21 Jan 2021
The Standing Committee on Social Development met on a virtual platform for a briefing by the Western Cape Department of Social Development on the food relief programme and support given to people with disabilities.
The Committee was supposed to meet with the Western Cape Regional South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) on the progress made in addressing the backlog for the Temporal Disability Grant applications in the province. The Agency sent an apology and was not in attendance because it had to participate in a roadshow with the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu. Members expressed dissatisfaction about Agency’s growing disregard for the Standing Committee. This frustration had been fuelled by the Agency’s unresponsiveness to the Committees’ requests for information that had been made at a meeting the previous year. One of the things Members had asked for was the ten-point plan, which the Agency said it was developing, to address the backlog of over 53 000 temporary disability grants that needed to be processed in the Western Cape. The deadline for the submission of the information was Monday, 08 February 2021. After that information was not submitted, another follow-up email was sent on 09 February 2021, but the Agency did not respond. The Committee expressed its disappointment that the Agency was not cooperative because it was the lead department that was meant to provide aid during this humanitarian crisis.
The Western Cape Department of Social Development outlined the support offered to people with disabilities and its food relief programme. The programme had budgeted R160 999 000 in the 2019/20 financial year and R164 177 000 in the 2020/21 financial year to support person with disabilities. The categories that were funded were residential facilities, protective workshops, social service organisations as well as day care and special care centres. Cape Winelands/Overberg received the bulk of the budgetary allocation while West Coast received the least because it had less formal residential care environments. Some of the programme priorities were personal protective equipment and COVID support in the form of funding to all protective workshops to address protective equipment and shortfalls due to COVID as well as vaccine roll-out in coordination with the Department of Health to prioritise people with disabilities that are engaged in any of the Department’s programmes for people with disabilities. The Community Nutrition and Development Centres in the Western Cape that provided food relief throughout the province were funded with a total of R24 118 296.20.
Members referred to the challenges mentioned that arose due to COVID-19 and asked how the pandemic affected food security in the province. How had the Department dealt with it? Will the Department also assist the beneficiaries and staff members of the Community Nutritional Development Centre?
Members asked if it was individuals or organisations that accessed the services. They also asked if the call for proposals for organisation applications had closed and if new organisations could still be funded.
Members also wanted to what the collaborative approach to food security was in the Western Cape.
The Department explained that services were provided by non-governmental organisations and were accessed by members of the public. The Department invited organisations to apply for funding at the end of every three-year funding cycle. Applications for the current funding cycle had been advertised and concluded. However, new organisation could potentially apply for funding where a gap was created by an existing organisation that no longer had capacity or if additional funding had been allocated to the Department. The process would be finalised in the new financial year and the Standing Committee would be informed and provided with a list of all the organisations that were successful. The Department also indicated that there were multiple coordinating structures across the three spheres of government to address the pandemic and food relief in the province. Hotspot teams had been set up both at the provincial level and the health district level to address the challenges faced in that regards. The teams had representatives from multiples departments, spheres of government and civil society.
Opening remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming the Members, guest delegates and everyone in attendance. He reminded Members about the rules of engagement for virtual meetings.
The Chairperson informed Members that an apology had been received from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). He indicated that the present meeting had been set up as a follow-up meeting to the one that took place on 21 January 2021, where the Committee interrogated the support provided for people receiving disability grants as well as the backlog in the temporary disability grants. In the Western Cape, there were more than 53 000 outstanding applications that needed to be processed by the end of the financial year. The Committee had met with SASSA and the City of Cape Town for them to explain their plans. The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) had also been invited to brief the Committee on the food relief programmes they had made available to vulnerable people, especially those living with disabilities. This was as result of the failings of national government that required provincial government to step in to help support the most vulnerable. However, during that meeting there had not been enough time for the DSD to present, and the Department thus had been called back to present.
The Chairperson provided background and said the Committee had been trying to engage SASSA for the information requested from the previous meeting. Information had also been requested the previous year but remained outstanding. The deadline for the submission of the information was Monday, 08 February 2021; another follow-up email had been sent on 09 February 2021 and SASSA had not responded. SASSA had asked that the meeting be rescheduled to a time when it could present an update and its plans on addressing the disability grant problem. The Chairperson said the meeting would be rescheduled. However, SASSA had been sent two requests for information detailing its plans, which remained unforthcoming. Unfortunately, SASSA was busy with a roadshow with Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development. Since 21 January they had not had time to compile the information requested.
