DSD report on COVID19 responses and progress report to address backlog in the Foster Care System & meet North Gauteng High Court deadline with Minister

Social Development

21 May 2020
Chairperson: Mr M Gungubele (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Portfolio Committee on Social Development, 21 May 2020

The Department of Social Development (DSD) updated the Portfolio Committee on its COVID19 response and on the progress of the backlog in the foster care system in a virtual meeting.

COVID19 response Update

The DSD has distributed 720 000 food parcels as of 19 May 2020 as part of its COVID19 response. It stated it has never instructed organisations and people not to distribute food. Instead, the DSD encourages a ‘knock and drop’ system to prevent the transmission of COVID19 and to  avoid chaos and congestion. Its directives intend on ensuring food is nutritious and provided in a dignified manner.

Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development, stated she will not agree to a situation where food is being distributed without a plan, where it is not spread across the country and there is no developmental or sustainable approach. Health and COVID19 protocols need to be taken into consideration.

There has been close to five million applications for the SRD R350 grant. The 5 million applications are at various stages with 2.6 million applicants currently being processed. The figures for the applications per platform are as follows;

  • USSD line: 2.8 million applications;
  • Website: 318 000 applications;
  • WhatsApp: 30 000 applications

Through a trial run, SASSA received 75 000 applications. These applications were vetted through the South African Revenue Services (SARS). It was found that 39 000 were ineligible because they received a salary at the end of April. With regards to the other 36 000, SASSA is communicating with applicants for additional information such as their bank account details in order to make payments.

There will not be scheduled payment once a month for the R350 grant, instead beneficiaries will be paid as soon as their applications have been approved. There will be three methods of payment;

  • To beneficiaries’ bank accounts;
  • To a cellphone number registered to a  sim card in the applicant’s name that can be withdrawn from any ATM and,
  • Postbank facility where beneficiaries can withdraw money from any Post Office.

Beneficiaries will not forfeit their May grant if their application is only approved in June. Beneficiaries will receive payments in accordance from the month in which they applied. If a beneficiary is approved and paid on the 5th of the month, their grant payment schedule will then be the 5th of every month thereafter.

Foster Care

A Cabinet memo for approval of the Children’s Amendment Bill was prepared for consideration by Cabinet on 29 March 2020. However, it did not take place due to the national lockdown. The Department is awaiting a date to present the Bill to Cabinet in May during the lockdown. The Portfolio Committee on Social Development approved the Social Assistance Amendment Bill on 17 March 2020 and it will be referred to the NCOP for processing.

The total outstanding foster care orders that will need to be extended by November 2020 is now 129 136..

The lockdown was a set- back for the provinces to extend the foster care orders through the Children’s Courts according to the provision of prayer 2.2.3.(ii) of the High Court Order. Due to lockdown some of the social workers’ day to day processes towards managing the affected foster care orders were disrupted.

The DSD reported that its first progress report, that was due on 26 February 2020, as required by the High Court Order, was submitted to the Centre for Child Law and the High Court. However it emerged, during question time, that the report had not reached the Centre for Child Law and the Courts. The Acting Director General responded that it had definitely been sent to the state attorneys by DSD.

The Committee Report on the DSD Annual Performance Plan (APP) was adopted but contested by the EFF.

Meeting report

Chairperson Opening Remarks

The Chairperson welcomed the Committee. He stated that there are challenges in balancing the livelihoods of people economically while preventing the loss of lives. It calls for people to get involved on the ground and for stakeholders to communicate coherently. The media has expressed concerns regarding how food is being distributed. Many organisations in this space do not find an alignment between themselves and the Department. A session between the Committee and organisations distributing food needs to be considered as the Committee could perhaps improve the partnership between the Department and these organisations.

There has been challenges with SASSA where it has been reported that people are sleeping at SASSA offices and pay stations. The Chairperson has been liaising with the SASSA and it was explained to him that unless the COGTA regulations are amended, it will remain a big challenge for SASSA to implement change in these areas as they are bound by these regulations to only deploy one third of their staff.

