Department of Social Development on its 2014/15 Annual Report

NCOP Health and Social Services

03 November 2015
Chairperson: Ms L Dlamini (ANC; Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Social Development (DSD) presented its Annual Report to the Committee. This past financial year was relatively good for the Department, even though there were a few challenges in the form of financial constraints along the way. The Department also received its third consecutive clean audit from the Auditor General, and had managed to make substantial achievements against targets, in many cases over-achieving. Overall, 99.4% of the total budget was spent. All programmes, with the exception of welfare services, spent 99% of their allocations.

The Committee was then taken through the annual performance report of 2014/15. In respect of Programme 1, most of the targets that focused on administration were achieved, and some were even exceeded. Areas where targets were not achieved under this programme included the inability to respond to applications for appeals and letters of demands and practice within three days of receipt; and the assessment of qualifying employees; conclusion of grievances, complaints, disputes and disciplinary cases within the prescribed time frames. Overall, 67% of the targets for programme 1 were achieved. For Programme 2, which focused on transfers of money for social assistance, there was 63% achievement on targets. For Programme 3 there was more serious under-achievement, as only 33% of the set target was achieved, while 67% was not achieved. This was because of the Department’s inability to adjudicate 60% of the appeals it received within 90 days of receipt. Programme 4 recorded several over-achievements of specific targets in the sub-programmes, but the targets that could not be achieved included the finalisation of the Bill on Social Development services, especially for people with disabilities, and the training of 2 700 Mpintshis. Programme 4 achieved 67% overall of its targets. Programme 5 also recorded some achievement in the individual programmes, but could not meet the target of profiling 300 000 households for the Food for All programme. Programme 5 achieved 88% of its targets overall.

The Chief Financial Officer presented the financial statements and repeated the overall percentages on spending, and spending on programmes. He gave a breakdown of the expenditure per economic classification was given. Most of the reasons for under-spend were linked to  incomplete projects under goods and services, monies not spent for the foster care grant (FCG), as well as the unspent amounts under payments for financial assets. It was also noted, despite the clean audit, that there had been some fruitless and wasteful expenditure recorded in the past financial year

Discussions by Members of the Committee focused on the over-achievements of targets within the Department, which could mean that either unrealistically low targets were set at the beginning of the financial year or there was bad planning. Some Members questioned how the DSD had found the money to over-achieve and commented that if more was spent than planned, then this would amount to unauthorised expenditure. Members also wanted to know more about the plans to reduce the vacancy rate within the Department, which, although lower than it had been, was not within public service guidelines. They questioned the baseline set by the Department in terms of training officials and asked what would be done to curb non-attendance of trainings by officials. They asked why the Department's performance had declined compared to the previous year. They commented that it was particularly important, when reporting to this Committee, to give the provincial perspective. They asked what specific challenges had been encountered. They wanted to know what strategies were put in place to prosecute those responsible for the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) robberies, and wanted more detail on the efforts put in place to bridge the gap of social workers by employing youths, the criteria used to identify provinces that should be monitored and supported, the criteria used for organisational development, plans of diversion service providers, as well compliance with such plans, the strategies put in place to curb fruitless and wasteful expenditure, the means by which targets were set within the Department; whether or not value for money was achieved by the call centres, and the reason for the underspending in specific aspects, notably disability. They questioned the low achievements in particular under Programme 3, noted the need to create more awareness and give more support to women and children, as well as emphasising the importance of setting clear plans and strategies to address the issue of substance abuse.

Meeting report

Department of Social Development (DSD) on its 2015 Annual Report
Mr Thokozani Magwaza, Acting Director General, Department of Social Development, said that the past financial year was a generally a good year, but there were some challenges faced by the Department of Social Development (DSD or the Department) due to budget constraints. DSD had to reprioritise its budget during the year in order to achieve some of its targets. It had approached National Treasury (NT) to bid for more money but the NT itself was under constraints. However, the Department was able to achieve some of its targets. It also received a clean audit from the Auditor-General, which was its third successive clean audit.

Some of the achievements of DSD in the past year were the registration of more than 24 000 early childhood development (ECD) facilities, and adoptions numbered1 651. Subsidies were given to about 704 798 children and about 400 000 households were able to access food. 615 898 beneficiaries received food supplies, and about 3 million kilograms of food were distributed in the past year.

