Members met to review its Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report on the performance of the Department of Social Development and its entities. The main issues that emerged were the failure of the observations to fully appreciate the impact of the delays that resulted in a great variance of projected expenditure and actual expenditure. Another issue that emerged was that many of the targets were not directly aimed at the mandate of the Department. Members felt that this led to unnecessary problems whereby beneficiaries were unable to receive their grants based on administrative issues.
The Committee agreed to adopt the report the following week.
The Chairperson welcomed Members and received the apologies from the members who were unable to attend.
The Chairperson indicated that the purpose of the meeting was for members to deliberate and raise issues according to the programmes that they were not given an opportunity to discuss, or raise issues with anything that has not been made clear.
The Chairperson allowed members to read through the document and pinpoint any issues that they found.
Social Development Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR)
The Chairperson said that while the issue of the variance of expenditure was already discussed, she highlighted it for the interest of Committee members.
The Chairperson noted that according to Programme 4, the variance in projected expenditure and actual expenditure was great. She requested some sort of recommendation for this variance. She noted that the delay in the transfer of Social Worker Employment grant caused a backlog of Social Workers being unable to receive their licences
Ms B Masango (DA) said that the BRRR was emailed to all members in their entirety thus there would be no need to read through the document.
The Chairperson noted the above and requested that they move to Recommendations.
The Content Advisor requested that members should look at the observations first in order to determine whether everything had been captured correctly or if there was any additional information that required capturing.
Ms Masango said that in each and every programme the words “slow” and “delay” kept coming up which lead to a notion of work not having been done. She wanted to know how this could be highlighted in the observations as she believes it has lead to a concerning state of affairs because targets are not being met
The Chairperson suggested that it could be added in recommendations if it was not mentioned in observations.
Recommendations on SASSA
The Chairperson said it is unfair for the Department to take responsibility for how beneficiaries choose to spend their money. She emphasised that they cannot prescribe for members of society in terms of their own benefit how they should spend it. The individuals themselves should have the power to spend it accordingly, and not be forced to spend their grants in any other way simply because they are poor. It was critical that members do not introduce matters beyond the control of SASSA because of the Constitution.
Ms Masango said that some of the targets have nothing to do with delivering services to people. She finds that the targets do not lead to a verifiable impact on short-changing the process.
The Chairperson said she fully agrees, thus before making recommendations the Committee must work through it because the system is not user friendly to some communities. She gave an example of children who do not have birth certificates because both parents do not have ID’s thus rendering them unable to receive what should ordinarily be available to them. The Chairperson said that these pockets of poverty could only be identified if the Committee interacts with them.
Ms E Wilson (DA) agrees, and suggests that the targets should be aimed at the core mandate of the Department. She said that too often targets are not directed at the core mandate of the Department, which is to provide comprehensive services for the vulnerable. By developing and implementing programmes for the eradication of poverty and development amongst the poor, marginalised and vulnerable, the Committee should focus on what the mandates are. She also stated that moving funds is detrimental to the core mandate.
The Chairperson suggested that the problem is governance because eradication includes the perfect system of having the right people to be processed. This is an issue that Home Affairs should resolve. She said that many Departments are involved in this process, including Social Development.
The Chairperson said that movement has improved for those who were previously unable to register their grants. SASSA is near most Home Affairs offices. Women who give birth are given a document that directs them to Home Affairs, whereby following the registration of their baby they can go to SASSA.
The Chairperson said that MPs should however stipulate what should happen if there is no documentation for which mothers are to register their babies. The Department should find a way of identifying small loopholes in order to remedy this.
The Chairperson requested that the report only be adopted in the next meeting in order to allow the Department to spend a few minutes addressing any issues that may have emerged.
The Content Advisor then read out the programme for the remainder of this term.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) requested a period of oversight in order to remedy any issues.
The Secretary stated that according to the Parliamentary programme for this term, there would be no dedicated days for oversight. However, Committees are usually allowed to make use of their Committee days in order to do this sort of work and are thus able to make an application to the House Chair. Alternatively, she suggested that members elect another member from another Province to investigate in order to prevent any wastage of parliamentary days.
The Chairperson said that it is important to work around this and see to these issues, as there are people who are not being assisted.
Ms Masango said this is a good thing because there are people who live far from centres where service providers distribute food and therefore wait longer than necessary.
The Chairperson said that as a Committee they will interact with those affected individuals in order to rescue them from the lack of access to food packages and grants.
The Chairperson repeated that the report will be adopted the following week. However before adoption, it was necessary to spend a few minutes addressing the issues raised. This is especially critical in regards to welfare, in ensuring that all those who require grants and employ the services of social development are not neglected.
The Chairperson indicated that she wanted to adopt the minutes of last week, however the Content Advisor said that the minutes were not available to be adopted as yet.
Meeting was adjourned.