The Chairperson handed over to the DSD to give its presentation.
Support offered to people with disabilities: Briefing by DSD
Ms Leana Goosen, Chief Director: Social Welfare and Restorative Services, Western Cape Department of Social Development, spoke about support offered to people with disabilities. Ms Goosen said that the programme budget to support person with disabilities was R160.999 million in the 2019/20 financial year and R164.177 million in the 2020/21 financial year. The categories that were funded were residential facilities, protective workshops, social service organisations as well as day care and special care centres. Cape Winelands/ Overberg received the bulk of the budgetary allocation while West Coast received the least because it had less formal residential care environments. That was also reflected in the pie chart on slide 20 of the presentation.
Ms Goosen covered the programme priorities. They were as follows:
- To strengthen community-based day care programmes for adults with disabilities, to standardise the service and to improve the quality of service.
- To pilot the registration of Partial Care Facilities/Day Care Centres for children with disabilities in collaboration with early child development (ECD)/Partial Care Directorate to give effect to the legislative mandate of Chapter five of the Children’s Act (Act 38 of 2005).Food would be provided at all those facilities.
- To promote and continue advocating for disability mainstreaming across the Department (Disability Desk).
- To ensure access to victim empowerment services through joint effort with Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP).
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) and Coronavirus (COVID-19) support: funding to all protective workshops to address PPE and shortfalls due to COVID-19 and COVID-19 management directives were issued to all centres. An additional R15 000 had been given to each organisation across the board.
- Vaccine rollout: Coordination with the Department of Health (DoH) to prioritise people with disabilities that are engaged in any of the DSD programmes for people with disabilities.
Mr R Mackenzie (DA) asked where individuals and organisations accessed the services. How were they accessed? Given the end of the year was a few weeks away, was there still funds for new organisations to access those services and would they do it?
Ms N Bakubaku-Vos (ANC) referred to the challenges mentioned that arose due to COVID-19 and asked how COVID-19 affected food security in the province. How had the DSD dealt with it?
Secondly, she asked how many community and household gardens were supported. What plans were in place to increase the number of household gardens seeing that most families had lost resources and income?
She also wanted to know whether the DSD would assist the beneficiaries and staff members of the Community Nutritional Development Centre (CMDC’s).
Ms W Philander (DA) asked the DSD to provide further details on the collaborative approach to food security in the Western Cape. She wanted details on the collaborative approach between national and provincial government and the real impact it had.
The Chairperson said that Ms Goosen could answer some of the questions asked while Mr Mzwandile Hewu, Chief Director: Community and Partnership Development, Western Cape Department of Social Development, would cover the rest in his presentation.
Ms Goosen responded to Mr Mackenzie’s question, which was relevant to her presentation. She said the DSD had a three-year funding cycle where proposals were put out to organisations for them to submit their business plans for funding. If there was a specific need, the DSD approached organisations within the cycle to address any shortfalls. Currently, the DSD had reached the end of the three-year cycle so the call for proposals for the next three financial years were being finalised, applicants were being screened and funds were being allocated. She was sure that if there was a new organisation that could deliver on the outcomes publicised in the media they would have applied. The process would be finalised in the new financial year and the Standing Committee would be informed and provided with a list of all the organisations that were successful.
Mr Mackenzie asked a follow-up question. He asked if there was a space for individuals to access the services through organisations or if that was completely closed off. He also referred to disabled individuals who were not part of non-government organisations (NGO’s) and asked how they would access those services.
Ms R Windvogel (ANC) asked for clarity on Ms Goosen’s answer. Was the call for proposals closed? Would the DSD send out notices inviting applications? When was the call for applications sent out before the end of the cycle?
Ms Goosen responded to Ms Windvogel and said that the call for proposals was sent out in the middle of the previous year. It was released on all media platforms as well as on the DSD website. All current providers had been notified, thus applications were currently closed. However, should there be an organisation or individual that would approach the DSD now, they could be referred to an organisation for collaboration, but the decision would lie with individual agency.
