Department of Social Development 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan; with Minister

NCOP Health and Social Services

26 April 2022
Chairperson: Ms M Gillion (ANC, Western Cape)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary


Social Development

The Department of Social Development (DSD) briefed the Select Committee in a virtual meeting on its 2022/23 annual performance plan (APP) and budget. The Department guided the Committee through its five programmes and responded extensively to all the questions raised by the Members.

The Minister emphasised that the disasters, from COVID-19 to the unrest in July 2021, and now the KwaZulu-Natal floods and Western Cape fires, must have taught the state valuable lessons on responding to serious fire situations. These disasters had had an enormous impact on service implementation, but the silver lining lay in the lessons that the institutions learned to become more capable, resilient and innovative for the future.

The Minister said the DSD would communicate the process of accessing the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant and explain how people had to re-apply for the grant in due course. She assured the Committee that the Department had no intention of not paying out the R350 grants. The Auditor-General (AG) had been on their case to ensure that the grants did not get paid out to people who did not need them and that it was their responsibility to ensure that the grants were paid to the right people.

Members asked for details of the Department's budget cuts and how they affected their goals. The DSD said they had experience dealing with a less than adequate budget, so they always tried to do as much as possible within their financial limitations and were working on getting more financial support. The Committee wanted to know how many annual reports from non-profit organisations (NPOs) the Department expected to receive in this financial year, following the huge drop during the pandemic, and whether they would be able to process them. They also expressed concern about the high rate of teenage pregnancies in South Africa and asked what measures the DSD could implement to reduce this problem. The Committee asked why the Department had discontinued the social workers' scholarship programme and how they planned to address the growing need for social workers, especially in vulnerable communities. It also suggested that the Department adopt integrated programmes with other departments to broaden the scope of their work.

Meeting report

Minister's introductory comments

Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development, greeted the Committee and welcomed the chief executive officer (CEO) of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Ms Busisiwe Memela-Khambula, and the acting CEO of the National Development Agency (NDA), Mr Bongani Magongo.

Before she started her introduction, she expressed her sincerest condolences to the families affected by the floods in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). She said the Western Cape was also affected by fires and expressed her condolences to those affected by this. She emphasised that the disasters, from COVID-19 to the unrest in July 2021 and now the floods, must have taught the state valuable lessons on how to respond to serious situations. These disasters had had an enormous impact on service implementation, but the silver-lining lay in the lessons that the institutions had learnt in becoming more capable, resilient and innovative for the future. She called for the deepening of people-centred, society-wide collaboration to help aid the families that had been affected and to ensure long-term sustainability. She pointed out that the DSD had been requested to step up and improve their support and coordination of humanitarian disaster assistance, to ensure that all the necessary and correct processes were being followed to provide the necessary services to the right people.

She thanked the Chairperson and the Committee for inviting the DSD and its entities to present their 2022/23 annual performance plan (APP) and 2022/25 strategic plan. The DSD was mandated to improve the state of the people of South Africa and to lead the coordination of social protection imperatives as outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP). It was responsible for ensuring that there were improvements in human-level outcomes in communities and their society-wide outcomes. The APP of the DSD would demonstrate how the Department was planning on addressing people’s vulnerabilities. She and the Deputy Minister (DM) would ensure that the DSD’s role was strengthened and reached its objectives.


She emphasised that her expectations of the Department and its entities would be higher. She demanded that they show the Committee how their programmes planned to positively impact the prospects of the well-being of the people in the remaining period of this term. The necessary oversight work needed to be done by the members of the DSD, and then the shortcomings had to be reported so that they could improve their strategies. The APP had to influence the inputs by the Department, and they had to align with the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the performance agreement that she signed, the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR).


The Ministry suggested that the DSD and its entities must learn from other governmental departments and innovate the implementation of programmes through the Cabinet-adopted District Development Model (DDM). The district development plan was a people-centred service implementation approach that instilled community responsiveness in institutions while encouraging active citizenship.

DSD 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan and Budget Vote

Ms Brenda Khunoane, Chief Director: Social Insurance, DSD, took the Committee through the introduction to the APP and Budget Vote for 2022/23, and thereafter, along with her colleagues, explained the five different programmes of the plan.

(See the attached document for details).

Mr Fanie Esterhuizen, Chief Financial Officer, DSD, took the Committee through Programme 2 (Social Assistance). He explained how they had had to change their output indicator in terms of its allocation because the Auditor General had issues with their previous output indicators.

Mr Khumbula Ndaba, acting Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services, DSD, went through Programme 1. He introduced the presentation by outlining the DSD's strategic focus and how the DSD had been re-invented. He said the Department's primary focus was to build cohesive and resilient families and communities to reduce poverty and create sustainable livelihoods. The Department planned on implementing the entity governance and oversight framework. It would submit and make amendments to some of its draft Bills, such as submitting the draft SASSA Amendment Bill to Cabinet and refining and validating the draft Social Service Development Bill.

