In a virtual meeting, the Committee received a briefing from the Department of Social Development on the 2022 Appropriation Bill. The DSD portfolio appraised the Committee on a number of issues and provided a detailed report on the R44 billion allocation toward the SRD grant extension. In its presentation, it also responded to a number of questions posed by the committee.
The DSD budget allocation for 2022/23 of R257 billion constitutes 13.1% of the government’s global estimated budget of R1.957 trillion. R248 billion or 99.6% is government’s investment towards the provision of social grants to more than 18 million beneficiaries. Against the allocated R44 billion, the Department is expecting to bring the COVID-19 SRD grant to 10.5 million eligible persons on a monthly basis. In its 2021/22 expenditure, the Department did fairly well in its main programmes. Social Assistance had an underspending of R1.8 billion and Compensation of Employees had an underspending of R27 million.
The extension of the Special COVID-19 R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant has provided an opportunity to look at fundamental social security reforms including the Basic Income Support, for those without income between the ages of 18 to 59. For this cycle of the grant, all applications, once validated against the databases to which SASSA has access, have to be means tested. This can only be done by banks, who confirm if the ID number is linked to any bank account which has received an inflow of more than R350 in the preceding month (excluding social grants and R350 SRD grant).
Questions were asked about the date on which the SRD grant will be paid out to eligible applicants; filling of senior management positions as well as the Director-General post; contingency measures to provide support to citizens during natural disasters; and increasing the amount of the SRD grant to above the poverty line as raised by COSATU. The Department was asked if it has done a comparative analysis of the cost of distributing the grants, especially the old age grant. Members asked if the Department has a system to quickly assess the one million appeals against SRD grant rejection so this process does not frustrate the applicants as that is a very high number.
The Chairperson welcomed the Minister who would not be able to attend the full meeting as she had a doctor’s appointment.
Minister of Social Development’s Remarks
Minister Lindiwe Zulu noted the 2022 Appropriation for the Social Development portfolio covers the Department of Social Development (DSD), South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and National Development Agency (NDA). Today’s presentation will delve deep into a number of important issues that are relevant to the portfolio’s allocation and planned performance for the year ahead. The presentation will mainly provide complete particulars on:
• Budgetary implications on the implementation of programmes for the benefit of all South Africans
• Insights relevant to the implementation of the prominent and innovative COVID-19 social relief of distress (SRD) including the recently gazetted regulations for the continuation of this grant as well as the proposed allocation of R44 billion for the extension of the grant.
• Analysis of the adequacy or otherwise of the proposed allocation of R1.6 billion towards the introduction of the extended Child Support Grant for orphans in the care of relatives.
• DSD’s contribution towards South Africa’s economic and social reconstruction and recovery on the back of COVID-19, the July 2021 unrest, and the unseasonable severe weather systems that are adversely communities and the economy.
• Implications of the declarations of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court decision on the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act Regulations.
The DSD remains committed to the improvement of the state of people through
• Engendering active citizenship in programme conceptualisation and implementation. Active implementation of programmes through the Cabinet-adopted District Development Model.
• Adopting programme-led innovations that take services to the people as well as enhance the human level usefulness and relevance of these services.
• Intentionally establishing partnerships whose outcome will be growing the resource base from which people’s felt needs will be addressed.
The DSD allocation for 2022/23 of R257 billion constitutes 13.1% of the government’s global estimated budget of R1.957 trillion. This makes it government’s third largest budget allocation. R248 billion of the budget or 99.6% is government’s investments towards the provision of social grants to more than 18 million beneficiaries. Compared to 2021/22, the major budget reductions experienced in the 2022/23 allocation will affect the Department’s ability to employ social service professionals that are in chronic shortage in communities. The reductions will also impede the Department’s ability to fund non-profit organisations (NPOs).
With the declaration of the National State of Disaster in March 2020 in accordance with the Disaster Management Act, the department innovated and implemented the COVID-19 SRD grant. The continued provision of this grant was necessitated in terms of the Social Assistance Act following the end of the National State of Disaster. The lessons learned from the earlier iterations of implementing the COVID-19 SRD grant strongly dictate that the Department ought to strengthen the fraud prevention system for this grant. Primarily for this reason the Department encourages all previously qualifying beneficiaries to reapply for this iteration of the grant and will they be assessed and validated as provided in the regulations of the Social Assistance Act. The Department understands and appreciates the delays this causes but at the same time, it has to be conscious of the fact that there are people who are applying to receive the grant when in fact some of them have gone back to work. Against the allocated R44 billion, DSD is expecting to bring the COVID-19 SRD grant to 10.5 million eligible persons on a monthly basis. Without a doubt, a larger allocation would have enabled DSD to provide the much-needed buffer to more qualifying applicants.