On the recipients of the services, Ms Goosen explained that they could access any of the services at any given time and did not need to be enrolled in one of the services by the time the funds were allocated. All services were open to members of the public throughout the contract period which could be accessed in their areas.
Dr Robert Macdonald, Head of Department, Western Cape Department of Social Development, responded on the question about vulnerable members and said the call for proposals was advertised in September 2020. The DSD received them and the closing date could be provided to Members. The DSD had the beginning of the year, which was the last quarter of the financial year, to finalise all the applications and determine the ones that met the criteria and could be accommodated within the available budget. The allocations were approved during February. The allocations were finalised in the form of a transfer payment agreement signed between the DSD and the NGOs being funded. He emphasised that at present the allocations had been finalised. Sometimes there was funding leftover at the end of the financial year because an NGO decided they could not continue operating and closed. Therefore, the funding that the DSD would have transferred to them would then be saved. In other instances, the organisations found they were unable to use all the funds provided and, in those cases, funds would be saved. It was under those circumstances that the possibility to fund additional organisations towards the end of the year arose. At present, the programme office allocated funding based on the budget and the successful applicants. It was a standard process the DSD embarked on in terms of its NGO funding policy that aligned with the national funding policy that was adopted at a national level, which resulted after several years of work. The funding cycles lasted three years and calls for new proposals were put out at the end of each cycle.
Food relief: Briefing by DSD
Mr Hewu provided the Standing Committee with an update on the food interventions since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic and national disaster that came into effect in March 2020.
He gave background and detailed that on December 2019 the world awoke to the escalating crisis of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). It reached pandemic status, with infections across the globe and subsequent deaths. On 14 March 2020, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, declared a national state of disaster due to outbreak of the COVID-19. On 23 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a 21-day national lockdown to keep residents at home starting from 26 March 2020.
From the adjusted level five of the national lockdown up until level three, thousands of people have lost their jobs. Creating new opportunities in the form of job creation had become increasingly challenging given the strain that the economy undertook, causing job losses in business, the private sector and industries. That resulted in widespread food insecurity. Across all these levels of the nationwide lockdown the economy could not maintain jobs. Many people were rendered socio-economically vulnerable and food insecure.
Mr Hewu outlined the criteria for distribution of food relief. Food relief was given to households that were affected by COVID-19 infections in the following instances:
- Where a member(s) of the family who tested positive for the virus and was/were are in quarantine in their home.
- A household where a member of the family tested positive for the virus and had insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period.
- A person who was on medication or who suffers from a chronic illness and had insufficient means to sustain themselves; was assessed and referred by a local clinic or registered health practitioner.
- A person and their household who had insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period, who was assessed and referred by a registered humanitarian relief agency, DSD, registered NPO or a municipal manager. In this instance, the elderly, child-headed houses and grant-awaiting beneficiaries would be prioritised.
Mr Hewu explained that members of the public who needed food during the lockdown had to call the following numbers and request a food parcel:
- Toll free 0800 220 250.
- “Please Call Me” (PCM) 079 769 1207
- Email: [email protected]
The food requests were consolidated at the Call Centre into DSD regions and sent to the relevant region for assessment. The full details of those who qualified for food parcels had their full details sent to the contracted Humanitarian Relief Organisation for distribution of the food parcel.
The DSD food relief was characterised by the following interventions:
- Food parcel intervention.
- Community Nutrition and Development Centres.
- Support to Community Based Kitchens; and
- Support to the homeless
Mr Hewu gave details on the Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDC’s). He explained that the programme also provided daily hot meals to 5 000 beneficiaries at the 20 old CNDC’s that were funded by National DSD during 2019/20. Existing DSD-funded feeding sites were also up-scaled and provided with an additional 1 890 meals. Furthermore, the DSD supported 15 beneficiary organisations that provided food relief to 10 000 beneficiaries via FoodForward SA, which provided these beneficiary organisations with ingredients to prepare hot meals. There had been a further financial injection of R3.3 million to some CNDC’s that had experienced increased demand for food, which reached a further 1 600 beneficiaries. The CNDC’s in the Western Cape that provided food relief throughout the province were funded with a total of R24 118 296.20.