DSD Update on COVID19 Response

Mr Linton Mchunu, Acting Director General (ADG), Department of Social Development (DSD), provided an update on the Departments COVID19 Response. Mr Mchunu indicated that “the social security services that DSD provides to the vulnerable people are important and contribute to the wellbeing, quality of life and by default the economy”. He said that the Department’s update will be twofold, “one as it relates to food and nutrition programmes and the other relates to the special covid grant or the work that we are doing through SASSA”.

He reported that DSD “continues to provide food parcels through social relief of distress and to date we have distributed increased numbers from last week from 525095 food parcels to  over 670 000 food parcels, feeding approximately 2.7 million people.  We have began a process of mapping out areas that have an extreme need for food utilising data from Statistics SA, which basically highlights that areas, particularly rural areas in the country  have the greatest challenges especially in the North West, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. We are working on expanding the work that we are doing through our Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs) programmes. We meet on a weekly basis with the provinces to get updates as it relates to food distribution.”

We appreciate NGOs for stepping up to assist with regards to providing food security and we noted some challenges relating to food distribution and  we are working on a coordination mechanism for the challenges with food distribution. It is important to highlight that DSD has never stopped, or never in the directions issued by the DSD, instructed NGOs to stop providing food. We have never done that, what we have done is we have encouraged a ‘knock and drop’ service as we do within the context of the CNDCs. Our centres were  closed during lockdown and this was in line with the Disaster Management regulations  issued by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). Our intention is that we need to reduce the spread of COVID19 and enhance coordination and reduce chaos and congestion as we see in other places like Centurion.  

The DSD needs to account as to how many households we are feeding to avoid elements of duplication and to ensure that we have some form of a database that provides a sense of who is vulnerable in communities. We  encourage NGOs to engage with local municipalities and Provincial Departments when  doing such and what we also want to do is ensure that organisations and people providing food are providing nutritious food and are mindful about providing food in a dignified manner. At no given point or time have we ever engaged or promoted political party branded food parcels. We have not done that - we do not do that. We provide food parcels in the context of the legislation and within the context of the progammes that we roll out.

With the lockdown progression, the DSD will continue to provide counselling and psychosocial support. It is employing an additional 1809 Social Workers to assist with COVID19. The call from religious leaders to be considered an essential service as they help with food distribution as well as psychosocial support through spiritual counselling is being considered by COGTA.

DSD will continue to provide shelter to homeless people and is working with COGTA on how to better maintain the sustainability of homeless shelters so that people in the shelters are able to have food and able to have necessary services. The challenge is that COGTA’s financial year begins in August whereas other departments’ financial year started in April. DSD is in discussion with COGTA and have worked on a guideline and is busy processing that and how best we can move on that process. The DSD proposes that Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and old age homes remain closed to curb the spread of COVID19. DSD’s treatment centres and shelters for victims of Gender-based Violence (GBV) will be open but under strict COVID19 protocols. With regards to NPOs, we have paused physical registration but we have members of the public applying for NPOs though our website.

The DSD has noted some challenges around the long queues at SASSA offices and we are working quite steadily or working hard around getting staff that will service members of the public. Through the Risk Adjustment Strategy, we have begun to bring in a third of the SASSA staff. With the reopening of SASSA offices, there has been 20 staff infected with COVID19 and there has been one fatality. Where a case of COVID19 is confirmed, staff that have been in contact with the person, is put in quarantine which affects operations at offices in terms of service delivery but we are working on a plan to ensure that we are able to direct staff to various offices and assist members of the public.