Mr Thabani Buthelezi, Acting Deputy Director General , DSD, presented the annual performance report.
Under Programme 1 (Administration), two targets were set for executive support. The first target was to provide secretariat support to the Forum of South African Director-Generals (FOSAD) at social cluster meetings, and to monitor and report on the FOSAD social sector. The unit in charge was able to monitor the implementation of all decisions taken at those meetings. The programme of action was also communicated monthly and quarterly.

In terms of international relations, DSD had targets to sign bilateral agreements and facilitate the Department’s participation in international bodies. These two targets were achieved. However, other existing bilateral agreements with countries (listed on page 11 of the document) were reviewed, revised and strengthened.

DSD, through the stakeholder management unit, was able to facilitate the engagement and interaction with other stakeholders. The stakeholders interacted with, as well as the type of support that was solicited and obtained in order to facilitate some programmes of the Department, were highlighted. (See pages 12 to 15 of the attached document).

With regard to strategy development, DSD targeted the timely submission of its annual performance plan (APP) and strategic plan (SP) and it was able to achieve this. Another target to conduct management workshops was also achieved. However, DSD could not meet the target of conducting workshops for 40 officials, as only 24 officials were able to attend the workshops. The Director-General was able to approve the risk management report, as one of the targets set. The Department was also able to develop an infrastructure management programme, which was done at the end of the financial year.

The target for the customer care unit was to facilitate the improvement of 25 social development sector offices. There was an over-achievement in this regard, as DSD was able to improve 36 offices: ten offices in Mpumalanga, six in the Eastern Cape, five in North West, 15 in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The cultural reform had also been rolled out in two provinces, KZN and Mpumalanga. This was done at the end of the financial year.

DSD had completed the quarterly social development complaints report, as targeted. It was yet to consolidate the service delivery improvement plan which was another target, because the plan was still going through the approval processes at the end of the financial year.
With regard to gender issues, DSD targeted the training of 400 women in business management development, but it ended up training 460 women: 140 in Limpopo, 120 in Free State, 91 in Mpumalanga, and 109 in Western Cape. There was also an overachievement in terms of exposing rural women to DSD and other government services. DSD targeted 200 rural women, but 351 women were exposed.
There was also a target to conduct legal rights awareness workshop for 350 women but DSD ended up training 356 women.

With regard to monitoring and evaluation (M&E), DSD targeted the update of the M&E system to align with the outcomes based model, and this target was achieved. There was also a target to conduct a mapping exercise of all existing information systems and tools in the social development sector, which was also achieved. The Department was able to produce the service delivery monitoring reports within the required timeframes. The target of producing institutional performance reports, such as quarterly and annual reports; producing a social profile of all vulnerable groups; and implementing the evaluation of the expanded public works programme (EPWP) in the social sector was also achieved. The EPWP social sector implementation evaluation was conducted and a draft report was compiled and validated by various stakeholders.

DSD was unable to achieve its target on the diagnostic evaluation of violence against women and children. Even though the terms of reference were finalised and the service provider was appointed, the steering committee in charge expressed dissatisfaction on the work done by the appointed service provider, Impact Research International (IRI). The contract with IRI was then terminated and KPMG was appointed as the new service provider, and had continued with the job.

DSD’s target to ensure the compliance of public entities to the DSD framework was achieved. It had also reviewed the oversight strategy of entities.

The Department could not achieve much in legal services, due to its inability to respond, as the target required, to 80% of applications for appeals and letters of demand and practice directives within three days of receipt. This meant that DSD was only able to achieve 64.3% of the target. The legal services unit was, however, able to communicate 98% of all the outcome letters to the attorneys within three days of receipt. It had also ensured that 100% of all contracts were referred for vetting and these were vetted through the contract management system that had been developed in the previous financial year.

The Department was able to exceed the target set for communications. It had reached over 500 000 people, compared to the 55 000 that was targeted, through online and social media platforms. It had also generated free publicity worth R2.2 million.

Another target related to  public interaction of the Department through what is known as public participation or outreach programmes for both the Minister and Deputy Minister, and here DSD overachieved its target by organizing 51 public participation programmes for the Minister, and 33 for the Deputy Minister. It estimated that over 100 million people had been reached through the Department’s marketing and advertising initiatives.

There was a target to monitor the Corporate Identity (CI) of other agencies to see how it aligned with that of DSD. By the end of the financial year, the Department had been able to ensure that six provinces aligned their corporate colours and branding with the national CI.

DSD’s target to produce six newsletters was achieved in a different way, as only one hard copy of the newsletters were produced, while the others were published on the Department’s website.

In relation to internal audit, the target to audit 20 risk-based projects was achieved.