The DSD provided funding to 200 community-based kitchens throughout the province to provide food relief to vulnerable communities to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Through these kitchens, more than 58 324 beneficiaries throughout the province were reached.
The DSD had also set up support for the homeless. Following the declaration of the state of disaster and the subsequent countrywide lockdown that came into effect on 26 March 2020, municipalities had to establish temporary homeless shelters to accommodate and feed the homeless during this time. The National Department of Social Development (NDSD) assisted by contracting a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) called Kirinox that provided much needed resources and relief to all provinces to the value of R50million for food and non-food items to the temporary shelters. The Western Cape allocation of that contribution was an estimated R6.5million. The DSD in the Western Cape requisitioned centrally for all temporary shelters in the Western Cape and stored the items at the Department’s warehouse at 49 Hope Street, Cape Town. Relief goods included dry foods, hygiene packs, sanitisers, personal protective equipment, blankets, and mattresses, which were supplied to District Municipalities upon request. The dry foods included porridge, orange juice, chicken casserole, pasta and mince and beef/ chicken soup – which the municipalities cooked for their homeless persons. Mr Hewu referred to a table that listed the interventions that would commence in January 2021 because of the R 51.2 million allocated to the DSD on 27 November 2020 during the second Adjustment Budget.
Mr Hewu also stressed the importance of collaborative efforts. He explained that the food relief interventions mentioned above were distributed to beneficiaries by the following institutions:
- South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)
- Community-based individuals, groups and churches
- Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
- Humanitarian Relief Organisations
- Private Sector
The Chairperson asked if the reference to personal protective equipment (PPE) was per person or per NGO. He also asked about the new funding – whether NGO’s would receive funding beyond 01 April.
He gave the entity the chance to also respond to the questions that were asked earlier in the meeting.
Dr Macdonald said that the funding had been provided per NGO and those amounts were to enable the NGO’s to ensure that their staff members and distribution points were properly equipped with PPE’s so they could serve the public safely. Those included sanitisers, masks and cleaning products – to ensure the spaces they were serving from were COVID-19 compliant.
Dr Macdonald said that the coordination with the ward committee’s and other structures also happened through the hotspot approach adopted by the province to address the pandemic. The hotspot teams were stepped up for each of the Department of Health (DoH) district areas, which were led by the Head of Department (HoD) of each team. The stakeholders in each hotspot were engaged. The hotspot teams comprised of representatives from each of the provincial departments and municipalities in question. There were also representatives from the wards, civil society and other local structures. The hotspot teams were tasked with helping the coordination of the implementation of the various services required for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those included the current vaccine rollout and the roll-out of safety measures by the delivery of masks to businesses and schools. The teams were also responsible for assisting with the coordination of campaigns that encouraged the wearing of masks and social distancing. They also oversaw the compliance enforcement by the City’s law enforcement agencies like the South African Police Service (SAPS), which was also represented in the teams.
The teams had played a role in steering and coordinating the provision of humanitarian relief in the form of food relief and related measures. The teams collected data on food relief in each area, which helped to break the province down into manageable sections. It enabled the DSD to focus on where the need arose, geographically. That provided a coordinating mechanism between the different spheres of government as well as between the government and community structures.
Dr Macdonald said that the City of Cape Town had its own interfacing structures on the metropolitans. Those structures and the community-based teams set up by the City coordinated their operations in each community and fed back into the hotspot teams. That was one of the structures that assisted in the coordination of food relief. In addition to those, there were provincial-level structures that reported to the Coronavirus Command Council that was a special Cabinet with all the district mayors, SAPS representatives and various other governmental entities that had been established under the Disaster Management Regulations. One sub-committee was the Humanitarian Relief Workstream, which was currently known as the Dignity and Wellbeing Workstream; it had also coordinated food relief as one of its tasks. The DSD had engagements at that level as well, where feedback was received from the hotspots on the food relief and humanitarian relief. The DSD also had representatives from SASSA and municipalities, which provided a high-level coordinating mechanism. That body had also worked with civil society to set up external structures to help the interface. One was the faith-based organisation forum set up in the province by religious leaders from across various religious denominations. The forum engaged with the province on a regular basis on aspects about how faith-based organisations could support the relief efforts. That presented an opportunity for the province to provide information that the religious leaders could report back to their communities. Likewise, the Western Cape Food Forum had been set up by civil society organisations and was coordinated by the Economic Development Partnership that met biweekly. There were multiple coordinating structures that had been set up both at the provincial level and the health district level in the form of the hotspot teams.