There has been close to five million applications for the SRD R350 grant. The 5 million applications are at various stages with 2.6 million applicants currently being processed. The figures for the applications per platform are as follows;

  • USSD line: 2.8 million applications;
  • Website: 318 000 applications;
  • WhatsApp: 30 000 applications

Through the trial run, SASSA received 75 000 applications. These applications were vetted through the South African Revenue Services (SARS). It was found that 39 000 had drawn salaries at the end of April making them ineligible for the grant. Had these people been paid, SASSA would have spent R13.6 million and R81 million over a period of six months. Applications are being processed as they come in. SASSA is communicating with applicants for additional information such as their bank account details in order to make payments.

Ms Busisiwe Memela-Khambula, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SASSA, emphasised the challenge that makes the process protracted is the fact that applications must be verified through a number of channels before SASSA actually begins to pay. SASSA did a test last week and paid a few clients of the 75 000 applications that received in the test run. These had already been vetted through SOCPEN, Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), and Home Affairs and were then sent to SARS. Out of the 75 000 applicants, SARS revealed to SASSA that 39 000 got a salary in April. The remaining 36 000 applicants were vetted by SARS but it was found that some applicants had not authorised SASSA to vet their information through SARS. These clients are being contacted to obtain consent to be vetted by SARS. So far 11 000 applications have qualified, the beneficiaries are being contacted and will be paid this week.

Of the 5 million applications received, SASSA has sent 300 000 files to SARS for the final vetting. It aims to send approximately 300 000- 500 000 files to SARS every two days. There will not be a once-off payment but rather, when an application has been approved after final vetting, payment will be made. There will be three methods of payment;

  • To beneficiaries bank account;
  • To a cellphone number registered to a sim card in the applicant’s name that can be withdrawn from any ATM and,
  • Postbank facility where beneficiaries can withdraw money from any Post Office.

In the long run, SASSA is looking into vouchers. The challenge is that SASSA has received over 50 000 unsolicited proposals for voucher systems. All proposals will be considered for both short and long-term use.

Minister’s Remarks

Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development, stated that it is important for the Department to establish a mapping of hotspots of communities in need. The lockdown alerts and regulations passed impact the DSD and entities, however as participants in the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) and the National Command Centre Council (NCCC) it has access to information that can allow it to act fast.

The mapping out needs to be done to establish where there are hunger pangs and it needs to establish where the money will come from. As part of SASSA’s 2020/21 financial budget of R400 million for social relief of distress, all has been allocated to SRD grants. The Solidarity Fund gave DSD very little money in comparison to the Department of Health (DOH) that received R2 billion. Minister Zulu acknowledged that the DOH needed this amount of money. The DSD needs to review its strategy and budgets. It is awaiting on the review from the Minister of Finance.

The DSD will never stop people from distributing food. However, South Africans are not guinea pigs. Minister Zulu stated that she will not agree to a situation where food is being distributed without a plan, where it is not spread across the country and there is no developmental or sustainable approach. Health and COVID19 protocols need to be taken into consideration. She stated that it is painful to see South Africans experiencing hunger.

The DSD does more than distribute money and food parcels. There are a whole range of services such as old age homes, drug rehabilitation centres and orphanages. And Minister Zulu encouraged the DSD to not lose sight of the bigger picture of its services.

Foster care Presentation

DG remarks on Foster Care

Mr Mchunu made some remarks on a few elements regarding the presentation on foster care and then asked Ms Connie Nxumalo to make the  presentation. By way of context, the North Gauteng High Court issued an order that DSD should work on a comprehensive legal solution towards addressing issues related to foster care. DSD was also advised by the court to provide reports. DSD was supposed to provide reports to the court every three months after the order was issued when it was extended last year November. We provided the report in February for the first three months and we are finalising the second report which will be processed in May as well. The process of course states that the state attorneys will the accepted process in government and we have learned that the report did not reach the court. We made a follow up on that but DSD’s records show that indeed the report accordingly through the state attorney reached the court this year. DSD is finalising the second report due now in May in line with the court order. Part of what DSD was supposed to have done is to provide progress on the Children’s Amendment Bill and DSD have been ready to process the bill. With the advent of covid, DSD had to wait for the necessary meetings. Mr Mchunu informed the Committee that the Children’s Amendment Bill will be serving before Cabinet in the next few days for consideration. He also wanted to highlight that there is a link between the Social Assistance Amendment Bill that was processed by the Portfolio Committee and the comprehensive legal solution.  There are elements embedded within that Bill that have to be processed in order for us to reach the intended outcome that we want to make. DSD is in constant contact with the provinces around how it can close the backlog of the foster care.