Ms Khunoane described Programme 3 (Comprehensive Social Security). She said that the DSD had worked hard on new policy around children's grants and maternal benefits. They wanted to develop a consultations report on draft policy for Integrating Children’s Grant. They wanted to integrate the children's grant beneficiaries with other government services, allowing the children to access other government benefits. In addition, they wanted to develop a consultation report on a draft policy on income support for 18 to 59-year olds. They had made changes to the Social Assistance Act of 2021. The DSD aimed to submit a draft policy to the Social Protection, Community and Human Development (SPCHD) cluster on voluntary cover for retirement and risk benefits for atypical and informal sector workers. The Department also wanted to develop a draft White Paper on comprehensive social security.

Ms Isabella Sekwana, Acting Deputy Director-General: Social Welfare Services, discussed Programme 4 (Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation Support). She pointed out the various goals that the Department had in terms of children’s legislation and families; HIV/AIDS; children’s services; professional social services and older people; social crime prevention and anti-substance abuse; services for people with disabilities; and the office on the rights of children. The Department aimed to make a lot of progress in all the related categories.

Mr Peter Netshipale, Deputy Director-General: Integrated Development, explained the targets of Programme 5 (Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery). These included:

  • To process 98% of non-profit organisation (NPO) registration applications within two months of receipt;
  • To coordinate participation in the DDM in 18 districts;
  • To produce the report on the State of the People in South Africa;
  • To train approximately 600 youths through the skills development programme.

Overall, the Department had introduced 15 new targets across the five different programmes.


Ms A Maleka (ANC, Mpumalanga) observed that the Department had stated they were planning on processing 80% of submitted NPO annual reports. However, she pointed out that 80% did not fully communicate the magnitude of the work. She asked the Department to clarify how many NPO annual reports the Department anticipated receiving in this financial year. She pointed out that in the APP of the Department’s previous financial year, they had received 29 780 NPO reports and had processed only 18 809, meaning that 60.3% of annual reports had been processed. How would the Department ensure that they processed 80% of the reports two months after they had been received?

Ms D Christians (DA, Northern Cape) highlighted that there had been a consistent reduction in funding across various provinces and wanted to know how the Department planned to counter the devastating impact that the reduction in funds would have on social welfare programmes for 2022/23. This was concerning because there had been a delay in the grant and the reduction in funding, so it seemed to be disastrous for the DSD across the different programmes.

She said the DSD departments in the North West (NW) and Northern Cape (NC) had had huge budget cuts. The NC had had R909 million cut from their budget and the NW had had an R173 million reduction. Poverty in the NC was among the highest of all the provinces. How would the Department counteract the devastating impact of the budget cuts in these provinces?

The Department had discontinued the social worker scholarship programme for 2022/23 and had been unable to absorb the previous year’s graduates due to government's lack of efficient planning. She questioned what would happen now, as there had been wasteful expenditure and young graduates were now unemployed. This caused the unemployment rate to rise even more, increasing social ills, such as drugs and crime. Now that the scholarships had been discontinued, what did the Department have to counteract these social ills?

She noted that the SASSA grant re-applications were open again and asked the timeframe of the R350 social relief of disaster (SRD) grant and where people had to re-apply for the grant. This was currently a difficult time, and the delay in the R350 SRD Grant would impact various people, particularly the poor, the ill and the elderly. How would the Department see that the R350 SRD grant was implemented as quickly as possible?

She would like to see more collaboration with other departments, such as Education and Health, to tackle the teenage pregnancy crisis. Which provinces were the Department planning on targeting for the initial stages of community-based programmes, and how would they be rolled out?

The Chairperson thanked the Members for their questions were raised a few issues of her own. Some of her concerns had already been addressed by the two Members. She stressed her concern about the DSD's budget cuts in some provinces. She pointed out that there had been budget cuts across all departments, but the impact of the DSD’s budget cuts had been concerning. She asked the DSD for clarity on the budget cuts in the provincial departments and its plans on how it would mitigate the challenges that the cuts would create.

She stated that South Africa did not have enough social workers. She asked what the impact of discontinuing the scholarships on social development in communities, especially vulnerable communities. Did the Department have a strategy to absorb the social worker graduates?

DSD's responses

Ms Khunoane said that it was important to note that the DSD had always been underfunded. It may seem like they were receiving a lot of money, but most of the money was put toward social grants, which constituted 95% to 99% of its budget. The Department had always been able to do a lot of work with a limited budget. In the current financial year, it had been sharing the Early Childhood Development (ECD) function. It moved over to the Department of Basic Education (DBE), and this could account for a reduction in its costs. However, their budget was still not sufficient to fulfil their responsibilities.

They had worked together with SASSA and the NDA to share their resources and ensure that they could still make a great impact and reach their goals. They had adopted strategies to adapt to the smaller budget and worked on it. The DSD did not have the money available to absorb the number of social workers they would like to absorb and had adopted their strategies to deal with this reality.

