The Portfolio Committee on Social Development met to deliberate on the Draft Committee Report of the Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Social Development and it Entities.
After effecting amendments, the Committee adopted the report..
The Chairperson welcomed all present in the meeting. She said that most of the Members were still busy with budget votes in other committees. She apologised for starting late and explained that she was delayed in traffic coming to town.
The Committee Secretary read out the apologies.
Committee Report on Department of Social Development Annual Performance Plan
The Chairperson said Members should read through the report and highlight things that they need to correct.
She stated that the Committee would go through the document page by page. Members should come up with suggestions that will form part of their final recommendations in the report.
Ms H Malgas (ANC) referred to page 1 and highlighted that reference to SASSA was left out and only the National Development Agency (NDA) was mentioned. She further corrected other minor mistakes relating to missing dates and word changes.
Ms K De Kock (DA) referred to paragraph 3.1.5 and said that the Committee should be careful not to have unintended consequences when they state in the report that the department has set high level outputs to develop policy proposals on the universalisation of older persons and child support grants.
Ms B Masango (DA) noted that on point 4.1, under programme 1: administration it is stated that “the following are some of the high level outputs and targets set by the department for the year under review”. She asked where the other outputs and targets set by the department were.
The Chairperson asked the support staff to respond to this.
The Committee Secretary said that most of the outputs and targets set out by the Department are in the Annual Performance Plan. They only selected those that are of priority and listed them in the report.
Ms Masango said the acronym “SPCHD cluster” used in the last paragraph on page 4 should be spelt out in the report.
Ms De Kock referred to paragraph 4.2 and said that all child grants should be increase, not just increase the foster care grant.
The Chairperson said all Bills submitted to Cabinet including the Social Assistance Amendment Bill should be priorities so that they could fast track the increases in Child Support Grant. Over the MTEF period, expenditure on grants is expected to increase at an average of 8.7% annual rate, reaching R175.6bn by 2019/20 financial years due to inflationary adjustments. Therefore, Parliament needs to prioritise all these Bills.
Ms B Abrahams (ANC) noted that on the first and third paragraphs of page 9, under the expenditure trends they should omit the word “million” which should read “R1.1 billion”, not “R1.1 billion million”. The Committee should also combine those 2 paragraphs because they stated almost the same thing.
Ms E Wilson (DA), also in relation to the same paragraphs, said there is not enough detailed information on expenditure trends. The question is why and how the increase was done. And this should form part of the Committee’s recommendations to the Department to explain and give detail information in this regard.
Ms De Kock said on the same page, second paragraph it is stated “the Department should also fulfil its policy goal of having one social worker per ward”. In this regard the Department should also engage National Treasury in terms of budget increase so that it could employ social workers from Non-Profit Organisations who are experienced on children issues
Ms Wilson asked for clarity on the R44 per beneficiary that is paid to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) for administering social assistance because according to her understanding it was R16 per beneficiary to administer social assistance.
The Chairperson said the official from the Department said that is the overall costs of administering the social grants. But to administer one beneficiary by CPS it cost R16.
The Chairperson asked the Committee Researcher to read through the Committee recommendations.
The Committee Researcher said that the Committee recommends as follows:
- The Minister should ensure that the department within the current financial year develop a strategy to address challenges pertaining to foster care grants. The department should engage with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to address administrative and policy bottlenecks that cause delays in the system.
- The Minister should ensure that the department put mechanisms in place to address challenges relating to food security programme and develop ways to make this programme effective.
- The Minister should ensure that the department makes sure that the APP presentation for 2018/19 financial years reflects time-frames (quarterly Targets) aimed at achieving set targets. The department should provide the Committee with an operational plan of the APP.
- The Minister should ensure that the department put more focus on programmes designed to ensure that teenage parents receive proper training and support in parental skills as provided for in the White Paper on Families.
- The Minister in partnership with other relevant departments should ensure that the integrated plan that seeks to integrate their food security programmes address the long-term impact of drought, particularly in provinces that had been adversely affected by drought.
- The Minister should ensure that the department put more focus on other initiatives to decrease cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV). There should be specific interventions that address the 3 main pillars of the South African Integrated Programme of Action Addressing GBV (2013 –2018), which are Prevention and Protection, Response, Care and Support. Most importantly these interventions should focus on addressing and eliminating the root causes of GBV as well as decreasing its alarming escalation. That is focusing on prevention and early intervention.
Dr M Madhlopha (ANC) said another recommendation is that the Minister should ensure that the department lobby for additional funds in order to employ social workers.
The Chairperson said Members could send other recommendations to the support staff to form part of the overall recommendations in the report. But in the meantime they can adopt the report.
The Committee Researcher asked what recommendations they should put for the NDA.
The Chairperson said the NDA should implement what it presented to the Committee. And that is their overall recommendation to NDA.
Ms Abrahams moved for the adoption of the report with amendments.
Ms Masango said as DA they do not have a problem in supporting the report but they will consult with their party in terms of its adoption.
Ms Madhlopha seconded the adoption of the report.
The Chairperson said she fully understands the position of the DA and this will be noted in the report.
The Committee adopted the report with amendments.
The meeting adjourned.