The Committee convened to consider the annual performance plan of the Department of Social Development.
The Department provided details of its five programmes and their sub-programmes. They said it worked with other stakeholders to ensure effective service delivery to the recipients. It made sure that its workers received adequate training. The workers had to assess situations and provide useful information to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), which then decided on the needed interventions. In most cases, recipients received groceries that would last for three months.
The Department prioritised the most vulnerable in the society, but lamented its failure to provide comprehensive coverage for all its programmes due to budgetary constraints. For now, it could provide comprehensive coverage only for child protection. Rapid population growth in the province also presented a formidable challenge to the Department.
Members expressed concerns about the lack of a specific budget for women’s empowerment, inadequate functional facilities in rural areas, and the increase in child murders. They urged the Department to prioritise vulnerable groups in order to reduce the crime rate in the province. Youth cafes should be well distributed to ensure equity. Facilities that catered for children, the elderly and other vulnerable persons should receive the attention of the Department to ensure that they were used for the intended purpose. It should also focus on the effective monitoring of all funded projects to ensure that the funds were not diverted.
Department of Social Development: 2019/ 2020 Annual Performance Plan
Ms Sharna Fernandez, Member of the Executive Council (MEC): Department of Social Development (DSD), asked Ms Marion Johnson, Chief Director: Business Planning and Strategy, to present the annual performance plan (APP) to the Committee.
Ms Johnson described the DSD’s five programmes.
Programme One, Administration
This programme captures the strategic management and support services at all levels of the Department. It aims to provide strategic support services in order to promote good governance and quality service delivery. The sub-programmes include the Office of the MEC, corporate management services and district management. The Office of the MEC provides the political and legislative interface between government, civil society and other relevant stakeholders. Corporate management services provide the strategic direction and the overall management and administration of the Department. The district management sub-programme provides for the decentralisation, management and administration of services at the district level within the Department.
Programme Two, Social Welfare Services
This provides integrated developmental social welfare services to the poor and vulnerable, in partnership with stakeholders and civil society organisations. The sub-programmes include care and services to older persons, services to persons with disabilities and HIV/ AIDS, and social relief.
The care and services to older persons sub-programme designs and implements integrated services for the care, support and protection of older persons. It aims to ensure access to quality social development services to poor and vulnerable persons.
The services to persons with disabilities sub-programme designs and implements integrated programmes and provides services that enhance the well-being and socio-economic empowerment of persons with disabilities.
The HIV/ AIDS sub-programme designs and implements integrated community-based care programmes and services aimed at reducing the socio-economic impacts of HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS budget was integrated with the child care and protection programme. From the 2018/ 19 adjusted budget, there was 11.9% increase for 2019/20, 7.8% for 2020/ 21, and 6.3% for the 2021/22 financial years.
The social relief sub-programme aims to respond to emergency needs identified in communities affected by disasters or any other social conditions that result in undue hardship.
Programme 3, Children and Family
This was one of the important programmes the Department runs. The aim is to provide comprehensive child care and family support services to communities. The Department runs the programme in consultation and partnership with stakeholders and civil society organisations.
There were five sub-programmes under child care and family support:
- Care and support services to families. Here, the Department aims to implement programmes that promote functional families and prevent vulnerability in families.
- Child care and protection services, which was designed to implement integrated programmes and services that provide for the development, care and protection of the rights of children.
- Early Childhood Development (ECD) and partial care, which provides comprehensive ECD services.
- Child and youth care centres, which provides alternative care and support to vulnerable children.
- Community-based care services to children, provides protection, care and support to vulnerable children in communities.
The DSD had an 8.5% increase in its adjusted budget for 2019/20, 5.6% for 2020/21, and 4.5% for the 2021/22 financial year. The budget for the community-based services sub-programme was integrated into the children and families programme that deals with the training of child and youth care workers.
Programme 4: Restorative Services
The purpose of this programme was to provide integrated developmental social crime prevention and anti-substance abuse services to vulnerable persons. The programme was run in collaboration with stakeholders and civil society organisations.