In terms of human capital management, there was a target to reduce the vacancy rate to 10%. However, at the end of the financial year, the vacancy rate was at 11%, and 9% on the costing model. The target of the attendance of 100% of employees at identified capacity or skills development programmes was overachieved as 101% of employees attended these skills development programmes.
However, only 97% of qualifying employees were assessed, contrary to the 100% targeted.

The target to conclude 100% of the grievances, complaints, disputes, and disciplinary cases within the prescribed time frames was not achieved. Instead, 82% of the target was achieved. Details of these were highlighted on page 32 (see attached document).

The majority of the targets set under finance were in relation to compliance. The individual targets to comply with all financial prescripts for the quarterly financial statements, monthly compliance certificates and the 30 day payment report, were all achieved, and all relevant documents were submitted to National Treasury. DSD also ensured that it achieved compliance with supply chain management (SCM) prescripts. It was able to ensure that SCM reintroduced the bid specification committee to consider specifications for all goods and services above R500 000. All newly appointed officials were orientated on the SCM processes while the transport policy was workshopped to sensitise officials on the use of departmental vehicles.

The target to review the existing internal control systems for two identified line functions was achieved. The Department was also able to achieve spending rates of 95% and100% per programme. It was only in goods and services that the 95% was not achieved. The target to roll out activity based costing (ABC) was achieved. The roll out was done through three chief directorates. (See page 36 of the attached document).

The target to ensure compliance by the Department’s entities, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and National Development Agency (NDA) with section 38 (1)(j) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), prior to transfer of funds to those entities, was achieved. Compliance certificates were available at the end of the financial year. The target to produce monthly reports on the financial performance of the entities was also achieved.

In terms of information technology (IT), the Department was able to develop and approve an IT strategy. An electronic content management strategy was also developed in the past financial year.

Overall, Programme 1 was able to meet 67% of its target, but unable to achieve 33%. In terms of finances, Programme 1 spent 99.8% of its actual budget.

Programme 2 focused on transfers of money for social assistance in terms of the grants. The Department was able to increase its targets in terms of the coverage of beneficiaries of these grants. This included the increase of the social security grant, as well as other grants detailed on pages 45 and 46 of the attached document. However, the Department was unable to meet the target for the increased coverage of beneficiaries of the foster care grant (FCG). Overall, programme 2 was able to achieve 63% of its annual target, while failing to meet 37% of its target. Part of the reasons for this was the inability to achieve the target for the FCG, as well as the disability costing.

Programme 3 focused on social security policy administration. The Department overachieved against its target to produce three oversight reports on adherence norms and standards for the social assistance programme, as it ended up producing four of those reports. The two discussion papers on the old age and child support grant were completed. Consultations in this regard was ongoing and the Department had reached an advanced stage by the end of the financial year.

In terms of appeals adjudication, DSD was unable to achieve the adjudication of 60% of the appeals within 90 days of receipt. It was only able to adjudicate 49% of the appeals. However, it ensured that 100% of the appeals received from SASSA with complete records were adjudicated within 90 days of receipt. DSD was also able to implement the appeals Integrated Appeals Business Information System (ABIS). The system had been deployed in the departmental network systems. The target to incubate the inspectorate unit was also achieved.

In summary, Programme 3 achieved only 33% of its target, leaving 67% unachieved.

Programme 4 dealt with the core of the Department’s work, as it spoke to welfare services. The target to review the implementation of the White Paper was achieved. DSD held a summit on the White Paper in October, and this demonstrated the advance work that was carried out by the team appointed by the Minister.

An increase in the number of scholarships to be awarded by the Department was identified. The target was to award 800 scholarships, but 1 436 scholarships had been awarded by the end of the financial year.

The target to finalise assessment and develop an implementation plan was achieved. However, DSD could not finalise the Bill on Social Development Services, especially for people with disabilities. The reason for this was because there was an undertaking to suspend the process when the two functions that had been transferred from the former Department of Women, Children and People with disabilities was merged with DSD. This was done to allow finalisation of the overarching disability rights policy that would provide oversight to all national government departments. Work was progressing in this regard.

The target to provide training and access to 200 parents and care givers on Thogomelo skills development programmes for the community care givers was overachieved, as 296 caregivers were accessed and trained.

The target to manage and monitor the register for residential care facilities was achieved. A total of 173 residential facilities were assessed, registered and monitored in terms of the Older Persons Act.
The target to manage and monitor the register for the community-based care and support services (CBCSS) was also achieved. DSD overachieved its target of training 90 service providers on the implementation of the electronic elder abuse register. Instead, it trained 208 service providers in all the provinces.