DSD will be implementing the extended child support grant in its commitment to formulate a comprehensive legal solution to the foster care challenges. Without the need to go through the Children’s Court process, the relatives caring for orphan children can apply for the extended child support grant of R720 per child per month. It is estimated that during 2022/23, over 191 000 qualifying relatives will receive this grant.
DSD and its entities are required to make economically significant and qualitatively meaningful contributions towards key policy processes such as the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. The portfolio also contributes to the social compact processes that are easing the relations between different social partners and enhancing cooperation for shared economic growth and common prosperity. Efforts made at linking beneficiaries with certain attributes to economic participation opportunities, especially through entrepreneurship, is desirable for everyone.
It is important to be cognisant that the sustained conflict in Europe not only increases the cost of basic food items and energy sources for ordinary South Africans but diminishes their security of livelihood and basic provisions. This inevitably serves to heighten the need to strengthen social development interventions towards protecting the state of people from further deterioration.
Questions to the Minister
The Chairperson asked the Minister before she left, when the Director-General position will be filled as the Committee was of the view that it was too risky to have an acting director-general.
The Minister replied that DSD is doing its best to advertise all the posts and plans to fill the DDGs and DG posts. The Acting DG can answer the question on the advertising process and timelines.
Mr X Qayiso (ANC) asked the Minister for clarity on the varying amounts of payments of the SRD grants considering the high unemployment and the poverty line in South Africa.
The Minister replied that the SASSA presentation will clarify questions about the SRD grant. There has been no change in the R350 amount. The R350 is still being paid and it must be separated from the rest of the social grants that DSD has been paying. As much as the R350 is below the poverty line, it must be understood that the R350 was meant only for the COVID-19 period and it is not like all the other social grants that have been paid. Mr Qayiso might also be interested in following up on DSD's policy approach on the basic income grant which is still an ongoing discussion.
Social Development portfolio 2022/23 Appropriation
Mr Linton Mchunu, DSD Acting Director-General, said DSD is mandated to provide care and support services to vulnerable groups through the implementation of welfare services and social security programmes. This is done by forging partnerships through which vulnerable individuals, groups and communities become capable and self-reliant participants in their own development.
The extension of the Special COVID-19 R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant has provided an opportunity to look at fundamental social security reforms including the Basic Income Support for those without income aged 18 to 59. DSD will continue to contribute to processes that stimulate discussions around the resource modelling and implementation of the Basic Income Grant (BIG).
The DSD Sector recommits itself to increase its investments and interventions in response to the challenges of poverty, inequality and job creation, including recent threats and challenges of climate change, rising social ills such as GBVF, substance abuse, gangsterism, that are drastically affecting ordinary people’s lives, particularly the most vulnerable in society.
In pursuit of creating a better life for all and improving the wellbeing of all people – particularly the most vulnerable, DSD will continue to strengthen its interventions in terms of systems, capacity, response and preventative measures, especially with rising social ills. In addition, DSD is working on improving its disaster management responsiveness systems and enhancing coordination working with relevant stakeholders across the government, private sector and civil society spectrum.
Mr Fanie Esterhuizen, DSD Acting Chief Financial Officer, said that in 2022/23 DSD has received an additional R44 billion for the extension of the R350 grant. For 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial years, the additional is R6.1 billion and R8.4 billion respectively for inflationary increases. For Compensation of Employees DSD received an additional R11.4 million for the once off cost-of-living adjustments given to all levels of government.
R257 billion is the total allocation in 2022/23 and it goes down to R221 billion in 2023/24 because the R44 billion is only for one year and there is no indication if the R350 grant will be extended in the outer financial years. R248 billion of this total allocation goes toward Social Assistance. R7.6 billion is allocated to Social Security Policy and Administration with almost R7.5 billion of that going to SASSA Administration. Welfare Services had an allocation of about R1 billion; however, that has reduced to R309 million due to the shift of the ECD conditional grant to Basic Education. R359 million has been allocated to Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery and R220 million of that goes to the NDA.
