices in the DSD in 2016/17, while the NISPIS system was planned to be rolled-out in 2017/18. The Department sought to capacitate 150 officials on gender mainstreaming in 2015/16, adding 50 more each year after.

Programme 2: Social Assistance, outlined social grants targets for eligible individuals and social relief reach targets across the Medium Term Strategic Period years 2015/16 – 2017/18.

Programme 3: Social Security Policy and Administration, identified universalisation of older person’s grants, increase in value of CSG to orphans and children, policy on mandatory cover for retirement, disability and survivor benefits, policy for guaranteed employment scheme, policy on the inclusion of informal sector workers, and functional inspectorate social assistance, as high-level outputs targeted over the MTSP 2015/16 – 2017/18. Universalisation of older person’s grants saw draft legislation for Amendments to the Social Assistance Act in 2017/18. Increase in value of CSG was also to be achieved by Amendment to Social Assistance legislation in 2017/18.

Programme 4: Service Standards, detailed timelines for high-level output targets across the Medium Term Strategic Period years. The Department sought to review the Social Welfare White Paper in 2015/16 and to develop legislation for Social Development by 2017/18.Also to develop a supply and demand model for social service professionals, which began with geographic distribution surveys in 2015/16 and saw a finalisation of the model by 2017/18. Demand for a resourcing strategy for social development services was listed, though no actual targets were set until 2017/18. Additionally, a skills enhancement programme that would begin implementation in 2016/17,policy guidelines for social work veterans'’ programme, and a recruitment and retention strategy for social service practitioners; implement a supervision framework for social work profession, and a scholarship programme; create legislation on the professionalisation and regulation of social service practitioners; and add amendments to the Older Persons Act 2006.

Programme 4: Children, detailed timelines across the Medium Term Strategic Period years for the high-level output targets: policy on ECD, strengthen capacity to deliver ECD through development of the DSD Human Resources Plan, Access to quality ECD programmes and services to 50% by 2019/20, a comprehensive package of services for children in ECD, universal access to ECD roll-out plan, and legislative alignment on ECD provision; strengthen capacity to deliver ECD programmes through the development of the Department of Social Development (DSD) Human Resource Plan for ECD, develop funding policy for ECD, increase access to child care and protection services through adoption services, implementation of Isibindi Model, advocacy and capacity building on children’s rights and responsibilities, implementation of the Foster Care Project Plan, reviewed Children’s Act, and strengthened Ulwazi Ngabantwana data system and produce annual report on the status of children. Many of these initiatives were already approved and moving into implementation in the coming years with the aim that many would be in the monitoring and adjustment phase by 2017/18. 

Programme 4: Social Crime Prevention & Victim Empowerment, targeted implementation of the Child Justice Act, the Integrated Social Crime Prevention Strategy Action Plan, and the South African Integrated Programme of Action addressing Gender Based Violence. It also identified legislation on victim empowerment support services, and approval of the DSD Academy Model, as high-level output targets for the period. Implementation of the Child Justice Act and Integrated Social Crime Prevention Strategy Action Plan constituted monitoring programmes and local service providers, while implementation of the South African Programme of Action addressing Gender Based Violence required increasing the number of white door safe spaces and number of people accessing command centre services. Programme 4 also looked at submitting a bill to Parliament in 2015/16 on victim empowerment support services, which was to be promulgated in 2017/18.

Programme 4: Youth, outlined DSD targets for expanding youth participation in programmes, leadership camps, and Youth Clubs. In addition, reviewing youth development strategy to be ready for implementation by 2017/18 and increasing the number of youth participating in youth skills development programmes to 9000 by 2017/18 were also cited as high-level output targets.

Programme 4: HIV/AIDS, identified strengthening psychosocial support services to orphans and vulnerable children, implementing social and behavior change programmes, and developing HIV and AIDS competent communities as high-level outputs.

Programme 4: Rights of Persons with Disability, has National Disability Rights Policy development as a target in 2015/16. Towards increasing access to disability welfare services that promote dignity, empowerment, and self-reliance, there will be costing of norms and standards for residential facilities in 2015/16. The Department seeks develop the Transformation Plan for protective workshops in 2015/16, cost the plan in 2016/17, and support implementation in 2017/18. Finalising the Disability Inequality Index and tracking its progress in reducing inequality is a final high-level output for the MTSP.

Programme 5: Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery, had a large list of high-level output targets.  Coordination of Social Cluster Public Employment Programmes, increasing integration of social services provided to communities, implementation and reporting on the National ASRHR Framework Strategy, hosting interventions aimed at increasing stakeholder support, implementing the Population Policy, implementation of the Mikondzo outreach programme, enhance skills and capacity of CDPs, revision of regulatory framework for NPOs, and increased support for community structures, households and food security programmes, as its high-level outputs.

Department of Social Development Financial Outlook
Mr Clifford Appel, DSD Chief Financial Officer, presented the DSD Financial Outlook. This summarised allocations for reprioritisation, baseline reductions, carry through costs of funds shifted in 2014/15, and 2014 MTEF allocations. 2015/16 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) allocations were expected to be R138 168 640 000 and an average annual budgetary increase of 6.4% was projected for the next three years.