In relation to children there were targets to finalise the ECD policy, as well as to finalise the comprehensive ECD programme. Cabinet had finally approved DSD’s ECD policy in the previous week, although this policy had been finalised and gazetted for public comments before the end of the financial year.

The target to increase the number of children to be adopted by 10% was over-achieved. At the end of the past financial year, 1 651 adoptions had been registered. 1 402 of those adoptions took place nationally, while 249 were inter-country adoptions. The target to commemorate the national child protection week (CPW) was achieved, and the CPW was conducted in Delft, Cape Town and Phalaborwa, Limpopo.

DSD had originally set a target of screening 20 000 persons working with children against the child protection register (CPR) Part B, but ended up screening 63 607 persons.

The target to merge provincial and national data of recognized child-headed households (CHH) in all nine provinces into a national register was achieved.

Other targets achieved with regard to children included the capacity building sessions for the registration of drop-in centres in all nine provinces, and these sessions were conducted in all nine provinces. DSD had finalised the Children’s Act Amendment Bill, and had developed an implementation plan for Isibindi model. In relation to the Isibindi model, all provinces had developed their implementation plans and the plans were being monitored on a quarterly basis, and these had been reviewed in quarter 4.

The target to provide training to six national departments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the White Paper for Families, was achieved. The Departments of Health, Labour, Justice, South African Police Services (SAPS), and other provincial DSD departments were trained. Nine NGOs were also trained in this regard. The target to build capacity on and to monitor the fatherhood and active parenting programme, especially for teenagers, was achieved. Details of how the training was conducted and the provinces where it was conducted were highlighted. (See page 66 of the attached document). The Department would continue to monitor the fatherhood strategy.

On social crime prevention programme, the Department was able to achieve its target of monitoring and supporting the implementation of quality assurance processes for diversion programmes and service providers accredited in terms of the Child Justice Act. The Department was able to monitor and support the implementation of organisational development plans of diversion service providers, as well as ensure the compliance with quality assurance processes for accredited diversion programmes. This was achieved in five provinces : Gauteng, Limpopo, North West, Free State and Mpumalanga. DSD was also able to develop and roll out systems after developing the prototype.

One of the targets under victim empowerment was the finalisation of the Bill. This was achieved after a consultative workshop was held with stakeholders in March 2015. The implementation of the gender-based violence (GBV) prevention programmes was also monitored. Some of these programmes included the Positive Male Role Model campaign that was held in UMkhanyakude district of KZN in November 2014; the National Men's Day celebration that was held in Tshwane in November 2014; as well as the Everyday Heroes campaign that was held in KZN, Limpopo and Mpumalanga to highlight the impact of GBV in communities. A policy framework on GBV had been finalised and a GBV command center had also been established. The command center was a 24/7 365-day toll free line that had attended to almost 10 000 calls between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015, and had serviced 3 503 cases.

An intersectoral strategy for victim empowerment programme (VEP) was developed and approved in the past financial year.

For the anti-substance abuse programme, DSD was able to monitor the implementation of the programme of action (POA) and the monitoring reports for this were available. The Department had continued to monitor and support the national departments and provincial departments plan (NDMP) for the periods between 2013 and 2017. These reports were also available.

DSD had also over-achieved some of its targets for youths. For instance, it targeted 6 000 youths to participate in mobilisation programmes, but ended up reaching almost 50 000 youths for this programme. 1 200 youths were targeted to attend leadership camps, while 2 208 youths were in attendance at various leadership camps. 22 youth clubs were established by the end of the financial year. Almost 40 000 youths participated in various skills development programmes.

With regard to the HIV and AIDS programme, DSD reached more than the number that were targeted to be reached through social and behavioural change programmes. More than one million people were reached through this platform, mainly because of the xenophobic attacks. The target to train 2 700 Mpintshis (leaders of HIV prevention) was not met, as only 2 340 Mpintshis were trained. The Department was also not able to review the policy framework for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.

With regard to children’s rights and responsibilities (CPR), four municipalities were targeted to mainstream children’s rights in line with the national plan of action for children (NPAC). DSD reached more than 18 municipalities in this regard. Three participation sessions were held in the past financial year, which were Children’s Parliament, National Children’s Day and the Child Ambassadors workshop. DSD had worked to build and provide capacity in municipalities, targeting 20 municipalities, but managing to capacitate 105 municipalities on the child-friendly communities framework.

