Priorities for 2001: Departments of Home Affairs, Health & Social Development

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Meeting report

Ethan Frome

SOCIAL SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
27 February 2001
STRATEGIES and LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMMES: DEPARTMENTS OF HOME AFFAIRS, HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: BRIEFING

Chairperson: Ms L Jacobus

Documents Handed Out:
Department of Social Development: Key Priorities 2001 (See Appendix 1)
Department of Health: Priorities & Strategic Health Programmes 2001 (See Appendix 2)

Email
info@pmg.org.za for the following documents from Home Affairs:
Memo on the Objects of SA Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2001
Draft SA Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2001
SA Citizenship Act, No. 88 of 1995
Memo on the Objects of Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill, 2001
Draft Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill, 2001
Births and Deaths Registration Act, No. 51 of 1992
Memo on the Objects of Films and Publications Amendment Bill, 2001
Draft Films and Publications Amendment Bill, 2001
Films and Publications Act, No. 65 of 1996
Memo on the Objects of Refugees Amendment Bill, 2001
Refugees Amendment Bill, 2001
Refugees Act, No. 130 of 1998

Department of Home Affairs delegation: Deputy Director General I Lambinon, Ministerial Advisor M Ambrosini, Head Legal Advisor Advocate K Malatji

SUMMARY
The priorities for 2001 and legislative programmes of the Departments of Home Affairs, Social Development and Health were discussed.

Home Affairs intend to process the following Bills: the Immigration Bill, the Aliens Control Act Amendment Bill, South African Citizenship Amendment Bill, Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill, the Films and Publications Amendment Bill, and the Marriages Amendment Bill. The Electoral Bill is also to be tabled this year.

It is the Home Affairs Minister's strategic view that administration of the population register and related tasks be devolved to local governments. Immigration tasks will be handled by a new entity, to be known as the "SA Immigration Service".

MINUTES
Department of Home Affairs
Deputy Director General Lambinon noted how the Department's scope of functions and responsibilities had greatly expanded as the country had been transformed, particularly by the new emphasis on migration-related issues. The Department today has two main line functions:
- administration of the population register and related tasks, and
- immigration, encompassing a huge range of duties.

It is the Minister's strategic view that in order to optimize service delivery within the framework of allocated resources, the tasks in the first category ("Civic Services") be devolved to municipalities and local governments, and that those in the second be handled by a new entity, to be known as the "SA Immigration Service". In this framework these services would still be delivered under the aegis of the Department, which would remain the responsible (though "down-sized") management and oversight agency.

Concerning the Department's 2001 legislative programme, Mr Lambinon noted that legislation to be processed includes:
The Immigration Bill, currently being dealt with by the Minister at Cabinet level;
The Aliens Control Act Amendment Bill, which will be subsumed into the Immigration Bill if that is passed;
The SA Citizenship Amendment Bill;
The Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill;
The Refugees Amendment Bill;
The Films and Publications Amendment Bill;
The Marriages Amendment Bill.

Mr Ambrosini continued, noting that the Electoral Bill would likely be tabled next year, but that a task team for policy formulation on it would be active this year. He also noted that the structure of the Immigration Bill is for a relatively "short bill", with extensive implementing regulations, and added that once the Immigration Bill is itself tabled, simultaneously with the latest White Paper on immigration, the Department would like to give an integrated presentation to all stakeholders.

Advocate Malatji stated that most of the other currently proposed legislation is of the nature of "technical amendments", with the following highlights:
-The SA Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to do away with recognition of "customary marriages" in this context;
-The Refugees Amendment Bill seeks to establish that in order to qualify as a refugee, the individual's home country must be wholly, and not just regionally, problematic, so that the possibility of "internal flight" and "domestic refuge" would preclude one's qualification as a refugee in South Africa;
-The Films and Publications Amendment Bill aims to curb child pornography.

Discussion
The Chair then posed several questions. In reply, Dr Ambrosini indicated that the process of formulating the White Paper on Immigration had begun in 1994, and that its finalization was proving long and arduous.

Dr Ambrosini also noted that the latest version of the Immigration Bill is dated 16 August 2000, and that the Minister is hopeful that it will be approved by Cabinet shortly. He indicated that liaison had occurred at both departmental and cabinet levels between the Department and the Department of Local Government regarding the proposed devolution of delivery of "civic services" by municipalities and that this process, endorsed by the President, would be ongoing.

Finally, Mr Lambinon confirmed that it is the Department's intention that all the legislation noted above, except for the Electoral Bill and possibly the Aliens Control Act Amendment Bill, be enacted this year.

[Ed. Note: The presentations by the Departments of Social Development and Health were not minuted. However their presentation documents are attached as appendices.]

Appendix 1:
Department Of Social Development: Priorities for 2001
27 February 2001

CONTEXT
Name change to "Social Development"
- Integrated approach
- Development orientation
Restructure of department
- Enhance integration and co-ordination within department
- Strengthen social security, communication, financial management
Broaden the skills base in the department

CLUSTER PRIORITIES
- Poverty alleviation and integrated service delivery in nodal points of Integrated - Sustainable Rural Development Strategy and Urban Renewal Programme
- Strengthening response to HIV/AIDS
- Improving social security
- Co-ordination on disaster management

DEPARTMENTAL PRIORITIES: SOCIAL SECURITY
Improving access and quality of service delivery in the area of social security:
- Development and implementation of norms and standards and revised social assistance policies
- Improving services at pay points
- Amendments to Social Assistance Regulations
- Communication campaigns on eligibility for grants
- Improving functioning of Operations Centre