Ms Conny Nxumalo, DDG: Welfare Services, DSD, presented the Foster Care Progress report on the Implementation of the North Gauteng High Court Order. The last time DSD appeared before the Portfolio Committee to give an update on the foster care backlog was in March and where DSD registered some progress. However the numbers mean nothing without the comprehensive legal solution. A Cabinet memo for the Children’s Amendment Bill was prepared for consideration by Cabinet on 29 March 2020. However, it did not take place due to a national lockdown. The department is awaiting a date to present the Bill in May during the lockdown. The Portfolio Committee on Social Development approved the Social Assistance Amendment Bill on 17 March 2020 and it will soon be referred to the NCOP for processing.

The total outstanding foster care orders were 81 533, the baseline is now 84 007. The increase in the baseline is attributed to the court orders that were extended for a short period without supporting documentation as per agreement with magistrates before the lapsing of the High Court Order in November 2019.

From the baseline of 166 130, provinces made progress of 38 786. The figure 38 786 include 36 667 cases brought to court during February 2020 to April 2020, as well as 2 119 projected cases for May- to July 2020. The overall outstanding balance is 129 136 and not 129 141 as it was first reported due to errors in the Eastern Cape’s reporting. Some provinces extended court orders for a short period to prevent the lapsing of orders in November 2019 which contributed towards the increase of the overall baseline to lapse by November 2020.

A letter was written to the Centre for Child Law informing them of the national lockdown’s impact on DSD’s compliance with the NGHCO. The National Office continuously monitors the implementation of the foster care programme by the provinces.  Provinces were requested to develop recovery plans to take foster care matters back to court as provided for in the Disaster Management Regulations on COVID19 by the Minister of Justice. Due date for submission by provinces is 18 May 2020.

The lockdown was a setback for the  provinces to extend the foster care orders through the Children’s Courts according to the provision of prayer 2.2.3.(ii) of the High Court Order. Due to lockdown some of the social workers’ day to day processes to be undertaken towards managing the affected foster care orders were disrupted.

  • Court orders could not be  submitted to SASSA for capturing since they were closed
  • Provision of sufficient PPEs to officials is a challenge for them to do home visits
  • Some children’s courts did not extend section 159 foster care orders during the lockdown.
  • Outstanding school forms due to lockdown.
  • Social Workers working according to a shift roster.
  • Slow pace of issuing of unabridged birth certificates due to alert level 5 Regulations of Disaster Management Act .

Ms Brenda Sibeko, DSD Deputy Director General: Social Security, stated that the funding for the Child Support Grant extension and top-up will be made by treasury after the Social Assistance Amendment Bill has been passed


The Chairperson asked if there has been a national effort from the Departmental level to present to the Magistrates or to the Chief Justice about the dire nature of the situation  so that under these circumstances, they may cooperate, relax and adjust the way they do the foster care order extensions?

Ms B Masango (DA) asked a number of questions:

  • Do the 720 000 food parcels that have been distributed include the 300 000 food parcels that have been distributed by the Solidarity Fund? Is there a number of how many people are still in need to give an indication of how much ground has been covered?
  • SASSA offices are opened with one third of staff however, one gets a sense that not all offices are open. In Bronkhorstspruit and Somerset West SASSA offices have not opened. What are the reasons for some offices not opening?
  • The Committee received a letter stating that the Court and Centre for Child Law have not received February’s progress report. Lockdown started in March, what was the reason for the February report not being submitted?
  • There is confusion regarding the R350 grant, as some SASSA officials say that it is replacing the food parcels worth R1200. Please clarify this?
  • Statistics SA released an index a while ago indicating impoverished districts, can this be used to determined hotspots mentioned by Minister Zulu?

Ms L Arries (EFF) asked:

  •  What alternative measures are there if children miss court applications?
  •  In Eersterivier SASSA offices are closed as SASSA officials have tested positive for COVID19. In Khayelitsha people have been sleeping outside SASSA offices, how is SASSA addressing this?
  • Applicants for the R350 grant did not receive acknowledgement of the receipt of their application on WhatsApp and Email. Should these applicants reapply?
  • How will SASSA assist people who are disabled as it is not processing new disability grant applications at this time other than the R350 grant?
  • How many beneficiaries of the R350 grant were paid on 15 May 2020?
  • What is the payment schedule for this grant?

Ms D Ngwenya (EFF) asked:

  • Can people without bank accounts receive their R350 grant from e-wallet services?
  • Has there been communication to people to notify them that if they require medical reassessments for their disability grant, they do not need to go to the SASSA offices as their grants have been automatically renewed? If there are a number of unemployed people in one household, is each person entitled to the R350 grant?
  • If an applicant applied for the R350 grant in May but their application is only approved in June, will they forfeit the money from May?

Ms A Abrahams (DA) gave her condolences to SASSA for the passing of one of its employees and asked a number of questions:

  • The Department of Education (DOE) stated that ECDs will be reopened in phases, please may the Committee be furnished with this phasing-in plan.
  •  If donors are donating food in their private capacity to a specific area, it does not absolve the DSD from its responsibility to provide food parcels to that community.
  • When will the draft directives be made available for discussion?
  • Please may the Department provide information on the call volumes and experiences of the Gender Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) in its COVID19 response. How feasible is it to employ 1809 social workers as part of the COVID19 response? What are the Provinces buy in to this? Have provinces made provision for tools of trade, government motor vehicles, access cards and Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) for these social workers? Is there a provision of supervisors and management for these social workers? Considering that it will probably take these social workers one month to sort all of this out, the impact they will make in three months seems limited
  • There was supposed to be a Foster Care Management Tool that was developed at the end of March. The tool was supposed to be implemented by provinces to detect the early warning of Forster Care cases that are about to lapse. Please may the Committee get a demonstration on how this tool works online as well as feedback from the provinces?

Ms M Sukers (ACDP) asked the Department:

  •  If it is possible to create a coordination strategy for food distribution? There is an issue with double dipping in communities and there are limited resources at this time. Ms Suckers and her colleagues have provided the Department with a list of over 300 people that are in need. This list was provided to the Department almost a month ago and the people on the list are only getting food parcels now. This was thanks to the very hard work of SASSA officials that went to the Bellville offices to capture applications. There is a huge burden on SASSA and the timeframe is understandable. To help people in this time, Ms Suckers and her colleagues needed to obtain who did not receive a grant and was in dire need. Obtaining this information was difficult and thus, food was distributed to everyone in communities. Information needs to be correlated district by district. As lockdown progresses there will be an issue with food security and psychosocial support. Social Workers in the Heidelberg area have not assisted people with renewing their disability grants. There are cases where people have not received their grant for over three years. Please may the Department address these areas

Mr D Stock (ANC) agreed that there is a need for coordination in food distribution. Food parcels being distributed by private donors are done through good intentions however, it must still be done in a dignified manner and the Department must lead donors. Please may the Department give clarity on when the R350 SRD applications will be finalised?

Ms K Bilankulu (ANC) asked if there is a difference between food parcels in the rural and township areas. Ms Bilankulu stated that the parcels seem to be the same yet the needs are different.