The DSD portfolio budget was reduced significantly, in particular for the Provincial DSDs. This budget reduction in the main has affected the appointment of social service professionals and the funding of the much-needed services rendered by the Non-Profit Sector, as well as the deployment of additional prevention programmes. This has negative impacts in the provision of community empowerment services, which hampers efforts to build vibrant and self-reliant and sustainable communities. This includes the ability to provide food to those that have become destitute due to loss of employment and those that have recently become homeless as a result of disasters.
Ms Brenda Sibeko, DSD Deputy Director-General: Comprehensive Social Security, said that by implication, all existing SRD applicants will be required to reapply for the grant. In line with previous trends, DSD expects the number of approved beneficiaries in the first month or two to be fewer than the 10.9 million (over 11 million once appeals are finalised) where it currently stands. However, this is likely to increase quickly. For the third iteration that grant will be administered in a similar fashion to the manner in which it was administered under the Disaster Management Act; however, some additional areas have been added in an attempt to reduce inclusion and exclusion errors.
The grant can only be applied for through digital application channels, which are zero rated for data. These include the WhatsApp channel, website and the SASSA mobile app (still in development and will be introduced gradually during the course of the year). A new screening questionnaire will be introduced to improve the screening of applicants, which include personal information, banking details as well as new questions included.The applications will be validated monthly through digital channels such as the National Population Register, SARS IRP5 data, UIF and banks (means testing).
In the previous iteration, SASSA only verified income through bank accounts for appellants. In the new iteration, SASSA will means test all applicants. To implement this, a new definition for income (insufficient means) has been crafted in the regulations to include all forms of income, even support from family members. There is a significant implementation risk in that it has not been done at a large scale before. The agreements with banks have not yet been signed. The threshold for the previous iteration was set at unemployed, which was tested against government databases and the food poverty line if people appealed.
The new iteration will test everybody against a predetermined threshold. Given the limited budget, for the new iteration, this will be set at R350 (equivalent to the value of the grant); however, it will be reviewed if the 10.5 million target is not achieved. This may have a negative impact on the budget as exclusion errors are much larger than inclusion errors; hence implementing a more direct income means test will cause a reduction in both, which may result in a net increase in beneficiaries. If this is successfully implemented at scale, it will enable future improvements in the administration of all social grant benefits. It may also render the other database check irrelevant.
A new requirement will be inserted into the regulations requiring clients to confirm every three months if they still require the grant. Another new condition has been added to the regulations requiring clients not to unreasonably refuse to accept employment or educational opportunities. SASSA is in the process of entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Departments of Public Works and Infrastructure as well as Employment and Labour to facilitate data sharing and exchanges between the parties.
DSD received a R44bn budget for the SRD Grant which is sufficient to cover 10.5 million people. The previous iteration of the grant ended in March 2022 with 10.9 million approved applicants and approximately 1 million appeals that still need to be assessed. DSD will thus be providing the grant to fewer people in the third iteration than in the second iteration. According to survey data, there are 13.4 million people with no income and 18.3 million people below the food poverty line.
Unemployment is 35.3% (7.9 million people) for the narrow definition and 46.2% (11.7 million people) for the expanded definition. There are 13.6 million people not economically active. DSD only has a budget for 10.5 million people, hence it will need to add additional restrictions to remain within budget.
Ms Dianne Dunkerley, SASSA Executive Manager: Grants Administration, said by 17 May 2022, 10.233 million applications had been received from South African citizens, permanent residents and refugees, while a further 16 786 applications have been received from asylum seekers and special permit holders. The total being 10.250 million applications received. Of the total applications received, about 60% are people between the ages of 18 to 35. 40.5% of applications received consist of people with Grade 12 while 5% have tertiary education and are still unemployed.
For this cycle of the grant, all applications, once validated against the various government databases to which SASSA has access, have to be means tested. This can only be done by banks, who confirm if the ID number is linked to any bank account which has received an inflow of more than R350 in the preceding month (excluding social grants and the R350 SRD grant). Then banks have to provide this information to SASSA – they do not provide detail on the amounts coming into the account, but merely confirm if there is inflow above the set threshold.
The banks would not complete the contracting process until concurrence for SASSA to contract with banks. The concurrence was received on 30 April 2022 from National Treasury, and contained additional conditions, which the banks' legal services had to work through. Following engagements with the banks, facilitated by Banking Association South Africa (BASA), the final draft of the agreements with banks was ready for consultation on 23 May 2022. The target date for signing these agreements is Tuesday 31 May 2022. As soon as the agreements are signed, the means testing will begin, with payments for April targeted for June 2022 (as soon as the other June social grant payments have taken place.)
