Provincial Department of Social Development Budget: Committee Report

Social Development (WCPP)

24 July 2020
Chairperson: Mr G Bosman (DA)
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Meeting Summary

Audio: Provincial Department of Social Development Budget: Committee Report 

In a virtual meeting, Committee Members met to deliberate on Vote 7: Social Development, in the Schedule to the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation (COVID-19) Bill [B4 – 2020] and to consider and adopt the Committee Report on the Budget Vote.

The MEC said the Department is working under tough conditions because of the COVID-19 pandemic and this has caused a challenging fiscal environment. There have been additional food parcels so as to combat hunger around the Western Cape province.

Members questioned the funds allocated to old age homes, funds for personal protective equipment, funding for early childhood development, emergency funding for food relief and the reduction of services due to COVID19 and the effect on programmes such as sanitary pad provision. There was concern of the budget for social welfare services and the vacancies in the Department with their filing affected by the pandemic. Further questions probed funds rolled over and food parcels.

The Committee resolved that the Department must provide a detailed breakdown of the 100 vacancies and a detailed breakdown of the soup kitchens. 

The Committee adopted the Budget Vote and Its Report thereon.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the Members to the meeting and outlined the programme for the day. He also reminded Members of the importance of maintaining professionalism during the meeting.

Input by MEC and Department
The MEC for Social Development in the Western Cape, Ms Sharna Fernandez, introduced the ministerial team that was going to be part of the meeting. She mentioned that the Department is working under tough conditions because of the COVID-19 pandemic and this has caused a challenging fiscal environment. There have been additional food parcels so as to combat hunger around the Western Cape province.

Dr Robert Macdonald, Head of Western Cape Department of Social Development, presented on the food relief programme.  Money has been sourced from compensation funds together with the unspent funds from the Department.

The Chairperson tabled the Budget Report before the Committee and asked if there were any questions on the Report.


Ms L Botha (DA) asked about the money  that has been allocated to old age homes because there was R2.5 million allocated - she wanted to know what the money was for and what it pertained to and the PPE for Early Childhood Development (ECD). What were they going to get and have they been provided with the PPEs?

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) wanted to know about page 135 of the report and wanted to get more detail in terms of emergency funding for food relief – was food parcels going to be provided or it is going to be soup kitchens? He also asked about the reduction of services that may not be provided because of the effects of COVID-19. Mr Mackenzie asked about the reduction of funds and if it meant that the programme of buying sanitary pads for the girl child is going to be put on hold. He also wanted if the Department is going to buy its own PPE or is it going to be a wide provincial scheme and the exact amount that the ECD is going to receive.

Ms W Philander (DA) asked about illegal ECDs that are operating and if the Department has been able to provide assistance in those instances.

The Chairperson asked the ministerial team to respond to the questions that were raised by the Members.

Response by Department

Mr Charles Jordan, Chief Director: Social Welfare, Western Cape Department of Social Development, responded on the question of R2.5 million for old age homes and said that the money is specifically for outputs related to the control of old age homes. Where protocol is not followed, there will be training provided and the other part is for relief staff that are assisting.

On the issue of ECDs, the Department has provided assistance to ECDs on various levels especially in assessments to make sure that they are complying with the rules and regulations. There is an ongoing campaign which focuses on unregistered ECDs and they are being registered on a platform and assessed so that they can be measures to assist them.

In regards to PPE that will be purchased, it includes sanitisers, duct tape for children, adult masks, temperature guns, rubber gloves, bleach, cleaning materials etc. There are a few places, such as in Philippi, where there is no access to water and there are water tanks being provided together with PPE.

Most of the food parcels have been distributed and the remaining R202 000 is intended for buying additional items that will be used for the donations so as to make sure that the parcels have a variety of foodstuffs. The donations are likely to constitute 2 000 food parcels.

The sanitary pads were procured last year and they are in stock but the project was envisaged to target girls at schools not due to the lockdown. It means that there are delays and once the schools are open, the project will be rolled out.

The Chairperson asked if Members had any follow up questions or wanted more clarity.

Ms R Windvogel (ANC) asked about page 135 and the details of the first adjustment. She said that the budget for social welfare services is of serious concern. What are the number of vacancies available? Will the vacancies be affected by the pandemic?

Mr Mackenzie asked for clarity on the ECD development grant which was listed on page 134 of the report. He wanted to get an understanding or know if there is anything being done to make sure that the ECDs get assistance.

Dr Macdonald responded by saying that there are about 100 vacancies but the exact figure will be provided to the Committee in writing. Potentially, some posts might not be filled due to budget cuts. It is a matter of seeing how much the budget cuts are going to affect vacancies. 

In terms of the question asked by Mr Mackenzie, the Department received about R8 million for ECD infrastructure and R2 million has been spent in April, May and June. The balance has been reprioritised for the PPE.

Ms Windvogel asked about the rollover on page 133 - what was the actual amount of the rollover and how many households will benefit?

Mr Mackenzie asked about the food parcels - will R200 000 be left and will it be enough?

Ms Botha also asked for clarity on the Department's plan to ensure that the same people did not repetitively receive food parcels while others did not receive anything.

The Department responded that on the rollover, some of it would have been spent on compensation but the bulk of it declared to National Treasury. Treasury gave permission for the money to be used for food relief projects. If people tested positive and they need to self isolate, then the Department of Health can contact the Department of Social Development so that those people can receive food parcels. The amounts were allocated to additional support to community kitchens and other NPOs providing hot foods to communities. A list of beneficiaries is also available should the Committee request the document.

The Department still continues to fund feeding schemes around the province. The Department has also met with Treasury and is in the process of gathering information on the different needs for each community. Funding has however started to dry up. SASSA has allocated about R200 000 to beneficiaries and it has been paid as an additional source during this pandemic. Data is being gathered so that people do not receive food parcels twice at the disadvantage of others in communities. The Department has done assessments of those who have received parcels but it does take time and slows down the process and this is the downfall of trying to get data so as to avoid double dipping by people, but it can also not be avoided that some people are going to benefit twice or thrice.

The Department has not yet communicated with ECDs as it has only received the ECD conditional grant framework plan recently and had to submit the business plan to the national Department of Social Development. As soon as the document is sent to the national level then there will be communication with ECDs.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for the work it has been doing during the lockdown period.

The Department was excused so that the Committee could adopt the Budget Vote.

Budget Vote consideration
The Chairperson read the Report to Members so that they could vote and adopt the Report.

Ms Windvogel evoked a Standing Rule and did not accept the Report.

The DA was in support of the Report.

The Committee resolved that the Department must provide a detailed breakdown of the 100 vacancies and a detailed breakdown of the soup kitchens. 

The Budget Vote Report was adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.



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