The first sub-programme, social crime prevention and support, develops and implements social crime prevention programmes and probational services targeting children, youths and adult offenders and victims in the criminal justice process. The strategic objective of the programme was to reduce recidivism through effective probational services to all vulnerable persons by March of 2020. The second sub-programme, victim empowerment, designs and implements integrated programmes and services to support, care and empower victims of violence and crime, especially women and children. The strategic objective of the programme is to provide a continuum of services to all victims of violence, especially women and children.
The third sub-programme -- substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation -- designs and implements integrated services for substance abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The strategic objective of the programme is to improve the match between the demand for substance abuse services for individuals, families and communities, and the Departmental supply of services. The programme aims to improve the outcomes of services.
The adjusted budget for the programme increases by 7.7%, 7.3% and 6.1% over the next three financial years.
Programme Five, Development and Research
This programme provides sustainable development projects which facilitate the empowerment of communities, based on empirical research and demographic information.
The first sub-programme, community mobilisation, aims to build safe and sustainable communities through the creation of strong community networks based on the principles of trust and respect for local delivery, and nurturing a sense of belonging and confidence in local people. The second sub-programme, institutional capacity building and support for non-profit organisations (NPOs), aims to support their registration and compliance monitoring, NPO stakeholder liaison and communications, institutional capacity building, funding and monitoring and a conducive environment for NPOs to flourish. The target of the programme was capacity development and support services to identified funded NPOs and indigenous civil society organisations. The poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihood sub-programme manages social facilitation and poverty alleviation programmes, including the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The programme aims to promote social inclusion and poverty alleviation through provision of nutritional support and facilitating EPWP opportunities for the most vulnerable in the province. Other sub-programmes include community-based research and planning, youth development, women’s development and population policy promotion.
The adjusted budget for the programme increases by 23.3%, 5.5% and 6.2% for the next three financial years.
Ms Johnson said the DSD aimed to repeal redundant legislation that was no longer applicable. For example, the Department sought to repeal the Administration of the Aged Act, with the exception of particular sections that had been assigned to the province in 1996. She said that the legislation on older persons superseded the Administration of the Aged Act. The Welfare Act of 1987 had no practical value to the province. The registration and funding of welfare organisations was now covered by the NPO Act of 1997. The excluded sections of the National Welfare Act had also been repealed by the 2001 Social Development Act.
The Chairperson commended the presentation of the DSD.
Ms N Bakubaku-Vos (ANC) expressed concern about the lack of a specific budget for women. Women and children were the most vulnerable and victims of murder. Why were Child and Youth Care (CYC) workers not trained in the 2017/18 financial year? What was the plan of the MEC to ensure the empowerment of women and children in rural areas? She said that criminals took advantage of the vulnerability of this set of people. She complained about the dysfunctionality of most the DSD's facilities. People provided services from their backyards in most cases. Resources had to be available to achieve the targets of the Department. She said Stellenbosch municipality plans to convert the facility used by the Kayamandi Women and Child Development Association to offices for taxi owners, which would have a negative impact on the services the organisation rendered. She lamented the inability of the Department to fulfill all the promises it had made since 2013.
MEC Fernandez asked Ms Bakubaku-Vos to send the details of the facility to her. She would then visit the facility and make appropriate recommendations to all stakeholders, especially the mayors. The DSD needed to use local structures to run its programmes. She expressed concern about the plan to convert a creche facility in Kayamandi to taxi-owners' offices. The needs of children with disabilities should be prioritised.
Dr Robert Macdonald, Head of Department (HOD), DSD, said the Department did not have a specific budget for women due to financial constraints and accounting difficulties, but there were a range of programmes that prioritised the interests of women.
MEC Fernandez said she would engage with the National Department in charge of women's affairs and all MECs in the province to provide additional funding for women’s empowerment programmes. She said that women enjoyed the bulk of the budget. The DSD would develop measures to empower crime victims in the province, especially those in the deep rural areas. The DSD worked with stakeholders like non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and NPOs to achieve its objectives.