Addressing urgent problems with SOCPEN and replacing SOCPEN in the medium term:
- Improving functionality of SOCPEN
- Designing replacement system
- Work with Home Affairs on HANIS/Smartcard
Policy options for Comprehensive Social Security System
Streamlining disaster relief procedures

DEPARTMENTAL PRIORITIES:
POVERTY RELIEF

- Consolidation of the existing Poverty Relief Programme and capacitating National, Provinces and projects
- Implementation of 2001/2002 business plan, including alignment with the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Strategy and the Urban Renewal Programme.
- Implementation of integrated programme to secure household food security and improved nutritional status of children
Implementation of revised monitoring and evaluation system and documenting lessons learned to date

DEPARTMENTAL PRIORITIES:
HIV/ AIDS
- Complete Social Development sector strategy for HIV/AIDS:
- Drawing existing initiatives into a comprehensive programme for national and provincial departments and aligning response to the National HIV/AIDS and STD Strategic Plan of Government for 2000-2005
- Implementation of Home-Based/Community-Based care models and National Integrated Plan for Children
- Strengthening current community-based programmes, with focus on orphans and youth
- Enhancing our information and research:
- Co-ordination with Health, StatsSA, Home Affairs on information and research and establish database on projects and programmes
- Strengthening department's capacity:
- Establishing HIV/AIDS directorate and training of officials

DEPARTMENTAL PRIORITIES:
TRANSFORMING WELFARE SERVICES
- Audit of infrastructure and service delivery of subsidised institutions, prioritising old age homes and children's institutions
- Better monitoring of organisations registered as Not-For-Profit Organisations
Finalising the review of the Financing Policy

DEPARTMENTAL PRIORITIES:
RIGHTS OF VULNERABLE GROUPS
- Implement short term recommendations of Committee of Inquiry into Abuse and Neglect of Older Persons
- Facilitating finalisation of Comprehensive Child Care legislation
- Child Protection strategy for social development sector
- Youth development strategy for social development sector
Transformation of protective workshops

DEPARTMENTAL PRIORITIES:
POPULATION ISSUES
- Finalise review of national and provincial population units
- In addition to information and research on HIV/AIDS, research on population trends, issues of migration and issues of teenage pregnancy
- Strengthen Population Information and Resource Centre

CROSS-CUTTING PRIORITIES
- Fundamental review all existing welfare legislation
- Audit all pilot projects since 1996
- Focus partnerships with local government, FBOs and business
- Institutionalise monitoring and evaluation
- Joint communication programme with provinces on critical social development issues and events
- Improving budgeting and financial management and address under-budgeting
- Improving knowledge,skills and professional conduct of officials
- Improving the quality, access and dissemination of information on all critical areas of social development

LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME
- Adoption of Welfare Governance Bill:
- Bill establishes advisory and consultation mechanism for Minister on social development issues
- Bill was published for comment in 1999 and 2000
- Public consultations held by Portfolio Committee in February 2001
- Formal consideration of Bill scheduled for 28 February 2001
- Probation Services Amendment Bill:
- Deals with handling of children in conflict with the law
- Will be introduced in current parliamentary session
- Fund-Raising Amendment Bill
- Aims to rationalise the boards and funds dealing with disaster relief
- First draft in progress for introduction to Parliament this year
- Bill on Status of Older Persons:
- Replace the Aged Persons Act and align with international practice
- Also take into account recommendations of Committee of Inquiry into Abuse and Neglect
- Draft policy and bill in progress for consultation with stakeholders
- Bill should be introduced to Parliament in second half of year

CONCLUSION
- Focus of past year has been on practical implementation of Ten Point Plan and paradigm shift to social development
-New year will focus on integration within department and with all spheres of government and continuing to improve our service delivery

Ten Point Programme of Action
-
Restoration of the ethics of care and human development into all our programmes. This requires the urgent rebuilding of family, community and social relations in order to promote social integration.
- Implementation of an integrated poverty eradication strategy that provides direct benefits to those who are in greatest need within a sustainable development approach. In other words, addressing poverty in rural and urban areas with the prime beneficiaries being women, youth and children. This requires that all other programmes support this orientation.
- Development of a comprehensive social security system that links contributory and non-contributory schemes and prioritises the most vulnerable households. Such a system must reduce dependency on non-contributory cash payments and give consideration to food security. We need to establish a national unit to monitor, evaluate and audit the administration of social security to deal with unacceptably high levels of fraud and leakage.
- We must respond to the brutal effects of all forms of violence against women and children as well as effective strategies to deal with the perpetrators.
- Our welfare programmes must include the provision of a range of services to support the community-based care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS as well as those affected, such as AIDS orphans.
- Urgent attention needs to be given to the development of a national strategy to reduce youth criminality and youth unemployment within the framework of the National Crime Prevention Strategy.
- Making social welfare services accessible and available to people in rural, peri-urban and informal settlements as well as ensuring equity in service provision is critical to the transformation process.
- Redesign services to people with disabilities in ways that promote their human rights and economic development.
- All our work must be based on a commitment to co-operative governance that includes working with different tiers of government and civil society. The Department will work in partnership with communities, organisations and institutions in civil society. A particular challenge here is to work with organisations that are located and have the competencies to reach beneficiaries. Capacity will have to be built where needed and will result in reallocation of resources.
- Train, educate, re-deploy and employ a new category of workers in social development to respond to the realities of South Africa's crisis. Review the training and re-orientation of social service workers to meet the development challenges of South Africa and link these to our regional and global demands.

Appendix 2:
Department of Health: Priorities for 2001

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