In response to the question about the impact on food security, Dr Macdonald said that the DSD had received a lot of data from the National Institute of Disease, which kept tabs on the national data of food security. Information was also received from DoH, where the DSD surveyed the frequency of cases of malnutrition presented at clinics and that data was received monthly and was used to target high-risk areas. So far there had not been a significant increase in cases of malnutrition in the clinics. That could potentially be due to the fact the people avoided clinics due to the COVID-19 risk. Thus, the figures were slightly skewed, and the information received from the DSD local offices, municipalities and civil society had to reflect that. The information was collected and combined to create a qualitative picture of the impact on food security in the province. Dr Macdonald indicated that the information received thus far, the combined efforts with SASSA’s COVID grants, the food relief programme, civil society’s efforts and the Department of Education (DoE) feeding scheme showed sufficient support in the system to address current needs. There were, however, some areas that created a gap that would require specific attention, but the risk was now the end of the COVID-19 relief grants as of the end of January. Applications would no longer be accepted by SASSA and the agency informed the DSD that it would continue to pay out the existing beneficiaries that had been approved until the end of the financial year in March. Thereafter, SASSA would not pay out the grants in the country.
Dr Macdonald indicated that the Western Cape had just under 400 000 recipients of the COVID relief grant and would no longer receive the grant as of the end of March 2021. The DSD anticipated an increase in need for food relief. Therefore, SASSA would have funding available for social relief of distress in the new financial year but would go back to pre-COVID-19 levels and would not go as far as what had been provided under the COVID relief grant.
On the challenges, Dr Macdonald said the DSD realised that pressure would mount on the food relied on programme. There was a lot more money available at present for the food relief programme as compared to what had been available the previous year. This was because of the R51 million that had been provided by the National DSD, which would be of great assistance. In addition, R16 million internal funding had been re-prioritised during the adjustment period in December 2020. He hoped that enough food relief would be channelled into the system to last throughout the year to avoid a crisis when the COVID-19 grants cease. The DSD might also need to reinstate the arrangement that had been in place during the first COVID-19 lockdown if food security got strained. Under that arrangement, additional funds had been provided to the municipalities by the district municipalities and by the department of local government in the province. This enabled the municipalities to play as role as they were on the frontline and faced most of the pressure when food shortages occurred.
On community household gardens, Dr Macdonald said that the Department of Agriculture (DoA) segment was leading the food security project and plan for the province. It considered how the province could migrate from food aid to food security because the amount of funds currently allocated to food relief may not be sustainable given the financial situation the country found itself in. If funds were no longer available to sustain the number of grants and food aid currently in the system, then citizens would need to become more self-reliant through food gardens and other income generating opportunities.
On the provision of vaccines to beneficiaries of CNDC’s, Dr Macdonald said that it would not be on the cards at present as the vaccines had to be stored correctly and administered by health professionals. Therefore, the CNDC’s could be expected to store and administer vaccines correctly. Vaccines for the public would need to be provided through the DoH’s facilities and not through NGO’s that were not equipped to do so adequately. The DoH was still working out the details because the flow of vaccines into the country was still be worked out, particularly after the setbacks with the recent vaccine that had impacted the planning and timelines for the vaccine rollout.
On the collaborations between provincial and national government, the DSD had a lot of coordination with SASSA through the food coordination team under the humanitarian workstream mentioned above as well as with the Solidarity Fund, which provided significant funding and food parcel support within the province. There had thus been a lot of coordination in that regard. Dr Macdonald said that there would need to be greater coordination going forward, particularly around the balance of the relevant contributions and investments from SASSA, national, provincial and local government. The provincial and local spheres of government did not specifically have a legislated mandate to provide social security or social relief. That was legislated for SASSA to perform under the Social Assistance Act (Act 13 of 2004).
