The Committee convened to consider and adopt its report on the budget for the Department of Social Development (DS). Members pointed out that the recommendations of the Committee had not been implemented by the staff of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). It was important for SASSA and the South African Post Office (SAPO) to integrate in order to facilitate effective service delivery to recipients.
The Committee had to perform its oversight function effectively, and investigate the reasons that its recommendations had not been implemented. This would compel the DSD and its entities to implement them.
The Chairperson said that Committee could deliberate on the report using two approaches. The first would be to consider the report page by page and subsequently comment. Alternatively, Members could make comments and then refer the Committee to the right page in the report.
A Member suggested that Committee should deliberate on the report, since Members had had enough time to go through the document.
The Chairperson said Members could consider the minutes of the previous meeting after consideration of the report.
Ms B Masango (DA) expressed satisfaction with the report, as it captured the entirety of the deliberations. However, she was concerned at the failure of the report to directly link the Minister's comments and the Committee’s undertakings to the Minister. Most of the comments the Minister had made were subsumed in what the Department said. She said that the Committee could not hold the Minister accountable based on the report.
The Chairperson said that the Minister's comment was an affirmation of legal requirements and principles. He was satisfied that the Minister had committed herself to the legal imperatives.
Ms D Ngwenya (EFF) and the Chairperson said that the Department could replace the name of Minister in the report, since the Minister was an integral part of the Department.
Ms A Abrahams (DA) observed that the incorporation of the Batho Pele principle into the attitude of the DSD's staff in relation to customer care -- as the mentioned by Minister during the meeting -- had not been captured in the report. She suggested that entities within the DSD should integrate for effective service delivery.
The Chairperson said the Committee should include the Batho Pele principle into the recommendation that dealt with customer care. The integration of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the South African Post Office (SAPO) had been captured in the report. The essence of the integration was to achieve a single system for SASSA and SAPO, where officials of the two entities could have easy access to information and also disseminate information with ease.
The committee content adviser advised that the special conditions attached to the payment of recipients had not been captured in the report. This has been brought to the attention of the Committee, which would take the necessary steps. She said that proof surrounding the claim had to be submitted to the Director-General every six months. The Committee could also pay oversight visits to the homes of beneficiaries to monitor and verify the situation.
Ms Abrahams asked the reason for the non-implementation of the Committee's recommendations. Did SASSA have the staff to monitor recipients, or did recipients fail to give information? The Department must have mechanisms to enforce the implementation of the recommendations.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should investigate the status of the implementation to identify areas of concern. It had asked the Department to table the progress of the programme to the Committee on a regular basis.
Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) said going to the houses of grant recipients would be a huge task for the Committee. It should conduct proper investigations to establish why the recommendations had not been implemented. Were SASSA and SAPO staff performing their obligations? The Committee should engage SASSA and SAPO on a variety of issues at the next meeting. She commended the integration of the two entities.
The Chairperson said the Committee needed to be active to ensure effective service delivery to recipients. It had to have engagements with the Department to obtain factual evidence of the programme. He proposed that the Department should put adequate systems in place to ensure the success of the programme.
The report was tabled as adopted by the Committee.
Consideration of minutes
Minutes of the meeting held on July 2 for the election of the Chairperson, were considered and adopted.
Minutes of the meeting held on July 3, dealing with the 2019/20 Annual Performance Plans of the Department of Social Development and the National Development Agency, were considered and adopted.
The Chairperson and the Secretary encouraged Members to attend the Budget programme that the Minister would launch in Athlone on July 11. Transport would be provided for Members, and departure time would be 10:45 am.
Mr D Stock (ANC) said that he and Ms N Mvana (ANC), and two other Members, had another engagement. He proposed that the Committee should be flexible with them.
The Chairperson said that Mr Stock and other Members should attend the budget programme meeting to avoid inconsistency.
Ms Abrahams wanted to know the exact venue of the programme.
The Chairperson said he did not know the venue. The organisers of the programme would transport Members to the venue.
The meeting was adjourned.