Mr Charles Jordan, Chief Director: Social Welfare, said that Child and Youth Care workers had not been trained in the 2017/18 financial year due to new legal registration requirements. He added that the National Department of Social Development had funded the National Association of Children and Youth Care Workers, which had initially funded the ECD programme in the Western Cape. The programme had ended in March 2018 and the DSD had taken over. A college in Wellington provided training to the workers.
Ms W Philander (DA) sought clarity about the DSD's plans on residential facilities for older people. Did it work with councils and wards to facilitate the movement of older people to conducive environments? The DSD should empower people with disabilities to get sustainable jobs. This would ensure that there was a least a person with a job in a household. She urged the DSD to fix the facility for the aged in Paarl, and to ensure that the facillity was used for the intended purpose. The DSD should work with other departments to achieve results. She asked about the operation of the social relief programme and its management, especially in the Cape Winelands. How did the DSD identify community-based child care centres, and how did they work in different communities? She observed that communities differed in wealth. How did the DSD assist struggling creches and EDC centres?
Dr Macdonald said that the DSD worked with stakeholders, including the national DSD and the Departments of Human Settlements and Local Government, to prioritise people with disabilities and special needs. The DSD had a good working relationship with the stakeholders, but the relationships needed to be formalised. The province also had policies that prioritised vulnerable persons.
MEC Fernandez said the DSD had visited the home for people with disabilities in Mfuleni earlier in the month. She commended the structure and the layout of the facility, as older people and people with disabilities were prioritised.
Mr Jordan said that the DSD had a training programme that empowered people with disabilities to get jobs. However, there were certain people who would never be able to access job opportunities due to the extent of their disability. The DSD gave food and offered psychological and social services to such people to support their families through follow-up programmes. The DSD also tried to incorporate people with disabilities into the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWD). It aimed to mainstream disability as much as possible. There were clusters of disabled children in the province, and the DSD would incorporate them into the ECD programmes. The DSD needed to improve its footprint in mainstreaming ECD, as this required additional care workers with specialised training to support children with disabilities.
Dr Macdonald said the Department was limited in the level of services it provides due to financial constraints. The DSD only had full coverage for child protection in the province. The National Treasury intended to cut the budget allocation to all Provinces for the next three years due to the under-collection of taxes and the need to provide R230 billion funding for the Eskom project. There would be gaps in the coverage of services over the next three years, but the DSD would deliver its mandate to its best ability to alleviate the plight of people with disabilities. It had struggled over the past ten years to increase funding for people with disabilities. This trend extended across the country.
He commented that the Department of Education also failed to completely meet the need of children with disabilities. There were numerous challenges with the residential programmes for the children, and many facilities had been shut down due to potential risks they posed to the children, especially exposed electrical equipment and fire. The DSD dealt with the most severe cases, but the system was totally over-stretched. The DSD and other role players try to mitigate the risks.
It was important to note that the population of the Western Cape was projected to increase by 700 000 in 2030, representing a 12% increase from the current population. There was a massive influx of people into the province to seek job opportunities, people were getting larger families and life expectancy had increased. The life expectancy in the province was second only to that of Gauteng. All this contributed to population pressure, which in turn impacts on the DSD's budget.
He urged Ms Philander to provide detail of the facility in Paarl so that the DSD could inspect and take appropriate steps. The Department of Public Works (DPW) provided all other departments in the province with facilities, based on legislation. The DSD, in certain cases, used facilities provided by municipalities, provided the facilities met occupational health and safety standards.
In response to the question on social relief, the HOD said the province had a disaster management centre which dealt with the coordination of social workers who assess victims of disasters. This provided the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) with adequate information to determine the level of relief. The South African Post Office (SAPO) paid the relief grant that catered for three months of groceries. The DSD also partnered with municipalities to provide basic building materials to victims of disasters. The metro had the resources in this regard, but other municipalities were struggling because they did not have the resources. The Provincial Disaster Management Centre and the Department of Local Government also played important roles to provide relief to victims of disasters.