On the names of the NGO’s, Dr Macdonald stated that the list would be provided in writing. The names of funded NGOs were provided to Parliament and stakeholders in the form of an annexure to the annual performance report every year. NGO’s operated from addresses different from their business addresses. Therefore, information on their distribution points would need to be provided to the Committee.
On the food parcels, the DSD learnt it was an expensive method of delivering food relief but need to be carried out during the hard lockdown, as people could not travel to receive the parcels. The idea had also been to avoid crowds of people queuing at food relief feeding schemes. However, the reality was that food parcels did cost more money to prepare and deliver, and it took longer to get to people because of the process of individual deliveries. The lesson learned was that food parcels were reserved for people who could not access feeding schemes in their local communities because of geographic distance, self-isolation, frailty, or other reasons.
On the monitoring and ensuring value for money, Dr Macdonald said the details would be explained through the monitoring system. When the DSD issued funding to organisations, it was required to provide a breakdown of all costs involved and what the money would be spent on, which included detail of the products that would be provided. That allowed the DSD to ensure a benchmark for money spent on per kilogram of maize, for example. That way all organisations would be funded the same; hence the importance of detailed business plans. He noted that the NGO’s offered extremely low prices, which were much cheaper than tendered services or retailed options. There was definitely value for money as the NGO’s also brought a lot of their resources to the table such as the use of volunteers, corporate donors, etc. The economy of the process was outstanding in terms of value for money.
On registration and donation of funds, Dr Macdonald stated that the only registration for food feeding schemes was either as an NGO or through the necessary documentation for a trust but there was no registration requirement to render actual services of food relief like there was to render drug treatment services. The feeding schemes registration status was immaterial to them rendering the services, but it did matter in terms of providing funds as there needed to be a legal entity to track in terms of the Public Finances Management Act (PFMA). Registered organisations could be funded to distribute foodstuff to other organisations as the ones given in the presentation, where informal arrangements are made among residents to provide food without an existing NGO. That was how the DSD supplied those grass-root levels, which was completely legitimate if the registered funded organisations kept track of the food to ensure it reached the proper beneficiaries. The Auditor-General of South Africa also checks this.
On insourcing of child and youth care facilities, Dr Macdonald said it had been fully completed and the Secure Care facilities had been completely insourced in the province. It was necessary when BOSASA got liquidated and those services needed to be taken over. Vulnerable children were still being taken in. Dr Macdonald indicated that there was a call centre that was the provincial call centre for social development that had its number, and people could report it to the local social development office or to the child line.
The Chairperson invited Members to ask follow-up questions.
Mr Mackenzie asked for clarity about the R2 million norms and standards for the 9600. He wanted to know if it was per NGO.
He also referred to the R51.2 million additional funding received in November 2020 and asked whether the organisations that received that funding were the same ones that had previously received funding from the R53 million or if they were new organisations. Was a new process to begin in the new financial year on 01 April and was there new money for that? Was there still an opportunity for new NGO’s to apply or were they to wait for the next three-year cycle?
Mr Hewu responded to the Chairperson’s question about the allocation of PPE’s and clarified that it was to NGO’s and not to individuals. He also indicated that the NGO’s had received major support from the Solidarity Fund for PPE’s that included gloves, sanitisers and everything they needed. That money was meant to close the gaps left after all the existing support had been given. It was not for individuals but for organisations to mend the gaps in terms of their PPE requirements. The DSD has requested them to collaborate to ensure they did not buy as individuals but as areas in order to take advantage of the economies of scale.
On the funding, Mr Hewu said he had indicated that the DSD has used a combination of new organisations and organisations that had previously been funded. When the R51 million had been received in November 2020 the DSD also used some of the organisations that had been previously funded because they did very well during the first phase. The Western Cape Food Forum had also been used and the DSD had identified new organisations that could help with the distribution of the R51 million to ensure that there were many organisations to spread the service delivery throughout the province. It was mindful to cover many areas that would not have been covered had it only focused on the funded NGO’s.