Mr Brenton Van Vrede, SASSA Executive Manager: Grant Operations, said the CSG Top Up numbers were revised in 2021. DSD projected the total number of orphans living with relatives from the recent (5-year) trends, by analysing the StatsSA Annual General Household Survey. This excluded the few already receiving the Foster Child Grant, and then this survey was used to distinguish the number of orphans with relatives who would already be receiving the CSG (and only need the top-up) versus those who were eligible for the CSG but not receiving it (new CSG applicants also needing the top-up). The summarised costing is reflected in the presentation.
Mr Mchunu said that DSD has done a comprehensive costing of the entire Children’s Amendment Bill which is currently before Parliament. The current amendment to the Bill is focusing only on the clauses that deal with the comprehensive legal solution for foster care. DSD has not done a costing that deals only with the foster care provisions.
Mr Esterhuizen said that in its 2021/22 expenditure, DSD did fairly well in its main programmes. Social Assistance had an underspending of R1.8 billion. Compensation of Employees had an underspending of R27 million. Social Assistance had a 99.2% spending which is due to the Old Age and Child Support grants for which fewer than expected beneficiaries applied during that financial year. Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation Support had a 99.3% spending which was due to Covid-19 restrictions resulting in less travelling, accommodation and outreach programmes as well as payments denied to National Councils due to non-compliance.
DSD procures its goods and services using the Preferential Procurement Framework Act (PPPFA) Regulations. Section 2(1)(d) and (e) of the PPPFA make provision for contracting with persons or categories of persons, historically disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the basis of race, gender or disability. DSD also procures products in accordance with industrial policies for local production and content.
DSD has ensured that it aligns its APPs to the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. For example, the following are amongst the performance areas that reflect this alignment:
• Create 176 474 work opportunities through Social Sector Expanded Public Works Programme
• Monthly payment of social grant beneficiaries as administered and paid by SASSA
• R350 Special COVID-19 Grant
• Supporting women-empowered companies (40%).
DSD is not aware of any legal impediments to achieving economic transformation apart from the Constitutional Court ruling on 16 February 2022 against the Preferential Procurement Regulations. This resulted in National Treasury issuing a notice to all organs of state not to procure goods or services by means of tenders or quotations above the threshold value of R30 000 including VAT. DSD is currently renting all its government buildings from the Department of Public Works and the biggest one is the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) with a R26.1m annual rental.
Mr Mchunu said that DSD is in the process through the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) of moving DSD and its agencies into one building. A site has already been set aside for this. There will be engagements in the next few days led by the Minister of DPWI and that is going to be a building owned as opposed to leasing.
In closing, DSD asked the Committee to note that given the continued challenges the pandemic is having on the economy, there is a need for further income support measures beyond March 2022, in the form of the R44 billion towards the Social Relief of Distress Grant, especially for those aged 18 to 59. This is despite the need to link recipients to economic opportunities through active labour market programmes that include job placement and skilling, thus creating more sustainable livelihoods.
Ms D Peters (ANC) asked DSD if it had contingency measures in place to intervene in situations such as that experienced last year with the July 2021 social unrest. If such situations occur in future will DSD be able to adequately respond? It would be important to know if DSD is working together with other agencies to make it possible that any possible disaster can be mitigated by relief interventions. Considering climate change is truly a reality, are there contingency measures employed by DSD to provide support to citizens in the case of natural disasters?
Does DSD give any support to victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and what role is DSD playing in fighting this? Are there measures in place within DSD, working together with other departments, to avert the increased human trafficking of young girls and women? Is DSD investigating the basic income grant and is DSD about to present a proposal on that to National Treasury, Cabinet or any of the cabinet committees?
On the older person’s grant of R1 985, there have been complaints by beneficiaries that the grant is insufficient and R2 500 a month would be better. What is DSD’s response to that? Is there a possibility that the SRD grant will be extended beyond March 2023? If so, what engagements is DSD having with Treasury and other relevant departments? What interventions does DSD have in place to prevent the abuse of senior citizens and children? Is there sufficient capacity to distribute the SRD grant?
Due to the rising cost of living, has DSD taken into consideration what COSATU requested about raising the SRD Grant above the poverty line? How much did DSD spend on the funding of the four-month internship for social work graduates and how many of those social workers are now placed in jobs throughout the country?