The DSD works with organisations and facilities to ensure financial accountability. It stops funding only if an organisation defaults in sending quarterly reports and audited financial statements at the end of the year, which forms a part of the contract signed with the government. The DSD assists struggling organisations, who sometimes receive extended funding for a year. However, the organisation must use the funding for the intended purpose. The AG was satisfied with the measures taken by the Department. Unfortunately, some of the measures had negative consquences for NGOs.
The DSD establishes care centres for children in high risk and violent areas. It integrates this programme with other programmes at the local level. The DSD also targets areas with high rates of children dropping out from schools, and areas where children demonstrate risky behaviours. The DSD sometimes had difficulty in getting partner organisations in certain areas. It could provide data and information on facilities to the Committee, based on a written request. The Department runs programmes in schools using professionals who were stationed at the school. A single professional could sometimes serve two to three schools in close proximity. It was a laudable programme, and the professionals develop relationships with school principals and teachers. The programme provides guidance for children, especially those with risky behaviours.
Ms A Bans (ANC) sought clarity on the Isibindi programme in the Cape Winelands and Karoo. She said that the programme had closed down in the Karoo. What was the plan of the DSD to revive the programme in rural areas? She asked about the number of youth cafes in rural areas.
Ms Bakubaku-Vos wanted to know the DSD's plans to reduce child murders in the province.
Ms Fernandez said that the DSD and other role players would develop measures to reduce child murder in the province. The provincial government had constituted an inter-ministerial task team, led by the Department of Community Safety, to deal with the problem.
She said that the Department shuts down facilities only as a last resort. This was to encourage all facilities in the 30 municipalities to get adequate registration. She lamented the high murder rate in the province, and said that the government was taking proactive steps to ensure the safety of women and children. The DSD did not have a concrete plan at the moment. It needed to work with other stakeholders to achieve results. It would seek to engage the communities, which would allow them to take ownership of the programme.
The Department and other stakeholders were developing measures to discourage children's involvement in gang violence, as it was a major reason for child murders in the province. The DSD had formulated a policy which had been approved and adopted by the Cabinet. It sought the inputs of the Standing Committee to make the strategy a success.
Mr Jordan said the DSD had written to the national Minister to consider the possibility of restarting the Isibindi programme in the affected areas.
Ms Deborah Dreyer, Director: Partnership Development, said that there were seven youth cafes in the rural areas, four in the metros, and two were at the planning stage. She urged Committee Members to visit the cafes to know what the DSD's strategies were. The youth cafes were run in partnership with NGOs to develop brands and models that worked for the youths. Each youth cafe was unique in its innovation. The DSD prioritised innovations in technology, social media and the green economy. The youth cafes were strategically located in the communities they served, and they were usually youth friendly. The aim was to equip youths so that they had direction on what to do by the age of 25. The youths were linked with mentors, who guided them on what to do after the programme.
Ms Philander sought clarity on the location of the two new youth cafes.
Ms Fernandez and Ms Johnson said the Department had not finalised the locations.
Ms Bakubaku-Vos expressed concern about the stoppage of funds to certain NPOs. What was the DSD's plan to assist struggling NPOs? What were the criteria for funding them? How did the DSD ensure that NPOs used the funds for their intended purposes?
Mr Jordan said that the DSD visited the site of an NPO if it was applying for funding for the first time. The DSD may decide to release funds if the NPO met the requirements, norms and standards. It shuts down facilities only as a last resort. There were about 2 300 NPOs in the province. and the DSD conducts comprehensive assessments once every three years. It also does rapid assessments and quality assurance monitoring. The quality assurance monitoring was a comprehensive monitoring programme that occurs over a five-day period. The facility submits its report to the DSD, which in turn analyses the report and makes appropriate recommendations. The DSD gives struggling facilities three to six months to make adjustments to its finances and governance. It takes bold steps to stop any organisations involved in fraud or corruption. Once discovered, the facilities are shut down.