He further indicated that for the CNDC’s, no new organisations were accepted. His colleagues had already explained that the call for proposals took place after a three cycle. The new cycle was to begin in April 2021 and the calls had been advertised in June 2020. The adverts ran and closed in September 2020. All organisations were expected to apply until the end of September. That process was for the financial years 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2022/24. Any organisation, even if it had been registered three weeks ago, could not apply for funding because the process had closed. The organisations the DSD considered were ones under the COVID-19 disaster state. There was no call for proposals but the organisations that had capacity to assist and had the experience were identified and a submission was put together to fund those organisations from the R51 million. That money was released to the organisations in February 2021 and this would continue until the end of March by which time the R51 million ought to have been paid to all the organisations, the list of which would be provided to the Committee. However, the services would continue beyond the financial year. In summary, the R51 million must be paid in full to all the organisations that were going to support the DSD right through into the new financial year.
Dr Macdonald added that if during the three-year financial cycle an organisation could no longer render the services for whatever reason or the DSD received additional funding, then there would be the potential for new organisations to be accepted in the middle of the funding cycle but only under these circumstances. The system was flexible.
The Chairperson thanked the DSD for its presentation and responses, and he concluded the questions from Members. He thanked the Department for always being available to meet the Committee and expressed disappointment that SASSA did not avail themselves to brief the Committee nor provide the information requested, as they were the lead entity that was meant to provide aid during this humanitarian crisis.
Ms Sharna Fernandez, Western Cape Social Development MEC, and the DSD were excused from the meeting.
Mr Mackenzie said the DSD indicated they would provide a list of all the NGO’s that had received funding. He suggested the Committee request a list of organisations that received funding in the new cycle as well as their distribution points and dates. He would like an identical list for the organisations that received PPEs.
Ms Windvogel referred to the letter sent by Ms Bakubaku-Vos about the Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged (CPOA) old age homes and asked if there had been any progress on that matter.
The Chairperson said that in the last meeting a resolution was taken to add it to the Committee’s agenda and the meeting needed to be scheduled and the stakeholders invited. In that meeting, the Committee had been pressed for time because it wanted an update from SASSA as many people had been contacting about the lapsing of their temporary disability grants. The meeting would be scheduled after an application to the Programme Head.
The Chairperson asked if there were any other recommendations on the presentation received in the present meeting.
Ms Bakubaku-Vos said that she would comment after the list of the organisations had been sent by the DSD, as she was concerned about the rural areas. Those areas were very vulnerable and people there were not working and needed food parcels and CNDC’s. She felt a majority of the CNDC’s were based in the metros but would comment after receiving the list of the CNDC’s.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should use the numbers on the slides given and make sure members of the community were aware of the toll-free number 0800 220250, the PCM number and the email address.
The Chairperson asked Members to agree on how to deal with SASSA.
Ms Windvogel said another meeting had to be arranged, as it was important that the Committee meet it. SASSA had not indicated that it would not attend a meeting, as the reason they communicated for not attending the present meeting was understandable.
The Chairperson said that it was not the date that was an issue but the non-response to the Committee’s requests for information. At the meeting on 21 January 2021, SASSA indicated that all the information requested would be sent. The Committee had asked for a list of doctors in the province and where they were located, regular updates on the backlog of the temporary disability grants, the documentation outlining the agreement between SASSA and the DoH and the ten-point plan they developed to address the problem. That information was due by Monday, 08 February 2021. A follow-up email had been sent but the information still had not been sent to the Committee. A follow-up meeting had been scheduled but the Chairperson was concerned at the disregard for the Committee shown by SASSA. He said that reliance should be placed on Ms Bakubaku-Vos and Ms Windvogel, who could speak to Ms Zulu to request her intervention.
Mr Mackenzie and Ms Philander agreed with the Chairperson’s suggestion.
The Chairperson added that Ms Bakubaku-Vos had a direct line to Ms Zulu but added that he might go to one of the public events to ask Ms Zulu to engage with the Committee.
The Chairperson concluded that a date to meet with CPOA and SASSA would be scheduled.
The meeting was adjourned.
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