Ms J Manganye (ANC) stated that in her province, there is a registry for food parcels that have the details of all the people that have applied for food relief. She commended the Department in the North West for how they have managed food distribution. The DSD needs to help coordinate private donors to reduce double dipping. She stated that in the North West, Foster care cases lapsed as magistrates were not made aware of the request to assist in this regard. The Premier of the North West has promised to work hand-in-hand with the DSD.

SASSA Response

Ms Memela-Khambula, SASSA CEO, stated that SASSA offices are open however, only with a third of the workforce. There are a number of challenges experienced with the reopening of offices. SASSA has obtained the support of Unions in this regard. There are long queues at offices, SASSA officials have even slept at offices. This is a huge risk to their health and safety. SASSA has implemented a card system that allows people in the queues to return in a few days. In Khayelitsha, soup kitchens were stationed outside SASSA office which complicates the system and created congestion and people sleeping at SASSA offices. Municipal offices are still closed which contributes to the congestion at local offices.  SASSA is engaging with municipal offices to reopen. PPE is provided to all staff. In areas where there have been outbreaks of COVID19, SASSA staff will be provided with extensive PPE that includes disposable overalls.

Beneficiaries that were receiving a temporary disability grant that was due to lapse were made aware that their grants were automatically extended to October through radio and other platforms such as through local Chiefs. Unfortunately, the Post Office is unable to deliver mail at this time.

To prevent inclusion errors in the R350 grant, applications are run through various databases. It was found that many of the applications were not eligible for the grant. People get a reference number when applying for the grant via WhatsApp and the USSD line. The reference on the USSD line disappeared quickly and people were unable to note it down however, this system error has been fixed. People can also call the call centre for support. An IT company is providing free 24-hour call centre services for free and will be available in the next two weeks. The R350 SRD grant will be paid as applications are approved. SASSA will not be paying the grant on a particular date per month. If a beneficiary is approved and paid on the 5th of the month, their grant payment schedule will then be the 5th of every month thereafter.

Ms Dianne Dunkerley, SASSA Executive Manager: Grants Administration, stated that people will get paid from the month which they applied even if their application was processed and approved late. Thus, in some cases some people will be paid twice a month.

Ms Memela-Khambula stated that all eligible people are entitled to receive the R350 grant even if there are other people within the household receiving the grant. There is no way to monitor each household and determine who should benefit from the grant per household.

DSD Response

Ms Nxumalo stated that there are governance structures that are used to resolve foster care issues. There is the National Foster Care Inter-sectorial Steering Committee which consists of the Judiciary, the Department of Justice, Home Affairs, SASSA and the DSD. The Steering Committee last met in February 2020. There is a virtual meeting that is scheduled for the end of May to discussion challenges faced. Representatives in these meetings are responsible to convey findings of the meeting with their constituencies. There are challenges where some do not feel comfortable implementing Section 159 for instance, the Judiciary. There are case flow management meetings and task-team meetings that track the foster care applications. SASSA is encouraging these teams to virtually meet on a provincial and local level.

ECD centres will remain closed in level three of the lockdown alert. This is in accordance with regulations however, DSD is working with the ECD sector to develop a risk assessment on how to phase-in the opening of ECD centres. It is proposed that ECD centres will only open at level one.

Provinces are ready to absorb the 1809 Social Workers as the provinces were consulted and stated how many Social Workers they needed and could absorb. There is a challenge with supervision - there should be eight Social Workers to one Supervisor. However, this ratio is doubled with the current pool of Social Workers let alone the newly appointed Social Workers. It is agreed that extra capacity is needed in this regard however, at this time, it is difficult to appoint new supervisors. Therefore, the Department is using group supervision for the newly appointed Social Workers. Despite this, the Social Workers have necessary tools of trade, PPE and Government Vehicles. This is also possible as only a third of workers from other sectors are returning to work making equipment available for use.

The Department’s legal advisor will provide a response regarding why the Department did not submit the February report to the Court and Centre for Child Law.