The Chairperson asked about the percentage of human resources support that comes from the DSD's corporate services centre. He also urged the Department to explain its organisational structure. To what extent was it linked to the basket of services that were provided at the municipal level? What data did municipalities use to ensure that these services were integrated? Were there places people could go to, to make enquiries about available services? Did the DSD have any updates from the Presidency and national departments about the national integrated ECD policy of 2015?
Dr Macdonald said the implementation of the national integrated ECD policy of 2015 presented a huge challenge to the province. The implementation would depend on the adoption of relevant legislation and the availability of funds. At the moment, the provincial government could not accommodate the implementation of the policy in its fiscus. A team had been constituted at the national inter-ministerial level to facilitate the implementation of the early stage of the policy. The DSD collaborates with stakeholders to obtain data about services that were offered in rural communities. It trains staff in the use of demographic data, which was needed for adequate planning at all levels of governance. It works closely with municipal authorities to ensure successful implementation of targets.
He said the Department was trying to finalise its organisational structure. He expressed concern about the ratio of population to the number of social workers. The ratio was ideally 4 500 people to one social worker, but this had increased to an average of 4 650 people to a social worker. The DSD augumented its staff strength with personnel provided by other role players. SASSA ran two facilities for children in the province. The facilities had been contracted out until May 2020, after which the DSD would take over from SASSA.
Ms Fernandez said that the DSD worked with other stakeholders to ensure a coordinated approach to provide solutions to all identified challenges.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for its articulated plan, and hoped to have further engagements with the officials.
Ms R Windvogel (ANC) said the Committee should provide the MEC and the Department with more information on the two ECD facilities that had been discussed during the meeting. She recommended that the DSD should come up with a draft plan to stop child murders in the province. It should forward the names of the additional two youth cafes to the Committee once the DSD finalised the locations. She also asked the DSD to forward the names and the geographic locations of high-risk schools targeted for substance abuse treatment.
Ms Philander offered to supply information on the need for more care centres in Paarl to the DSD.
Ms Bakubaku-Vos said that the Committee needed to pay a site visit to the ECD facility in Kayamandi in the Stellenbosch municipality.
Members commented that most of the youth cafes were concentrated in the Southern Cape. The DSD should consult with the Committee before finalising the locations of the two new youth cafes.
Draft Committee programme
The Comittee then considered its draft programme for the year. The Chairperson requested inputs from Members on the programmes they would like the Committee to consider. He proposed that the DSD present a briefing on the scourge of child murder in the Province on 30 July. The presentation should also include the plans the DSD had in place to stop the problem. Civil society organisations would be invited, and the meeting should hold in the Chambers, considering its importance to community safety in the province.
The Committee should make plans to visit the ECD facility in Stellenbosch.
Ms Bakubaku-Vos said the Committee should go to the ECD facility in Stellenbosch as a team, and agree on measures to remedy the situation.
Ms Philander requested the Committee to visit the facility in Paarl. This would allow the Committee to see the current status of the facility and make appropriate recommendations to the DSD. It would also allow the Committee to develop means to coordinate and integrate the services rendered by various Departments. This would facilitate the upgrading of the facility to a Pro-Care status.
The Chairperson said that the DSD had not provided a definite answer to the question that dealt with collaboration among various departments. The Committee should convene a meeting on 27 August that involved all concerned departments and investigate their roles in the provision of social services in the province, especially the care of the elderly.
Ms D Baartman (DA) suggested that Members should forward additional programmes to either the Chairperson or the Committee Secretary.
The Chairperson concurred with Ms Baartman. He said the DSD needed to provide more information about the youth cafes, which were important for the development of youths and the less privileged in the province.
Consideration of minutes
The Committee considered the minutes of the meeting held on 4 July, and adopted them without amendments. Ms Philander moved their adoption, and was seconded by Ms Bakubaku-Vos.
The Chairperson appreciated the presence of the representative of the Department of Local Government at the meeting, and looked forward to more engagements with the Department.
The meeting was adjourned.