The Department achieved the target of producing and presenting one report to the African Union (AU). It also achieved the target to coordinate one disability rights campaign. The inaugural National Disability Rights Parliament was hosted in December 2014. Two disability rights machineries were convened and two reports were developed on the status of persons with disabilities.

Overall, Programme 4 achieved 67% of its target and did not achieve 33%. 95% of the budget allocated for this programme was also spent.

Programme 5 focused on social policy and integrated service delivery projects. Several targets were set under this programme. As opposed to the target of creating 2 163 full-time equivalents, the Department created 2 456 full-time equivalents. The Department also achieved more than was targeted in facilitating the provision of integrated DSD services. These services were provided in 25 community work programme sites, rather than the 21 community sites targeted.

With respect to non-profit organisations (NPOs), DSD was able to process 97.1% of NPO applications, compared to the target of 95%. It also targeted the training of 3 000 NPOs on governance and compliance with the NPO Act, and ended up training 3 033 NPOs. The Department was thus able to train more officials than was targeted and was also able to develop the norms and standards by the end of the financial year.

In terms of the Zero Hunger or Food for All programme, the Department was unable to meet its target of profiling 300 000 households. Instead, only 88 000 households were profiled. However, the Department was able to train more cooperatives than originally targeted. A target of 48 cooperatives was set, while 187 cooperatives were trained. More than 100 000 people were reached through the public participation initiatives or programmes hosted by the both the Minister and the DG.

The Department overachieved its target of profiling 400 communities, as it ended up profiling 2 175 communities by the end of the past financial year.

More support was provided on the change agents, as only 400 change agents were targeted, while 9 608 change agents were supported.

DSD was also able to facilitate the implementation of service delivery plans through the Mikondo programme. The Department ensured that committees were supported in coming up with their service delivery plans, which was continually monitored for progress.

In summary, Programme 5 achieved 88% of its annual target, leaving 12% unachievable. The programme spent 99% of its budget allocation.

A chart comparing how the Department had performed in the previous financial years was highlighted (See page 97 of the attached document). The chart showed that there had been a slight decline of 2% in the performance of 2014/15 financial year when compared with the 2013/14 financial year, but better performance than in the 2012/13 financial year. As alluded to in the opening remarks, the Department recorded a clean audit in these three financial years, from 2012 to 2015.

Mr Clifford Appel, Chief Financial Officer, DSD, said that the Department had, in the 2014/15 financial year, spent 99.4% of total budget, or R127.8 billion. All programmes spent 99% of their allocations, except for Programme 4, Welfare Services that spent 95.4%. Overall, 99.4% of the allocations for programmes was spent, or R737 million.

With regard to the expenditure per economic classification, the Department spent R1.6 million on compensation of employees; R21.7 million on goods and services; R1.4 million on transfers to provinces and municipalities; R.3 million on NPOs; and R734 million as transfers to households. R796 000 was spent on capital assets, and the payments for financial assets had been made.

The reasons for underspending included the incomplete projects under goods and services, which included the blueprint on the social service infrastructure, the design of four treatment centres in the provinces, as well as the expenditure for the Social Work Indaba event.

R740 million was not spent under transfers and subsidies, particularly for the FCG. R796 000 was unspent under payment for capital assets, while R27 million was unspent under payment for financial assets, linked to the SASSA debtors that were written off in the past financial year.

A breakdown of the fruitless and wasteful expenditure recorded in the past financial year was outlined (See page 104 of the attached document). It was, however, emphasised again that a clean audit certificate was awarded.

Mr M Khawula (IFP; KwaZulu-Natal) highlighted the overachievement of targets in the Department. This might be a reflection of bad planning, and this was something to bear in mind, for the general trend of  overachievement of targets meant the Department’s targets were not realistic. It could be that the Department set low targets in order to report an overachievement. This issue also reflected in financial issues of the Department, such as the target to improve 25 social development offices which had been budgeted for, whereas the Department improved 36 offices. This raised a question of how DSD was able to raise funds to improve the other offices. There was a need to look more carefully into the planning of the Department at the beginning of the year, to ensure that realistic targets were set.