Of this total 2015/16 allocation, 94.16% (R130,093 billion) went to social assistance provisions, 4.89% (R6,756 billion) went to social security policy and administration, 0.48% (R662 million) went to welfare services policy development and implementation support, 0.26%(R359 million) went to social policy and integrated service delivery, and 0.21% (R297 million) went to administration.

Mr Appel added that most of the 4.89% (R6 billion) that went to social security policy and administration was in the form of transfers to SASSA.

The 2015/16 budget allocation can also be framed in terms of economic classification.R137,394 billion went towards transfers and subsidies,R403 million went towards the compensation of employees, R361 million went towards goods and services, and R9 millions went towards the payment of capital assets.

The largest economic classification within the budget allocation was for transfers and subsidies. The Financial Outlook provided a breakdown of value of transfers to each entity; R130,093 billion was allocated to social assistance grants, R6,657 billion to SASSA, R276 million for social work scholarships, R184 million for National Development Agency, R53 million for HIV/AIDS organisations, R51 million for food relief, R47 million as a substance abuse treatment grant, and R25 million for National Councils.

The operational allocation of 2014/15 was R787 853 million, while the 2015/16 operational allocation was decreased to R779 710 million. Despite this, an average 5.25% annual increase in the operational allocation was predicted from 2014/15 to 2017/18 due to large allocation increases in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Excluding major transfers, 38% (R297 million) of the operational budget allocation went towards administration, 33% (R260 million) went towards welfare services policy development and implementation support, 16% (R124 million) went towards social policy and integrated service delivery, and 13% (R98 million) went towards social security policy and administration.

The 2015/16 operational allocation framed in terms of economic classification – excluding major transfers –apportioned to 52% (R405 million) for compensation, 46% (R361 million) for goods and services, 1% (R9 million) for payment of capital assets, and 1% (R5 million) for transfers and subsidies.

Following the budget and operational allocation breakdowns, the Financial Outlook described monetary allocations across Programmes 1,3,4,5 for the 2015/16, 2016/17, and 2017/18 years. Programme 1: Administration had a total of R297 million available for 2015/16. Programme 3: Social Security and Administration was allocated R6,756 billion for 2015/16, mostly for transfers and subsidies. Programme 4: Welfare Services Policy Development & Implementation Support was allocated R662 million. Programme 5: Social Policy & Integrated Service Delivery was allocated R359 million for 2015/16.

Lastly, the Financial Outlook described provincial allocations. 2011/12 saw total provincial allocations at R11,574 billion and R16,704 billion is budgeted for 2015/16. From 2011/12 to 2017/18, an average increase of 8.07% in total allocations is anticipated, leading to a 2017/18 total provincial allocation of R18,374 billion.

Distributed among the provinces; Eastern Cape was allocated R2,230 billion, Free State R1,019 billion, Gauteng R3,975 billion, KwaZulu-NatalR2,630 billion, Limpopo R1,537 billion, Mpumalanga R1,367 billion, Northern Cape R709 million, North West R1,333 billion, and Western Cape R1,899 billion.

Mr D Stock (ANC: Northern Cape) complimented the report on its level of detail. He agreed with the Minister’s characterisation: a clean audit does not mean that we have affected the lives of people in the communities. He said he visited an ECD centre in a provincial town sometime last year and found the person running it was unqualified. He also raised the issue of allocations to provincial governments and asked how they were determined.

Ms L Zwane (ANC: KwaZulu Natal) expressed appreciation for the clean audit - something not many Departments could achieve. However, she believed there was still a lot of groundwork. She pointed out the long turnaround time for social grant applications and renewals.

In the Strategic Plan 2015-2020, she asked how the Department arrived at the numerous figures cited in the Plan. She questioned how children with disabilities were accounted for in the ECD centres. Were there provisions to ensure services could be accessed and were fairly distributed to them? Lastly, she inquired as to what facilities were in place to ensure improvement in the ECD facilities.

Ms L Mathys (EFF: Gauteng) moved the discussion to monitoring and evaluation, asking whether this was the first year the Department had implemented the monitoring and evaluation programme. Was the programme in-house or outsourced? Who was the service provider if it was outsourced and how much were they paid? She expressed concern with the help desk programme. Given the number of help desks across departments, what would make this one different? Will it be cost efficient? Most people who utilise help desks live in rural areas, the relative isolation could hamper their access to service. She asked generally about SASSA outsourcing of social grants. Also, she questioned how many social worker positions were not filled throughout the country. Given the importance of these positions and employment opportunity, this should not be. On the ECD program, she asked whether the Committee knew how many children were eligible nationally. The presentation described increased reach, but from what base level of eligibility? She concluded with an inquiry into the high rate of orphans and the lack of effective adoption programmes, despite the number of social ills that threaten these abandoned minors.