Mr Netshipale addressed the matter of NPO reporting and processing. According to the NPO Act, all registered NPOs had to report back. Currently, the DSD had over 250 000 registered NPOs, and not all of them had reported back to the Department. Over the years, the Department set targets to drive them to do more, but due to COVID-19, percentages dropped over the past two years, and the target was reduced to 30% in 2020/21. They had struggled due to technical issues. Yearly, they received more than 50 000 reports. During COVID-19, they had received only 18 000, but they were expecting that they would be back to normal this year. All the NPOs were given a compliance letter and they wanted to reach the goal of 80% so that no NPO was disadvantaged.

Regarding the budget cuts, in 2017, National Treasury found that the Department was severely underfunded and unable to deliver adequate welfare services. They were also underfunded in the NPO budget, with approximately R9.2 billion. They had been working with the Treasury and had received additional funding in 2018. The Department was hoping that by working together with the Treasury, they would be able to reach more social development goals.

Mr Esterhuizen responded to the budget cuts and said there had been a significant cut of about R2 billion year on year. Recently, there had been an additional budget adjustment because of the function shift involving ECD. About R4 billion had been taken from all the DSD's departments to shift the ECD function to the DBE. However, the DSD was still looking at the implications of this budget adjustment and would make the numbers available to the Committee. He added that no new budget cuts had been imposed on the DSD by National Treasury for this financial year.

Ms Sekwana addressed the issue of teenage pregnancies, saying it was a cross-cutting issue that had to be approached firstly by looking at where the children were from because it was a matter of child protection. Preventing teenage pregnancies meant increasing child protection, which emphasised the need for strengthening and empowering families to raise their children so that they could assert themselves and help them understand that no one had the right to take advantage of them.

She pointed out that teenage pregnancies were also an issue in communities and that the Department alone could not combat this issue. It was important to work with communities to empower them to take ownership to protect the children from the perpetrators and strengthen community bonds. It was important for the DSD to work collaboratively to combat this issue. It had to use the DDM, which encouraged everybody to work together. There had to be a structure in place to hold people accountable. There were various social behavioural programmes in place, and they had worked on developing these programmes. She suggested that the Department of Health and the Department of Education and other stakeholders had to join in to ensure that the DDM model was installed and that they dealt with teenage pregnancies at the prevention and intervention level.

Referring to the shortage of social workers, she said that social work was important, so the Department needed to develop an integrated strategy to combat the scarcity of these workers and make them available to vulnerable people and schools.

Mr Nethshipale said that the DSD had a draft strategy that addressed the shortage of social workers. It was an over-arching strategy to employ social workers in the private and public sectors. It had been engaging with other national departments, and the main aim was to get funding to employ social workers. They had noted, for example, that the Department of Education would rather employ teachers than social workers. Therefore, when there was a reduction in their budget, they would prioritise what was more important to them above their secondary needs. Therefore, a collaborative effort would be needed to address this issue. They had suggested that the departments and provinces continue contracting social workers but do so within their budget. In the meantime, the Department was still looking at a long-term solution.

Ms Khunoane replied to the question about the R350 SRD grant and the process of re-applying. She pointed out that the previous grant had been issued in the state of disaster legislation. Since the state of disaster had been lifted, the DSD had had to come up with new legislation, and this had been placed under their social assistance legislation. She acknowledged that this prolonged process had caused a lot of frustration, but she ensured the Committee that they were working on speeding up the process and the application process had been opened. Another point they had to keep in mind was that they had to ensure they stayed within the R44 billion range to ensure that the grant could be paid out. SASSA had informed her a few days ago that many people had applied for the R350 SRD grant, and it was still being processed electronically. Therefore, no people would be expected to stand in a queue to access the grant. More clarity on the process would be available in due course.

Minister Zulu said the DSD would communicate the process of accessing the R350 SRD grant and explain how people had to re-apply for the grant in due course. She assured the Committee that they had no intention of not paying out the R350 SRD grants. The Auditor-General (AG) had been on their case to ensure that the grants did not get paid out to people who did not need it and it was their responsibility to ensure that the grants were paid to the right people.

She emphasised her concern over the issue of teenage pregnancies and the importance of addressing it drastically, saying it was important for everyone, not only the Department, to work together to combat it. Men needed to be educated and it was their responsibility to take up this matter. Just like our country was working hard on combating gender-based violence (GBV), it needed to work hard to curb teenage pregnancies.

The Chairperson made a few last remarks.

On the R350 SRD grant, she said it was important for the DSD to make people aware that they needed to re-apply and that they needed to make this information available on various platforms.

She said the teenage pregnancy issue was due to morality issues, and it was important that they worked hard to combat the high rate of these pregnancies. She commended the DSD for all their hard work, and she expressed her gratitude to the Committee, the Minister, the Deputy Minister and the Department for all their work and wished them well on their future tasks and goals.

She also took the time to salute President Cyril Ramaphosa for taking up the matter in KZN seriously and doing everything to help aid the communities in rebuilding the areas affected by the disaster. She commended and thanked all the people playing any small part in helping their fellow citizens.

The meeting was adjourned.

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: