The Portfolio Committee on Social Development was briefed by the Department of Social Development on its 3rd quarter performance report covering the period October – December 2014. The report also contained an expenditure analysis for the 3rd quarter. The purpose of the presentation was to provide Members of the Committee with the analysis of the 3rd quarter performance and expenditure.
The key issues for the Department of Social Development remained expanding child and youth care services; increasing access to Early Childhood Development; combating substance abuse and gender-based violence; increasing household food and nutrition security; providing for the protection and promotion of the rights of older persons and people with disabilities.
The Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Social Development indicated that the Department had been allocated an amount of R128.8 billion in the 2014/2015 financial year. The biggest operational expenditure to the end of the third quarter was R221.1 million spent under the administration programme mainly on compensation of employees and goods and services. The next largest operational expenditure was R155.7 million spent on welfare services policy development and implementation support programmes, followed by R81.1 million spent on the social policy and integrated service delivery programme.
The Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini informed the Committee that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) was under investigation given the public claims about corruptions and other service delivery issues within the agency. The Minister also highlighted HIV&AIDS as a major challenge that needed new methods of prevention and programmes.
The Director-General of the Department of Social Development, outlined the programmes of the Department in conjunction with its key priorities. He mentioned all the major projects that the Department was involved with, indicating the targets and outcomes, of which most were met.
The Chairperson welcomed the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, and her delegation and indicated that it was important for the Minister to attend these Committee meetings so as to enhance accountability. The Chairperson said she had made efforts to make the Minister available to answer any questions from the Committee. The Chairperson mentioned that scrutinizing the content of the budget was very crucial in light of the recent budget vote. The issue of SASSA having a conference on corruption was opened to the Committee, but the Committee declined. The Chairperson defended herself that she was not hiding any issues from the rest of the Committee or from the Department. The Chairperson said there were numerous problems in the country that needed Parliamentary time. She thanked the political parties that supported the budget recently. She said all the issues that were raised will be given attention, although such problems could not be solved immediately but at least could be deliberated. Oversight had to be done regularly to ensure that the strategic plans of the Department were achieved. The Committee needed to know how much money was spent for each particular programme implemented by the Department. The Minister had to give the Committee a guide on what was going on in her Department.
Remarks by the Minister of Social Development
Minister Dlamini extended an apology on behalf of the Deputy Minister who was attending a cabinet sitting dealing with the Youth Policy. She told the Committee that the Department was in the process of finalizing their structure, to make equitable changes that were adequate for the developmental state that South Africa was. HIV & AIDS was a focus of the Department which needed a lot of advocacy and work. The focus should be the youth and those in learning institutions. Integration of the services of the Department was important for the achievement of the Departments goals. Institutions that take care of vulnerable groups had to be given immediate attention. The Department was also looking at the legislative frameworks of other Departments, both nationally and provincially. Regarding SASSA, there were recommendations that had been submitted, to ensure that the entity was functioning at its best and able to provide grants to South Africa.
Minister Dlamini told the Committee that the Director-General was going to give a presentation and the rest of the delegation will be present to give answers to any questions from the Committee. It would help if the Committee and the Department held a workshop in which some of the matters could be thoroughly discussed.
Presentation by the Department of Social Development on 3rd Quarter Performance Report
Mr Thulani Buthelezi, Director-General of the Department of Social Development said in response to the recommendations of the Committee that there had been review on the budgetary plans. Strategic priorities, programme purposes and contextual analysis will be discussed. The Ministerial priorities were reflected in this presentation, alongside the overall expenditure. The Department is committed to addressing the key priorities such as Child and Youth Care Services, Social Welfare and Deepening social assistance throughout the country. There are five programmes in the Department namely, Administration, Social Assistance, Social Security Policy and Administration, Welfare services policy development and implementation and social policy and integrated service delivery. The Department is marked by high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality in the country. Social assistance remains this government’s most significant poverty alleviation programme.
The Project Mikondzo was a sector-wide service delivery improvement initiative, targeting the most deprived and rural poor municipalities. Some critical projects included issues affecting children, HIV & AIDS, Older Persons, Victim Empowerment, Youth and Social Security.
Ms P Kopane (DA) indicated that the slide on the quarterly expenditure was not included in the hard copy given out to Members.
The Chairperson mentioned that it will be best if the meeting was paused for 10 minutes in order to get the copies in order.
Mr Buthelezi highlighted the key achievements for the reporting period October – December 2014.
In terms of Programme 1, the administration targets were mostly achieved, international relations; participation in BRICS meeting, human capital management; employees attending skills development interventions, vacancy rate has been reduced by 11% as targeted, communication; about 200 000 people were reached via the website and social media, 40 public participation events were hosted by the Minister, 39 million people were reached through advertising and marketing means.
In terms of Programme 2, on social assistance, old age grant has been increased, about 3 million citizens benefiting. 11 million children benefited from the grants, 455 946 children benefited from Foster Care Grant and these statistics are not far from the actual targets.
Programme 3, appeals adjudication, all appeals from SASSA were completed within 90 days.
Programme 4, welfare services in light of children, capacity building sessions, were only achieved in one province. Anti-substance abuse programme of action towards all provinces, participated in the 6th session of African Union Ministers Drug Control Conference. On Victim empowerment, implementation of gender based violence prevention projects, campaigns were conducted, consultation on the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2013, in still under consideration by the Minister. Services to older persons, achievement of 60 community based care services, 33 residential facilities were monitored. Services to people with disabilities, consultation on the Bill on people with disabilities, on services to families, 6 national department were consulted to accelerate efforts on this regard. In service to youth, 6000 participated in the mobilization programme dialogue, 1200 attending leadership camps, 5600 participated in skills development programmes and 102 trained for mentorship leading. On HIV &AIDS, 550 000 people were reached through the social and behavior change programme, not enough for the actual target of the Department. This remains a serious challenge for the country. In terms of Children’s Rights and Responsibilities, conducted three campaigns on rights of children, celebration of children’s day and the parliament of the children took place, municipalities were capacitated to implement child friendly community framework. 306 adoptions were registered, in 52 inter-country and 245 within the country. This function was transferred to this Department on recently.
The Chairperson interjected and asked the presenter to clarify some of the contentious points made and to immediately clarify who will answer – the Department or the Minister? She suggested that in the long term, there must be a system thought through, to improve the presentation manner, to ensure that Members of the Committee were answered accurately and by the right person responsible for that target sand expenditure.
Programme 5, on special projects and innovation, there was over achievement on the creation of 42 517 job opportunities, 95% of NPO registration applications were processed with two months. In terms of the zero hunger programme, only 2 446 out of the target of 100 000 households were profiled, this target was not achieved, 50 000 people were reached by community mobilization through the 400 change agents supported by the Department.
The Chairperson asked the presenter to try giving the Committee examples on some of the targets because on a daily basis, this should be known. It does not help to rely on the slides, but to clarify to meaning of some of the programmes, to add substances on the quality of work, so that the Committee can be able to scrutinize in a better manner, whilst informed.
Ms E Wilson (DA) seconded the Chairperson on the need to finish the presentation and then the Committee to formulate questions, for members to go read the document and come back with questions, to vigorously read it and come back with tough questions.
Mr S Mabilo (ANC) agreed with Ms Wilson on her point.
The Chairperson mentioned that parliamentary time must be utilized accordingly.
Mr Clifford Appel, Department of Social Development Chief Financial Officer, presented a financial report indicated that the Department was allocated R128 billion and 74% of that has been spent so far, spent on compensations, goods, services, transfers and payment of capital assets. The bulk of the money went towards households about R120 billion followed by Departmental agencies receiving R6 billion. Under the ministry, 77,5% was spend on administration, total of R287 million and 77% of that amount was used largely on corporate services and departmental management. In terms of social assistance, had a grant of R120 billion, of which R43 billion went towards child grants. In terms of social security policy, R4 billion was spent on grant administration. In welfare services, social workers scholarships received R264 million, the total of the budget allocation for all programmes was R639 million, only R383 million was spent. In terms of integrated service delivery, spent R284 million particularly on the National Development Agency.
The Chairperson informed the Members who had questions of clarity to refer back to the earlier agreement that matters will be dealt with in the next meeting. The Chairperson requested the Department to go to its legal team and give a report back on some of the cases they were dealing with. The Chairperson emphasised the importance of the Departments coming with a more specific break down and details of targets. The Chairperson said the presenters must not talk like they were talking to their colleagues. The Chairperson apologized for the documents issues and the missing slides.
The adoption of Committee minutes were deferred to the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.