Ms L Zwane (ANC; KwaZulu-Natal) also expressed the same sentiment in terms of the over-achievements in the targets , which contributed to what she saw as “the unrealistic nature” of the report being presented. She too asked where the DSD had found budget to achieve in excess of the targets. She questioned some of the figures and targets (page reference was not audible). She also sought clarification on the reduction of the vacancy rate by 10%, since the current vacancy rate was still at 11%. She wondered what baseline was set in terms of training the officials, since no baseline was reflected in the presentation but one was given in the Annual Report itself. She asked what plans the Department had to address the issue of officials not attending training programmes, which led to an underachievement, what was being done to address the underachievement recorded in the creation of jobs, and the reason for the decline in the performance of the Department in the past financial year, when compared to the performance of the 2013/14 financial year. DSD was urged to align its next report to the specific events and achievements in the provinces, as this Committee wanted to get a provincial perspective on the report being presented.

Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA; Western Cape) noted that DSD did not refer to the challenges it was facing in a direct or specific manner. She therefore urged the officials to be specific on these, and also seek advice from the Committee where necessary. She wanted to know what progress had been made on finding the culprits responsible for the SASSA robberies and their prosecutions. She asked what strategies had been put in place to protect the banks and people from these robberies, especially at this time of the year. She wanted to know what efforts had been put in place in recruiting youths to bridge the gap noticeable amongst social workers, and what criteria were put in place by DSD to train the 2 700 Mpintshis in all the nine provinces. She asked which areas there had been development of the special needs housing programme and why other provinces had been left out from the assessment, registration and monitoring of community-based care and support services. She asked what criteria had been used by DSD to identify which provinces to monitor and support; and also what criteria were used to determine organisational development, the plans of diversion services providers and compliance, and quality assurance for accredited diversion programmes. She wanted to know what DSD was doing to curb the fruitless and wasteful expenditure, whether any plans were in place to recover these monies which were a result of negligence and the Department’s inability to hold its officials accountable.

Ms L Mathys (EFF; Gauteng) wanted to know how targets were set, especially with regard to the FCG; and the reason for the low targets. She asked if value for money was achieved by the call centres. She commented that social welfare in the country as a whole was in a dire state; the reason for the underspending in respect of the FCG and disability grant, as this was a very important area that should be addressed; and what the delay was in achieving the targets on infrastructure through the creation of rehabilitation centers. The vacancy rate was another major problem that should be addressed by the Department, as there were so many unemployed people all around the country. The Department was urged to prioritise services and also raise issues for the intervention of the Committee whenever the need arose.

The Chairperson wanted to know what the status of all the outcomes within the provinces were; what the relationship between overachievement and the budget spent was, since the report showed 99% expenditure yet a 67% performance rate in some programmes. She asked what was the main cause of the low achievement rate of 33% that was recorded under Programme 3 was, and if the underachievement was due to reasons beyond the control of the Department. She asked to hear more about what plans had been put in place to deal with the issue of substance abuse, and who was responsible for the rehabilitation centres.

She noted that the clean audit of the Department was laudable. However, she agreed with other Members that the over-achievements recorded in the Department raised a lot of questions on how the Department was able to fund the excess targets, as any money spent outside what was budgeted for would amount to unauthorised expenditure. The Department was urged to improve its planning in this regard. It was also urged to first report on its targets, then to report on the achievements, in the subsequent reports.

She noted that DSD must create more support and awareness on the women's position and on the Children’s Act Amendment Bill. Clear awareness programmes should be organised to protect women and children, with properly thought-out content.

She commented that the usage of abbreviations without explanation was something that should be avoided in subsequent reports.

She commented that outside of this meeting, Members needed to discuss further specific cases with the DSD, including one family in a certain municipality where the child-headed family, having lost its parents, was being shunned by social workers. Documents had been submitted but seemed to have been misplaced down the line.

The Department was asked to respond to all questions in writing. Finally, the Chairperson wanted to express general appreciation for the work DSD had done in the past financial year. It had performed better in monitoring but a lot of work still had to be done in terms of planning.

Ms Zwane asked that the issue of finalisation of the means test should be included in the response of the Department.

The Chairperson noted that there was no report from SASSA and NDA, and requested that a report should be given on  these agencies had spent the monies transferred to them. She also requested a report on how the under-performing provinces had been spending, and on what.

Mr Magwaza acknowledged the fact that social development was the heartbeat of the government, as it affected both children and adults. DSD concurred with other departments in terms of the rehabilitation centres. He committed the Department to the submission of a thorough report showing how it carried out and achieved all its programmes in the next session.

The Chairperson noted that the response requested from the Department on the planning aspects was intended to make the Department reconsider its plans and strategies in order to avoid the same mistakes made in the past financial year.

Consideration and adoption of minutes
The minutes of meetings that were held on 13 October 2015, 20 October 2015 and 27 October 2015 were considered and adopted in turn.

The meeting was adjourned.

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