Mr Peter Netshipale, DSD Deputy Director-General: Integrated Development stated that the issues raised by the Committee regarding the coordination of food distribution are true. The DSD is currently distributing food on a daily basis. As of the 21 May 2020, 720 000 food parcels distributed. In rural areas, there are an average number of four people per household and about seven people in urban/informal settlement households. Thus, 2.7 million people have been fed which includes the food parcels provided by Solidarity Fund and the non-governmental organisations working with the Solidarity Fund.

There is a difference in food parcels distributed in rural areas and township areas. Rural areas have 12.5kg mealie meal, in the Metros food parcels contain a 10kg mealie meal. In the West of South Africa, food parcels do not contain mealie meal but rather their starch of choice. Therefore, the food parcels are somewhat customised per region. Areas that received food parcels on the 1 April, are now in need again. There is a serious challenge as demand exceeds the resources available. The database of hotspots and coordination is definitely needed. Monitoring of food distribution needs to be strengthened. A monitoring tool has been developed and implemented.

Mr Mchunu, Acting DG, stated that there is a great need for SASSA to pay the R350 grant and to do so quickly.  The Department is working with multiple stakeholders which protracts the application process for the grants. This verification process however, has saved SASSA R13.6 million by avoiding inclusion errors. There will be payments made in May to beneficiaries whose applications have been approved. SASSA needs to  upscale communication and will work with relevant stakeholders in this regard.  The food parcel distribution does require greater coordination and this is being worked on as well. The updated statistics of food distribution is now at 720 000 food parcels.

Minister’s closing remarks

Minister Zulu stated that a young woman in the Community Development Unit of the DSD passed away. It was not a COVID19 related fatality however, the Department is very sad to lose a young, dynamic, committed person.

A greater collaboration is needed between various stakeholders at this time. The collaboration must be based on mechanisms and consultations. The President has been leading in consultations - he has consulted widely as well as with leaders of the various political parties. The only way to deal with COVID19 is to collaborate.

The Department agrees that concrete plans that includes timeframes and budgets need to be presented to the Committee. A report on the first quarter needs to be looked at since many of the Departments programmes have been halted due to COVID19. The oversight of the Committee is strained due to COVID19 however it can be strengthened through information given to it by the Department.

Data on hotspots needs to be collected so that the Department can be ahead of the curve. Empirical data is readily available as seen in the NCCC and NATJOINTS meeting. Seeing how much information is out there shows that many programmes could have been informed by this and implemented long ago. COVID19 is an opportunity for the Department to be strengthened through the lessons learnt from the virus.

There is a need for a new radical rethink of food distribution in South Africa. This requires collaboration from society has a whole. Government has stated from the beginning of the State of Disaster that nobody should be left behind and nobody should go hungry. District development needs to be zoomed into. All services provided by DSD and it's entities need to promote and enhance the dignity of South Africans. This remains true for food distribution and even the long queues at SASSA offices.  The Department needs to wake up to the fact that it has the capacity and capability to get food distribution networks going in a manner that will give people dignity and promote self-sustainability for South Africans.

Adoption of Committee Report on the DSD Annual Performance Plan (APP)

Ms Yolisa Khanye, Social Development Portfolio Committee Content Advisor, ran through the recommendations of the APP Report that was brought forward for adoption. Due to time constraints, Ms Khanye was unable to present the APP Report however the Committee received the Report prior to the meeting.

Ms Abrahams (DA) stated that her points were covered in the observation section of the report and Ms Masango (DA) stated that she was happy with the recommendations.

Ms Sukers (ACDP) stated that the Report should include the need for SASSA to upscale operations and automations as part of the recommendations especially in the next 18 months as COVID19 is expected to last for about 18 months.

Ms Masango (DA) put forward the motion to adopt the report and Ms Manganye (ANC) seconded the motion. Ms Ngwenya (EFF) stated that the EFF contested the adoption of the Report.  The report was however, adopted.

Meeting Adjourned


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