Mr O Mathafa (ANC) asked about the degree to which DSD operations were disrupted by the recent floods in KZN and Eastern Cape. Has DSD performed an evaluation if the R44 billion for social relief of distress (SRD) will be sufficient to cover the persons affected by the floods as well?
The linking of the beneficiaries with economic development opportunities as well as localisation is quite impressive. If money was not a problem, how should social assistance be reformed to address the structural cost of poverty and inequality?
Mr Mathafa said that there are a number of social development areas that need the attention of the Committee. It is good to hear that millions of people are able to access the SRD grant in light of poverty and inequality. On slide 13, the restrictions applied to the SRD grant are an indication that there needs to be a safe position for DSD so it is able to deal with this going forward to March 2023. Does DSD have a system to quickly assess the one million rejection appeals to ensure that this process does not frustrate the applicants as one million is a very high number?
Outside the R350 SRD grant, are there other collaborative means by DSD in dealing with poverty and unemployment? As March 2023 is fast approaching, has DSD started putting together a framework for new means beyond the R350 SRD grant or beyond March 2023? Has DSD begun to make preliminary assessments on the social strife that the floods have caused?
The Chairperson asked about the process being followed to fill senior positions and the Director-General position.. When is DSD starting with the next payment of the R350 SRD grant? Is DSD able to share how much of the money paid last year for the SRD grant went to people who were ineligible? Is there a possibility that NSFAS recipients also received the SRD grant?
Has DSD done a comparative analysis of the cost of distributing the grants, especially the old age grant? For instance, how much did it cost the country to distribute the grants before the new system was adopted? As post offices are closing, especially in rural areas, what impact has that had on DSD’s ability to distribute the grants?
Mr Mchunu replied that DSD is working mainly with the COGTA and Human Settlements Departments in dealing with disasters in the country. The interventions include food banks, community nutrition and development centres where DSD works closely with NGOs including faith-based organisations to provide food relief and support to people in distress. In response to natural disasters, DSD provides food parcels, cash or vouchers as well as a very serious focus on psychosocial support to victims affected by disasters.
DSD also works very closely with COGTA when it comes to providing shelters, food and support in the form of dignity packs, beds, blankets and so forth. In response to GBV, DSD has shelters across the country (although not enough). It is working very closely with the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and DPWI to try and get more shelters. DSD is aware that there are about eight districts which do not have shelters and it is working very hard to ensure that those districts have shelters. DSD is in the process of developing guidelines for the social development sector particularly for interventions in natural disasters.
On human trafficking, DSD is currently working with one or two neighbouring countries. For example, there have been conversations with Namibia a few weeks ago in strengthening collaboration efforts to address this.
Ms Sibeko replied that the R350 SRD grant gives lessons on how to provide income support to people who have previously been excluded from the normal social security provisions. The various iterations have taught DSD lessons on this. DSD sees this as the starting ground from which it can build towards the basic income support for all eligible people on a more sustainable long-term basis as the current one is a temporary grant. DSD is working with National Treasury under the directive of the President that there needs to be a social compact developed to come to a solution around what to do beyond the R350 grant.
DSD is quite key in providing some of the technical work that needs to inform the modality that this income support is going to take beyond the R350 grant. Members will recall the Expert Panel Report on Basic Income Support that DSD published in 2021. It had appointed technical experts to quantify what the cost might be of a basic income support grant as well as what the sources of funding might be. Currently, the DSD is hardening the quantification and also determining the provincial fiscal requirements and implications for each of the provinces.
DSD is strengthening the motivation for why this should happen by looking into other interventions that need to be in place. The macroeconomic implications of providing income support must be combined with labour market interventions that increase the economy’s capacity to provide jobs. DSD’s expectation is to complete the technical quantification and motivation by September. To implement a basic income grant, the legislation needs to be changed because the current legislation does not provide for a basic income grant.
The process of changing the current legislation and doing regulations to include the basic income grant will take time and DSD proposes that the R350 SRD grant be extended beyond 2022/23. This is to ensure that the whole process of putting the basic income grant in place is completed without taking money away from the most vulnerable people in the interim.
In an ideal world where there are no fiscal constraints, DSD would have increased the SRD grant to above the poverty line and also increase the listed threshold to a higher amount. The challenge that that Department is faced with is the budget allocation it has. The same challenge is faced with the old age grant as there is insufficient allocation to increase the older person’s grant to R2 500. The current older person’s grant is higher than the poverty line in the country of about R1 400. This does not mean that it is adequate but it just means that it would be difficult to increase the grant given the allocation DSD receives.