Mr M Khawula (IFP: KwaZulu Natal) asked why graduates could not get a job because they had signed a contract with the Department. He drew attention to the disaster relief programme; specifically he wondered when an event was considered a disaster. What was the official distinction that determined when aid was to be dispensed? He expressed the importance of conveying this distinction to the local level as the lack of communication between the communities and government frustrates both sides and impedes the flow of aid to where it is needed most.

Ms P Mququ (ANC: Eastern Cape) praised Minister Dlamini and the DSD saying that she was always "amongst the people". When the DSD was presenting its budget vote for the social crime prevention initiative where it had indicated that ten white door centres would be opened in provinces, could they clearly indicated where exactly they would be situated. This was because when the Committee was doing oversight, it could check up on whether that work was occurring.  She also wished that the DSD could be clear on the job creation it was mentioning and in which provinces those jobs would be created. 

Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA: Western Cape) commended the vision that accompanied the presentation. She asked for clarification on the timeframes for outputs of Programme 4 in the Annual Performance Plan 2015/16. She asked how fast new employment was being filled in community development worker (CDW) and social worker positions. Some graduates from tertiary institutions have been unemployed for two to three years. She asked if the Department ever considered working with the Expanded Public Works programme (EPW). The drug problem in South Africa was a sad situation and she asked whether the drug rehab centres and their programmes were working.

Mr H Groenewald (DA: North West) asked how many halfway houses there were in the country and whether there were plans to roll them out in all provinces. He briefly returned to children with disabilities access to ECD facilities. Were provisions made to allow services to be easily dispensed to them, right down to the physical layout of facilities? He recounted a visit to a crèche where he found around 100 children crowded into a room much too small. There was no playground, only two toilets, and a number of safety hazards. He dropped by a different, un-registered site to find the caretaker was not on the premises and a group of around 27 children being cared for by a slightly older child. Other issues abounded at such sites such as a lack of nutrition in the food and a lack of resources. Frequently the premises were combed and cleaned prior to Department visits. He urged the Department to go back and revisit the particular sites and reform them.

The Chairperson added that the Department outsourced some jobs it was supposed to do to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and, as a result, those jobs were not being done well. She asked whether the strategy presented was in line with the National Development Plan 2030 (NDP) and State of the Nation Address 2015 (SONA). She wanted to know to what extent that recent xenophobic attacks had affected the Department and its grants. Did the government dispense grants to foreign nationals? On the topic of universalisation, she queried about consolidation between the child support grant and the foster care grant. Not enough money was reserved for one, though their needs were the same. A similar issue afflicted older women doing community work without compensation because of an age coverage gap, was there any way to give them a stipend? With regard to the disabled, she asked if the Community Work Programme (CWP) or the EPWP could engage them if no other institutions would.

Minister Dlamini thanked the Committee for the feedback and said the Department would follow up on any questions they could not answer at the time. She first explained that the Department came up with Mikondzo to deal with systematic challenges that communities face such as gender based violence, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, high school dropouts, unemployment, poverty, lack of occupational creativity and lack of knowledge on government services. She agreed that training needs to be increased and success in many of these positions depended on the age of the employees. Further, she added that these programmes were intended for young people to join for a few years, gain skills, and move on – not a permanent job.

She outlined relief and ensuring peace and acceptance as the Department’s focus with the recent xenophobic attacks. She asserted that once these events are sparked they move like wild fire, and so it is important to implement social-economic programmes that ensure lasting peace. She believed that if foreign nationals left, the blame would simply shift to another group.

On the topic of foreign nationals, she detailed a need to provide grants for those living in the country for many years in the border provinces and not accounted for.

She agreed that alcohol and substance abuse were large challenges. The Department was ready to submit a policy on the ECD to Cabinet that emphasised an alternate costing model. An audit was done of the facilities which revealed that out of the 1.2 million children who attend ECD centres, about half a million were paid for by their parents. Additionally, about 3.8 million children had no access to ECDs indicating a lot of work still needed to be done. 

On the topic of food security at institutional locations, she added that programmes to ensure food security were in place, but malnutrition still persisted in famine areas, Bantustan areas, and with caregivers who did not understand nutrition well.

Social workers were a difficult issue. Money for compensation and hiring was distributed to the provinces, but in some places proved to not be enough to continuously hire new social workers. This problem was largest in Kwazulu-Natal. The Department met with the Members of the Executive Council (MEC) and Minister of Higher Education and concluded it would look at profit generation and focus funds on areas where the identified challenge persisted.

With regard to Ms Mpambo-Sibhukwana’s question on the timeframes of Programme 4, Ms Dlamini assured her that the Department would supply such timeframes on their work.

On the topic of universalisation, Ms Dlamini said the aim was to do away with a means test. The result being that anyone who would qualify for a facility would receive that facility. Discontinuing of means testing would also do away with certain inefficiencies.

Disaster seemed to strike Kwazulu-Natal and the Western Cape most often in the form of fires, storms or lightning. In these cases the Department often dispatched aid after talking to its sources on the ground there.

A full response on the halfway houses would be provided in writing.

Committee Business
The Committee adopted its Second Term Programme.

The minutes from the meeting with the IEC were noted.

The meeting was adjourned.

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