Developmental Welfare Governance Bill: discussion

Social Development

14 February 2001
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


14 FEBRUARY 2001

Chairperson: Mr E Saloojee

Documents handed out: Salient points with regard to the deliberations on the Developmental Welfare Governance Bill, 11 October2000

The Committee looked at the provisions of the Bill and posed questions and made suggestions to the Director General of the Department of Welfare and Population Development. Some members of the Committee were concerned primarily with the powers of the Council and suggested a removal of that clause.

The suggestion was made by Dr E Jassat (ANC) that the term "welfare sector", should be replaced with "social development". The Director General (DG) replied that there would still be a social sector. She added that the Council will be an advisory Council on a broad range of issues including traditional welfare services. Also the word welfare must be looked within its context and therefore it could not be replaced in all instances.
Mrs Southgate (ACDP) asked whether the name of the Bill would be changed. The DG replied that it would be changed to reflect social development.
Ms Chalmers suggested that the word "welfare" should be defined in the Bill. She inquired as to whether welfare would be separate from social development. The DG responded that with regard to the name of the Department, each province will decide what it would call the Department. The Dg indicated that they do want to include a definition of "social development" and once they include this definition, it would contextualize the word "welfare".
Ms Gandhi (ANC) stated that the term "welfare" relates to assistance given to people. The term "development" is essentially about empowerment. This is a fundamental shift and therefore the term "social development" should be made popular.
Mr Singh (DP) asked whether the change of the name of the Department would mean a change of functions of the Department. The DG responded that the functions change as there is a change in the Departments emphasis.
An ANC member was concerned with confusion that may be caused with the different names used by the various provinces. The Dg asserted that it would be left to the different provinces to decide on a name for the Department. The DG however, noted the members concern and said that she would convey the members concern to MINMEC.

The change of the word "welfare " to "social development was raised again. It was agreed that the word would be changed depending on the context that it was being used in.
Mr Saloojee suggested that probation officers should be included in the definition of "social welfare personnel and practitioners". The DG suggested that the wording of the definition does not exclude probation officers. However, if needed specific reference would be made to probation officers.

Objectives of Council
Ms Cupido (DP) suggested that the issue of HIV/AIDS be included in the objectives. The DG responded that by adding HIV/AIDS only, would be focusing on one issue out of many. HIV/AIDS permeates almost all other areas of social development.
Ms Cupido (DP) suggested that emphasis should be made on service delivery in clause 3 (a) of the Bill. The DG suggested that the Committee should look at clause 3(a) in its totality. The inclusion of "service delivery" in clause 3, would be looked at by the Department.
An ANC member asked the DG to explain the significance of clause 3(b)(I) The DG responded that the clause related to the improvement of the quality of governance. She did note that the clause may be redundant. The Director of Legal Services for the Department of Welfare (Legal Advisor) and Population Development suggested that clause 3(b)(I) could be excluded from the Bill completely.
A member of the Committee asked whether the Council would be responsible for carrying out the review in terms of clause 3(b)(iv) or whether it would only have to ensure that the review is done. The DG indicated that it could do both. The Council could initiate the review in consultation with the Minister. It would depend on the relevant circumstances as to whether it would initiate review or ensure that it would be done. Also to be able to advise the Minister the Council would have to initiate or ensure the review.
An ANC member indicated that the Budget allocated to the Council was not sufficient to include the review function.
Saloojee asked whether the Council would have to call up meetings and draw up agendas. The DG stated that the Council would initially be assisted by the Portfolio Committee on Welfare and Population Development as well as the Minister. The Council would have to take the initiative and call up meetings.

Powers of Council
Ms Cupido (DP) indicated that the Portfolio Committee on Welfare and Population Development played an oversight role over the Council. Thus they would have to be aware when the workshops in terms of clause 4(b) were being held.
Ms Rajbally (Minority Front) suggested that clause (4)(c) seemed like too much of power in the hands if the Council.
The Law Advisor suggested that clause 4 could be excluded from the Bill.
Ms Tsheole (ANC) stated that for the Council to be able to advice the Minister they would have to research. Thus the power to have access to information needs to be balanced with the need to advise the Minister. Clause 4 should not be removed entirely.
The DG stated that before removing clause 4 the Department would look at it extensively. The Law Advisor suggested that the powers should be changed so as to not be at the discretion of the Council.

Duties of the Council
Mr Saloojee referred to the use of the word "must" in Clause 5. He stated that it compels the Council to carry out its objectives. They would have to apply their minds to all the objectives. If they do not do this then their actions would be contrary to law. The DG responded that it would be made clear as to what objectives would be "musts' and which would not.
An ANC member asked the DG to explain the difference between Clause 5(1)(b) and (c). The DG stated that (c) was being specific to ensure that the Council was not left out of the policy and legislation process. The DG said that the Council should be able to comment on legislation with regard to developmental social welfare. If the Council has problems with the legislation then the legislation would be referred back to Th Department.
An ANC member suggested that they had a problem with clause 5(j). The DG suggested that the information on finances was simply to give the Council an idea of what figure it could take to the National Treasurery.
The DG stated that the Department is willing to change the number of Government Officials for the sake of representavity. The DG stated that the Department is not insensitive to the issues of representation.

The meeting was adjourned.


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