Ms Isabella Sekwana, Acting Deputy Director-General: Social Welfare Services, replied that abuse of senior citizens and children happens within the families mostly by people who are close to the victims. There are policies and legislation in place, for instance, there is a policy on older persons and a policy that deals with issues of children and the well-known principal legislation is the Children’s Act. DSD has amended the Older Person’s Act and is currently amending the Children’s Act. It is very important to deal with the root cause of the perpetual abuse in communities even though there are these policy and legislative frameworks.
Under the leadership of the Minister and Deputy Minister, DSD realised that it needed to go back to the basics in addressing the abuse of older persons and children. This means resorting to social behavioural change programmes that will instil positive behavioural change in children from a young age. The strengthening of community-based programmes is also very important in providing safety to children and older persons and DSD is working on engaging with stakeholders on that.
Mr Khumbula Ndaba, DSD Acting Deputy Director-General: Legal, Governance and Risk, replied that in 2021/22 DSD received R120 million for the employment of social workers and this was spent across the provinces. In total, 3 348 social workers were employed. There is a challenge as about 9 000 social workers are unemployed and for this reason, DSD has developed a strategy for the employment of social service professionals. DSD is engaging with relevant departments on this and its plan is to work with Treasury to employ all social workers and then distribute them both to the sector and in the Provincial DSDs.
Ms Totsie Memela-Khambula, SASSA Chief Executive Officer, replied about the one million SRD grant rejection appeals. SASSA is working with DSD to look at how it can make this assessment in two tranches to ensure the process is performed quickly. The R350 SRD is an automated process therefore the only part currently outstanding is getting the banks to validate the one million clients. This should not take too long as this is system generated. SASSA’s intention is to ensure that it processes the appeals together with all the April and May applications that have been received.
Mr Van Vrede added that SASSA is currently working with the banks to clear the one million appeals and will probably be able to clear those appeals in the next two weeks or so. The same challenge outlined by the CEO is faced with the payment date of the R350 SRD grant. As soon as SASSA is done with the appeals it will begin assessing the April and May applications. He noted that the SRD grant is not paid at the same time as normal social grants as that would overload the banking systems. SASSA is looking at the second week of June, around 15 June, to begin the R350 grant payments for the April and May applications.
On the comparative assessment, the distribution costs for paying the normal social grants have significantly reduced from five years ago which was 5% of the total allocation to about 3.5%. The addition of the SRD grant did not bring about a significant distribution cost as it largely relied on using digital systems.
The figures for ineligible recipients of the SRD grant have not been finalised. However, SASSA is looking at about R105 million lost to people who were not supposed to receive the SRD grant. The challenge was that the databases used were not up to date. As SASSA uses up-to-date databases, it is able to identify these people and try to recover the money lost.
Mr Mchunu replied about filling senior positions and the Director-General post. DSD is engaging with DPSA to advertise the DG position which will be done in the next few days. The other posts have already been advertised and DSD is finalising the coordination of diaries of the members of the interview panel to get the interviews underway.
DSD is working with various departments such as DHS, Department of Basic Education, DPWI, Department of Health, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and many more. With DHS, there is a project on special housing needs. DSD is also going to do some work on small business development for support to cooperatives and will be working with the NDA and the Small Enterprise Development Agency.
Ms Sibeko replied that Stats SA uses two definitions for unemployment and the expanded definition includes people who have given up looking for work which adds up to the 11.7 million people mentioned in the presentation. The R44 billion allocation DSD has received for the R350 grant only accounts for 10.5 million unemployed people and not the 11.7 million unemployed people. As a result of this, there will indeed be people who need income but will not necessarily be funded because is there not enough funding for them.
If there were no financial constraints, DSD would like to implement the basic income grant tomorrow and make it universal to everyone so that it reduces exclusion errors. There would then be a need to recoup the money from people who are not in need of the money so the tax system would need to be revised to assist with that. DSD would also like to have interventions that deal with all types of poverty such as capability poverty and not just look at income poverty.
Mr Mchunu replied that there are six areas the DSD portfolio focuses on for the recent flood interventions in KZN and Eastern Cape. DSD participates in all the structures established at the provincial and national level for floods and disaster management through COGTA. The specific areas have been around psychosocial support such as food relief, shelters and also through the SRD grant.
The meeting was adjourned.
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